Silicon Valley Real Estate Articles and Community News

Oct. 17, 2017

Avoid Common Silicon Valley Seller Mistakes

Selling your Silicon Valley home can often come with quite a bit of stress. Am I going to get the price I'm asking for? How long will it take to find a buyer? Luckily, the Silicon Valley real estate market favors sellers right now. Low inventory and high demand mean traffic should find its way to your door pretty easily. However, that doesn't guarantee you a quick, profitable sale. Avoid these common Silicon Valley seller mistakes so that your home sale goes as smoothly as possible.

Pricing too high. Talking too much. Not staging your home. Avoid these common Silicon Valley seller mistakes and others for a smoother transaction.

Avoid Common Silicon Valley Seller Mistakes

Saying Too Much

Your kids have all grown up and moved out of the house. A new job takes you elsewhere. You and your spouse are getting a divorce. The mortgage payment has become too cumbersome to afford so you want to downsize. Everybody sells for different reasons. However, those reasons are yours and yours alone. Buyers don't need to know why you're selling. This information could affect their offer. Confide in your Silicon Valley REALTOR@ if you want. Otherwise, mum's the word.

Pricing too High

Search North Bayshore Homes for SaleOut of all the Silicon Valley seller mistakes made, this might be the most common one. Many sellers have a specific number in their head that they feel they absolutely MUST receive. Unfortunately, this doesn't always correlate to what the market will allow. Forget that you spent $50,000 installing a pool in your background. Ignore the $75,000 you put into your kitchen remodel. Yes, this makes your Silicon Valley home more attractive. But, you rarely recoup every single cent you put into remodel/renovation projects. 

Have your Silicon Valley REALTOR@ run comps on homes that recently sold in your neighborhood (within the past 30-60 days). Also, ask them to find out what homes in your area are currently listed for. One strategy employed by sellers is to actually set a price slightly below market value. This acts as an enticement to get more buyers to your listing. More interested buyers could potentially bring several offers, driving up the actual final sale price. It can be a risk. Discuss this strategy with your REALTOR@ to see if it's a risk that might be worth taking.

Not Staging Your Silicon Valley Home

The next mistake Silicon Valley sellers make is to not take the time to stage their home. That doesn't mean moving out either. An empty home tends to take longer to sell. That's because buyers need to see themselves in the space. I recommend hiring a professional whenever possible. Your REALTOR@ may be able to recommend someone. However, you can do it yourself if you're so inclined. Visit a few model homes for inspiration. Pack up all non-essential items and store them away in a storage facility. Just think of it as getting a jump on your packing. Rearrange furniture in each room to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative. That may mean moving a bureau from the bedroom into the dining room. Or taking a chair out of your sitting area and putting it in the living room. 

DIY Selling

Those house flipping shows on TV make it seem super easy to sell a property yourself. That's not necessarily true. If you pay attention, usually at least one of the people in each successful team is a licensed real estate agent. An experienced REALTOR@ knows the area, including current market trends. They also take care of marketing, hosting open houses and brokers' opens, field offers, negotiate a sale price, schedule inspections, address any potential problems that come up and keep an eye on deadlines. Unless you have enough time to work, spend time with your family AND take care of all the tiny details involved in your home's sale, you're going to need a Silicon Valley REALTOR@.

Not Disclosing Issues with the Property

Sometime during the sale, you will be presented with a Transfer Disclosure Statement that you, as the seller, must fill out. Be as thorough as you can. If a buyer finds out that there is an issue that was not disclosed before the final sale, they may have grounds to sue you later on. With disclosures, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Avoid these common Silicon Valley seller mistakes to ensure a smooth sale. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I'm always ready to help.

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Posted in Selling a Home
Oct. 11, 2017

Silicon Valley Market Report - September 2017

According to the Silicon Valley Market Report for September 2017, prices continue to rise, inventory decreased dramatically and sales are a mixed bag.Prices continue to rise while inventory sinks even further in the Silicon Valley real estate market. According to my Silicon Valley Market Report for September 2017, inventory levels stayed well below one month. Cupertino and Santa Clara had the lowest levels at a two week supply. Buyers in each of the six Silicon Valley communities in this market report paid well over the list price and much more than they did last year. 

