Rinconada Hills, which sits on the northwest side of Los Gatos, adjacent to Saratoga and Cambpell, is a resort-like community with many luxurious amenities. It is one of the few gated communities anywhere in Silicon Valley, and one of the largest in the greater San Jose area.
Built in stages between 1968 and 1981, the homes here were built by Brown & Kaufmann in 5 different sections. The campus is quite large, 107 acres (almost as big as Vasona Lake County Park) and includes 394 townhomes (see floorplans here) and 40 houses, or single family homes. Approximately 1,000 people live here (in a town of about 30,000). Most everyone in LG knows someone who lives at Rinconada Hills!
The campus includes a remodeled clubhouse (Great Room, library alcove, commercial kitchen, lockers, showers), 10 pools (1 at the clubhouse), spa, and 3 tennis courts. The residents may utilize an extra parking lot for cars or the RV lot for boats/ trailers etc. – though there is a waiting list for that. Additonally, there are 3 ponds plus a lake, and great views to be enjoyed while walking up the hill in the private grounds.
What are homes like at Rinconada Hills?
All of the homes, whether townhouses or single family homes, have stucco exteriors and tiled roofs, although there’s quite a bit of diversity within the areas and styles. Home sizes range from small 2 bedroom townhouses to large 3000 + SF homes on big lots with views. There’s a little bit of everything, but a typical residence might be an 1800 SF 2 story townhouse with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, an attached 2 car garage. There are a few single story townhomes as well as single story houses, though.
The Los Gatos Estates townhome community sits just off Pollard Road and More Avenue on the west end of town. Although this area on the north side of Pollard is actually in Campbell, it has a Los Gatos mailing address, which may confuse folks with a gps device. Our MLS also treats it as Campbell, so good to know about this area quirk since if you search for “Los Gatos homes for sale” there it won’t show up! (Same thing for the nearby Cameo Park West neighborhood of Leep homes a little closer to Quito Road.)
Basic facts: appx 57 homes, HOA dues as of this writing are in the high 300s (includes roof, painting, private roads, grounds, pool, spa and tennis court). Homes do not come on the market very often, but expect to see prices between $900,000 to $1,200,000 for most if they are remodeled.
Townhouses in Silicon Valley are usually either held in condominium ownership or as PUDs. These are condo. (For more info on the difference between PUD and condo ownership for common interest developments, please read this article on another of my sites.)
What are the Los Gatos Estates homes like?
They were built in 1979. Individual units range in size between 1739-2063 SF, with the average being 1921. Parcels are not big, running from 1739-2063 SF, but there’s a lot of open common space, so it does not feel small or crowded.
Why people love Los Gatos Estates
If you value a convenient location, Los Gatos Estates has it! Directly across the street from the entry to the community you’ll find a large, remodeled Safeway and a number of other helpful shops. El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos is only about a mile away. More shopping is found within 2 miles at Westgate and El Paseo de Saratoga. For workers commuting to Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and similar areas, a trip north on Pollard turns into Lawrence Expressway, making the journey pretty straight forward.
The highly regarded public schools are very nearby: Rolling Hills Middle School (API 919) is pretty much “next door” but on the other side of More, and Marshall Lane Elementary (API 945) is about a half mile away. Westmont High School (API 796) is within a mile also.
The townhomes at Los Gatos Estates enjoy tremendous convenience, but there’s much more to the complex than that. The townhomes are well laid out, with good floor plans, spacious rooms, and often high ceilings. Each one includes an attached 2 car garage and of course a laundry room or closet. In many ways, these townhomes feel more like houses than attached homes. Not only that, but residents get to enjoy a pool, spa, and tennis court, too.
Above is one of two gateway signs along Pollard Road, a nice welcome to the community!
Below, a typical two story townhome with both a back patio and balcony. One end of this complex is adjacent to highway 85, the train tracks, and the high voltage power lines, which you see in the image, too. Homes closest to the freeway, train and electrical wires will be somewhat price impacted by them, of course, but this creates an opportunity for more affordable housing than you might otherwise find in this neighborhood. If you are looking for good real estate pricing, this may be a great opportunity – lots of home for the money.
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.
Los 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
June 04, 2013
Yesterday afternoon, my family and I walked our elderly dog through our east Los Gatos neighborhood. We saw an inordinate amount of water coming down the gutter on one street (and it was the middle of the day, so we didn’t think it was watering a lawn). Eventually we arrived at a house where a large amount of water was emerging from a property’s drainage system and into the gutter. It looked like several hoses’ worth was coming through at once.
Turns out that this homeowner was draining his pool, and he didn’t know what to do with the water. So he directed it to the storm drain via the gutter.
Do you know what to do with pool or spa water when it needs to be drained? I don’t think most of us do.
The Town of Los Gatos has a stormwater page on its site. Here there’s a two paragraph explanation that the stormwater drainage system (what goes into the gutters) is not the same thing as the sanitary sewer system. Pool and spa water should be directed not to the gutters, but to the sewer system via either the cleanout or washer outlet. When spa or pool water is sent to the gutters, it goes to our creeks and to the bay, where it’s pollution and harmful for the environment and the ecosystem of our water.
On another page of the town’s website for FAQs on stormwater pollution management, there’s a bit more info on draining pools & spas:
The chemicals used in pools, spas, hot tubs and fountains can be toxic to aquatic life in local streams and the San Francisco Bay Area.
When cleaning out your pool, spa, hot tub, or fountain, discharge the water into a sewer line after obtaining permission from the local sewage treatment plant.
There had been a brochure available for more info on what to do via a link on the first page I mentioned above, but it is broken, unfortunately. I’ll contact someone at the town and if possible, will provide a working link as an update to this post when it is available.