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.