Racoons wreaking havoc with lawns in Belwood and east Los Gatos

Racoon Lawn September 2014 227x300 - Racoons wreaking havoc with lawns in Belwood and east Los Gatos Has your yard been hit yet? For the last month or two, many Belwood and nearby residents have been awakening in the morning to damaged landscaping, particularly front lawns.  One home owner phoned the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police to complain about his vandalized front yard. But this time, it’s not human caused damage.

On several social media sites, neighbors vent that they have been victims of wild pigs or boars.  But that’s not it – at least not for most of us.  Boars do far more destruction and they are further in the hills, though perhaps if you are in the east Los Gatos foothills around Santa Rosa, or in parts of Almaden near open space that could be a risk.

Although sometimes the damage is quite extensive, involving a large percentage of one’s front lawn, the guilty parties are usually hungry racoons.  Crows may be assisting too, but they don’t create problems on as large of a scale.

They are after a meal in the form of tasty lawn grubs.  Grubs find their way into the soil to eat the roots of the grass, and those grubs seem to be the best eating in town for some of the local wildlife.

If that’s not enough,  squirrels like to bury food in lawns, too (someone is giving out peanuts in the shell – the squirrels keep burying them in our lawn – I’ve watched them!).
Racoon Lawn October 2014 - Racoons wreaking havoc with lawns in Belwood and east Los Gatos
The first photo is of our family’s front yard and it was taken in early September. The second one is of our next door neighbor’s place, and it was taken about a week ago.

Most of the time, the racoons creep out in the middle of the night, but not always.  A couple of days ago, our hungry hunters came back between about 6pm and9pm.  It must have only barely been dark!

So what can you do about it?

In my real estate practice, recently I showed a home with a lawn grub problem.  The home owners there laid down something like a soft plastic chicken wire atop the lawn and similar landscaping.  It did seem to work in terms of keeping the critters out, but it may not do anything at all for the grubs which are the Siren call to them.

One grub solution is beneficial nematodes.  These are a type of roundworm used to kill the grubs without using pesticides.  This approach may work for some but I’m reading comments online that this has not been so successful for many who’s attempted to quash the grubs this way.

There are anti grub pesticides available as well.  Sunset Magazine advises that the best thing to do is to dig into your lawn and get some of the grub worms to take to your local nursery to identify the culprit, as different treatments will be more successful with one type of grub than another.

No matter how you treat them, you do want to get rid of the grub worms, as a serious infestation will not only be unsightly, but eventually will kill the lawn.

Racoon Lawn Sept 2014 - Racoons wreaking havoc with lawns in Belwood and east Los Gatos

Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby sales year to date

Real estate sales this year in the east Los Gatos areas including Surmont, Belgatos, Belwood of Los Gatos and homes close to Harwood but within the Los Gatos town boundaries have been small in number due to the extraordinarily tight inventory levels.  Below are the closed and pending sales as reported in the MLS for this calendar year so far.

2014 09 28 BelwoodArea - Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby sales year to date

Of the nine closed sales, 5 sold for more than list price – most or all of these were multiple offer situations.  The other four had a variety of situations: one was bank owned, one needed several hundred thousand in finishing work (there was no kitchen, there were no bathrooms, etc.).  The one on Alerche sold “off market” and “off mls”.

Interested in buying or selling a home in or near this pretty corner of Los Gatos?  Please give me a call or send me an email today!

Where is the Surmont neighborhood? Where is Belwood? Belgatos? Heritage Grove?

BingMapOfEastLosGatos 300x247 - Where is the Surmont neighborhood? Where is Belwood? Belgatos? Heritage Grove?Sometimes the search engines cause more harm than good when they begin to label Los Gatos neighborhoods for us.  In the case of Surmont, as well as Heritage Grove, Belwood and Belgatos, that is certainly the case.

Bing has published a map with the wrong answers.  So let’s set it right for the good people trying to figure out what is where.  This mislabeled map puts Surmont across both where it does belong and neighboring Heritage Grove.  It has Heritage Grove north of Strathmore neighborhood (which is correctly placed).  Belwood and Belgatos seem to be either one and the same or north/south of each other.

Of 5 named neighborhoods, one of them is correct.

So let’s set the record straight.

Where is the Surmont neighborhood of Los Gatos?

