A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Homes & Housing Market

August and the Los Gatos Housing Market

The August real estate market in Los Gatos is usually a bit slow.  Inventory, even in a normal year, tends to shrink in August, and with it, a lot of sales activity. Many home buyers and home sellers take the month off, sneak in one last vacation, get kids ready to school, or perhaps deliver older ones to college. Real estate often takes a back seat for a few weeks in August (and sometimes early September, too).

August and the Los Gatos Housing Market: it’s all about inventory levels

This year is worse than most in terms of buyers having any selection with record low levels of inventory throughout Silicon Valley. Have a look at the chart from January 2011 to today for Los Gatos single family homes – zip codes 95030 & 95032 (pulled from MLSListings this afternoon):

Los Gatos real estate market inventory SFH Aug 2017

Buying and selling homes in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno right now

For home sellers, this August has been a great month to market your home and to get it sold, despite vacations and student issues, because demand is so high for the minuscule amount of housing for sale. For home buyers, it feels like a crazy real estate game of inventory limbo: how low can it go? How many offers can get thrown at a single listing?

One way of looking at it is to consider the ratio of available houses for sale vs those under contract.  Right now in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, there are 55 single family homes on the market, and there are 50 in some stage of “sale pending” (with or without contingencies). That’s pretty close to 100%.  (Monte Sereno is such a small market area that the numbers are too wonky to be useful – we need a larger sample for reliability.)

The number sold and closed in the last 30 days is 31. The months of inventory is the actives divided by the closed in the last 30 days, so 55 / 31 = 1.77 months of inventory for ALL houses, all schools, all price points, all conditions, all locations – good and bad alike. That is a red hot sellers’ market!  (Every month or two I update this article here on Live in Los Gatos: “Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district” – please check back for an update on those numbers soon.)

What has been true for most of  2017 still holds true in August: the nicely updated and remodeled homes in the lower prices to move-up prices in Los Gatos continue to sell well (quickly, often with multiple offers) if they are priced right. Specifically, these are homes under $3 million with no special challenges (location issues, lot issues, strangely configured layout, too many stairs, too much deferred maintenance, a combination of a large pool and small back yard, and so on).

What does it take to be a successful home buyer in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno right now? How to maximize buying or selling in the current market conditions

Shannon Valley Ranch house 2015Buyers: For the lower priced homes, you will need to be quick as they usually won’t last more than 8 to 10 days before the offer date and multiple offers pour in. If you can get out to see the property soon after it hits the market, you’ll have enough time to study the disclosures and get guidance from your buyer’s agent on those and the comps. If you wait to see something on a Sunday afternoon and offers are due Tuesday, you will have a very unpleasant couple of days as you rush to be ready and prepared. With the more expensive properties, they may take longer to sell, but at any given moment things could change and suddenly there are 2 offers rather than just your one.

Sellers: Being super well prepared so that you hit the ground running is absolutely key to selling your home quickly and for top dollar. That means doing the presale inspections, ordering HOA docs (if applicable), and having your disclosures completed before a buyer ever sees the home. It also means taking your Realtor’s guidance to heart in regard to staging / decluttering and easy access for buyers. If it’s too hard to see, or it does not show well, you may not sell it for as much.  Price carefully!  The number 1 problem with homes that do not sell is price.  Aim too high and you won’t get the traffic or the offers. If you aim a little low, you may draw multiple offers and push the price higher than you could have imagined.

The market can be a little funny sometimes. I’ll attend an office meeting and hear discussions about multiple offers and once in awhile there’s a particular property that seems to have trouble.  When that happens, it’s very important to try to get feedback from the buyer’s agents.  While often the problem is a too-high price, sometimes it’s something easier to adjust to effect a sale. Communication between Realtors can be invaluable so that you don’t reduce the price when perhaps a less expensive fix will do.

September is just around the corner, and it promises to be a busy one as a slight influx of inventory should bring a strong flurry of activity.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, please contact me for a confidential consultation on what it takes to get the best deal possible in the current market.

 

18632 Woodbank Wy Saratoga

Coming on the market this week – a beautiful “view home” close to the Los Gatos border at 18632 Woodbank Way, Saratoga CA 95070. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase prime Saratoga real estate, either to live in and enjoy as is, or to expand, remodel, or rebuild.

The location cannot be beat: situated on a quiet cul-de-sac and at the top of a small knoll, the 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with 2346 square feet of living space enjoys a vast, panoramic view of the coastal range.  From the family room, kitchen, and master bedrooms plus the deck and patio, you’ll take in sweeping vistas – the peaks of El Sombroso over east Los Gatos and El Sereno over west Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga.  The land is 1.37 acres of very very gently sloping orchards, mostly with prune trees but other types as well.

