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.
Tract 9069 – Los Gatos duet homes
The small community of duet homes is named Tract 9069 and is built around a pretty greenbelt area. There’s a bit of grass, some walkways, lovely Japanese maple trees along one side, and a pergola and what appears to be a heritage tree on the side next to the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Sadly, this lovely tract of homes has no name! All three streets serving the two dozen or so properties here have the word Mill in the name – Mill Court, Mill Creek, and Mill Road.
If you want to purchase real estate here, the best best is to watch for streets with Mill in the name. Or do a “map search” on the mls (I have results at the end of this article).
A few of the homes either face the greenbelt area or have access to it from their back patio. The home in the photo below enjoys the open space area from the front door.
There are many things to love about these 19 homes on Mill-streets. First, all have 2 car garages and are spacious on the interior – most of them are 4 bedroom, 3 bath homes with about 2000 SF (two units are around 1000 SF, but the rest are almost twice as big or more). These duets were built in 1999, which makes them young by local standards. As with most younger homes, there are larger closets, more open floor plans, and tons of windows. To find interiors this nice in a detached home with the same school district would run well past $2 million.
Where are the Los Gatos duet homes?
These 19 Los Gatos duet homes are located just off of Lark Avenue (between Winchester Blvd and Los Gatos Blvd). The community is directly adjacent to the Los Gatos Creek Trail and the Jewish Community Center (all are welcome – fabulous site, much loved within the community). It’s is close the Charter Oaks townhome community in northern Los Gatos.
Are there any issues with these Los Gatos duet homes?
Every neighborhood has issues, problems, or challenges, and it’s no exception with Tract 9069.
One problem is that many neighbors do not park in their garages and the streets are unpleasantly crowded and there’s very little, if any, guest parking available. Some residents simply park across the front of their garage, which seems unsafe in the case of an emergency, as seen here:
When I was there recently, a neighbor volunteered that residents and guest often park in the fire lane area – but not overnight.
Noise is another issue. This tract is next to the busy, lively JCC (happy sounds) but also fairly close to both Highway 17 and Highway 85.
The access road is Lark Avenue. During rush hour in a normal, non-pandemic year, it may be hard to come out of the complex and turn left toward Highway 17.
In terms of natural hazards, it is downstream of both the Lake Vasona and Lexington Reservoirs and their dams. It’s therefore in the flood from dam failure zone.
What do homes sell for in Tract 9069?
In recent years, homes have been selling at under $1,600,000. Today, we are in a seller’s market and home prices are rising quickly. If a home in this tract were nicely remodeled (and not in 1999 original condition), you can probably expect to see prices upward of 1.7 mil for a larger unit. Check out the sales in the last 2 years here: