Mary Pope-Handy

Open House in Almaden Winery on Sunday

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Almaden Winery, Cambrian Park  –  We invite everyone to visit our open house at 5641 Le Fevre Dr. on October 17 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Property information no longer available.

Open House in Sunnyvale Meadows on Saturday

October 2010
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Sunnyvale Meadows, Sunnyvale  –  We invite everyone to visit our open house at B-1095 Reed Avenue on October 16 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Property information no longer available.

Where are the Silicon Valley luxury homes? Where are the more upscale Silicon Valley neighborhoods?

Know your neighborhoodsIf you are relocating to Silicon Valley and wish to choose an upscale or luxury neighborhood, where should you begin looking?  Where are the very best areas in or near San Jose?

Here are some quick lists of areas in Silicon Valley areas which enjoy beautiful estate properties:

Luxury Home Neighborhoods in Silicon Valley’s west side

Most of the more expensive parts of Silicon Valley are along the “west valley” areas, and these all enjoy excellent public schools.  If you were to look at a topographical map, they would be the cities, towns and neighborhoods close to the coastal foothills (also known as the Santa Cruz Mountains).  Or if you looked at a road map, most of them would be on the west side of Highway 85. Unless otherwise noted, the districts, cities or towns are all in Santa Clara County.

These “west valley communities” are listed from southernmost to northernmost, extending from southwestern San Jose up into the San Francisco Peninsula.

  • Almaden Valley (part of San Jose)
  • Los Gatos
  • Monte Sereno
  • Saratoga
  • Cupertino (foothills area in particular)
  • Los Altos
  • Los Altos Hills
  • Palo Alto
  • Portola Valley (San Mateo County)
  • Woodside (San Mateo County)
  • Hillsborough (San Mateo County)

These are not the only places to find high end real estate in the South Bay area, though – it’s just that most of them are located along the west valley corridor.

More Luxury Home Neighborhoods in Silicon Valley

More communities which are “exclusive” can be found:

  • The Silver Creek area of San Jose (eastside, within the Evergreen district)
  • Part of the Alum Rock neighborhood near the old San Jose Country Club (also on the east side).
  • The Rosegarden area of central San Jose
  • The Naglee Park neighborhood near downtown San Jose
  • Willow Glen enjoys some beautiful old mansions (between downtown SJ and the west side)
  •  Part of the Mission District of Fremont (Alameda County)
  • Eagle’s Ridge community in Gilroy (south part of Santa Clara County)

Something to be aware of is that many of these areas are served by more than one school district. In some cases, the different school districts can be very different in terms of school performance scores.  In Saratoga, for instance, there are 3 different districts. Two have excellent scores and the third has good scores – but very different numbers!  This can be a surprise to people who relocate to Silicon Valley: so be aware of this quirk if you move here!  (Even if you are not interested in utilizing the schools, know that they are a prime driver in home values and pricing.)

Would you like to learn more about luxury real estate & homes in Silicon Valley? I have some other blogs with posts that you might find helpful

Related posts on the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog:

Luxury Real Estate in Silicon Valley

The Silicon Valley Luxury Home Market (browse listings over $2 million in a few areas)

The Luxury Real Estate Market in Almaden, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga

Monte Sereno Real Estate and Homes for Sale

Saratoga, CA, Real Estate Market Update

What Type of Home Can You Get for $1,000,000 in Silicon Valley?

Almaden Valley Housing Market by Price Point in June 2010

Real Estate Inventory & Sales in Silicon Valley’s “West Valley” Areas of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell and Cambrian Park

Related posts on the Live in Los Gatos blog:

Fewer Sales, but Higher Prices, in Los Gatos & Monte Sereno

What’s Selling in Los Gatos Now? How’s the Market?

A Five Year View of the Los Gatos Real Estate Market (Jan 2005 to June 2010)

Where Are the Good Public Schools in Silicon Valley?

Many relocating families search specifically for neighborhoods with the very best schools.  There are many sites which will give you this information in immense detail, but if you want a “quick answer” on excellent schools in Silicon Valley and San Jose, I can give that to you quickly here.

The finest public schools and districts (with excellent scores at all levels of schooling) tend to be found in the most expensive parts of Santa Clara County, and most of them are along the “west valley” areas, including Almaden Valley (an area of San Jose), Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto.  Most of these communities are found along the base of the coastal foothills, aka the Santa Cruz Mountains, are are located not too far from Highway 85.  The Silver Creek area (of the Evergreen District of San Jose) on the east side also has some fine schools.  There are pockets with great elementary schools scattered throughout the valley too.