Cupertino Real Estate Market - September 2017

Sales saw a slight uptick from last year. In September 2016, a total of 36 Cupertino homes were sold. In September 2017, that rose to 38. Inventory levels dropped from one month available to 0.4 months (less than two weeks). That's also a 57% decrease from August's 0.7 months available. The lack of inventory continues to drive up sale prices. Cupertino Buyers paid an average of $1,665,266 in September 2016 (3.1% of the list price). In September 2017, they paid $1,848,023 on average (17.5% above the list price). This brought the average price-per-square-foot to $1,047, a 14.8% increase from September 2016's $912 price-per-square-foot.

Los Altos Real Estate Market - September 2017

A total of 46 Los Altos homes sold in September 2016. This dropped by 30.4% in September 2017, which showed a total of 32 Los Altos homes sold. Inventory remained constant at 0.9 months available. Prices skyrocketed last month in Los Altos to an average of $3,073,563 (10.4% above list price). Compared to the previous year where Los Altos Buyers paid an average of $2,104,605 in September 2016 (11.7% under the list price). Ironically the price-per-square-foot has gone down to $1,192 in September compared from $1,240 in September 2016. I expect the drop in Price-per-square-foot will be a one-month event caused by an increase in the number of larger homes selling in one month.

Mountain View Real Estate Market - September 2017

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Mountain View experienced a 13.5% increase in year-over-year sales. Forty-two (42) sold in September 2017 compared to 37 sales in September 2016.  Like Cupertino, though, inventory levels sank. The 1.6 months available in September 2016 fell to just 0.6 month’s inventory in September 2017. Like the other communities, we cover prices continue to go up in Mountain View. Last month Buyers paid and of  $1,604,247 (15.9% above the list price) compared to the previous year at this time when Mountain View Buyers paid an average of $1,437,265 in September 2016 (5.5% above the list price). Likewise, the average price-per-square-foot increased from $936 in September 2016 to $1,064 in September 2017.

San Jose Real Estate Market - September 2017

Like Los Altos, San Jose total sales were down compared to last year. A total of 751 Los Altos homes were sold in September 2016 dipped 2.7% to 731 in September 2017. Inventory here sunk from 1.6 months available in September 2016 to just 0.5 months available in September 2017. Like the other Silicon Valley communities in this market report, prices marched upward. San Jose Buyers paid an average of $824,916 in September 2016 (4.8% under the list price). In September 2017, they paid an average of $960,303 (7.8% under the list price). Not only are they the only community on this Silicon Valley market report that shows an average sale price under $1,000,000, but they also happen to be the only community where Buyers are still paying under the list price. The average price-per-square-foot increased from $544 in September 2016 to $617 in September 2017.

Santa Clara Real Estate Market - September 2017

Santa Clara sales are on the rise. A total of 82 Santa Clara homes were sold in September 2016. This increased 13.4% to 93 in September 2017. Like the rest of the Silicon Valley, inventory remains extremely low. The 1.5 months available in September 2016 dropped to 0.4 months available in September 2017. Prices increased as well. Santa Clara Buyers paid an average of $929,737 in September 2016 (4.5% above the list price). In September 2017, they spent an average of $1,181,485 (16.6% above the list price). The average price-per-square-foot rose from $676 in September 2016 to $819 in September 2017.

Sunnyvale Real Estate Market - September 2017

Year-over-year sales dipped nine percent (9%) in Sunnyvale compared to last year. A total of 78 Sunnyvale homes were sold in September 2016. This was to 71 in September 2017 as the supply of homes for sale dwindles compared 2016. It dropped from 1.2 months available in September 2016 to just 0.5 months available in September 2017. Like the other Silicon Valley communities in this report, prices went up here as well. Sunnyvale Buyers paid an average of $1,249,922 in September 2016 (just 0.8% under the list price). In September 2017, they paid an average of $1,459,952 (12.1% above the list price). The average price-per-square-foot increased from $804 in September 2016 to $1,009 in September 2017.

Silicon Valley Market Report - September 2017 Summary

The demand for Silicon Valley homes remains high as more people continue to move to Santa Clara County. Likewise, it appears we have lost the move-up buyer. Existing homeowners are not looking larger homes or moving from a condo to a single-family home. Homeowners realize they can sell for a premium, but the fear of not being able to buy their next home is stopping them from listing their existing home. As long this concern exists, we will not see an increase in inventory levels.

For Buyers planning to buy a Silicon Valley Home be prepared to face lots of competition and pay well over the list price.  Likewise, more than ever, it's critical to make your offer as strong as possible: get pre-approved before you start your property search and be ready to act fast if you see a home you like. Wait too long, the home of your dreams will be sold in as short as one day!