Recently updated for the sale, the house offers newly refinished hardwood floors throughout most of the house and fresh interior paint among other improvements.

On MLS by Tuesday April 4th at noon.  Price $2,400,000.  Offer due date April 18th at noon. (No pre-emptive offers, please.)

To see open house schedule and to learn more, please click on the link below:

18632 Woodbank Wy., Saratoga – just off Quito Road.

18632 Woodbank Wy, Saratoga

 

 

Los Gatos Real Estate Market Snapshot

How’s the market in Los Gatos?  Houses well priced and in good shape with no major issues that are listed at or under $2 million are selling very nicely.  Many of the houses in the 95030 and 95032 zip code areas are more expensive, though, and that segment of the market – especially over $ 3 million – is not doing so well.

Here’s a quick look at how things look for the two zip codes (the “big picture” within Los Gatos.

 

 Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 DOM and SP to LP Ratio

Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 Days On Market and Sale Price to List Price Ratio

Case study: online home valuation sites

Are you tempted to look at online, auto valuation websites to check Los Gatos real estate values?  Those online home valuation sites (including mine) can be very tempting.  After all, who wouldn’t want a real-time update on home sale prices?

A few times, I’ve had clients or potential clients who relied very heavily on a well known real estate portal for information on “what that home is really worth“.  The trouble, of course, is that the folks running the algorithms haven’t been to that street or to that house.  They don’t know if it’s exquisitely updated or if it’s in a state of ruin.  They don’t know if it seems well loved or if it has terrible odors.  

Usually the portals have a very wide target. One of them claims that they want to be within 20% of the market value 80% of the time.  Let that soak in.  For a million dollar home, that’s  a range of $800,000 to $1,200,000 not all the time but 80% of the time!

More convincing than my saying, “hey, that site is usually way off”, I like to just demonstrate what happens when I plunk a property’s address into a number of these auto valuation sites.  I find the range of estimated pricing to be very compelling.  Please have a look at the wide range of projected values – all for the same home & land!

Online Valuations for the same house

                                       Online valuation sites. (Weiss Analytics is by paid subscription.)

How would you like to own a home worth  $2.6 million and hear that it’s worth $1.6 million from online home valuation sites?  Or what if you put your condo on the market based on this kind of pricing, only to find that it was 20% off?

No, the better approach is to have a relationship with a local Realtor who can help you determine the probable buyer’s value for your home. It’s never going to be one exact price, because each buyer will have different terms, motivation, ability, and so on. If you get a lot of offers all at one, it will shoot the price high. If it takes more than 3 weeks to sell and you get just one buyer, it will be lower.

Online home valuation sites can be fun, but please remember that most of the time, they aren’t very accurate.  Want help knowing if you have enough equity to sell? Please call or email me and we can meet and go over market conditions, the comparable sales, improvements that will give a good return on value, and the marketing needed to obtain your best price so that you can make an informed decision.

Los Gatos Homes for Sale Under $1,000,000

Espana Oaks townhomes in Los Gatos

España Oaks townhomes in Los Gatos

With average and median home prices between $1.5 and $2 million, it can be hard to find Los Gatos homes for sale under $1,000,000.  Look hard enough, though, and there’s often an opportunity – usually a condo, sometimes a townhouse, and once in awhile, a house on a lot.  Ok, to be fair, if it’s a single family home on a piece of land, it may well be a tear down – what my daughter used to call a “dozer”, as in “bull dozer”. But it’s a starting point!

What are the best odds for finding Los Gatos homes for sale under $1,000,000?

There will be some strategy involved to find a lower priced home in Los Gatos 95030 or 95032. First, it’s important to understand the impact of  the proximity to downtown and the role of schools.  Find a home with Los Gatos High that’s in one of the official historic districts and you are likely to pay a premium for it!  Go further out, and away from pristine Victorian homes from 100 years ago. and the prices will soften.   Things will also improve if you consider smaller homes on smaller lots.

A townhouse with Westmont or Leigh High may be in budget if it needs remodeling and updating. There are some really nice communities in town, such as Los Gatos Woods, where if you’re willing to do a little work you might be able to squeak by at under one million dollars.

To improve the odds of success, you may want to concentrate on either condominiums or on properties in the 95032 zip code with Campbell Union High School District (Westmont or Leigh High). Or improve the odds better and go beyond the town’s boundaries and consider the Los Gatos Mountains (zip code 95033).  With the latter, you’ll get much more home for your money.  The downside, of course, is that your commute will be longer and you may have issues from living in the mountains.

If you are over age 55 or if you aren’t planning on living there yourself – if it’s an investment property – you may want to think about buying a home in one of the seniors condo complexes.  The Los Gatos Commons is nicely situated in the central or downtown Los Gatos area and as of this writing, in 2016, units can be purchased for under $700,000.