What do these homes cost? In the best areas, it is not uncommon to spend a million dollars or more for a “turnkey” home of 1800 square feet with no issues (no high voltage lines, no busy road, etc.).  In some areas, like Saratoga, that might be closer to $2 million.

In many parts of Santa Clara County the elementary schools are excellent, middle schools are “very good” and the high schools are good.  This is true for parts of west San Jose (bordering Cupertino and Saratoga) and Cambrian Park.  These areas tend to be much more affordable than those with excellent schools in all levels. For home buyers not so worried about high schools as cost, these can be a great option for getting more home (and school) for your money.

While many home buyers are reluctant to consider private schools, sometimes it is much less expensive in the long run to purchase a comfortable home in an area you like but which doesn’t have fantastic schools and then send your kids to private or parochial schools.  In Los Gatos, where the schools run from very good to exceptional, about one-third of students are not in public schools.

If you are planning a relocation to Silicon Valley and want to know more about local schools (public or private) please email me at mary (at) popehandy.com and I’ll be happy to chat with you about them more in person. I can also help you to find areas which are more affordable and offer strong schools.

Linguistic Quirks in Silicon Valley

Every area has its linguistic quirks or slang, and the San Jose – Silicon Valley – Santa Clara County region is no exception. Some of it is in the words we use, some of it’s the way we pronounce things, and some of it is just the way we think. If you relocate to the South Bay, you may want to know what some of these mean!

Silicon Valley linguistic quirksPlaces:

The Hill – refers to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Going “over the hill” means going to Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, or somewhere along the coast.p>

The City – means San Francisco, even though it’s smaller in population than San Jose.

South County – areas such as Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Martin and Coyote Valley (and outlying areas)

The Bay – is the San Francisco Bay, not the Monterey Bay.

The Airplane Park – this is Oak Meadow Park in the Town of Los Gatos

Read the rest of the post on the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog post,
Silicon Valley Local-Speak: A Guide to Understanding Folks in the South Bay

Swim Teams and Cabana Clubs in Silicon Valley

Got swimmers?  Our sub tropical climate in Silicon Valley makes swimming a popular sport, so if you relocate to the “Valley of Heart’s Delight” you may find an increased desire for jumping into a pool.

Perhaps swimming is already important to you or to your family.Several community centers have excellent swimming facilities, including the Cambrian Park Community Center in San Jose (at Union & Camden Avenues, approximately), the Y and several provate clubs.

If you are looking to live in a neighborhood with a swim club and cabana, you will find many options in the San Jose – Santa Clara County region.

The city of Santa Clara probably has more pools, cabanas and swim teams than any other part of the south bay.  There are plenty in San Jose, too, though, including in Los Gatos, Cambrian Park and Almaden Valley. There are different leagues, not all of them with easily findable websites.

Valley Cabana Swim League is a local association with these member teams

Almaden Country Club (in San Jose’s Almaden Valley)
Belwood Dolphins (Los Gatos – Belwood & Belgatos area)
Los Paseos
Montevideo (in Almaden)
Silver Creek Valley Country Club (in Evergreen area of east San Jose)

Here’s a good list of local and greater Bay Area swim teams:
http://www.swimconnection.com/pc/exec/Teams

Relocation can be challenging but if you know what features you want to find when you get to Silicon Valley, I can help you to locate them, whether it’s a place to swim or virtually anything else.

Rush Hour Traffic in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley’s rush hour traffic can begin as early as 6:45 or 7 am and last until 9 or 9:30am most workdays.  The evening commute begins to get congested around 3 or 3:30pm with a knot of traffic in place by 5pm and lasting until around 6:30 or 7pm on some roads.

Looking for a reverse commute?  Many commuters do precisely that!

If you work in Scotts Valley (just “over the hill” in Santa Cruz County), living in Los Gatos, Campbell, Cambrian Park or West San Jose will be a reverse commute for you. You’ll be going against the flow of traffic and your commute will be immensely easier.

Ditto that if you work in the south San Jose or Edendale region and begin your commute in Almaden Valley.  Once you get to 85, it will be a breeze!

