Los Gatos, CA Real Estate News

By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
A couple of days ago we returned from a 10 day road trip to the Pacific Northwest. I'm always ready to take a trip (well, almost always ready), and by the end, I'm usually ready to be home. Travelling reminds me that homes are not all as outrageously priced as they are in my neck of the woods (but I try to not notice that too much). But it also reminds me of how lucky we are to live in Los Gatos, such a pretty part of such a great valley (Silicon Valley, once known as The Valley of Heart's Delight). Today I did a post reflecting on the trip's first stretch (Silicon Valley to Spokane). I invite you to take a look at my Live in Los Gatos blog and get to know that part of the country a little better, and how it is a bit different than my part of the US.
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Do you love movies? Los Gatos has provided the backdrop for about two dozen films over the years, particularly back in the days before the "talkies". Recently I spent some time researching this fascinating history, discovering who came to town (Charlie Chaplain among them), when they were here, and what caused one major film production to move on (hint: El Nino).Want more information and a bunch of links on all of it? Please visit Live in Los Gatos, a blog with information on current events and historical ones, real estate, neighborhoods, local businesses, and the town's issues.
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Amazingly, oil was once found in the Los Gatos area, and one of the wells was in Los Gatos!  The history of the oil wells and pumps in town is a bit sketchy, but recently my husband found an old map (online and part of the public domain) with more information on this history. Oddly for us, some of our now major roads were entirely absent at the time that this map was drawn. And added in to the map were lines demarkating the township boundaries (areas within the town of Los Gatos). So I've doctored the map a little to show the roads as we now know them.If you like history and are curious to learn more about the oil industry in decades gone by, please visit Live in Los Gatos, a blog about real estate, history, lifestyle, and events in the town of Los Gatos.
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
When those hot summer days arrive, sometimes you just want to get a little relief. Many people in Los Gatos (and Silicon Valley or the San Jose area, generally) do not have air conditioning. So when the mercury climbs to 95 or 100 or higher, it's time to find a hideaway.Where do you go? The mall? A movie theater? The beach at Santa Cruz?  A water fountain?There's a hidden spot, off the beaten path just a little and not identified on any map as a place with the reilief you seek.If you'd like to learn more about it, and where in Los Gatos to find it, please visit my Live in Los Gatos blog.
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Lack of cash is no reason to stay home on a perfect summer night!  Free music is practically on your doorstep if you live in Los Gatos or the neighboring commuities.  In fact, for the next four nights, you can  be entertained at no cost in four different places around the area!Want more information on where and when? Please visit my blog, Live in Los Gatos, for the details. Enjoy!
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
The Town of Los Gatos has very little open space left, particularly toward the center of town and close to busier roads. Right now we have the odd confluence of two large parcels, in close proximity to one another, whose fate is in the balance in terms of how they will be developed. Odd that it's happening at the same time.Both border Los Gatos Boulevard and are close to, or border, Lark Avenue. One has been an orchard forever - OK, not forever, but dating back to the orchard heyday of the valley, when this place was known as "The Valley of Hearts Delight" and people would pay to be taken on a tour of the orchard blossoms in spring. We're talking at least 50 years back in time with the orchards.The other has been a restaurant and auto dealership so has not really been open space for a l...
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Los Gatos has the coolest stuff, particularly in the oldest part of town: great shops, cafes, restaurants, bars with live music, beautiful parks, free music series and on and on.And, like a lot of older towns, it has a few residents that just didn't want to leave when they died. A few places are haunted.I collect ghost stories and am looking to sleuth out a few more places in (and near) Los Gatos. Do you happen to know of any? I wrote about his on my blog, Live in Los Gatos, today. There you'll find a list of the places I already know about (and links to those posts) too.
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Snuggled into the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Los Gatos is the gateway to the Santa Clara Valley from the coast - and much of Silicon Valley too (which is not really a valley per se, but more a region, with San Jose at its center).  It's an upscale town, with some modest homes, some middle class (but still expensive) houses and a lot of estates dotting the foothills, commanding great views. Los Gatos has a fantastic downtown, great schools and parks, low crime and is generally one of the most highly desired places in which to live in Silicon Valley.It's a buyer's market here, with rising days on the market, rising inventories, and falling numbers of sales. Some homes are selling hundreds of thousands under list price. But others command multiple offers and sell significantly highe...
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Los Gatos is a very kid-friendly (and dog-friendly) town, and much of the fun revolves around Oak Meadow Park and Vasona Lake County Park.  Saturday is no exception!  If you have a little person who's especially interested in trains, there's an event coming up that you should not miss!!For more information, please visit my Live in Los Gatos blog and see how you can put a smile on your train-loving child's face this morning.
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Vasona Lake County Park offers more than 100 acres of open space, featuring the Los Gatos Creek Trail, many areas for barbeques or picnics, wide expanses of lawn, and paths that interconnect this park with the town's, Oak Meadow Park (featuring the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and the lovely old carousel too).Vasona and Oak Meadow are really at the heart of Los Gatos, but also serve the larger Silicon Valley population as well.  Only recently did many of the townsfolk learn (though the town officials did know) that part of the land in Vasona Park - 13 acres - belongs to the town, and part of the land in Oak Meadow - about 2/3 of an acre -belongs to the county. (See image.) Right now, there's a mutal "free lease" deal in effect until 2010. That is, neither side is charging the other for ...
