Surmont

The Surmont subdivision is a highly desirable, scenic, low turnover area situated close to the coastal foothills with large trees, gently winding roads, and tidy homes in Los Gatos, California, 95032.

 

Westhill Drive in the Surmont subdivision in east Los Gatos

 

What are homes and lots like in Surmont?

 

Old Orchard at Westhill Drive in Surmont subdivision

There are 72 houses in Surmont. I pulled the data shared below from Realist, a program offered to members of the MLS which provides information from the Santa Clara County tax records as well as MLS data.

Typical:

  • 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
  • 2496 SF
  • 1 story
  • 2 car garage
  • built in 1965
  • 10,000 SF lot
  • ranch style (or modified ranch)
  • slight hillside grade

Most houses are single story, but a few are split level or two story houses. (Average is 1.33 floors.)

These are good sized single family homes with the average house providing about 2500 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 2.5 or 3 bathrooms. The smallest houses are a little more than 1650 SF and the three largest boast more than 4,000 SF.

This is generally an older area, with most houses first built in the early 1960s. The earliest properties were constructed in 1952 and 1955. Four houses were built after 1970, with the newest constructed in 1980. The average year built is 1965.

Most parcels enjoy between 9,000  SF and 11,000 SF of space, but a few are larger: 4 are about a half acre and 1 is 1.5 acres.

This region is gently hilly overall. A few homes on Surmont Drive, Surmont Court, and Westhill Drive have more of a slope than other parts of the neighborhood. Some of those properties have amazing views, too – though most houses in this community do not. Most of the two story houses are hillside homes.
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Home sales in the neighborhood so far this year

What’s happening in the Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont, and nearby real estate market? Home sales in the neighborhood so far are varied with some fast, some slowly moving! (DOM in the image below stands for Days On Market). Right now there is just one active listing. Use the link to check them out!

Home sales in the neighborhood: summary and link

Please click this link to see the current listings, pending sales, and closed sales over the last 180 days. There are two pending sales right now. The summary is below from the MLS. If you click that image or the link above, you will see the details on the MLS feed. (These are not our listings, but we have seen many and bid with some buyers on one of them.)

 

Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont, and nearby areas - homes sales in the neighborhood and market update

 

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Flipped or nicely remodeled Los Gatos home for sale?

"Beware" button - warning article on buying a flipped homeWant 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.

Belwood Cabaña: Pool Season Schedule!

Belwood Pool and CabanaOver the last month we’ve gone from hailstorm to 80F and sunny, and just in time for our first 90-degree day the Belwood Cabaña pool is opening for the summer season!

Belwood Cabaña: Pool Season Schedule

There are a few different dates to look out for, and as always this schedule is subject to change. Please reference this season’s pool schedule as listed on the HOA website. At the time of publication (4/25/2023) here are the current dates:

2023 Pool Schedule:

April 18 : Pool opens to Keyholders 6 AM to 10 PM

May 27 – May 31 : Facility and Pool Open to members

June 10 – Aug 11 : Open Daily with lifeguards 1 PM to 7 PM.

Aug 12 – Sept 4 : Open WEEKENDS ONLY

The pool will CLOSE for the season at the end of the day on Labor Day, Monday, Sept 4. It will remain open to keyholders until the end of September.

This schedule is subject to change.

Please check http://www.belwoodhomes.org/cabana.html for the latest, most accurate information!

Want to learn more about the Belwood Homes community and Cabaña? Check out our other page with information on the membership and community titled Belwood Cabaña, and stick around at the Belwood Blog for more information and news from the greater Belwood / Belgatos neighborhood!

 

Deaths on Blossom Hill Road

Prevent more deaths on Blossom Hill Road - map of the street with words to drive more slowlyThe east Los Gatos community is shaken by the deaths on Blossom Hill Road this year. They were both close together in time and close together in location.

The media isn’t connecting the stories, even though they are only about .15 of a mile apart. One of them was in Los Gatos and the other in San Jose (Blossom Hill Rd is the dividing line). One was a 2 car accident, the other was an auto hitting people in a crosswalk. Both took place in the first quarter of 2023.

The two recent accidents that caused deaths on Blossom Hill Road:

  1. On January 8th, 2023 at 9:52 a.m., a 19 year old Palo Alto man was driving his vehicle from Belgatos Road and turning left onto Blossom Hill Rd when he was struck by another vehicle and killed. The other driver was injured, also. I haven’t been able to find an update (whether the other driver was arrested or what).
  2. On March 26th, a mother, daughter, and dog were legally crossing Blossom Hill Road at Leigh when they were struck by a vehicle driving westbound with the driver running the red light. The driver did not stop. The mother died, the daughter was injured, and the dog also perished. The driver was identified, in part by the use of Automatic License Plate Reader cameras (discussed in a Belwood Neighborhood Watch meeting recently). That person was arrested and is now behind bars.

I want to add that it seems to be a small miracle that two weeks ago, when we had a multi day power outage, there were no fatalities along this part of Blossom Hill, despite the traffic light being out for days and with no police officer guiding traffic there and no temporary stop signs or orange cones in place. We saw people fly through that intersection as if it didn’t exist.

Part of the challenge for preventing injury and deaths on Blossom Hill Road is the question of jurisdiction. There are places where the northern part of the street is in San Jose and the southern side is in Los Gatos. Here’s a map with the approximate boundary line in green.  The two Xs mark the fatal accidents this year.

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Trails near Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and Heritage Grove neighborhoods

A Heintz Open Space hiking trails entrance with park signHave you explored all of our nearby parks? The Belgatos Park Trails connect directly to two open space preserves with a large network of paths, to hike, bike, or venture on horseback: the The Heinz Open Space Preserve and Santa Rosa Open Space Preserve.

Or if you’d like to learn more before you explore, check out the Town’s park guide, or print a copy and bring it with. We have additional details on Belgatos Park here on the Belwood Blog as well as park-related articles and news for neighborhood residents which can be found under the Belgatos Park tag and Trails tag.

Interactive Map of Trails

My husband, Jim Handy, drew out the local trails on Google Maps and this provides a much better sense of what’s where. Enjoy!


View Blossom Hill Trails in a larger map