Saratoga Highlands, Rio Rinconada, Granada Way and La Rinconada Park Neighborhood

Saratoga Highlands, Rio Rinconada, Granada Way and La Rinconada Park neighborhood are situated in west Los Gatos near the Campbell and Saratoga borders. As they are close to the large Safeway and surrounding shops along Pollard Road, this is a very convenient community.In this area you’ll find a beautiful park and tidy neighborhood with homes of varying sizes and price tags. From looking at the plat maps, I believe that originally this entire area was part of the Rinconada Hills tract of land, but today just part of the area, the gated community, bears that name. (Video below of a sampling of the area that I took from 2014!)

 

 

Please continue reading for much more information on the neighborhood!

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Bella Vista Village

Map - Bella Vista Village is one of the communities along Alberto Way in Los GatosBella Vista Village is an upscale, fairly young townhome community off of Alberto Way in Los Gatos. These 47 townhouses are close to downtown Los Gatos and offers easy access to Highway 17, Highway 9 (Los Gatos-Saratoga Road), and Los Gatos Blvd (once called Los Gatos-San Jose Road). Alberto Way is a cul-de-sac, so a plus is that there’s no through traffic here.

This whole area is at the doorstep to downtown Los Gatos and there are many things for which residents here may elect to walk or ride a bike rather than take a car. It’s an enormous benefit.

Built in 1997, the first section is Tract 8820 and consists of 34 townhouses on Cuesta de Los Gatos except for 5 on Treseder Ct . This is the area closest to Alberto Way. The second phase, completed in 1998, is Tract 8976 with just 13 homes, all of which are on Maggi Court. In the map at the right, you can see that there are two sections of Bella Vista Village.

What are the homes like at Bella Vista Village?

Because these homes are so young, they are delightfully light, bright and open. They feature double pane windows and are quiet inside, too. Outside, the looks is contemporary Craftsman style.  The grounds and exteriors are well maintained and attractive.  The private driveways are kept up.

 

Bella Vista Village - home facing Alberto Way - Los Gatos

 

Homes range from 943 SF to 1735 SF, offering 2-4 bedrooms (most are 3) with 2-3 bathrooms. All appear to be 2 story homes, though one was listed as a 3 story in the MLS.

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Los Gatos Commons

Los Gatos Commons signThe Los Gatos Commons is a popular senior condominium community off of Alberto Way in Los Gatos, very close to the downtown shopping and dining district (see map, below). This complex was developed in 1978, so is 42 years old as of this writing in 2020. There are 110 condo units, ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms. Most units have carports, but there are a few with 1 car garages available. A plus for many residents is that it is gated – a rarely found amenity in Silicon Valley.

Like other senior communities, of which there are very few in Santa Clara County, properties are more affordable here than what you might find in non age-restricted condominiums nearby.

Homes share a clubhouse, pool, spa, and fitness room, as well as beautifully maintained landscaping. Units have covered parking.

Nearby amenities include easy access to highways 9 and 17, a close proximity to downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment, such as the public library and parks. The location is hard to beat!

Los Gatos Commons Map

What do HOA Dues cost at The Commons?

The Los Gatos Commons home owner association dues start at about $450 and are more for larger units. Two recent 2 bed sales have had $507 monthly fees, and one had a $520 monthly fee. The fee covers things like common area maintenance, cable/dish services, and water.

 

Los Gatos Commons - main entrance

What senior services are included?

This is an independent living community, not assisted living, which means that there are no additional senior services, such as shuttle, cleaning, or meal plans, available to residents outside of the normal HOA features such as landscaping and exterior maintenance. That being said, the HOA does organize outings and events for those in the community who wish to participate.

 

Los Gatos Commons in Los Gatos - view from Alberto Way

 

Positives and Negatives

Well known positives for The Los Gatos Commons are the wonderful location, beautifully kept grounds, security features, easy lifestyle and low maintenance, the use of the pool and spa, tennis court, workout room, clubhouse, and the senior community.  While not inexpensive, the cost of buying a condo at the Commons is less than it might be for a comparable condominium that would not be in a seniors community – and that is a significant plus, too.

Potential negatives may be the relatively expensive HOA cost, road noise & other issues from Highway 17, not having an attached garage (for the majority of units), having 40 + year old construction, and and upcoming construction at Alberto Way and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road. And “beach traffic” in summer, too.

 

More information on the Los Gatos Commons:

Ending the Alberto Way Confusion (article on this site)

Los Gatos Commons, Association
445 Alberto Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 378-1730

http://www.losgatosca.gov/1105/Senior-Housing

 

 

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(all data current as of 9/25/2020)

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

 
 

 

Ending the Alberto Way Condo Confusion

Map Condo and Townhome communities along Alberto Way in Los GatosOne of the more confusing areas in Los Gatos may the Alberto Way. There are a number of HOA communities and for those new to the area, they may all blur together.