Another tactic to employ is to watch for homes that have been on the market a long time and are hovering at 10% or so above your target price point. In every real estate market, no matter how hot, there are some houses, townhouses, and condominiums which are simply over-priced.  I don’t suggest targeting more than about 10% over budget because “low-ball”offers usually serve to offend sellers and backfire on buyer’s good negotiating intentions.

Browse Los Gatos homes for sale under $1,000,000

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(all data current as of 6/15/2019)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 
 

 

 

 

 

Los Gatos and Monte Sereno Homes Over $2,000,000

 

View Los Gatos homes for sale from $2 million and up. (All zip codes: 95030, 95032, 95033.) First, browse by map:

Or view a list – this displays homes most recently put on the market first.

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(all data current as of 6/16/2019)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 
 

Interested in buying a luxury or high end home in Los Gatos? Please contact me for a private, no obligation consultation.

Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home – 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos

Looking for a turnkey Los Gatos home with room for everything? I have a beautiful new listing which is an extensively remodedl 5 bed, 3 bath plus office home with 2448 square feet on a big lot of 10,760 SF – and the yard is professionally landscaped!  Offered at $1,650,000.  MLS # ML81550702.

Hurry over to the open house events this weekend and check out 127 Belhaven Drive in the Belwood neighborhood, near Belgatos Park! This is truly gorgeous Los Gatos real estate and a wonderful opportunity to live in a great neighborhood close to the hills.

Open Saturday 2-20-2016 and Sunday 2-21-2016 from 1:30 to 4pm.  (Offers due Wed 2-24 at 11am please.)

Get all the details on the flier:  http://valleyofheartsdelight.com/agent_files/Flier_Belhaven_4-Sided.pdf

127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos CA - an extensively remodeled home!002 Aerial 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos004 Front Porch 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos005 Living Room 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos010 Dining Room 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos006 Kitchen 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos007 Kitchen 2 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos008 Kitchen 3 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos009 Kitchen 4 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos011 Family Room 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos012 Family Room 2 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos013 Home Office 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos014 Downstairs Bathroom 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos015 Master Bedroom 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos016 Master Bedroom 2 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos017 Master Bath 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos018 Bedroom 2 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos019 Bedroom 3 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos020 Bedroom 3 Nook 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos021 Bedroom 4 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos022 Bedroom 5 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos023 Hall Bathroom 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos024 Garage or Entertainment Room 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos025 Kitchen View 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos027 Yard and Patio 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos028 Playhouse 212x127 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos029 Sandbox and Garden Corner 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos030 Backyard 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos031 Backyard 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos032 Aerial View of Home 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos033 Neighborhood View 750x450 - Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home - 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos

 

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 81550702 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

What kind of a home can you buy in Los Gatos for $1.25 million?

How far does your money go in Los Gatos when it comes to buying a home? As always, location is the biggest factor – and within that arena, schools are often a driving factor on pricing.  Today we’ll look at real estate buying power of 1.25 million by zip code and high school district (95030, 95032, 95033).

For single family homes, the 95030 zip code with Los Gatos schools tends to be the priciest (this is probably at least in part because many home buyers find living near downtown LG to be very desireable). and the Los Gatos Mountains area tends to be the least expensive of the three areas.  As you can see in the chart below, the cost of housing is very much graded by both the zip code and the school district.

What can 1.25 mil buy you in Los Gatos?

What about the Los Gatos condo and townhome option – how much home can 1.25 million buy there?

In the last 90 days, there have been only 15 closings of townhouses and condos combined  in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032 (there are none in the mountains or the 95033 area) and in both high school districts, so that’s pretty scant info to go on.

 95030 & Los Gatos High – just one townhome sold at any price for $960,000 (list price was $949,000 with 1500 SF, 3 bed, 2.5 baths ($568.72 per SF) * Just one sale in here, and not “in range” makes this info less helpful than we’d like it to be.  Normally this area would be more expensive per SF.

95032 & Los Gatos High – just 4 condos and townhomes combined which sold between $1 million and $1.5 million (including a buyer sale of mine): av list price $1,042,667  and average sale price $1,075,667, average square footage 1464 and average price per sf $736.77

95032 & Leigh or Westmont High – 5 sales in the $1 mil – $1.5 million range, av list price $1,108,300 and av sale price $1,162,000.  Average home size 1,657  SF and average price per SF $708.77.

It is possible to get a nice Los Gatos home for under 1.25 million but if you want to live in downtown Los Gatos with the 95030 zip code and Los Gatos High, it will mean getting a small home!  You could get a larger place “in the schools” if you are OK purchasing a townhome.  Or go a little further out to get much more “home for the money” – quite a bit more if you go into the Los Gatos Mountains.

