Likely the most misunderstood properties in town are the Los Gatos duet homes. This is some of the more affordable housing for buyers looking to get into Los Gatos schools, so is popular for that reason especially. When offered for sale, they sometimes show up in the MLS as condos, at other times as townhouses, and at other times still as single family homes. If you want to buy one, how would you know where to look? And why is there so much confusion?
What are duet homes?
Let’s start with what a duet home is and is not. A duet home is also known as an attached single family home. Architecturally, it looks a bit like a townhouse, though usually larger, that is only attached on one side. This is not a duplex (which has one owner for both sides and is considered “income producing property” since either one or both sides is rented out). With duet homes, normally there is a different owner for each side.
A duet home is an architectural style, and in most cases it’s like owning a normal house – you own not just the airspace of the structure, but also the exterior and the land beneath it. Naturally, they can be exceptions. In the Cambrian area there are duet style homes which are held in condo ownership – the Lone Hill Highlands HOA.
You’ll only know which type of ownership you’re getting if you carefully read the preliminary title report. A buyer’s lender will care which it is – if it’s a planned unit development and not a condo, it is often easier to get the loan as the HOA won’t need to get bank approval.
Video explanation of the difference between a duplex and a duet home
The scenic English Oaks and Oakwood neighborhood consists of two adjacent subdivisions set in a pretty area of west Los Gatos not far from Quito Road and just off of Bicknell Road. The are part of the 95032 zip code. The English Oaks and Oakwood neighborhood are a unique area in a town full of distinctive tracts and subdivisions, as these two, particularly, showcase gorgeous oak trees and open space in a way that harkens back decades, before so much development was prominent here.
Imagine waking up to this view each morning from your home or yard! That’s the situation for many of the English Oaks residents in west Los Gatos, where 24 acres of oak trees are the common area (small HOA fee of $450 per year to maintain and preserve this exquisite California landscape).
Below please find a map with approximate boundaries of these neighborhoods. Although I studied the plat maps at length, the county does not lay out the parcels neatly tied together in subdivisions, so ascertaining the boundaries means flipping from page to page and back again. Hence my disclaimer: these boundaries are not exact.
Where is the English Oaks subdivision?
It would be easy to miss the English Oaks neighborhood of Los Gatos as it requires traveling away from the main roads. This tidy subdivision is located generally off of Quito Road, accessed specifically from Bicknell Road and More Avenue. Streets include:
part of Bicknell Road
part of Montclair Road
If you drive along Montclair Road, especially, you will find lovely pockets of oak trees – they seem like a park, not part of someone’s back yard. These are the common areas, for which homeowners pay small fees each month. (And well worth it! They are lovely!)
Oak Grove in west Los Gatos part of English Oaks area
The Oakwood subdivision
A smaller subdivision, but with equally large lots and houses, Oakwood lines part of Bicknell toward the end of the road and all of Smith Creek Drive. (more…)
Los Gatos real estate offerings and neighborhoods are pretty diverse! The most popular neighborhoods in Los Gatos vary, too, depending on the home buyer’s priorities. For some it will be close proximity to downtown, for others it will be the best commute locations, a particular school, or a specialty type of property, such as with a view or with room and zoning for horses.
Today we’ll break the most popular neighborhoods in Los Gatos down by type / area:
Historic homes or neighborhoods
Close to school areas
Shorter commute locations
Homes and communities near parks and trails
1. Most popular neighborhoods in Los Gatos with older or historic homes
Most of our buyers who specifically want an historic home or neighborhood reach out about either the Almond Grove or Glen Ridge areas, so they are listed first. However, there are many other areas in town that deserve the spotlight, too.
Almond Grove: The Almond Grove historic district is known for its tree-lined streets and historic architecture. It is within just a couple of blocks of North Santa Cruz Avenue, one of the major roads in downtown Los Gatos. The Almond Grove neighborhood is brimming over with a charm, and it has great community spirit. This is one of the most decorated areas during Halloween and during the holiday season. It’s worth a drive through!
Glen Ridge: This neighborhood is characterized by its larger, upscale homes and beautiful views of the surrounding hills. Many of these are historic properties, though it is not an officially designated historic district. It offers a more secluded and private atmosphere but is still “close to town”.