If you have questions about the content of the Silicon Valley Market Report, please contact the author, your Silicon Valley REALTOR@. To find out what's available on the market right now, visit my Home Buying page for helpful buyer tips.

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Sept. 26, 2017

Silicon Valley Household Hazardous Waste Program 2017

We all know about separating trash into recyclable, yard trimmings and regular trash. But what do you do with old medicine, empty propane tanks, batteries or electronic devices? They aren't allowed in a regular curbside pickup. 

Make an appointment with the Silicon Valley Household Hazardous Waste Program 2017 to get rid of any items (except tires) that aren't allowed at regular curbside pickup.

Silicon Valley Household Hazardous Waste Program 2017

All household waste that cannot be picked up through weekly curbside pickup must be dropped off at an official facility during normal business hours. To do so, residents need to contact the Silicon Valley Household Hazardous Waste Program at (408) 299-7300 or visit the HHW.org website online to make an appointment. At that time, they will be given the address of the drop-off facility as well as directions. Staff must be on hand to supervise the drop-off. Therefore, addresses are not made public to avoid anyone dropping off material without authorization.

Silicon Valley Household Hazardous Waste Schedule

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Currently, the HHW.org website only lists dates up through the end of October 2017. Cupertino and Palo Alto offer their own individual hazardous waste disposal programs. Therefore, residents of those cities must call 800-449-7587 (Cupertino) or 650-496-5910 (Palo Alto) to make arrangements. They do not accept used automotive tires due to strict landfill regulations from the state. Most tire companies will dispose of the tires for you for a small fee when you buy new tires.

San Jose Facility

  • September 28th, 29th & 30th
  • October - every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

Santa Clara Facility

  • September 30th only

Sunnyvale Facility

  • October 21st only

The Silicon Valley Household Hazardous Waste Program accepts almost all hazardous waste. When you make your appointment, ask the staff member to make sure your items are allowed. Let's all do our part to ensure the planet stays viable for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Sept. 19, 2017

Silicon Valley Market Report - August 2017

The Silicon Valley Market Report for August 2017 showed an increase in sales for most of the area, lower inventory than last year and higher prices across the board.Silicon Valley continues to be a Seller's market. Every single one of the communities in this Silicon Valley Market Report for August 2017 had less than one month of inventory available. Sunnyvale was the lowest at just one week's supply. For perspective, a "balanced" market would have around three months of inventory available for sale. Only Cupertino experienced a year-over-year decrease in sales. However, the drop of sales was caused by a lack of affordable homes for sale. Every other city saw higher sales, with Sunnyvale (+32.3%), Santa Clara (+39%) and Los Altos (41.2%) coming out on top. All Silicon Valley communities in this market report saw prices go up month-over-month and year-over-year.

Cupertino Real Estate Market - August 2017

Total sales of Cupertino homes declined over the past year. In August 2016, 32 Cupertino homes were sold. In August 2017, that dropped 15.6% to 27 total homes sold. Inventory levels decreased even further. While there were a reported 1.2 months available in August 2016, only 0.7 months were reported in August 2017. Prices continue to march upward as well. Cupertino Buyers paid an average of $1,567,584 in August 2016 (10.7% below list price). In August 2017, they paid $2,062,156 on average (3.9% above list price). This put the average price-per-square-foot at $1,025, a 10.6% increase from the $927 in August 2016.

Los Altos Real Estate Market - August 2017

Seventeen (17) Los Altos homes were sold in August 2016. In August 2017, they rose 41.2% to 24 total homes sold. Inventory levels dropped here as well. While there were a reported 2.3 months of inventory available in August 2016, only 0.8 months were shown in August 2017. Prices rose here, too. Los Altos Buyers paid an average of $2,488,611 in August 2016 (13.7% below list price). In August 2017, they paid $2,807,083 on average (just 0.2% below list price). This put the average price-per-square-foot at $1,276, a 10.9% increase from the $1,151 in August 2016.