Contact Mary NowWant to buy a Los Gatos home?  Please contact me and we can set up a time to chat in person, confidentially: 408 204-7673 or email me: mary@popehandy (dot) com

Los Gatos houses for sale between $1,000,000 and $1,500,000

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(all data current as of 6/16/2019)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 
 

Los Gatos condos and townhomes for sale between $1,000,000 and $1,500,000

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(all data current as of 6/16/2019)

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Charter Oaks townhome community

The Charter Oaks townhome community was built in 3 phases between 1972 and 1975,  and consists of 101 units on a verdant, green campus. I’m told that the builder was the highly regarded Blackwell Homes.  Each townhome enjoys between 960 square feet and 1,760 sf, with the average being 1452. Most are 2 story but there are a few single story homes as well. Lot sizes are small (1,920-3,205 SF, average is 2477 SF) as there is a great deal of common, outdoors space to enjoy.

Charter Oaks townhome community

Charter Oaks Circle mapLos Gatans are drawn to Charter Oaks for many reasons. First, it offers well built homes that are thoughtfully designed in a beautiful setting. The community features include expansive greenbelt areas and a pool.

The location is a huge plus. It is located alongside the Los Gatos Creek Trail, making it an easy walking or bike commute to Netflix, a simple bike ride to Vasona or downtown Los Gatos, or a convenient route for a longer ride, jog, or stroll. To top it off, this area includes the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools and is close enough to the freeways to make commuting less stressful.

Every area has some location challenges. Because it’s close to two freeways, there’s a bit of noise from the highways but it’s not too bad. The other thing to know is that there’s just one road in and out, and trying to turn left from Charter Oaks Drive onto Lark Avenue can sometimes be frustrating as the cars just keep coming and there’s no traffic signal to help there.

Charter Oaks real estate pricing

Homes in Charter Oaks are selling for about $1,100,000 to $1,200,00 as of spring 2017. (See my listing at 126 Charter Oaks Circle here.) As with every complex, some areas will sell for more than others. In this case, because the townhomes are fairly close to highway 17, some areas have road noise and will be a little less desirable.  Some will have better or lesser views, access to parking, natural light, and so on. The condition and size of the unit have an enormous impact on housing values too, of course.

 

Which streets are a part of Charter Oaks?

Includes streets are these: Walnut Hill Court, Charter Oaks Circle, Willow Hill Court, Cherry Hill Court, Almond Hill Court, Spruce Hill Court

Continue reading

The race to beat El Niño for home sellers

Rain_cloud_El_NiñoIf you are gearing up to sell your Los Gatos area home before the end of the year, or in the first three or four months of next year, it is not too soon to begin the outside jobs.  Right now it’s dry, which makes much of the exterior work easier.  Waiting until the rains arrive will only make these jobs more miserable to do.

If you are targeting an autumn home sale with a very impending rainy season, here are some suggestions for preparing your home to sell ahead of El Niño’s arrival:

  1. Create a punch list of work to do outside (and inside, too).  Do a “walk around” the outside of your home, and bring someone along who does not live there to help you to identify things which need repairing, replacing, or cleaning up.  (When you see something all the time, it may seem normal to you and you  won’t realize it needs addressing.) Your Realtor is often an ideal person to help you with this list.
  2. Get any leaves or pine needles off your roof or have someone else do this for you.
  3. Have your roof inspected and have the “tune up work” and gutters cleaned now (get a quality roofer or roofing inspection company from your Realtor) .  Roofing companies are backlogged as it is, so if you put this off it could be too late.
  4. Power washing is not allowed with our current drought caused water restrictions, but the exterior of homes should be swept clean of spider webs and dust easily enough, so take care of that soon.  Pay special attention to the area near the front door.
  5. Plan to do exterior painting and other work now.  Wood trim tends to need painting every 5 years or so.  If yours looks tired or neglected, it sends a signal to home buyers that other things may be neglected, too.
  6. Check the sidewalk condition for safety.  Is it lifted and a tripping hazard?  If so, contact the town of Los Gatos (if a resident) and get it on the schedule to be repaired.  (San Jose residents must pay for this themselves but that city requires a permit, which can take weeks to obtain.) For more on this, read a related article: Who maintains the sidewalks in Los Gatos – the home owner, or the town?
  7. Change exterior light bulbs if needed.
  8. Paint, polish, or replace your mailbox. Clean the hardware on your front door.

There will be many more things to do indoors, of course, but if you can address these outdoor items before the rain comes, they will be far easier to tackle.

Related reading:

Tips for selling your home in an El Niño year

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Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
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and nearby areas,
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and the San Jose areas of
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