First, Describing the “Parts” of Belwood
The Belwood area of east Los Gatos is very popular as the homes tend to sit on good-sized lots, the streets are tree-lined and meandering, a huge park provides abundant outdoor activity and exercize space, and the neighborhood is friendly.
There are actually three neighborhoods within what is typically referred to as simply Belwood, though. This matters because it helps to explain the pricing differences from one part of Belwood to the next. So first, a quick into to this part of east Los Gatos. (See photo slideshow of Belwood/Begatos and our park.)
Surmont is the oldest and is on the part closest to downtown Los Gatos along much of Westhill Drive, Old Orchard Drive, Old Orchard Court, Campos Verde, Surmont Drive, and Surmont Court. It cuts off just before Belblossom Drive. These homes are semi-custom and they enjoy tree-lined streets; some of them along Westhill and Surmont even have views. There were several builders who constructed homes here. Homes are mostly on 10,000 to 15,000 SF lots. These houses often sell for the highest prices because they are larger, custom or semi-custom homes on larger lots and sometimes have views.
The next area was not originally part of Belwood proper so is often referred to as “Belgatos area”. It includes part of Westhill, part of Belblossom, and part of Belvue – leading up to Belgatos Road. Mostly 10,000 SF lots and semi-custom homes.
Belwood of Los Gatos originally encompassed (mostly) the streets between Belgatos Road and Harwood Road, with the cabana in the middle on Belwood Gateway. (The cabana used to be ONLY for this area and the annual dues are mandatory there. Now it is open to all three areas but the outlying sections do not, of course, have mandatory membership or dues – it’s optional there.) These are mostly “Bel” streets, except for Bacigalupi Drive and Jaime Court. Of the three areas, Belwood tends to be the most affordable; it is almost exclusively tract housing (though very nice) and the streets are not quite as tree-lined for the most part. Homes here range, generally, from 1700 SF to 2500 SF, with exceptions (Westhill in this stretch has some larger homes, some may be custom built), and usually sell between 1 and 1.4 million, again with some exceptions.
One notable exception: recently a tiny, 1400 SF house in Belwood with need of many repairs sold for a shockingly low price of $799,000.
Again, Belwood has mostly 10,000 SF lots, but one area – a section of Bacigalupi and Jaime Court – are newer homes on mostly 8000 SF lots, and a few places in Belwood have 12,000 SF lots. So it does vary.
What’s for Sale in Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont of Los Gatos Today
At this time, there are 3 homes actively on the market in this area of about 500 houses. Two of them are on Westhill and one on Belhaven, and all of them are priced at just a little bit under $1.5 million. (Two have been on the market awile – one of them is “by appointment only”, which can make it very difficult to sell a house). One more home will be coming on the market soon: it is a 3 bed, 2 bath home with 1744 SF and will be offered at $1,150,000. (not my listing but I have been in contact with the agent about it so can fill you in on some details if you’re interested).
Why so few available homes? This is not untypical. While most owners of real estate in Silicon Valley may move fairly often, that’s not the case here. People who move to Belwood (or Surmont or Belgatos) tend to make it their long-term home. They move in but don’t want to leave! Turnover tends to be low.
Need more information on the available homes? Or what has sold in recent years? Please visit the “Homes Info” area of this website. There you’ll see descriptions of each home for sale, plus those recently sold and also some historical information on the second page of that section.
Call or email me if you’d like to discuss buying or selling a home here in Belwood, Belgatos or Surmont. I offer a no-cost one hour consultation to prospective clients.
mary (at) popehandy.com
Ever wonder why the brick and metal sign welcoming folks to Belwood on Belwood Gateway is not lit up?
The reason is that there’s no electricity in that small island. It is maintained by the Los Gatos Parks Department.
Apparently solar panels would require too large (and expensive) of a battery for a light on the sign to be feasible. So, there are no plans to illuminate this sign.
Today at my Valley of Hearts Delight Homes Blog, I wrote about the costs associated with getting a home ready to sell – that is, what is the outlay for pre sale repairs and staging?
For most typical homes in Silicon Valley, the cost can range from 1-2% of the property’s value.
In Belwood, or in the Surmont or Belgatos areas of Los Gatos, it could be that you’ll want to upgrade your kitchen a bit (granite and new appliances) IF your kitchen sports tile and older oven, stove, etc. In that case, the percentage will go up. But you are then making the leap to selling your home as more of a luxury home rather than an average, but probably large, home in an expensive part of the valley.
For more information on staging here in east Los Gatos, please contact me! I can be reached by cell at 408 204-7673.
It’s mid-October and inventory is shrinking a bit. A week ago there was one home to buy and one to rent in Belwood – and none in the Surmont or Belgatos areas of the ‘hood. The available ones have been scooped up.
