Update on the Nextdoor.com private intranet for neighbors in the Surmont-Belgatos-Belwood and beyond areas – We launched our site November 17th, 2011, and 2 months later, got up to 39 people (in 32 households). As of Nov 17, 2013, our 2 year anniversary, it was 317 members in 245 homes (see image at right). We are still growing and now have a roster of 321 neighbors (248 of 567 households) or 44% of households participating. Thank you to all who’ve been active in sharing news and inviting neighbors to join us!
For those who aren’t onboard and are wondering, what is Nextdoor all about?
This is a private, online social network site for neighbors sharing with neighbors things that matter to them. Often this includes issues and concerns that otherwise we wouldn’t know about, whether a problem (break ins, solicitors), a need (babysitters, gardeners, house cleaners), an alert (coyotes spotted, skunk problems) event or other positive happenings.
Many times, this is almost like a virtual “neighborhood watch”.
I do know that people worry about their information being public. The system requires members to be verified, either by mail (free) or by phone (which requires a one cent charge to a credit card). This is done to insure that everyone in this private site is actually a neighbor – for everyone’s protection. Also, you don’t have to share your email address or phone number, but of course you can if you choose.
On the fence? Log in, have a look and see what you think. There’s a lot to like about it!
Please check it out:
And for current members, PLEASE INVITE YOUR NEIGHBORS! You can do this for free by sending postcards! Just click on the “invite” button on the top right side. The system will allow you to mail a few cards each month at no cost.
Finally, if you are not within these boundaries but are interested in Nextdoor for your area, just go to Nextdoor.com and input your address. You’ll find out right away if you are within an established neighborhood. If so, join! If not, perhaps you can begin one there yourself. It’s a great way to keep in touch.
Home sales in our corner of east Los Gatos have been fairly brisk overall. Homes under $2 million and on quiet, interior roads pretty much fly off the market. Properties on streets with a lot of traffic or properties offered at more than $2 million are much, much harder to sell here. Here’s a look at the 2013 year to date home sales in our area so far. The one on Alerche was my listing. (Please click on the image below to see larger version.)
Interested in knowing what your home’s probable market value is with today’s market? Please give me a call or write me an email and I’ll be very happy to preview your home and provide you that information with no obligation: 408 204-7673 mary (at) popehandy.com. I’m a 20 year real estate veteran in Los Gatos, a top producer, and a Belwood resident since 1999.
Volunteers are needed on Saturday October 26th to set up the haunted house (for the next day) and also on Sunday beginning at 3pm. Help on Saturday, then stay for the movie night, which begins at 7pm!
The annual Belwood Halloween Party is Sunday, October 27, from 3 – 6pm at the Cabaña.
3:00pm: Games (and prizes) on the Cabaña lawn
3:30 Magic Mirror opens
4:00pm: Pizza & drinks for sale
5:00pm: Haunted house tours begin
6:00pm: End of Party & Clean-up
Help is needed - volunteers are sought to help with the games, haunted house actors and others to help with the food & drinks plus setup. Teenagers can use this as an opportunity to accumulate Community Service hours.
If you’d like to sign up as a volunteer, please contact Michelle Heap at 356-8482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houses in the Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby areas priced under $1,500,000 are selling at a very healthy rate, many with multiple offers and significant overbids. In the last year or so, there have been 18 sales of single family homes in this area (see map at right). Of those, 16 were on the open market of of those 16, 13 sold for more than list price.
Two properties sold “off market”, or not on the multiple listing service with a real estate professional involved. One of them was a sale from a landlord to tenants already in the property. The other was an off market short sale.
As of this writing, there are 2 pending sales in the neighborhood, both between $1.2 million and $1.5 million.
Additionally, there are 3 properties available for purchase. They range in price from $2.4 million and $2.8 million, and all have been on the market for more than a month.
Below, please have a look at what has sold – street names rather than precise addresses are used to provide privacy to the owners.
Interested in selling your east Los Gatos home? Please call or email me for a confidential, no obligation consultation today.
Mary Pope-Handy email@example.com 408 204-7673
A couple of nights ago, I was out walking in the neighborhood with my daughter when we noticed a “Little Free Library” stand at 100 Belhaven Drive (at the corner with Harwood Road). It had a few books inside and said “take a book, return a book”. Apparently there are little free libraries all over the place, but it was the first we’d learned of it.
The website for Little Free Library says that their mission is
- To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
- To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
There are two “Bingo and Movie Nights” planned for this summer for cabaña members and residents of Belwood, Surmont and Belgatos so far and a third one not yet finalized:
Saturday June 15 2013: 6:30pm bingo & movie night at the Belwood cabaña. Bingo is first, and the featured film starts at around 9pm. What’s playing? ”Wreck it Ralph” (a really great film!).
Saturday July 13th will be the second night. Film to be announced.
Bring something comfy to sit on – blankets, sleeping bags, lawn chairs etc. Popcorn and treats available for purchase!
For more information, keep an eye on the Belwood HOA website.
Los Gatos housing inventory may well be at an all time low. For other blogs, I crunch the real estate numbers regularly and can tell you that in the last 15 years (for which I can get MLS statistics) there’ve never been so few available homes to buy. I’ve been selling real estate for 20 years now and don’t remember it ever being so dire. In fact, the worst year ever still had twice as many houses for sale as what we’ve got now.
