It’s an unusually sunny, warm winter day here – projected highs are in the low to mid 70s! This morning my daughter and I walked through some of Belgatos Park, taking in the views from the Ridge Trail. Here are the images – pretty as they are, they don’t do it justice!
With our extensive drought causing many lawns to wither and die, some home owners seem to have given up on maintaining their yards at all. It is as if they’re saying “why bother weeding at all if I cannot have a lush green lawn?”
Those 4-6′ tall weeds are an eyesore, that’s why. And worse, they infect the neighboring yards as well.
It’s not just one front yard sporting people-sized weeds – it’s a few. That’s very surprising since the Belwood area usually displays a lot of pride of ownership.Weeding is no one’s favorite pasttime. When the monsters get to be 4 and 5 feet tall, even chopping them down and leaving the roots would be an improvement both to reduce neighboring properties to infection but also for the neighborhood’s looks overall.
Tall weeds are not a result of the drought and they are not a neccessary part of water conservation efforts. Please be a good neighbor. Please do not let your front yard become a neighborhood blight.
Of the homes first listed for sale in the Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos, or Surmont subdivisions in 2015 so far, only one did not selll (it was pulled off after a month, which is about the time when a price reduction would likely be getting discussed). One other is currently under contract (contingencies are in place) and five homes have been sold and closed.
Overall, houses in this neighborhood have gone pending fairly quickly, with the average days on market being a brisk 9 for the five closed sales. Homes sold so far are all selling over list price, and the average amount over is about 3% ($38,000).
(There was one other closing on Bacigalupi in January from a sale in December that I did not include since I was looking for sales that were ratified in 2015, but that home had 2448 SF and closed at $1,525,000 fyi.)
The odds are good that you could sell a home in this area without too much trouble in most cases. In every market, though, there are some homes that don’t sell or do not sell quickly. To learn more about that situation, please visit my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog and read this article:
Two or three days ago, I got a phone call from a home owner in another Silicon Valley city who was interested in selling his house. “My lawn is a perfect green, both front and back”, he boasted to me. “My neighbors are letting their lawns get yellow and brown, but not me. If I get a fine, I’ll pay it, but my lawn will be green.”
You don’t hear a lot of that around here these days, luckily.
In fact, the opposite is true – most Silicon Valley neighbors, including folks in Los Gatos, understand that keeping a lawn perfectly green means that you are squandering a resource (unless you are painting your lawn green or have replaced it with artificial turf). In other words, due to our very severe and 4 years long drought, most home owners or tenants believe that it is unethical to water your lawn to the point where it is a healthy green.
That new sense of ethics appears to be helping to get more people onboard. Having slogans like “brown is the new green” isn’t all that motivating. But noticing that yours is the only green lawn on the block might cause some (hopefully most) people to get with the program.
There are oodles of rules about when and how much to water. If you are a San Jose Water Company customer, you can water only twice a week, on set days (homes with even numbered houses, you water Tuesdays and Fridays, after 8pm and before 10am, for 15 minutes per zone max; for odd numbered days it’s Mondays and Thursdays). You are not allowed to hose down sidewalks, driveways, or cars. And water is never allowed to run off. Some of it’s intuitive, but much of it is not.
Get all the San Jose Water Company rules here:
You can report water waste in Belwood, Belgatos, or Surmont to the San Jose Water Company online – see link at the bottom of this article. There’s even an app, DroughtShame, for photographing and turning in offenders. Drought shaming is a way of trying to get neighbors to comply – not sure if it works or not, but it does appear that social change, meaning that most people embrace conservation and letting lawns go, does seem to work.
Big thanks to the neighbors who are doing a good job of conserving. Some of you are ripping out lawn and putting in artificial grass or low water landscaping. Others are allowing once lush greenery to go “California blonde”, as my husband calls it. When we walk the neighborhood and see so many lawns which are barely hanging on, we know that a lot of people really do care about the drought and conservation. No one loves a dead or dying lawn – but it’s a very visible way of doing your part. Thank you.