Los Gatos Commons

The largest complex along Alberto Way in Los Gatos is the The Los Gatos Commons, a senior complex with 110 units. (To read more about senior housing in the area, please see my post on it here.)

As with most senior housing, the units at The Commons are more affordable than the majority of  Los Gatos condos. The Commons was built in 1978 and requires that at least one resident be 55 years of age or more. As of 2020, you may be able to purchase a a unit there between $500,000 and $700,000.

Pueblo de Los Gatos

A smaller condo community just a little closer to Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, and on the opposite side of Alberto Way, is Pueblo de Los Gatos.  These homes are a little further away from Highway 17, are a little quieter, and are not senior housing.  They tend to sell for a little more than the homes across the way. There seems to be about a 5% to 10%  difference in price, most of which may be attributable to freeway noise, but part of it to the “senior community” status. This property was developed in 1970, so is actually a little older than the Commons.

Pueblo de Los Gatos consists of 53 units. Of these 53 condo units, 1 of them is a 3 bedroom (unit # 1, which also has a large 2 car garage), 44 are 2 bedroom units, and 8 are 1 bedroom units.  Except for unit # 1, the rest of the homes in this community have carports.  For many home buyers, these properties offer a more affordable way to get into the Los Gatos Union School District than might otherwise be possible.

Bella Vista Village

Next to and behind Pueblo de Los Gatos is the much newer and more expensive Bella Vista Village, which was built in 1997 and 1998 and includes 47 townhomes. Click on the link to see some photos and learn about it!

Las Casitas

Additionally, there is a small townhouse complex built in 1979 with 18 units on the same side of the street as the Los Gatos Commons, Las Casitas. Something unusual is that all of them appear to have the same floor plan – all have 1448 square feet.

 

What is the fastest way to tell them apart? The easiest way, without even clicking on a link, is to spot the address.  If there’s a letter as part of the unit number (as in A100 or B202), it’s part of The Commons. Also, if the price looks low for the area – it’s probably the Commons. If there’s no letter, as in #7, it’s part of one of the other communities. Or just check the map – The Commons is tucked back at the far left side of the cul de sac (beyond it are office buildings with a private driveway).

All of these are in close-to-downtown Los Gatos locations. If you’re in the market for Los Gatos real estate and would like to live close in, this is a great street to check out.

 

 

All Alberto Way area homes for sale, pending, or sold over the last year – including The Commons

This includes properties on Alberto Way as well as Maggi Court and the other Bella Vista Village homes.

 

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See all Alberto Way.
(all data current as of 9/25/2020)

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

 
 

 

 

Alta Vista neighborhood

Hills proximity to the Alta Vista neighborhoodAlta Vista is a scenic neighborhood which includes homes in both the Cambrian Park neighborhood and the Town of Los Gatos. For many reasons, this area is highly valued and sought after. For this article, we’ll focus on the neighborhood immediately adjacent to the school, not the entire “area of school attendance.”

What makes Alta Vista so attractive? First, it’s convenient. The high performing schools are easy to walk or bike to without crossing any major roads. Almost as close is a good-sized Safeway, a coffee shop, and other stores and eateries at the nearby Downing Center. It’s easy to get to Highway 85 from Union Avenue, too.  As a bonus, the location is popular because of it’s vicinity to Los Gatos with the lower price point of San Jose (for most of the neighborhood).

Second, it’s scenic. Alta Vista has its fair share of visual appeal as well, with many streets lined with beautiful and mature trees, Ross Creek running along one border, and views of the nearby Blossom Hill and coastal range behind it. South of Blossom Hill on the Los Gatos side, it’s not far to the foothills with their trails and parks. Yards and homes are well kept and tidy, as are the streets. Parking near the schools only becomes a problem during school functions a few times a year (and of course at drop off and pickup times).

Simply put, Alta Vista is a scenic neighborhood with great schools and a convenient location. That’s a winning combination.

Blossom Valley Drive home

Above and below: a couple of homes along Blossom Valley Drive.

Another Blossom Valley Drive house

 

Please continue reading for a map of the Alta Vista neighborhood, major landmarks, info on the Alta Vista real estate market, homes for sale in Alta Vista, and more.

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Pueblo de Los Gatos condos

If you are looking to buy a home in or near downtown Los Gatos, but your budget is less than $1 million, you might consider something in the Pueblo de Los Gatos condos community. It is one of the more affordable housing options anywhere in town, yet enjoys the highly prized Los Gatos Union School District and a very convenient location.

