by Mary Pope-Handy | May 2, 2023 | Buy a Home, Real Estate
Want to buy a house in the Los Gatos neighborhoods of Belwood, Belgatos or Surmont? There are a few things you should know about properties may be flipped that look “turnkey”, especially as the market heats up or inventory more available.
What is a flipped home?
Some contractors buy homes with deferred maintenance, often “off market”, do some quick remodeling (often without permits) and then put it on the open market as soon as possible. This is what we usually think of with flipped homes.
Also, some sellers quickly improve houses for a fast profit, sometimes when a house has been inherited to maximize their net. Some regular property owners do this, too, moving out for a quick rehab rather than remodeling for enjoying the house for their own use, often cut corners. These two categories are a spinoff of the contractor-builder flip. We see all of them in our real estate market.
Whether it’s owners doing a quick makeover or investors remodeling or improving select items, beware! Some of these properties give the impression of being “perfect” but in fact may only have been cleaned up in the most visible areas.
Questions to ask, some things to look for in flipped or similar properties
Here are some questions for you to ask or investigate when looking at homes for sale in east Los Gatos, particularly near the foothills.
Please note, owners or sellers who prepare the home for the maximum return on investment will probably add fresh paint & carpet (or pull up the carpet to expose the hardwood floors), swap out light fixtures, door and drawer or cabinet hardware, and tidy the front landscaping. These are not in the category of flipping, but more like normal refreshing a home to sell.
When does it move from refreshing to flipping? If the kitchen and bathrooms were hastily remodeled in the recent past, you may be looking at a flip of some kind.
- Look for expensive but less seen areas such as
- the electrical system (some electric panels may be at risk of fire)
- furnace (heater)
- water heater
- roof, gutters & downspouts
- drainage system (often needed, seldom there in Los Gatos)
- back yard landscaping
- the foundation (always a potential issue in our east Los Gatos neighborhood if drainage hasn’t been properly addressed)
- insulation in the attic (often minimal)
- plumbing – has the home been re-piped, or are the old galvanized steel pipes still in the walls and under the house, ready to give up the ghost?
- condition of retaining walls, if any
- condition of concrete or hardscape
- large trees – have they been trimmed, or are they an expense which will fall on you?
- Is this an investment property (purchased by investors at a foreclosure auction or as a distress sale)? Or is it a trustee sale where the family or friends inheriting the property are fixing it up for sale (almost like a flipped house)?
- If it’s a house being sold by investors who’ve fixed it up, how experienced are they? Some clients of mine purchased an out-of-area house from first time investors. The kitchen remodel was made such that a full size fridge wouldn’t fit. Fail!(Some trustee sales are in a similar category as first time investors – this isn’t something they have experience with, most likely. They may make costly mistakes by either over-improving the home for sale or not fixing the right things. They may or may not be local and have a true sense of market value, too, so may set themselves up with unrealistic expectations.)
- Were there pre-sale inspections? If so, did the owners or investors do the Section 1 work from the termite report and the health & safety issues called out in the home inspection? The home inspection (not the termite or pest) should flag any major issues with the foundation, electrical, mechanical etc. systems in the home. If there’s no home inspection, prepare for surprises in these older homes.
- In Surmont, Belgatos, Belwood, and all of the east Los Gatos, Cambrian and Almaden hillside areas, water and drainage is an issue, as mentioned above regarding foundations. Left unchecked, water seeps into the crawl spaces under the houses and can create real havoc as our clay soil expands and pushes on the foundation. So look at the downspouts and see if they simply dump the water at the base of the house (which you will see most of the time – but it’s not a good idea, usually), or did the owner take the time and spend the money to handle drainage issues well? How’s the grading? Soil and landscaping should slope away from the house so that any water coming down will run away rather than seep into the crawlspace.
Browse neighborhood homes for sale online on this site. When you visit in person, bring a notepad and jot down concerns or questions. It is so easy to fall in love with remodeling that’s been done that it may be easy to miss the expensive items not easily seen that may have been ignored.
Finally, check the permits to see if improvements that needed permits and finals obtained them. Click here for the online Los Gatos permit search.
Need a good, local Realtor? Call or email me. I’ve been in real estate a long time (since early 1993), am very accomplished and recently was named “best real estate agent in Silicon Valley” by readers of the San Jose Mercury News. I’m also a Belwood resident and I know the area and its values well.
by Mary Pope-Handy | Jun 8, 2020 | Belwood, Homes for Sale
PENDING WITH 2 OFFERS
Update: CLOSED on July 10th, 2020 and sold at list price.
Great layout, location, and natural light! The home at 104 Bacigalupi Drive is available now! The special house enjoys an ideal floor plan featuring an over sized family room which is open to the island kitchen, with both overlooking the gorgeous back yard and the hills beyond.
Facing the street are the separate living and dining rooms, with a full bedroom and bathroom finishing the ground floor. Upstairs are 4 more bedrooms and 2 full baths. The master suite is situated in the back and offers a stunning view of the foothills.