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Early each month, I anxiously await the numbers (and their crunching) from REInfolink, my local MLS provider in the San Jose and Silicon Valley area of California, for the month before.Today we got them. Countywide, the average and median prices of homes slipped slightly (the median .7% and average .2%) from April. This does not necessarily mean that a particular home has lost value. Rather, it can indicate more sales in the lower priced homes. Also in the county, the average ratio of list price to sales price was 100.8%, up from 100.4% a month ago. The county's year-over-year gain was 7.8%.It doesn't sound like a buyer's market, does it? But it is - homes are staying on the market longer and prices are slipping a bit as inventory creeps up and buyer interest winds down.In Los Gatos, It...
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Tucked behind a townhouse complex, and flanked on one side by a busy freeway, Forbes Mill stands as a central figure in the history of Los Gatos. And it's important today too!  But you won't just find it by driving down a main road. You have to seek it out. It's worth it!Today, Forbes Mill - what is left of it - serves as one of the town's two museums.  But the history of the place is interesting (and a little rough).To learn more about why this old stone building matters so much, please visit my blog, "Live in Los Gatos" and view today's post on this old flour mill: http://liveinlosgatos.realtownblogs.com/greatplacesinlosgatos/forbes-mill/
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
My family and I spend a lot of time on Los Gatos Boulevard, whether it is for grocery shopping, picking up lunch from the salad bar at Whole Foods, doing our banking or getting the car washed. The Boulevard is bustling with activity, but it's a different type of activity then you find in towntown Los Gatos, which is crammed with tiny shops and so many pedestrians, dogs and cyclists that it terrifies a new driver.I invite you to get to know the Los Gatos Boulevard part of town by visiting my blog, Live in Los Gatos. You can access my entry on it by visiting this link:http://liveinlosgatos.realtownblogs.com/lifestyle/los-gatos-boulevard/
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
The town of Los Gatos ("The Cats") got its name long before there was a town logo involving animals by that name.  Supposedly, they were originally created as distinct from the name of the town - not for the name of the town at all. Officially endorsed, these two cats (Leo and Leona) date from less than a hundred years ago and the originals can be seen today, in their original location no less.To learn more, please visit my blog, "Live in Los Gatos" and see this post on the cats of Los Gatos:http://liveinlosgatos.realtownblogs.com/lifestyle/cat-logo/
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Summer is here - at least unofficially. In Los Gatos, that means that outdoors entertainment is on the horizon.  There will be theatrical performances (Shakespeare and others), movies on park lawns, and many festivals. But there will also be music. Lots of free music of varying styles.Saturdays will offer Vasona Vibrations.  Sundays feature Music in the Park.  And Wednesdays boast Jazz on The Plaz. Three different series, three different locations, some varying times and dates.To get the complete, composite listing of who's playing where and when, please visit my Los Gatos blog, "Live in Los Gatos".
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Before the prohibition, the area we now call Silicon Valley had many wineries ringing the hills especially. They were destroyed in the prohibition years, mostly, but not for good. Today the town of Los Gatos and the nearby hillsides enjoy many vineyards and wineries. If you like wine tasting, let's be clear: you do NOT have to go to Napa or Sonoma Counties to taste good wine!  Dozens of wineries and tasting rooms are a mere stone's throw from Los Gatos, San Jose, and Silicon Valley. To see a map of the many wineries nearby and to learn more, please visit my blog, Live in Los Gatos.
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Surrey Farms, offically called Surrey Farm on the county records, is a highly sought after neighborhood in the Kennedy Road area of east Los Gatos.   A comforably sprawling enclave (it looks to be gated, but the gate never closes) of low-key but spacious homes reside on large, quarter to half-acre lots in most cases (though there are a couple which have more than an acre).  Originally built in the mid 1950s to about 1960, these ranch style houses were about 2000 to 3000 SF, but now many are much larger, and some are bigger than 4,000 square feet.  Most are still ranch style, though a few have a different look now. The area once did have horses and a large stable, but those days are now long gone. It is a charming area because it is so unpretentious.   Recently I did a video "drive throu...
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Theater, films, music, paintings all grace Los Gatos: it is a very artsy town. But it's also a down to earth town with lovely murals dotting the landscape. Come take a look at a slideshow I put together from my photos around town of the murals in Los Gatos.To see the slideshow, please visit Live In Los Gatos.
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Early in my career, a seasoned agent let me in on a secret: the best way to know how homes are really doing (in terms of appreciation) is to find a particular floorplan in a larger development and simply track where it sells from year to year.  (Just take each sale with that floorplan and average the value each year.)  By doing that, you have a pretty good sense of the market and your numbers aren't skewed by a lot of entry level homes, high end homes, etc. We do have a lot of tract housing here, so it's not difficult to do this (tedious, but not difficult) and it does give a better sense of the market than if you only look at the median or average sales price.Right now, in Silicon Valley, the median sales price is rising faster than home values are rising.  Some homes are losing value,...
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By Mary Pope-Handy, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
(Sereno Group Real Estate)
Los Gatos appeals to people for many reasons, and in the 1800s folks began to move in to this corner of now Silicon Valley, plant, build, and develop. Recently I learned that oil had been found in the area too, and that created quite a stir, way back in the time machine.There are still hints of it today.  To learn more and to see photos, please visit "Live in Los Gatos".
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