The available inventory in Los Gatos, and Santa Clara County generally, is inching up. The numbers have risen about 25% from a couple of months ago, but are off between 30% and 65% from the year before, depending on how you slice and dice the numbers. In our lovely corner of east Los Gatos, right now there are only 2 homes for sale, one on Blossom Hill and one on a side street at the corner of Blossom Hill. Last year there were 13 sales in the neighborhood, and in 2011 there were 17. We could use more inventory!
If you are thinking of selling in 2013, now is a great time. There’s little competition and a very strong level of buyer demand. Please call me for a free, no obligation, no pressure consultation. Please email me at mary (at) popehandy.com or call me at 408 204-7673.
Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics
Although spring weather has not yet arrived in Los Gatos, the door to door solicitors are out in force, annoying and concerning residents. Over the last 3 or 4 weeks, it seems that getting an unexpected knock at the front door is almost a daily occurrence. Surprisingly, many of these happen after dark, as late as 8pm in some cases. Some want to ask to bid window replacement or other home improvement projects. Some want to sell magazines. And others are looking for charitable donations or political action.
What can be done?
It’s not a new problem, but lately it does seem worse. A “no solicitors” sign by the front door may help. The town of Los Gatos requires all door to door salespeople to have a permit, so you may ask to see it. Many won’t have obtained the peddler’s permit because it costs about $100.
The Nextdoor online group for Surmont, Belgatos and Belwood has been actively discussing this problem. If you live in the area west of Blossom Hill Road in the general Belgatos area and aren’t already a member, sign up to join now and keep current on what’s happening at www.belwood-belgatos.nextdoor.com
A beautiful black kitten or young cat was found high in a tree at Belridge and Harwood Roads on December 31st. He was reluctant to come down, but several neighbors did try to lure him over a couple of days. Thanks to the persistence of two kindly neighbors, he has been rescued, fed and warmed up. One of the residents, Byron, brought the Belwood cat to the Humane Society to check for chipping, but no luck. Is this friendly feline yours, or do you know where he belongs? If so, please call Byron at 408-267-1733.
How’s the real estate market for the Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos and Surmont neighborhoods of Los Gatos? Today I present some detailed views of the state of the real estate market in 2012, viewed from several angles. This is a lengthy article, but one I hope my neighbors and would-be neighbors will find very helpful.
Inventory was low across all of Los Gatos and Silicon Valley, and turnover in this corner of east Los Gatos 9part of the 95032 zip code) is never high, so it’s not surprising to learn that a mere 13 houses sold over the last year. Most home owners would like to know whether values are rising or falling, how tough it is to sell a house, and whether or not homes are selling over the asking price. We’ll have a look at these questions, and more, using graphs I created from our local real estate multiple listings provider, MLSListings.com.
There were 13 closed sales in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont plus 4 houses that did not sell in 2012
There were 13 sales of houses in 2013 – not too many for a neighborhood with more than 300 houses! There were four others which did not sell, however. One is currently for sale, and 3 more are cancelled, expired, or withdrawn. In every market, no matter how “hot”, some homes do not sell. This is important to remember. Too many home owners get euphoric about the sales prices and multiple offers which they hear about. What’s usually not considered is the “market rejection” that other properties get. It is a sobering balance to the multiple offer frenzy stories which one hears.
This first graph displays the closed numbers of sales by price point. This is helpful not just for sellers, but home buyers interested in purchasing here. Last week I got an email from a resident of Santa Clara County indicating a desire to see properties here with 2200 square feet or more available at under $1,000,000. Is that possible? Let’s see.
In the graph above, we find that three properties sold here between $800,000 and $1 million. We do not yet know from the data anything more about the houses, whether they were small, big, regular sales or distressed properties. A quick look at the MLS just now shows that all of the sold houses were regular sales except one, a short sale on Belwood Gateway which was in that lowest pricing tier (and which took about 2/3 of a year to sell).
Days on market or average days to sell in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont area
Next, the average days to sell (meaning to have an accepted purchase offer or contract) for the houses on the market that did sell – not all of those offered in 2012 were purchased! (In every market, there are homes that do not sell. Most of the time it is because they are overpriced.)
From the time the house is showing on the MLS as active or available, how long until there was a ratified contract? In most cases, not long at all. For the lowest price group, the average days to sell is badly skewed by the short sale on Belwood Gateway – that one took 213 days to sell due to transactions falling through and the difficulties of getting a distressed property closed. When I eliminate the short sale from the mix, the average days on market for the other 12 properties was a very fast 17. The longest was 66 and the shortest was 2. The graph below shows the days on market of all sold houses by price point. Although it appears that the least expensive homes are the hardest to sell, that’s not really the case. The short sale tilts the average.
Average list prices of Surmont, Belgatos and Belwood homes that sold in 2012
What about home values and pricing? Below, please find the average list price of properties by month. For most of 2012, the majority of houses for sale ranged between one million and $1.4 million. There are higher and lower priced properties, of course, but this range gives home buyers a general sense of area values for typical homes. Newer one, view lots, extra large homes or custom built properties will cost more. Houses on Blossom Hill Road, older homes, properties needing extensive renovation etc. will sell for less. Have a look: Continue reading