Mountain View Real Estate Market - August 2017

The Mountain View market followed Los Altos' footsteps. In August 2016, 50 Mountain View homes were sold. In August 2017, they increased 20% to a total of 60 homes sold. Inventory in Mountain View is the lowest of all Silicon Valley communities in this market report. They dropped from 1.1 months available in August 2016 to just 0.3 months in August 2017. Prices increased as well. Mountain View Buyers paid an average of $1,347,968 in August 2016 (2% above list price). In August 2017, they paid $1,605,602 on average (4.8% above list price). This put the average price-per-square-foot at $1,061, a 16.7% increase from the $909 in August 2016.

San Jose Real Estate Market - August 2017

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As usual, San Jose showed the most activity out of all Silicon Valley communities in this market report. In August 2016, 761 San Jose homes were sold. In August 2017, this went up 7.5% to a total of 818 total homes sold. Like the rest of the Silicon Valley, inventory levels tightened even more. They decreased from 1.6 months available in August 2016 to 0.5 months in August 2017. That's over 2/3 less homes available than the previous year. San Jose also continued to be the most "affordable" of the six communities in this Silicon Valley market report. San Jose Buyers paid an average of $853,928 in August 2016 (0.3% above list price). In August 2017, they paid $956,809 on average (2.4% above list price). This put the average price-per-square-foot at $604, a 10.4% increase from the $547 in August 2016.

Santa Clara Real Estate Market - August 2017

Santa Clara year-over-year sales also experienced an increase. In August 2016, 82 Santa Clara homes were sold. In August 2017, this skyrocketed 39% to 114 total homes sold. Inventory levels dropped from 1.8 months available in August 2016 to just 0.4 months available in August 2017. Santa Clara Buyers paid an average of $972,353 in August 2016 (1.7% above list price). In August 2017, they paid an average of $1,173,555 (10.5% above list price). This put the average price-per-square-foot at $825, a 22% increase from the $676 in August 2016.

Sunnyvale Real Estate Market - August 2017

Like most of the rest of the Silicon Valley communities in this market report, year-over-year sales in Sunnyvale went up. In August 2016, 75 Sunnyvale homes were sold. In August 2017, they shot up 32.3% to 98. Inventory here is the lowest out of all six areas on this Silicon Valley market report. The dropped from one month available in August 2016 to just 0.2 months available in August 2017. Sunnyvale Buyers paid an average of $1,196,999 in August 2016 (1.3% above list price). In August 2017, they paid an average of $1,469,337 (12% above list price). This put the average price-per-square-foot at $990, a 24.1% increase from the $798 in August 2016.

What Silicon Valley Buyers Need to Know

You should expect to see the Silicon Valley real estate market continue to favor the Seller through the end of this year. Incredibly low inventory levels partnered with a high demand force prices up all over the Silicon Valley. My biggest piece of advice is to start getting your financing in order. When you find the perfect Silicon Valley home for your needs, you'll want to pounce on it right away. Be prepared to pay above asking in most of these communities. Contact your Silicon Valley REALTOR@ to get started today. As always, feel free to visit my Home Buying page for more buyer tips

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Sept. 12, 2017

Silicon Valley Energy Upgrade California Program

We all want a more energy efficient home. Not only does this reduce energy costs, but it helps the environment as well. I wrote about how Silicon Valley Green Energy began offering 100% green energy to Silicon Valley homes earlier this summer. I also offered some simple yet effective energy saving tips, too. But, did you know that the Silicon Valley Energy Upgrade California Program offers homeowner rebates when you do a regular home upgrade or an advanced home upgrade?

The Silicon Valley Energy Upgrade California Program offers two rebate options: a regular home upgrade (up to $3000 in rebates) and an advanced home upgrade (up to $5500 in rebates).Silicon Valley Energy Upgrade California Program

Option #1 - Home Upgrade

Search North Bayshore Homes for SaleAny Silicon Valley home built before 2001 can perform energy efficient upgrades through the Home Upgrade program. At least three upgrades to heating and/or air conditioning elements in your home must be completed to receive any rebates. These include things like duct sealing, insulation, water heater and windows. Any upgrades done through the Home Upgrade program can net you up to $3000 in rebates as well as $150 back on your combustion safety test.

Option #2 - Advanced Home Upgrade

With the Advanced Home Upgrade option, your contractor uses special equipment to assess various locations throughout your Silicon Valley home. This helps determine what areas need to be addressed for energy waste. If you perform recommended upgrades that decrease your energy usage by at least 10%, you become eligible for rebates. When you perform any upgrades through the Advanced Home Upgrade program, you may receive up to $5500 in rebates as well as a $300 assessment initiative.