Surmont starts with Westhill Drive and runs through approximately halfway between Old Orchard and Belblossom.  These homes are a little older than those in Belwood and Belgatos.  Many of them are custom or semi-custom, and a few have large lots with views. The streets include Westhill Drive, Surmont Drive, Surmont Court, Old Orchard Drive and Campos Verde.

Where is the Belgatos neighborhood of Los Gatos?

Belgatos begins with the end of the Surmont subdivision and continues up to Belgatos Road.  Like Surmont, some of the homes along Westhill have bigger lots and views.  These seem to be custom homes built to take advantage of valley vistas.  Other houses down on the flatter area look to be semi custom in many cases. Streets found here are part of Westhill, part of Belblossom, part of Belvue, and part of Belgatos.

Where is the Belwood neighborhood of Los Gatos?

Belwood of Los Gatos runs approximately between Belgatos Road and Harwood.  Some of this area was added about 10 years later (part of Bacigalupi Drive and Jamie Court behind it) and they are not part of the original Belwood subdivision.  This area has optional dues and may use the pool if paying that year.  The rest of Belwood pays lower dues but it’s not option.  The newer stretch also has smaller lots, mostly about 8,000 SF lots instead of 10,000 SF lots. Please see the HOA’s website, BelwoodHomes.org, to get more precise boundary information for Belwood and the pool.  Westhill continues into this area, though the homes appear more semi custom than Belwood generally.  Most of the streets begin with “Bel” as in Belridge, Belcrest, Belglen, Belwood Gateway.

Where is the Heritage Grove neighborhood of Los Gatos?

Heritage Grove is a newer (for Los Gatos) subdivision just off of Blossom Hill Road.   The roads there are Regent Drive, Heintz Court, Ayala Court and Ramohs Way.  If you’d like more information on this younger, upscale subdivision, please read the following article in my Valley of Hearts Delight blog, which includes a slideshow and a bit of local history:
The Heritage Grove Neighborhood in Los Gatos and the Heintz Open Space Preserve
Heritage Grove Surmont Belgatos Belwood of Los Gatos - Where is the Surmont neighborhood? Where is Belwood? Belgatos? Heritage Grove?

If you enjoy this blog and would like more information on Los Gatos or the San Jose and Silicon Valley areas generally, please have a look at my other blogs:

Live in Los Gatos blog (newly moved to WordPress, better than ever!)
Valley of Hearts Delight blog (SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com)

Nextdoor.com site for Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont, Harwood, Gemini, Alerche and more

Nextdoor mapFINAL Nov 17 2013 - Nextdoor.com site for Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont, Harwood, Gemini, Alerche and moreUpdate 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.

Belwood Belgatos - Nextdoor.com site for Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont, Harwood, Gemini, Alerche and moreThe Town of Los Gatos has embraced Nextdoor as a great way to facilitate communication and major town events are announced on this site also.

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:
https://belwood-belgatos.nextdoor.com

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.

 

Almost no homes for sale in Surmont, Belwood and Belgatos right now

Contact Mary Now - Almost no homes for sale in Surmont, Belwood and Belgatos right nowLos Gatos housing inventory may well be at an all time low.  For other blogs, I crunch the real estate numbers regularly and can tell you that in the last 15 years (for which I can get MLS statistics) there’ve never been so few available homes to buy.  I’ve been selling real estate for 20 years now and don’t remember it ever being so dire. In fact, the worst year ever still had twice as many houses for sale as what we’ve got now.

The available inventory in Los Gatos, and Santa Clara County generally, is inching up.  The numbers have risen about 25% from a couple of months ago, but are off between 30% and 65% from the year before, depending on how you slice and dice the numbers.  In our lovely corner of east Los Gatos, right now there are only 2 homes for sale, one on Blossom Hill and one on a side street at the corner of Blossom Hill. Last year there were 13 sales in the neighborhood, and in 2011 there were 17.  We could use more inventory!

If you are thinking of selling in 2013, now is a great time.  There’s little competition and a very strong level of buyer demand.  Please call me for a free, no obligation, no pressure consultation.  Please email me at mary (at) popehandy.com or call me at 408 204-7673.

 

More information:
Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends and Statistics

Belwood Lost Cat – Is This Yours?

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.

Belwood lost cat Jan 2013 - Belwood Lost Cat - Is This Yours?

Belwood of Los Gatos lost cat Jan 2013