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.

Read moreInterior floods in the home

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 all the stats 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 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 downtownThe Los Gatos real estate market had been cooling down, but activity levels have remained up noticeably. At office meetings and with friends in the industry I still hear many stories of multiple offers and overbids. In one case, a property I was watching (near but not in LG) sold for 16% over list price. Many are surprised by the surge in buyer interest, which appears to be strongest in the lowest priced homes which are in good locations and in excellent condition (meaning recently and thoroughly remodeled).

Market upticks in December?

Throughout Santa Clara County and San Mateo County, pending sales increased dramatically in November, and the ratio between active listings and pending sales narrowed. When this happens, meaning that the absorption rate increases, prices often rise. It’s a simple case of supply and demand. Typically, supply shrinks in fall, but demand does not always shrink as much as supply. Hence, selling in autumn can be good in that the odds of selling increase. That’s good for sellers. For buyers, it may be tougher to buy due to limited choices, but prices often are a little softer in the late months of the year than they are in spring. Bottom line: if you need to buy or sell, it can happen in the last quarter of the year. Buyers cannot be too picky, though, as selection is limited. (See similar data for the Santa Clara County real estate market on the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog.)

What is selling best in LG right now?

Of the 25 closed single family home sales in December, 12 closed under $2 million (the lowest was a FHA property at $655K, with the next smallest double that at almost $1.29 mil), 9 were between $2 and $3 million, 2 between $3 and $4 mil, 1 between $4 and $5 mil, and 1 over $5 mil (and that one was close to $7 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 houses under $3 mil, the average days on market was 66, the average list price was $1,923,066 and the average sale price less at $1,909,095. For those transactions, the average living space square footage was 2,185 SF and average lot size 22,150 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 will be 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 Dec 2019 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,050,000 (-22.3%) $2,637,500 $2,500,000 (-18.0%)
Average Price $2,532,810 (-6.3%) $2,703,620 $2,818,350 (-10.1%)
No. of Sales 27 (+12.5%) 24 17 (+58.8%)
Pending 15 (-58.3%) 36 22 (-31.8%)
Active 27 (-28.9%) 38 33 (-18.2%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.7% (+1.1%) 97.6% 100.5% (-1.7%)
Days on Market 44 (-5.3%) 46 44 (+0.1%)
Days of Inventory 30 (-34.7%) 46 58 (-48.5%)

 

Prices are down both year over year and month over month, but that doesn’t mean the market’s cooling. The number of sales are up from last month and last year, active listings are shrinking, and both the Days on Market and the Sales vs List Price ratio are heating up a hair since last month. Turnaround is quick and it’s an active market, but it’s still only a mild seller’s market.

 

Read moreLos Gatos real estate statistics and market trends

Light Up The Night

Light up the night in Los GatosThe Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a fun evening on December 12, 2019, “Light Up The Night”. The Chamber’s website states:

 

Join us for a night of shopping, sipping and fun!   The stores will stay open until 8:30pm for an evening of shopping.  A few stops along the way will have champagne or wine for you to enjoy.  Surprises abound throughout the evening!  After shopping, the fun continues with a party at The Palms.

 

Get pricing and details the link below.

Light Up The Night – December 12, 2019 – details and tickets

Old Adobe Road neighborhood

Map of the Old Adobe Road area in west Los Gatos - also indicating proximity of the Oakwood and English Oaks subdivisions, plus the cities of Saratoga and Monte Sereno are shown on the map
Old Adobe Road area in west Los Gatos, just off Quito Road

At the northwest corner of Los Gatos you’ll find a really beautiful neighborhood that consists of Old Adobe Road and nearby streets. It’s just off of Quito Road on the border with Saratoga one one side and Monte Sereno on another.

This lovely area doesn’t have tightly defined boundaries (at least not as far as I know), but runs roughly between Old Adobe and Quito at the north end to Bicknell at the south and fanning out to beyond Montclair to about More Avenue. It clings to Rinconada Hills along one stretch, too.

What are homes like in the Old Adobe area?

Today I mapped out the approximate neighborhood using the county records and it appears to have about 250 houses or so. Nearly all were built in the 1960s and 1970s, but 10% of the neighborhood spans a century from 1920 to 2018. Most of the homes are between about 2,000 and 3,000 square feet, but about 1/6 of them are larger, a dozen reach 4,000 SF and up, but that is not typical. Most lots are around a quarter to a half acre, but some are bigger and some smaller. So they are comfortable houses on uncrowded lots in a mature neighborhood.

There are some areas within this part of west Los Gatos with no subdivision name, but others are within identifiable subdivisions: Adobe Manor, Verona Manor, Montclair Oaks, Rinconada Acres, Rinconada Terrace, Rinconada Oaks. (A nearby neighborhood is English Oaks, and next to that is Oakwood. Yes, there are  plenty of oaks in the region!)

 

Read moreOld Adobe Road neighborhood