Pueblo de Los Gatos condos community sign

What are homes in Pueblo de Los Gatos like?

Pueblo de Los Gatos condos

Front doors face outside, rather than an interior corridor, so this is not a complex that feels like a hotel.  The development was built in 1970, and you may detect its age here and there, but overall, it seems to be a well kept up complex.  Residents enjoy a community pool and lots of green, open space between the buildings. Several residents appear to have dogs, but on the many visits I’ve made there, I did not hear any barking.

The individual units vary in the amount of remodeling which has been done inside. Some still have heat pumps for heating and cooling (rather than a forced air furnace), popcorn or acoustic ceilings, original bathrooms, etc. Many have been beautifully updated, though, so you really need to see each one and take it on its own merits.  Gas fireplaces are common – they may be in every unit, but I’m not sure of that.

It appears that the units were all built with Zinsco electric panels and subpanels, and they seem to be widely in use (though individual owners may have replaced them).  Some home inspectors will raise a red flag about Zinsco or Federal Pacific panels, and others do not say a word about them. Please do your own research on this.

Except for one of the homes, which has a garage, all have use of at least one carport space.

Pueblo del Los Gatos carports

How big are the condo units at Pueblo de Los Gatos?

Pueblo de Los Gatos includes 53 condominium units.  I have been in a number of them, and most of the units I’ve seen have good floor plans with very decent space. They have laundry in the unit rather than in an HOA run laundry building.

The bed, bath, and size breakdown is as follows:

  • 8 units have 1 bed, 1 bath, and either 764 SF or 789 SF
  • 44 have 2 bedrooms and 2 or 2.5 baths, with one of 3 layouts – 1032 SF, 1097 SF, or 1120 SF
  • 1 unit features 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1390 SF and a 2 car garage, while the rest use carports. (I do wonder if originally this wasn’t supposed to be the property manager’s residence? It was last sold in 1980, so if that was the case, it was a very long time ago!)

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Ohlone Court

Ohlone Court, Los GatosLooking for a neighborhood with attractive, younger homes that’s still close to everything in Los Gatos? The properties along Ohlone Court fit the bill as the community sits along the Los Gatos Creek Trail, across from Vasona and Oak Meadow Parks, and is equally near to downtown Los Gatos on one side and the main shopping district on Los Gatos Boulevard on the other.

Built in 1996 by Summerhill Homes, a very well respected local builder, the residences on Ohlone Court are relatively young by Los Gatos standards, and feature many elements prized in newer construction, such as open floor plans. It’s a pretty area where the neighbors all seem to care about maintaining their homes and yards nicely,  and it enjoys the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools, too.

How’s the terrain? The road climbs from Roberts Road, where it is near the Los Gatos Creek, up a knoll. The top is of course sunny and some homes enjoy fantastic views. Some homes are nearer to the creek and toward the bottom of the hill, where it’s shadier. There’s an easy to miss staircase that allows pedestrians to take a shortcut to access Blossom Hill Road and the parks from the top of the court.

This is not a big subdivision. The 25 properties are mostly single family homes, but there are also a couple of duplexes. And the surprise element is that they are condominiums. That is, although most are houses, they are held in condominium ownership (local Realtors will recognize the same situation from the Villas of Almaden, though that community has the houses show up in the MLS under condos, whereas Ohlone Court appears under single family homes). Learn more on what the different type of ownership means here: What Is the Difference Between CID Ownership in a Condo, Townhouse or PUD?

Ohlone Court Los Gatos drive through

Awhile back, I did a “drive through” of the area.  My daughter was at the wheel so I could try to capture a sense of the neighborhood for my viewers.  Hope you find it helpful.

 

 

Every neighborhood has good and not-so-good features.  What’s the catch here?  It sounds too good to be true! One issue for some buyers is the close proximity of highway 17.  Not all homes are impacted, and only a few back up directly to the freeway, but it is noticeable. This is especially true when you’re high up as there’s nothing much to block the noise. One other issue is that some of the homes are in very shady locations at the bottom of the hill.  This may bother some people who want sunnier homes. Homes on the side of a hill or at the bottom of a hill sometimes have hill related water issues. These are not insurmountable problems but it’s very important to have good drainage, proper grading, and possibly other elements such as sump pumps to keep the water out from the crawl space.

 

 

 

Ohlone Court plat map
Above: Ohlone Court plat map.

 

Ohlone Court real estate

Below please find homes that are either for sale, pending, or sold within the last 24 months along Ohlone Court. Inventory in Los Gatos is limited most of the time, so the odds are that you’ll be looking at sold properties, which at least provide a reference point on housing costs in this pretty area of town.