Rebate Eligibility

To be eligible for rebates through the Silicon Valley Energy Upgrade California Program, you must:

  • be a Santa Clara County resident
  • be a PG&E customer
  • own the single-family home you are performing upgrades on
  • use a contractor approved by the program to perform the upgrades
  • perform upgrades on any heating/cooling equipment PG&E services in your home

Find out more about the Silicon Valley Energy Upgrade California Program by visiting the Bay Area Energy Upgrade website here.

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Aug. 29, 2017

Costs of Buying a Silicon Valley Home

VA loans require no money down. With a high enough credit rating, a conventional buyer may be able to get a loan with no money down through other means. However, most Silicon Valley home buyers must provide a down payment. Furthermore, the down payment represents only one of the many costs involved in buying a Silicon Valley home. Do you know the others?

Don't be surprised. Know the costs of buying a Silicon Valley home before you close. Hint: the down payment is just the beginning.

Costs of Buying a Silicon Valley Home

Some costs of buying a Silicon Valley home occur only during the transaction itself. Others continue on a regular basis. When considering whether or not the home you're looking at is "affordable", keep these costs in mind. Some of these costs may not come up at all. But I included them here anyway just in case. That way, you won't be surprised if and when they come up during the Silicon Valley home buying process.

One Time Costs

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Most lenders require an appraisal be done of the Silicon Valley home you're interested in purchasing. This runs anywhere from $175 to $300. They want to make sure it is worth the money they are loaning you to buy it. Other one-time fees include a mortgage broker fee, survey fee, land transfer tax and legal fees. A mortgage broker looks for lenders to fit your needs and organizes all the paperwork involved. They are entitled to a fee for their services. You can either talk to your Silicon Valley real estate agent to see if they recommend someone or shop around on your own.

Your mortgage company may request a property survey be done if it is an existing home (versus new construction). This could cost anywhere between $700 and $1000. Again, talk to your personal real estate agent for possible recommendations. Next, there's the land transfer tax. This exists whenever property changes hands. Finally, some people may want a lawyer to look over your paperwork before you sign. Not everyone does this. But, if you do, shop around. Rates and reputation vary.

Other expenses may seem trivial but are often overlooked when you think about the costs of buying a Silicon Valley home. First of all, there's the moving costs. These can be lofty, even when you do it yourself. Hiring a professional company may cost a bit more (around $50 to $100 per hour or higher when demand is up), but it might be easier than trying to convince friends and family to help. Next, there's your utilities. When moving to a new address, utility companies may require a one-time installation fee. These can add up when you consider the various companies involved. That cost is unavoidable.

Ongoing Costs

Of course, you pay a monthly mortgage payment when you buy a Silicon Valley home unless it's an all cash purchase. However, even when you pay cash for your home, you still must contend with property taxes. Most often, this gets included in with your mortgage payment. If it isn't, you'll be required to show proof of payment every year. Property insurance covers your home and its contents in case of theft or damage. Your lender may require you to obtain mortgage loan insurance depending on how much equity you have in your Silicon Valley home. This can cost between 0.5 and 3.5% of the total loan and will be added as a monthly fee along with your mortgage and tax payment. Finally, there's maintenance fees. When you live in a condo, this is an extra fee for maintaining the property's exterior. If you live in a suburb with an HOA, they will charge an annual maintenance fee.

As you can see, the down payment is only the first of many costs associated with buying a Silicon Valley home. Visit my home buying page for more information on the Silicon Valley home buying process. Or, you can always contact me with any questions you may have. I'm here to serve.

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Aug. 22, 2017

Silicon Valley Home Buyers: Pre-Approval vs Pre-Qualifying

Back in the day (ie, before the bust of the mid-2000's), pre-qualification of a mortgage might have been enough to start a Silicon Valley real estate search.  After the bubble burst, though, things shifted.  Pre-qualification won't cut it now.  Silicon Valley Home Buyers need to be pre-approved instead.  This works to your advantage in more ways than one.

For Silicon Valley home buyers, pre-approval is always better than pre-qualifying for a home loan. Your first step in buying a Silicon Valley home should always be to secure financing.

