Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos

Valentines Day in Los Gatos!

It’s February and, for couples, that means it’s time to plan your Valentine’s Day! And what better place to celebrate your love than in the Valley of Heart’s Delight (Silicon Valley’s old nickname), or more specifically, in the Gem of the Foothills – our very own LG! Here we’ll give you some ideas on how to celebrate a romantic Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos.

Valentine’s Day on a tight budget: picnic with your sweetie

Los Gatos is filled with beautiful parks, and lately the weather has been in the low 70s. If you want or need to be frugal, get a simple assortment of cheeses, crackers, grapes and wine and enjoy a picnic at Vasona Park or your favorite of any one of the lovely parks in town. It’s affordable, easy, and you can enjoy some romantic views.

How about an unhurried walking tour of Los Gatos?

Stroll through scenic downtown Los Gatos. The “village” area is full of neat shops with an enchanting feel. Head over to Old Town too, and while there, walk across the pedestrian bridge between Old Town and Forbes Mill. There is something about being still on this little bridge with the world passing by underneath that’s very special. Have a look at the old mill. This was the first commercial venture in Los Gatos – and it’s tucked away, off the beaten path. . . . But easy to find if you know what to look for.

You might also consider doing the “LOST Gatos” historic walking tour – just put it on speaker. Check out the free app the various tours you can hear at the link above.

Valentine’s Day Lunch in town

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Designer’s Tailoring

Designer's Tailoring - Los Gatos CA - storefrontNeed clothing made, altered or hemmed?  Los Gatos has a fabulous, long time resource right here in town, Designer’s Tailoring. Tucked away in a little building across the street from Safeway, it could be easy to miss.  Thuan Ho Dang, the seamstress (or tailor), does superb work.  She and her husband, Tho, have been in business here since 1985.

I was introduced to Designer’s Tailoring by a friend of mine in the early 90s, and have been a happy, loyal customer ever since. I spoke with Thuan about their business and she told me:

“We don’t advertise, everything is word of mouth.” Enthusiastic customers refer them consistently, and I believe it, because I’ve referred people to them too. They are pleasant, do good work and prices are more than fair.

Friendly, low key and welcoming, the owners are careful business people. A few years back they moved from one suite to another adjacent one in the same building – the current spot is more interior and a little less visible, for better pricing in the same building.  Their planning helps to keep prices down, something all customers appreciate.

Tho and Thuan at Designer's Tailoring in Los Gatos (photo taken a few years ago)Designer’s Tailoring provides custom made drapes, clothing, alterations and more at very reasonable prices and with friendly, knowledgeable service. On a scale of 1 to 10, it gets a solid “10” in my book.

Designer’s Tailoring hours, address, & phone

Open M – S, 9:30 am – 6:00 pm (closed Sundays)
469 N. Santa Cruz Avenue
Los Gatos  CA 95030
Tel 408 354-8903

The Monte Sereno real estate market

Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy
Ranch style home on Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy

The City of Monte Sereno is quite small, with just about 4,000 residents, so the number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small.

For that reason, the data may appear to jump around wildly compared to Los Gatos or Saratoga, which each have about 30,000 people living there. Please take these statistics with a tablespoon of salt, and be sure to view the Los Gatos housing market data to get a more accurate picture of what’s happening with Monte Sereno homes (just add a little to the price tag as homes there tend to sell for a bit more than LG properties).

Also, there are only single family, detached houses in Monte Sereno: no apartments, multi unit housing (2 – 4 plex), no duet homes (attached single family homes). That will be changing soon, however, as the old La Hacienda property (formerly an estate, then a hotel and restaurant) at Hwy 9 and Austin Way will likely become incorporated into Monte Sereno and condos or townhomes built there.

First up for the market analysis is the Altos Research weekly profile for Monte Sereno (uses list prices, not sales):

 

 

This chart shows a slight seller’s advantage in the market, which is consistent with the rest of the area.

Below is the Monte Sereno Real Estate Report (click to view the complete Real Estate Report).

Read moreThe Monte Sereno real estate market

Los Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

Los Gatos real estate market graphic with home near downtown

The Los Gatos real estate market is having an early spring. Colleagues report busy open houses with serious buyers – and not much inventory to show them.

What is selling best in LG right now?

Of the 14 closed single family home sales in Los Gatos this January, 6 closed under $2 million (the lowest was $1.5 mil), 5 were between $2 and $3 million, 2 between $3 and $4 mil, and 1 between $4 and $5 mil. The high end price point tends to be at around $3,000,000 and up for this part of Santa Clara County. The vast majority of what sold would not be considered luxury properties, even though in most areas of the U.S. these would be luxury price tags.

