For weeks, there have been four homes for sale in the Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont area of Los Gatos. Recently, one of the homes on Westhill went under contract or “sale pending”. It is a contingent sale, subject to the sale of another home – so not ideal by any stretch, but it is a sale.
When a home is sold contingent on the buyer’s selling a house or condo or other real estate, what does that mean?
Often, the listing agent will allow a set timeframe for the buyer to sell his or her property. Also, the Realtor working with the seller will usually include a “release clause” or “kickout clause” to that if a better (non-contingent) offer comes along, the sellers can effectively boot the first buyer out of contract – with some stipulations. Usually it’s a matter of time, like 72 hours to remove the contingency or to sell the home.
Sometimes homes that are “status 2” or contingent sales do go to closing, and sometimes they don’t. In a hot sellers market, homeowners will not ordinarily take a contingent offer. But in a market like the one we have today, sellers will consider any reasonable offer if their home’s been for sale a long time with no other offer.
Essentially, then, there are still four homes that are available to purchase. Two are in Belwood of Los Gatos (one on Belvue, the other on Belhaven) and two into the Begatos/Surmont side, both on Westhill.
And two more homes will be on the market in the next 2-4 weeks. Both of these are larger houses and will have higher price tags. One is in Belwood, and one is very close to Belgatos Park.
If you’re thinking of buying here in east Los Gatos, give me a call or drop me an email and we can talk about the market and the current opportunities afforded by it.
Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, CRS, ABR, e-PRO, SRES, ASP, RECS, CNHS, ACRE
Helping Nice Folks to Buy & Sell Homes Since 1993
Co-Author: “Get The Best Deal When Selling Your Home In Silicon Valley”
A few weeks back, I received a mass mailing piece from a Realtor with a plea for buyers who would like to own a home in Belwood.
Sometimes real estate agents doorknock, saying that they “have a buyer”.
Is it likely?
Usually, no. Most often agents who utilize this approach are really just wanting to get a listing. I know, in those cases, it isn’t right. It’s a waste of your time. It’s dishonest.
Sometimes, though, the agent may really have a buyer and is truly going the extra mile.
How can you tell?
Well, I’m a Realtor and I’ll tell you what I do when I have a sincere, serious buyer with a particular need: I hand write the envelope and I hand write the letter. Additionally, I’m specific about why my client might want that particular house (not just any 4 bedroom home in Belwood). When I go to that much trouble, homeowners do take it seriously and I get an extremely high response rate.
But a letter sent to 500 homes? Forget it.
One more thing: if an agent does knock on your door and “has a buyer”, do you really want to enter into a dual agency situation? Do you think that having the same agent represent both buyer and seller is going to be in your best interests?
To get the most money for your home, you need the most qualified exposure. Then you’ll know that all interested or potentially interested parties had a chance.
So if you are thinking of selling your home, call me (or your favorite Realtor) and get the home on the market properly – full exposure. Forget the secret sales.
How is the real estate appreciation in our idyllic part of east Los Gatos, known locally as the Surmont, Belgatos area or Belwood of Los Gatos neighborhoods?
Since turnover is very low, inventory is always restricted and the demand tends to be strong. Recently I did a breakdown of the sales history of the last 5 years here (see the page under “homes info” on Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont sales history info on this site – link at the bottom of the homes info page or use the inserted link, above). Appreciation here is steady.
Here are a few highlights of the last 5 years of data:
(1) The price per square foot of the sold homes have risen a bit more than 71% since 2003. Here is the year by year breakdown:
2003 – $382/sf (6 houses sold)
2004 – $458/sf (18 houses sold)
2005 – $490/sf (25 houses sold)
2006 – $511/sf (9 houses sold)
2007 – $537/sf (10 houses sold)
(2) The average sales price of the closed sales rose approximately 63% since 2005. (It appears that this number is 68% for all of Los Gatos, which of course includes all types of houses, a different school district, homes with larger parcels, etc.)
(3) It appears that homes in this area near Belgatos Park have nearly doubled in value since 1999 (the year we bought our home). That ratio depends, of course, on some updating being done (so the home isn’t effectively “older” than it was in 1999) and can vary depending on the house. But as a rule of thumb, most properties here have almost doubled since 1999. This is true of most of Los Gatos.
This is a great part of Los Gatos for many reasons, finacial ones included!
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
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.