Set near the base of the hills, this lovely house is within the Belwood of Los Gatos community, which features the Belwood Cabaña, pool, basketball courts, bocce ball courts, lawn, picnic tables, and more. It’s just a few blocks to Belgatos Park & open space trails and only 2 blocks to the Walgreen’s Shopping Center, which includes a Starbucks, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, and of course Walgreen’s. A couple of blocks more and you arrive at highly regarded Noddin Elementary Schools. Hiking trails abound nearby!
living room, dining room, and huge family room
7773 lot size
Year built 1968
Attached 2 car garage
Central forced air conditioning
Dual pane windows
HOA Dues $580 per year
104 Bacigalupi Dr – Belwood of Los Gatos home for sale
Large dual pane windows provide wonderful views and oodles of natural light. Central AC keeps the house comfortable on the warmest days. Fresh paint and new or newer floor coverings throughout. Super clean!
The kitchen enjoys an island with gas cooktop, a good sized sink overlooking the back yard, a breakfast bar on the peninsula, and a good amount of storage & counter space. There are wood-looking laminate floors in this part of the home.
And another angle:
by Mary Pope-Handy | Jul 4, 2018 | Belgatos, Belwood, Homes for Sale, Market Info, Surmont
What’s going on with the real estate market in the Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont, and nearby areas of east Los Gatos? Here’s a quick update of the year to date listings and sales activities, taken from the MLS.
Right now, there are 6 properties for sale in the neighborhood. That’s more than what has been normal in recent years. The stats for these active listings are as follows:
Average list price $2,286,333
Average square footage 2,906
Average lot size 16,194
Average days on market 19
Average price per SF $800.92
Average age 49
There is only one pending sale, and no properties at all in the area which closed in June. We had steady rate of sales closed earlier in the year: three in February, two in March, five in April, two in May.
For those tracking the absorption rate, which is the rate at which homes would sell if no new properties come on the market, this is a bit of a surprise. Zero homes (sold / closed in the last 30 days) divided by 6 active listings = an infinite months supply of inventory. Of course, it is not truly that dire, since there were 2 closings in late May and there’s one pending sale (went into contract June 15), but it does suggest that home buyers may have put the brakes on.
We are seeing this drop in sales activity across the valley in many areas, so it’s not just this corner of 95032.
Is it just a big rise in inventory that is causing the market to stall out a little? In some areas, homes have continued selling at the same pace, but with fewer offers over the last 6 weeks or so. Those areas may not have had as large an inventory jump as we have seen on the east end of Los Gatos.
Here’s a look at the inventory for single family homes for sale in 95032 with Campbell Union High School District (so Leigh or Westmont High) from July 2012 to July 2018.
Inventory is up, but not to an unprecedented degree. There were more in June, and June’s inventory was not too different from most of the recent years (2014 and forward).
A holiday week is often slow, so I would encourage people thinking of selling to not get discouraged. Part of what we are seeing could simply be a seasonal trend – summer is normally a bit of a “slowdown” period in real estate, with things picking back up again in early to mid September. Last year we did not see seasonality at all, as the market was raging hot through December.
If you are interested in buying or selling a home in east Los Gatos or anywhere in Silicon Valley, please reach out to me and we’ll find a time to talk and see if we might be a fit for working together.
by Mary Pope-Handy | Jan 30, 2018 | Market Info
The Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos, Surmont, and contiguous neighborhoods in east Los Gatos saw strong appreciation in 2017. With a low amount of available real estate inventory and high buyer demand, properties listed under $2 million often saw multiple offers and good overbids. Over $2 million, the market was cooler, but still not too challenging to sell if done right.
Early 2017 was a bit sluggish, with homes taking longer to sell and recording under list price through February. These homes were priced on the higher end for homes in the area, and they were selling during the typically cooler winter months, both of which might have contributed to the slower turnover. By March the market was heating up again with the large majority selling above list price (likely multiple offers) in under a month through to the end of the year. The three that took longest to sell (from March through November) also sold below list price.
Below is the chart of all home sales in the Belwood & adjoining area listed on the multiple listing service for 2017 organised by date descending oldest to newest. DOM stands for “days on the market”. (There was one off-market or private sale of a 1400 SF house on Bacigalupi for $1,250,000 that is not included. It appears to have been a fixer upper.)
Most challenging to sell are the luxury tier properties offered at $3 million or more. In 2017, the house with the longest days on market was in this category. This is normal for the luxury market in east Los Gatos.
In summary, through most of the year there was high demand and quick turnover for homes in the Belwood area in moderate price points. These fast moving homes provide approximately 3-5 bedrooms and list in the price range of %1.5 to $2 million.