Work in Gilroy? Living in Blossom Valley or Almaden, you can engineer a reverse commute on the back roads or take Santa Teresa Blvd going south.

Most employees and workers try to carpool, take light rail, or otherwise beat the rush by using tricks of timing or alternate routes to avoid spending twice as much time on the road as necessary.  Many companies have flexible hours – it’s worth investigating to see if you can shorten the length of your time in the car!

Relocation to Silicon Valley can be a bit of a shock to people in terms of the traffic and commute times if they are not accostomed to suburban living (which is most of the valley). Typical commute times are about 30 minutes, though some people have longer or shorter commutes, of course.

Traffic moves toward downtown San Jose primarily along Highways 87, 680 and 280 and toward the Cupertino – Sunnyvale – Mountain View areas along Highway 85 (and 280). Bringing traffic in from the south county is 101.  Other roads getting a lot of use too are 17 and 880 (same road, different stretches), San Tomas Expressway, Montague Expressway, Lawrence Expressway, Santa Teresa Boulevard, Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, Stevens Creek Blvd. and Almaden Expressway.

South County – where is it?

Silicon Valley residents will sometimes refer to “South County”.  Where is it?  This is the area south of south San Jose where you find Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Martin and nearby areas.

The south county region of Santa Clara County is the last real stronghold of agricultural land in the valley (that plus the eastern range by Mt Hamilton).  There you will find many orchards, vineyards, farms and ranches even today.  As you drive through Gilroy you may catch a scent of garlic – particularly if you drive highway 152 toward Pacheco Pass as you go past a garlic processing plant!  In summer you will want to visit the famous “Garlic Festival” at least once, if not make it an annual event.

South County is home to the discount Outlet Malls in Gilroy (at Hwy 101 at 152 east), so if you live in or near San Jose, you will eventually find your way there!

Want to relocate to South County? Many San Jose area residents consider it a good place to retire since they can downsize to a comfortable home and often pay much less than a comparable home might cost in Los Altos, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Willow Glen or Almaden and at the same time get more home.  A number of my clients have spoken of wanting to retire into the Eagle Ridge Golf Course area of Gilroy for that very reason.

View a map of South County on Google maps.

What are the Major Sports Teams in Silicon Valley?

With 300 sunny days a year, you know that sports are an important part of Silicon Valley life.  If you are thinking of or planning to relocate to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering what the major professional teams are here.

The San Jose Sharks (ice hockey)

The San Jose Earthquakes (soccer)

The San Francisco Giants (baseball)

The Oakland Athletics (baseball)

The San Francisco 49ers (football)

The Oakland Raiders (football)

Golden State Warriors (basketball)

 

Los Gatos Real Estate Market: What a Difference a Zip Code Makes

Combination of 95032 and 95030 areas in Los Gatos (homes for sale, list price)Real estate is local, local, local. There may be discernable trends in the national real estate market, the California real estate market, or the Silicon Valley real estate market – but all of that may or may not be reflective of what is happening with your house or home today.

Los Gatos is a case in point. The view of “the town” is entirely different from a view of its parts taken separately. Recently I spent a few hours pouring over the data and learned how dramatically different the market is from the 95030 zip code to the 95032 zip code.

It all depends on how you search.

If you are analyzing all of the addressess with “Los Gatos” as the mailing address, you will get homes in town and also properties that are not part of the town but rather are in the Santa Cruz Mountains (such as Redwood Estates, Aldercroft Heights, Chemeketa Park, etc.). Those homes have a 95033 zip code and really should not be considered as the “Los Gatos real estate market” because the mountain communities are entirely different.

In town, the schools tend to define desireability. Most of 95032 does not have the exceptionally highly regarded Los Gatos Schools and right now, that is most likely what is causing the huge gulf between the markets.

I invite you to view my detailed post and check out the large number of graphs on my Live in Los Gatos site:
Understanding the Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends  and also see Los Gatos real estate market trends

Mary Pope-Handy
Realtor,
CIPS, CRS, ABR, SRES
Sereno Group
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd.
Los Gatos CA 95030
[Silicon Valley, California, USA]
1-408-204-7673
mary (at) popehandy.com
CA BRE # 01153805

CIPS - Certified International Property Specialist
CRS - Certified Residential Specialist
ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative
SRES - Seniors Real Estate Specialist

Helping nice folks to buy and sell homes in Silicon Valley since 1993. Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, Silicon Valley
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