Today is Labor Day – it’s many things, but it’s also the end of summer. But it’s not the end of the dry season. In fact, the rains won’t really arrive until November. So between now and then, the fire danger will continue to rise in our hilly, rural areas.
A few days ago, the coastal hills near Stevens Creek Reservoir and the Montebello Ridge over Cupertino (just a little north of Los Gatos) burned fiercely. It took a couple of days and a lot of firefighters to extinguish it.
Now the hills by Mount Hamilton on the east side are ablaze too. We just took a quick drive to the top of Harwood Road to see the enormous plume of smoke rising over the hills by south San Jose.
What does this have to do with Belwood, Belgatos & Surmont? Earlier today, Bella and I took a walk down Bacigalupi Drive and into Belgatos Park, entering on the side, as we do most days. The grassy area there is parched. The path is covered in wood chips and tanbark. And to my horror, I saw two cigarette butts among the wood chips.
Smoking is not illegal in the park, as my husband (the volunteer parks commissioner) reminded me today. But it is very unwise to do it in the tinderbox areas which comprise most of the park.
Should we put a polite request at the entrance to the park that cigarettes are a great danger to the park, to Belwood and to Los Gatos as a whole, and that putting them out in the grassy areas is inadvisable???
To me it’s obvious: fire season and burning objects over dry grass don’t mix. But apparently it’s not obvious to everyone.
Fire season’s not over yet. Let’s hope that common sense prevails and we won’t have any more senseless fires.
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.
by Mary Pope-Handy, posted 8/23/2007
Is there a problem at Belgatos Park? Wondering whom to phone? Sometimes the gates are locked when they should be opened. The person to call is the Park Ranger, tel 408 399-5760
In this article, you will find important phone numbers, addresses and websites. Please check back often as the list grows, and feel free to make suggestions to me for more. Listed first are things which may be most urgent, if hopefully not needed most often.
Dial 911 in case of true emergency
Community Hospital of Los Gatos 815 Pollard Road, Los Gatos, CA 95032 (off Winchester Blvd between Lark and Camden) tel 408 378-6131
*Good Samaritan Hospital 2425 Samaritan Dr., San Jose, CA 95124 (off Los Gatos Blvd near Hwy 85) tel 408 559-2377
*Closest to Belwood/Belgatos/Surmont and east Los Gatos areas
Garbage: Waste Management/Green Valley Disposal Co.
(until March 2007) 408 354-2100
Power: Pacific Gas & Electric 800 743-5000
To order service 800 483-4000
Repair 800 483-1000
Billing 800 483-3000
Television: Cable TV: Comcast 800 945-2288 http://www.comcast.com
Television: Satellite TV: Direct TV 800 347-3288
Water: San Jose Water 408 277-4036
LOCAL GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC INFO:
Town of Los Gatos: Town Hall, 100 E. Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030 tel 408 354-6834 Hours are M-F 8-5 The town website has a myriad of information, such as specific telephone numbers you may need or contacts within certain departments.
Los Gatos Public Library: Tel 408 354-6891 See webpage on town site for oodles of information: http://www.losgatosca.gov/index.asp?NID=831
In Walgreen’s Shopping Center
Los Gatos Pizza (lunch, dinner, parties for kids, sports)
14080 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032.
(408) 358-5545 ***Coupon on their website!***
Tea Garden Chinese Kitchen (lunch, dinner – take out)
14030 Blossom Hill Road Los Gatos 356-0022
Open Mon.- Fri. 11:30 am-9 pm, Sat. 4-9 pm Closed Sunday. Call (408) 356-0022
Gallo’s Italian Restaurant (late afternoon, Dinner)
14180 Blossom Hill Rd Los Gatos CA408 358-3661
Open Sunday and Monday 4-9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
4- 10 p.m. Call for catering specials and reservations (408) 358-3661
Kitty-corner from Walgreen’s Shopping Center:
Bangkok Taste Thai Restaurant
1769 Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos. (lunch, dinner)
Open for lunch Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner daily until 9
p.m. Call for take-out. (408) 358-2525.
Ernies Wine & Liquor
14140 Blossom Hill Road Los Gatos, CA
Phone: (408) 356-7661
14100 Blossom Hill Road Los Gatos, CA 95032. Phone: (408) 356-2511
Extended Hours Walgreens
1376 Kooser Rd San Jose, CA 95118
(in triangular shopping center at Blossom Hill, Kooser and Meridian) – store faces Kooser
Store tel:(408) 448-0436
Pharmacy (408) 448-2503