If we remove the luxury tier home, a profile of homes sold in this area in 2017 would be along these lines:
Average list price: $1,719,144
Average sale price: $1,758.263
Average square footage: 2316 SF of living space
Average age of home: 42 years
The last couple of months in 2017, prices began shooting up with the news of Google’s expansion into downtown San Jose. The ripples were felt through Willow Glen, Cambrian, and into Los Gatos. What sold for $1,750,000 in the middle of 2017 is likely to sell for significantly more in 2018.
If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in this beautiful corner of Los Gatos, please reach out to me and we can have a confidential and no-obligation conversation / consultation.
by Mary Pope-Handy | Sep 9, 2017 | Belgatos, Homes for Sale
Come home to a stunningly remodeled Belgatos view home, and enjoy sweeping vistas of Silicon Valley from all the main living areas of the home! 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos, is offered for sale at $2,288,000 and features 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. 3112 SF of living space: 2856 Square Ft (appx.) + office (appx 256 SF) on a lot of 13,939 SF. So many extras, such as solar power, dual pane windows, plantation shutters, fan lights, but above all, a scenic setting, a comfortably large house, in a great Los Gatos neighborhood next to Belgatos Park.
Below is a sampling of photos – please see ALL images and detailed info on the virtual tour site:
Open house schedule: Sept 9 and 10 from 2 – 4 pm, Wed Sept 13 9:30am – 12:30pm, and Saturday Sept 16 2-4. Please stop by!
This house was thoughtfully designed with the living room, dining room, kitchen, and family room all enjoying the views. The bedroom wing is tucked behind the octoganally shaped living room, and they overlook the yard and pool.
Beautiful Brazilian cherry hardwood floors grace the living areas, hallway, and bedrooms, creating a clean and contemporary feel to the home.
Plantation shutters, dual pane windows, lovely crown and baseboard provide a timeless feel.
The kitchen is open to the family room and includes stainless steel appliances, slab granite counters, and a vaulted ceiling with recessed lights. Not shown here is the breakfast nook and pantry, which look toward the resort like back yard.
The heart of the home, the family room is drenched in natural lighting with windows on both sides.
Your own private resort! In addition to the pool and patio area, there’s another patio and planting bed area along the right side of the house. Previous owners had used that area as a sports court. There are many possibilities to utilize that space!
Please see the virtual tour for more details and all photos: http://www.tourfactory.com/1838948
by Mary Pope-Handy | Aug 19, 2017 | Market Info
Neighbors often want to see an update on the immediate neighborhood and sale prices of houses that have sold and closed escrow. Here’s a current snapshot of the real estate market in Belwood, Belgatos, and Surmont (and adjacent to the contiguous neighborhood).
View photos and get the details on MLSListings.com here:
In addition to these closed sales, there are 2 in various stages of “under contract”, and there was 1 duplex sold earlier this year, too.
Interested in buying or selling a home in the area? Please reach out to me with an email or a phone call.
Aerial view of the neighborhood and the nearby foothills
by Mary Pope-Handy | Feb 13, 2016 | Belwood, Homes for Sale
Looking for a turnkey home and yard with plenty of space? One with understated style and a comfortable elegance? The home at 127 Belhaven Drive in Belwood of Los Gatos is remodeled top to bottom and move-in ready! It will be on the Multiple Listing Service and ready to be seen on Monday, February 15th., and is offered at $1,650,000.
The house includes 2448 square foot of living space with 5 bedrooms + ground floor office (could be converted to bedroom if needed), 3 full baths (one on first floor), and all the living spaces you could want: living room, dining room, kitchen with oversized nook, separate family room, and a garge decked out as an entertainment center with a kid-friendly focus. Throughout the home there’s a perfect blending of traditionally loved items like hardwood floors, crown molding, baseboard, French doors, plantation shutters, built in cabinets together with much loved contemporary elements like skylights, dual pane windows, recessed and energy efficient LED lights, insulation, an encapsulated crawl space, and of course remodeled kitchen and baths.
With 10,760 square feet, the nearly level lot has room for everything. The yard has been professionally designed and landscaped and may well steal your heart! A big sandbox and amazing, custom built playhouse may well seal the deal! Extra storage in the side yard, a view of the hills from the expansive front porch – what more could you want?
All of this comes just 3-4 blocks from the side entrance of Belgatos Park. This charming home is part of the Belwood HOA, which provides a lovely cabaña, pool, and community events. The nearby Harwood Square Shopping Center includes a good sized Walgreens, Los Gatos, Pizza, Starbucks, and more.
Excellent schools, too: Noddin Elementary, Union Middle, and Leigh High.
Please stop by one of our open house events:
- Wednesday, February 17th 9:30am to 12:30pm (broker open but also public open house)
- Saturday, February 20th 1:30 to 4pm
- Sunday, February 21st, 1:30 to 4pm
Disclosures will be online soon. Offers due Wednesday, Febrary 24th by 11am please.
Want more details? Please see the lengthy list of features here:
Or see the Virtual Tour here : http://www.tourfactory.com/1468742