So right now, if someone wants to live in our pretty corner of east Los Gatos, they’ll just have to wait.
Many sellers are hoping that spring will bring better sales prices. If it does, that’s great for people either downsizing or leaving the area.
But for move-up buyers, now might be a better time to sell one home and buy a more expensive one.
Why? Prices are a bit soft now. The listing on Belblossom at $799,000 makes it clear that prices aren’t what they used to be. Buying up, the soft prices make the jump from one home to the other easier – even if you sell the current home for less. The reason is because you save more on the move-up home than you lose on the sale of the current home. The net puts you ahead of waiting ’til it’s a hot market all around.
Call me if you’d like to get a current sense of value for your home.
Intero does have a special “Holiday Marketing Program” that involves no sign, no open houses etc. during the slower days of December. You get far less traffic but it’s all by appointment so only serious buyers come through. It’s a great way to get the jump on the January market. Please call me on my cell at 408 204-7673 to learn more about it.
Open Houses are a near weekly event in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont – and all of Los Gatos, really!
The town of Los Gatos has a sign ordinance (rule) that the open house signs are supposed to be of the "generic" variety. They may have simple arrows on them, or the words "Open House", but they are not to be personalized. Open House directional signs should not include the agent’s name, the brokerage’s name, or anything else. Additionally, they are not to be the large placard type signs – but the more minimalistic sized ones you see around town.
Each city near Los Gatos has different signage rules, so it can be confusing to agents as to what is allowed where. In Cupertino, NO signs are allowed except on the property itself!
Once I had a listing I was holding open in Cupertino. I was very aware of the sign restrictions, but my listing was a corner lot, so I figured I could put signs on both sides. I placed one directly on the main front lawn of the home (between the sidewalk and the house) and another on the side, between the sidewalk and the street.
To my utter amazement, a code enforcement officer drove up, while my clients looked on from the driveway, and took my sign to his truck and sped away. Apparently in Cupertino, what I did was wrong. The next day I had to go and pay $5 to get it out of hock. I was not a happy agent, and my sellers were very unhappy with their city too. (Wouldn’t he have been a good soul to have just told me to move it 3 feet?)
I wanted to relay this story because the Los Gatos rule about open house signs is really not all that strict. Signs can be green, black, maroon, blue – you name it. But the town doesn’t want a junky look. So no big ads for the agent or the brokerage within the town boundaries.
If you happen to visit an open house where the agent does not know of our ordinance, it’s not a bad thing to nicely let him or her know. It is confusing with each town having different rules, but Los Gatos is wise, I think, in wanting to de-commercialize the open house signage a bit. It makes a prettier town for all of us when the signs used here are the correct ones.
Blog: Why Live in the Belwood, Belgatos, or Surmont areas in Los Gatos?
by Mary Pope-Handy, posted 8/22/2007
Jim and I bought our first home in Cambrian Park in 1989, and scrimped and saved, and fixed our fixer ’til we could make a move into a nicer home in a better area in 1999. As a Realtor, there were a couple of neighborhoods I had my eye on, but the one I really hoped we could live in was Belwood.
Luckily for us, a home that fit the budget and the needs came up on Bacigalupi Drive in Belwood of Los Gatos just as our starter home a mile and a half away sold. It had all the “right things wrong” (if everything had been “done”, we couldn’t have afforded it!) It had a great floorplan on a great street with all the rooms we needed (4 bedrooms plus an office, large family room, decent living room, open kitchen – and the dining room was small but has potential). It was not perfect, but no house is. I wished I could have had a larger dining room for our massive family parties (I have a scheme on how I can eventually expand it) and I wish our lot was one of the larger ones (it’s not, the home is newer than most here but also on a smaller lot). Compromise is a big part of home buying. We did, however, get 95% of what we wanted.
And we got great neighbors – fantastic, really. They are all nice, they are quiet, they are wonderful folks.
Why choose Belwood? I had wanted it for the same reason my buyers now want it. It’s close to the hills so is extraordinarily scenic, it has a huge, fabulous park, Belgatos Park. It enjoys a cabana. The streets meander (not straight grids). You see people out and about – walking, jogging, riding bikes, exercizing dogs, and sometimes you even see someone go by on horseback. It’s a real community and it has a nice feel to it.
Folks here take care of their homes. You don’t see a lot of dilapidated cars sitting around. Yards look nice. People are friendly.
In summer, neighbors gather to watch films at the cabana. Folks with little swimmers sign up to be a part of The Dolphins Swim Team.
There’s just a lotthat’s right here in this far corner of Los Gatos.
As for us, I think we’ll be here another couple of decades. We love it here in Belwood.