Silicon Valley homes for sale

Graphic image of a magnifierIf you are searching for Silicon Valley real estate, or Silicon Valley homes for sale, you may discover that you get overwhelmed with choices and housing results.

The biggest problem is that the area is simply enormous.  Most agree that Silicon Valley is an area covering Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, part of Santa Cruz County (Scotts Valley) and part of Alameda County (Fremont – and some also add Union City and Newark). It’s a lot of territory – 1,854 square miles.  As of last year, this much territory was home to between just over 3 million people.

So if you are in house hunting mode, the very first thing you need to do is to understand your anchor point. The anchor point is the thing which you want to be near. For most people, that’s a work location (and in many cases, it may be 2 work locations). Sometimes it’s proximity to family members, a place of worship, a particular school or any number of things.  Most of the time, the main anchor point is the place of employment and desired commute time, tempered by things like good schools, shopping, parks, things to do, and quality of life.

Narrowing the home search geographically

Moving here to work in Scotts Valley?  Much of Santa Cruz County may work – but so could living in Los Gatos, Campbell or nearby, where you’d have a reverse commute.

Relocating for a job in Mountain View?  Most likely, you’ll eliminate Santa Cruz County due to distance and commute challenges with Highway 17 going over the Santa Cruz Mountains.

If good public schools matter, that will help to refine your search, as not all parts of the southern San Francisco Bay Area have equally good education.

Below I’ll post sample listings from communities noted for better public schools in Santa Clara County up to 1.2 million, which seems to be a very hot price point that many relocating home buyers can afford. I do also serve San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, but most of my clients are looking at Santa Clara Co., so limiting this search here.  Unfortunately, Alameda County (Fremont, Union City, and Newark are there) has a totally different MLS so usually I don’t work there – but am happy to introduce you to a great Realtor who does (please just email me and I will connect  you).

Current Santa Clara County homes for sale in areas with good schools

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Beach Traffic

One of the many lures to the San Jose area and Santa Clara County generally is the fairly close proximity of the beach at Santa Cruz, Capitola, Rio del Mar, and other scenic places that line the Monterey Bay. From most of Santa Clara County, it’s under a one hour drive. If you live in Los Gatos, it could be just half of that.  That said, not all days are created equally when it comes to beach traffic. Go on a regular weekday in summer and it’s pretty much a piece of cake. Go on a weekend or holiday and it’s a whole other matter.

Photo of Capitola Beach as seen from the Capitola Pier on a sunny summer day with colorful beachfront condos lining the shore

Capitola Beach as seen from the Pier – photo by Mary Pope-Handy

Most of the locals know this about holidays or weekends and the shore: go early or don’t go.

How early is early enough?

If you want to get over the hill before it’s stop and go traffic, I suggest 9:30am or earlier.  It can be backed up as early as 9:30 or 10. Coming home from the coast, the line of cars may move sluggishly as early as 3 or 4pm if the fog rolls in early.

If you go early, you can enjoy breakfast with a bay view in Capitola on the esplanade. Or hit wonderful Gayle’s Bakery in that same town with some piping hot coffee before taking in a walk at the coast.  Sometimes there may be a marine layer (fog), but it usually burns off by late morning.  The beach will be fairly quiet if you arrive before the crowds.  Or go a little later and have an early lunch at the Crow’s Nest at the harbor.  Play in the surf  and sand and return around 3:30 or so, and it will be a lot easier than a 5pm trek across the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Related reading on MPH’s other sites:

Spending Summer Days In Santa Cruz? Some Tips & Favorite Places to Share (Valley of Heart’s Delight blog)

Beach towns in Santa Cruz County (from popehandy.com)