For the 11 houses under $3 mil, the average days on market was 43, the average list price was $2,013,359 and the average sale price a little higher at $2,030,455. For those transactions, the average living space square footage was 2,180 SF and average lot size 26,280 SF.

 

Los Gatos Trends at a Glance for 95030 & 95032

Next, data from the RE Report for Los Gatos (“in town”), in the Los Gatos Mountains, and for Los Gatos condos (only in town, none in the mountain communities). Below that are the live Altos Research charts, updated automatically each week. Altos uses list prices, not sold prices.

The numbers below analyze data gathered during the first week of each month and cover real estate statistics from the month prior in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032 (all areas / school districts), or MLS “area 16”. See the full RE Report here.

 

Trends At a Glance Jan 2020 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,050,000 (-1.2%) $2,075,000 $2,440,000 (-16.0%)
Average Price $2,198,850 (-13.6%) $2,545,930 $2,644,590 (-16.9%)
No. of Sales 13 (-53.6%) 28 14 (-7.1%)
Pending 13 (-23.5%) 17 27 (-51.9%)
Active 34 (+36.0%) 25 42 (-19.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 100.2% (+1.2%) 99.1% 96.8% (+3.5%)
Days on Market 27 (-36.3%) 43 62 (-55.9%)
Days of Inventory 78 (+192.9%) 27 90 (-12.8%)

 

Prices are down both year over year and month over month, continuing a softening trend. The number of sales are down from last month and last year, and both active and pending listings are shrinking. Despite these signs of cooling, both the Days on Market and the Sales vs List Price ratio are heating up since December. It’s an active market with strong demand, but it’s still only a mild seller’s market.

 

Read moreLos Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

Free knife sharpening at Nob Hill

Sleeves for free knife sharpening at Nob Hill grocery storyDid you know that the Nob Hill grocery store in east Los Gatos offers free knife sharpening? You can pick up the safety sleeves and drop off up to 3 non serrated knives to the seafood or butcher part of the store, and they’ll have the knives sharpened and ready for pick up the next day.

This no cost services is available at other shops in the same chain: Raley’s, Nob Hill, and Bel Aire markets.

Nob Hill Foods
15710 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 356-0421

Door to door soliciting

Photo of man knocking on front door with information that door to door soliciting in Los Gatos requires a permitIn the town of Los Gatos, door to door soliciting requires a permit per the town municipal code.

The solicitors or peddlers permit may be obtained through the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police Department only after the applicant has submitted the paperwork, is fingerprinted, and his or her criminal history has been checked.

The application form can be found at the town’s website: Los Gatos Solicitor / Peddler Permit Application

Some peddlers will say that they have a permit, but when pushed may provide a San Jose business license or some other document which not not satisfy the code.

The fine for the first offense is $100 and it rises from there.

If you have a door to door solicitor at your home and believe that the peddler does not have the needed permit, please call the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police Department at (408)354-8600 to report it.

 

Interior floods in the home

Most of the time, when we think of floods, we imagine a natural disaster, and that the people impacted live in a 100 year flood plain.  On the east coast, basements are the part of the home usually impacted by floods.  Interior floods in the home can happen to anyone with plumbing, though. Today I want to share what happened to us in mid December 2012 and hope it can help others to avoid our experience.

Interior floods in the home – our story (late 2012)

A few years back we had a large amount of water intrusion due to a refrigerator water line that broke. One surprise lead to another.

First, the apparent cause may have been a different plumbing issue: dissimilar metals, copper and galvanized steel, not properly separated. It was on one of the to-do lists that just didn’t get done fast enough. We see things like that on home inspection reports and don’t always understand the risks.

I first discovered the water on December 9th, 2012, when I noticed that our dining room’s carpeting didn’t look quite right – and found it damp.  My initial thought was that our elderly dog had had an accident, but there was far too much liquid and it all seemed to be up against the wall backing to the kitchen, so it didn’t take long to realize that the pooch was not to blame.

The first job was finding what was wet so that it could be dried out ASAP, before mold got a foothold. The dining room was carpeted, so it was easy to simply pull the carpet back and check the underlayment.  (In this image, the kitchen is to the left, and the pantry and half bath are behind the wall straight ahead.) I  had a lot of calls to make to flood remediation companies, to our insurance company, etc. I was concerned about mold as I’d taken a 3 hour class in that subject at a real estate conference, so I wanted the leak stopped and the water removed immediately.

 

 

Damage from the flood in our dining room
The dining room at my house, which backs to the kitchen wall where the refrigerator water line leaked. The damage was not fully apparent until the carpet was pulled back.

 

Interior floods in the home built pre-1978

Back to that first task of figuring out what was wet – the dining room was easy due to carpet. The kitchen and other nearby areas were a different story.

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