Water saving plants on the San Jose Water Company’s website
California water wasters beware: Drought Shaming on the rise Article on the San Jose Mercury News
You can report water waste for the San Jose Water Company’s service area online:
Today I’m working on an article for another blog of mine on the topic of saving for a down payment and residential real estate appreciation in Silicon Valley. Long story short, right now, home buyers cannot save as fast as the home prices are going up. For some, the saving effort is to get to 20% down or more. For others, the goal is to buy all cash. In both cases, though, the danger is getting priced out of the market while the would-be home owner is putting away money. For people who wanted to buy 2 years ago but decided to wait and save, that now means either not buying at all or buying in less nice home or area than they were targeting.
This is certainly true for home buyers wanting to get into Belwood of Los Gatos and nearby. Let’s look at our corner of Los Gatos and take a sampling of what has happened since 2000 (a “boom year”) for a typical 2400 square foot house on a typical 9,000 to appx 10,000 square foot lot (in Belwood, Belgatos or Surmont). For this, we will consider homes sold in 2000 and homes sold within the last 12 months. I ran the numbers this afternoon on MLS Listings, our local multiple listing service provider.
1-1-2000 through 12-31-2000: a home of about 2400 SF on a 9,000 – 10,000 SF lot averaged a sale price of $860,000 (prices ranging from a low of $750,000 to a high of $950,000). A 25% down payment would have been $215,000 and the loan amount would have been $645,000, using that average number. Many buyers would have purchased with 20% down, and some with 30% or more, though.
Fast forward to today and the last 12 months leading up to today – approximately 15 years later.
6-9-2014 through 6-9-2015: same sized home and lot averaged a sale price of $1,512,000 (prices ranging from a low of $1,350,000 to a high of $1,660,000). This does not include pending sales, of course – just those which have closed escrow.
Home prices have almost doubled in that time. Continue reading
Enjoy a visual tour through the neighborhood, from east to west: Alerche area, Belwood of Los Gatos neighborhood, Belgatos Park (extensive photos), Belgatos area, and the Surmont subdivision, which includes some view homes.
“Free” is a good price for everyone, and in Los Gatos, there’s an abundance of free music every summer with the three series, each on different days of the week: Music in the Park, Jazz in the Plazz, and Vasona Vibrations (plus the Fiesta de Artes weekend)!. Each year I compile a combined list of these three series in chronological order. I invite you to have a look and print it out! You can find the entire list at my Live in Los Gatos blog:
This afternoon I ran the recent listings and sales in the Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby areas. These contiguous east Los Gatos neighborhoods have extremely low turnover, so not surprisingly, there are few sales!!
It should be noted that larger homes on larger lots usually sell for far less on a price per square foot basis – so it’s not really fair to compare a house on an acre with one sitting on a 10,000 sf lot. Additionally, homes in the $2 million plus range are a very different creature than those closer to $1 million in terms of multiple offers and the sale price to list price ratio. In some cases, though, even these higher end homes get multiple offers and sell for more than the asking price.
Finally, the type in the image below is a little small, but if you click on it, you will get a larger, more readable version.
Believe it or not, it’s time to register your kids for the Belwood Dolphins Swim Team. Registration for the 2015 season will be open February 1st through February 28th for RETURNING SWIMMERS AND NEW SWIMMERS. Please go to the team web site at www.belwooddolphins.com and click the “Registration” tab to register online and to find more information.
If you have any questions about registration, please use the online “contact” form on the Dolphins’ website.
Go Belwood Dolphins!
Stop by the Belwood of Los Gatos cabaña is Saturday between 9am and 4pm this Saturday, November 15th, and take in the annual holiday boutique! Find items for the holidays, including Thanksgiving, to enjoy yourself or to give as gifts. A wide variety of offerings inclue jewelry, baked goods, photographs, Christmas decor, wine art and lighted wine bottles. ALL ARE WELCOME!
Saturday November 15, 2014
Belwood of Los Gatos Cabaña Club
100 Belwood Gateway (cross street Blossom Hill Road)
Los Gatos CA 95032