The town has more info on the historic districts. You can read about them HERE. (more…)
Blossom Manor, originally named Blossom Hill Manor, is one of the most sought after Los Gatos neighborhoods as it has great proximity to schools, shopping, parks and the highly acclaimed Los Gatos schools. There are many gently winding roads, a few very minor hills and some perfectly tree lined streets. It’s a tidy area where homes old and new all tend to be well kept.
Where is the Blossom Manor Neighborhood?
Located in east Los Gatos, Blossom Manor is bordered by Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos Boulevard, Los Gatos Almaden Road, and Longwood Drive.
Below, please find an enhanced map of the area. I added the location of the shopping centers (3 grocery stores between them, many restaurants, coffee places, video rental, Noah’s Bagels, drug store, banks, etc.) and I added the two nearby public schools for this area.
Map of Blossom Manor neighborhood in Los Gatos, CA
There are many shops, stores, and restaurants along Los Gatos Boulevard, and especially at the intersection of Los Gatos Boulevard and Blossom Hill Road, but also at Los Gatos Blvd. For instance, there are three grocery stores all within a few blocks: Nob Hill, Lunardi’s, and Whole Foods are all along the border of The Manor. There’s a great variety of coffee shops (3 of them nearby), eateries (mostly casual), and stores.
Villa Felice was once a lodge and restaurant with live music, good food, and amazing views of Vasona Lake. I have fond memories of visiting there with family, friends, and on prom night.
Today the large parcel is very pretty Mediterranean style housing, with 14 townhomes in one section and 34 single family homes in the other.
In Italian, Villa Felice means “happy villa” or a happy country home. It’s appropriate that the name stay on in these two communities. The view from the bluff is sure to make visitors smile!
Where is the Villa Felice neighborhood?
These two areas are located between Winchester Boulevard and University Avenue between Vasona Terrace and Milani Court in Los Gatos 95030. The homes are accessed from Winchester Boulevard – there are no driveways or access paths from University. It has a steep embankment. This is about at the midpoint of the reservoir.
The Arroyo Grande Garden Hill neighborhood in Los Gatos enjoys one of the easiest Silicon Valley commute locations in Los Gatos. To the best of our knowledge, the area doesn’t have a name, so we are calling it by the major roads that run through it.
Where is the Arroyo Grande Garden Hill neighborhood?
Tucked into the corner of town where the Los Gatos Creek Trail meets Lark Avenue, and Lark abuts Highway 17 is where you’ll find the Arroyo Grande Garden Hill neighborhood. It lies just off Lark Avenue, between Winchester and Los Gatos Boulevard, at the base of the scenic Vasona Lake dam.
It’s a huge plus that it is bordered on one side by the beautiful Los Gatos Creek Trail, which makes a nice path to either downtown Los Gatos in one direction, or Netflix in the other. Virtually every street is graced by trees in the strip between the sidewalk and the road, providing a very pleasant and welcoming feel to the area.
Here there are about 200 houses, most of them built in the late 1950s and originally selling for $20,000 to $30,000. The majority have been remodeled and a few rebuilt, and some just weren’t constructed until much later, so the average year built is 1963. Today you’ll find that these houses are mostly selling a little over $1 million, depending on house size, lot size, remodeling, view, proximity to the high voltage power lines, proximity to busy roads, etc. it goes up from there. This is a “good value area” for the high quality of schools and for many home buyers, that’s the # 1 priority – get into the best schools you can afford.
Most of these properties began modestly – typically about 1200 SF of living space. Today there are a handful of homes at 900 SF and one at over 3,000 SF, but the average home size is 1483 – still quite small by Los Gatos standards. Maybe 25-30% have been added onto. The lot size also varies with the tiniest at 5,000 SF and the largest at 21,000 SF, but typically about 7900 SF for most parcels.
In addition to a faster, less complicated commute (due to the close proximity of both Hwy 17 and Hwy 85), this area has lots more to offer. First and foremost, this neighborhood is served by the Los Gatos Union School District. It’s probably the most affordable, entry level area of houses to get into “the schools”, making it a very popular target of home buyers’ attention.
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