east Los Gatos
Welcome to my site regarding a beautiful neighborhood in east Los Gatos, including Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos, Surmont, and adjacent tracts & subdivisions. Here I’ll provide ongoing real estate information, some events that are happening in the community, photos of Belgatos Park and other nearby areas, and items of concern to residents in this pretty corner of Los Gatos.
Please note that this is NOT the Belwood Homeowner’s Association website. For the HOA site, and phone numbers for the Cabaña or HOA, for lifeguard jobs, please visit BelwoodHomes.org
Enjoy this slideshow of photos of our scenic neighborhood.
You’ve probably heard that home prices in Silicon Valley generally and Los Gatos specifically peaked earlier this year and have been coming down significantly since then.
How is the market today in our corner of Los Gatos with Leigh High School? Here’s a breakdown of single family home sales in the last 90 days, broken into 4 pricing tiers, starting with the most expensive homes. (I crunched this myself on the MLS tonight.)
It’s interesting too note that most homes are about 50 – 60 years old. Lot size and home size are the main drivers within these parameters. The home’s condition makes a big difference, of course. Properties that are in original or fixer condition will sell for a lot less than those which have been fully or largely remodeled.
If you focus on the sale price to list price ratio, it looks like the hottest segment of this market is in the low $2 millions.
Also curious to me is that the bottom 3 tiers rise in terms of home and lot size and price at an almost predictable pace, while that upper tier is out in the stratosphere by comparison.
Thinking of downsizing?
This info is also interesting if viewed through the lens of someone who may be ready or interested in down sizing. If your home about 2500 SF on a 10,000 SF lot and you’re thinking of “right sizing” to a 1500 SF home on a 6,000 to 8,000 SF lot, how does that shake out? Perhaps your current home would sell for $1.8 to $2 million if all fixed up / remodeled and so on. The replacement home, if you were to stay here in Los Gatos, would be perhaps $1,500,000. After paying off any mortgage balance, closing costs, and capital gains taxes, is such a move worth it? Perhaps not.
If you go across the border to Cambrian for downsizing, that 1500 SF home on a smaller lot will run about $1.3 – $1.5 million today, depending on lot size and condition. Again, that’s probably not a steep enough drop to make it worthwhile for most people after all the other costs are factored in. Hence, may retirees move to places like Sacramento (or nearby: El Dorado Hills, Roseville, etc.), San Luis Obispo, or perhaps where grown kids and grandkids live, if they have been priced out of the market here.
Interested in buying or selling a home in east Los Gatos (or anywhere in Santa Clara County)? Please shoot me an email and we can set up a confidential, no obligation consultation.
Please also see:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 408 204-7673
How’s the local real estate market in east Los Gatos? Homes here are in a very active price point for Los Gatos generally, as well as for Los Gatos with Union schools. (You can also view homes for sale in our area here on BelwoodOfLosGatos.com under the “real estate” tab – or just use this link.)
Homes for sale, pending and sold/closed in the last 30 days in Belwood, Surmont and Belgatos neighborhoods:
Right now there are 5 houses for sale in Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont. Of them there are 4 “regular sale” properties available and one short sale in the neighborhood (2 on Westhill, 1 on Belhaven, 1 on Belblossom and the short sale on Belwood Gateway). One home, which was very affordably listed at $875,000, is sale pending. Additionally, a bank owned property or REO (real estate owned by the bank) is under contract.
How long have they been listed for sale? The two on Westhill just came on the market within the last few days. Two of the five have been available for about 60-70 days.
You can read the MLS info on each of them on my ValleyOfHeartsDelight blog.
How are prices? Four neighborhood homes have closed escrow in the last 30 days, with prices ranging from $975,000 to just under 1.2 million.
Months supply of inventory: To figure the months of inventory, you simply divide the actives by the solds (from the last month). We have 5 available and 4 which have closed – so 1.25 months of inventory. That looks pretty good but if you live in the area you know that these things tend to come in waves and just a month ago we had “infinite” months of inventory. So don’t get over excited about this and price your home too high – if houses are priced appropriately, they are selling. If not, they are sitting.
Below are live charts and graphs from Altos research for the 95032 zip code. They will automatically update themselves each week, so even if this post appears “old”, the info below will always be current!
Charts and graphs by Altos Research using active listings
On Friday, September 9th, in the late morning a brush fire ignited at the Heintz Open Space Preserve in east Los Gatos (close to Belgatos Park, the Heritage Grove neighborhood and Surmont area). Jim and I were at home, working at our computers that morning, and our first hint of the problem was the repeated flyovers by low flying airplanes and seemingly omnipresent helicopter nearby. It seemed like another “fire drill” of sorts – except that this time there were several planes plus the helicopter.
Turns out it was a very small fire not so far out of reach from the fire hydrant at the Heritage Grove neighborhood where the trailhead is…just a couple of sitchbacks up the trail.
Jim hiked up there yesterday and took some photos of the burned trail area, which we hope you’ll enjoy.
Here’s a photo of the fire at the switchback. No lightening when this broke out. What caused it – a cigarette?
Finally, here’s what the fire retardant looks like after the fact – orange goo all over the plants and trees which didn’t burn.
So the next time we all gripe about the planes flying over Belwood, let’s be grateful that they practice and that the little fires don’t turn into big ones!
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 that look “turnkey”, especially as the market heats up or inventory more available.
Home sellers who quickly improve houses for a fast profit, rather than for enjoying the house for their own use, often cut corners. 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.
Here are some questions for you to ask or investigate when looking at homes for sale in east Los Gatos, particularly near the foothills :
- 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. But what about expensive but less seen areas such as
- the electrical system
- furnace (heater)
- water heater
- roof, gutters & downspouts
- drainage system (often needed, seldom there)
- back yard landscaping
- the foundation (always a potential issue in our east Los Gatos neighborhood if drainage hasn’t been properly addressed)
- 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.
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.