Advantages of Mortgage Pre-Approval for Silicon Valley Home Buyers

Show of Strength

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The Silicon Valley real estate market is one of the most competitive markets in the entire country.  As such, Sellers rule the roost.  For every home available for sale, several Buyers show interest.  This allows Sellers the luxury of choosing from multiple offers.  You present an offer with a Certificate of Financing Approval to back it up.  Another Silicon Valley Buyer offers more money but presents their offer with a "condition of financing" addendum.  Most Sellers choose the offer with financing already in place.  Why?  They won't have to wait and gamble with the possibility of financing not going through.  Money can exchange hands sooner with a pre-approved Buyer.

Potential Cost Savings

The sooner you start the financial approval process, the sooner you can lock in your interest rates.  Financial experts believe we could see higher rates soon.  A lower rate means a lower payment.  This also helps you determine your points and closing costs.  That way, there are no surprises come closing time.  Completing the pre-approval process early also grants you extra time to find the perfect Silicon Valley home.  For more tips about the home buying process, please visit my Home Buying page.  Or, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. 

Cash Buyers don't have to worry about the pre-approval process.  All other Silicon Valley home Buyers on the other hand need to start this process right away.  Don't miss out on your dream home because you were ill prepared.  Talk to your lender today so you can settle into the Silicon Valley home of your dreams tomorrow.

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Aug. 15, 2017

Energy Saving Tips for Your Silicon Valley Home

Energy costs for an average Silicon Valley home add up to approximately $1300 per year.  Programs like Silicon Valley Clean Energy's GreenStart and GreenPrime utilize clean renewable energy.  While they help reduce our carbon footprint, they don't necessarily reduce your monthly expenses.  However, you can lower your costs in other ways.  Check out my energy saving tips for your Silicon Valley home below.  They can help cut your energy costs by anywhere between 10% and 50%.

Reduce costs by utilizing my energy saving tips for your Silicon Valley home. PG&E offers a free online audit of your home's energy usage to help identify areas you need to improve.

Energy Saving Tips for Your Silicon Valley Home

Perform an Audit of Your Silicon Valley Home

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First of all, you're going to need to audit your home's energy usage.  You can do this yourself if you'd like.  Pacific Gas & Electric offers a Home Energy Checkup online.  All you have to do is sign in to your account and answer a few questions about how you and your family use the energy in your Silicon Valley home.  Then, it analyzes your answers to create a personalized list of ways in which you can reduce energy usage in your "high traffic" areas.

A walk through of your Silicon Valley home can also help you identify possible problem areas.  Look for holes or cracks in your windows, walls, floors, doors, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures and even your electrical sockets.  Pay attention to how and where you use electricity in your home.  This will tell you where you need to focus your conservation efforts.

Create a Plan and Implement It

After you've identified the areas that need to be addressed, formulate your plan of attack.  Then, make the changes necessary.

Windows/Doors - Replace old, cracked weatherstripping.  If you look at your front door and can see sunlight streaming through, they aren't hung properly.  You're losing heat in the winter and cool air in the summer.  Sometimes, a kick plate and added weatherstripping around the door can alleviate some of the problem.  However, contacting a professional to fix it may be a better way to go.  The few dollars it costs for them to rehang your door could save you thousands of dollars in energy costs down the road.

Fireplace - Everyone loves cozying up to a fire when the weather turns chilly.  But this also presents an issue with energy costs.  Keep the flue closed when not in use.  If you don't every use your fireplace, consider plugging it up and sealing the chimney flue completely.  Maximize the heat coming from the fireplace by cracking a nearby window to no more than 1" open.  Shut the doors that lead into the room.  This helps circulate the warm air instead of sending it up the chimney and outside of your home.

Air Conditioners/Heaters - Make sure these are maintained properly.  That means changing your air conditioner's filter every three months.  Have someone perform a maintenance check on your heater in early fall, before you put it into use for the colder months.

Thermostat - A programmable thermostat just may be your best friend.  In the summer, set the temperature higher when no one is home.  Then, about half an hour before you normally return, you can set it to a comfortable temperature.  In the winter, keep it at a lower temperature when everyone is gone.

Ducts - Every Silicon Valley home includes a large amount of ducts.  The twists and turns allow for several points of deterioration.  Check every inch of duct work for leaks.  If you use duct tape to repair the leaks, make sure it has an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) seal of approval.  It is less likely to degrade or wear down over time than those without the UL logo.

These are just a few energy saving tips for your Silicon Valley home.  If you don't hire a professional to inspect your home for leaks, your best bet would probably be to take PG&E's online Home Energy Checkup.  Fixing areas of energy waste not only helps reduce our impact on Mother Earth, but it also reduces the impact on our finances.

