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.
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 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
In case you didn’t see the Belwood of Los Gatos “Bellringer” article, I have asked three neighbors with solar installations to tell us about their experiences. This won’t be a sales pitch – just neighbors telling other neighbors about their experiences.
The panelists are Zeny Seid, Roger Kent, and Evan Culp, all on Bacigalupi Drive.
They will sit at the front of the room and field questions from anyone who wants to come.
I have invited a couple of solar firms to be available for those who would like to talk to them, but the panelists are all just Belwood residents like you and me.
Please do come. I am sure you have questions (like I do) about whether or not solar’s a good idea. This should be a chance to learn a lot from people who have been through all those questions.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.
Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department
A fire was set, apparently by three kids, in Belgatos Park this afternoon. (Whether by accident or on purpose remains to be known.) Homes were evacuated along Santa Rosa and flames got terribly close to houses on Westhill Drive, but fortunately no residences were harmed by the blaze. Fire fighters arrived by land and air very quickly, and within an hour, the fire was under control.
At the time of its eruption, I was in central San Jose at a listing presentation. When I got out, around 4:30pm, I checked messages and had a text from my friend and wonderful pet-sitter, Trish McCauley, who alerted me to the situation. She also took a couple of photos. At left is one she took from Bacigalupi Drive at the intersection with Belwood Gateway.
Luckily, though, the word got out about the fire via social media, too:
For those of you who are on Facebook, there’s a group called Belwood Area Residents with great info shared. Pauline Wilson broke the news there at 3:33pm today. Photos posted by Dave Klenske of the work going on to contain the fire by air and the smoldering fire too. If you are on FB and a resident, join the group if you haven’t done so already and have a peek at his pics: http://www.facebook.com/groups/105901399446505/
Mention was also made on the Nextdoor site for the neighborhood too by Kate Carr – many thanks for spreading the word! (If you haven’t joined, please do!) Http://www.belwood-belgatos.nextdoor.com.
(Unless you happen to be connected to someone who sees the fire and alerts you, it’s great to get an update by a large group of neighbors such as we find on Nextdoor and Facebook, so I highly encourage everyone to join both sites.)
Back to our household – Jim was out at an appointment at the same time that I was, too, but when we converged at home, he and our daughter, Clair, walked up to the park to see what, if anything, was still going on. He spoke with Ranger Dave Gray, who said that 3 kids (appx age 10?) were seen running from the area when the fire started. Jim also chatted with a neighbor, who said she saw the kids running away and explained that they were “young teenagers”.
Clair, meanwhile, kindly took a lot of photos for me so that I could share them with anyone else who wasn’t around when everything happened. Below are the photos she took for this blog.
“Cardboard hill” is a blackened mess right now.
After several hours of work, the firefighters rolled up hoses and prepared to call it a day.
There were multiple fire trucks and other vehicles from the Santa Clara County Fire Department, but also helicopters and planes from the CDF involved today.
UPDATE: Patch Los Gatos reports today that 3 14 year old boys were involved, one of whom started the blaze using lighter fluid. The teen, a resident of San Jose, was arrested, charged with felony arson and has since been released to his parents. Read the article here:
I have been communicating with a family relocating to Silicon Valley from Austin who think that the Belwood, Belgatos or Surmont area might be a good fit for them. They are open to other nearby areas, too, but the most important thing is that they want to be within the boundaries for Noddin Elementary School.
Do you have or know of a rental like this that might be available in June?
Size : 3 Bedrooms (or more)
Area : Within Noddin Boundaries
Alarmed & two storey preferable but not a deal breaker.
Reach me at 408 204-7673 or mary (at) popehandy.com.
It appears that turpentine was on the ground and there was some speculation that a spark from the electric tools seems to have caused this terrible explosion and injury. That assertion was retracted at a community meeting about the Los Gatos explosion March 26th 2012. Please click the link to read the full update.
Yesterday at around 2pm, a large, explosive sound rocked the Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont areas of east Los Gatos. The thundering noise sounded to me like a transformer blowing out – but worse (I was walking down Bacigalupi with my dog at the time). Neighbors wondered what caused it: gas explosion, rifle, transformer, or what? Several of us apparently called police.
When I phoned in, I was told that the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Dept was investigating. They thought that a tree trimmer had hit a power line but weren’t sure at that time.
About an hour later, I came through the area after seeing a post on the Facebook group page for Belwood area residents that the noise originated from something happening in the “class d area” (meaning Surmont/Belgatos). Whatever it was came from a front yard of a house at the corner of Belblossom and Westhill. P, G & E crews were investigating. A police officer was taking a report. And neighbors gathered to share what they knew, thought or experienced with the big boom of two o’clock.
A Belblossom home owner there told me that a gardener was doing something when the explosive sound occurred, that it put him in shock and that his ankle was broken. I was very relieved that he was still alive, as was everyone else there.
At that time, it remained unclear what happened exactly. P, G & E crews were still on scene, investigating.
Today I’m not seeing anything in the news about this, so wanted to share what I had heard (and seen) so far. Wishing a very speedy and easy recovery to the person who was injured. I hope that the P,G & E crews can figure out what happened so that it never happens again.
On the Nextdoor neighborhood sharing site for Belwood and nearby east Los Gatos areas, a resident let members know that her automobile, which had been parked in her driveway, had been broken into sometime last night or early this morning. That makes the 6th such incident in the immediate area in the last 6 months (the other five I found on CrimeReports.com). In each case, it seems the car or truck was parked either in the driveway or on the street in front of a house.
Most of the Surmont, Belgatos, Belwood, Harwood, Gemini Court, Alerche and nearby areas have houses with 2 car garages (sometimes 3) but often either more vehicles or not enough room in the garage to house everything, so it’s not unusual for cars and other vehicles to be parked outside overnight. Thieves may be looking for valuables but just as possibly could be searching for a way into your house via keys to the doors or garage door openers. Please pack these items in and out with you and don’t leave them in the car!
To check out crime near your house at no cost, please visit http://www.CrimeReports.com and enter an address in the space up top for it. The default time frame is very recent but if you go to the “dates” section, you can view issues going back as far as 6 months ago. Also, please note that while there are 4 spots in the area identified as TV or theft from vehicle, some icons are for multiple issues and at least one of those includes a theft from vehicle. You will find other thefts in the area too – please keep your home locked up and important items out of your front yard, driveway, etc. As always, call 911 with suspicious behavior – and be safe!