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Aug. 8, 2017

Silicon Valley Market Report - July 2017

The Silicon Valley Market Report for July 2017 showed sales were up everywhere except Los Altos. Every community except San Jose has an average sale price over $1 million. Inventory dropped even further.Silicon Valley real estate continues to be a Seller's market.  Every single one of the communities in this Silicon Valley Market Report for July 2017 showed well under one month inventory available.  Los Altos was the only Silicon Valley market with less year-over-year sales in July.  Likewise, prices in every city tracked have gone up compared to June 2017.  In fact, San Jose is now the only community tracked in Silicon Valley where the average list price is still under $1,000,000.

Cupertino Real Estate Market - July 2017

Housing inventory continues to remain low in Cupertino, from 2.1 months in July 2016 to just 0.8 months in July 2017. Twenty-nine homes were sold in Cupertino in July 2017, a 38.1% increase from the 21 sold in July 2016.  Lower new listings have continued to drive prices up as well.  In July 2016, Cupertino Buyers paid $1,823,583 (9.8% above list price). In July 2017, they paid an average of $1,859,966 (2.3% above list price).  The average price-per-square-foot increased from $990 in July 2016 to $1,051 in July 2017, a 6.2% upturn.

Los Altos Real Estate Market - July 2017

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Year-over-year sales dipped slightly in Los Altos.  A total of 33 homes were sold in Los Altos in July 2017, just two less than the 35 sold in July 2016.  Like most of the rest of the Silicon Valley real estate market, inventory levels remain low.  The 1.2 months shown in July 2016 dropped even further to just 0.7 month's availability in July 2017.  Los Altos Buyers paid an average of $2,737,304 in July 2016 (5.5% above list price).  In July 2017, they paid an average of $2,925,421 (4.6% above list price).  This bumped up the price-per-square-foot from $1,111 in July 2016 to $1,242 in July 2017, an increase of 11.8%.

Mountain View Real Estate Market - July 2017

Year-over-year sales saw a slight uptick in Mountain View.  The 52 homes sold in July 2017 equaled just one more than the 51 sold in July 2016.  Mountain View inventory levels experienced the same tightening that the rest of the Silicon Valley communities did.  The inventory of available homes for sale decreased from 0.9 months in July 2016 to just two weeks in July 2017.  In July 2016, Mountain View Buyers paid an average of $1,264,190 (2.9% under list price).  In July 2017, they paid an average of $1,559,497. This represents 23.4% year-over-year appreciation in this highly-sought community, thus boosting the price-per-square-foot from $877 in July 2016 to $1,063 in July 2017.

San Jose Real Estate Market - July 2017

San Jose continues to be one of the few communities still somewhat affordable in Silicon Valley; as such, home sales continue to increase month over month and year to year. A total of 781 San Jose homes were sold in July 2017, a 9.2% increase from the 715 sold in July 2016.  With high demand, inventory levels were cut by two-thirds from their 1.8 months available in July 2016 to just 0.6 month’s inventory in July 2017.  San Jose Buyers paid an average of $883,292 in July 2016 (3.2% of list price).  In July 2017, they paid an average of $968,644 (4.1% over list price).  This brought the average price-per-square-foot to $609 in July 2017, 10.1% above the $553 paid in July 2016.

Santa Clara Real Estate Market - July 2017

Eighty-seven Santa Clara homes were sold in July 2017, 19.2% more than the 73 sold in July 2016.  Inventory levels dropped from 1.5 months in July 2016 to just 0.7 month’s inventory in July 2016. In July 2017, Buyers paid an average of $1,111,825 (4.5% above list price).   In July 2016, Santa Clara Buyers paid an average of $957,208.  This pushed the price-per-square-foot up to $814, 21.9% higher than the $668 paid in July 2016.

Sunnyvale Real Estate Market - July 2017

Sunnyvale CA continues to be a community in high demand due to its proximity to companies like Apple, LinkedIn, and Google.  A total of 94 Sunnyvale homes were sold in July 2017, 17.5% more than the 80 sold in July 2016.  Just like the rest of Silicon Valley, inventory levels continue to drop in Sunnyvale to just 0.5 months in July 2017.  In July 2016, Sunnyvale Buyers paid an average of $1,283,431 (10.2% above list price).  In July 2017, they paid an average of $1,437,596 (8.2% above list price).  This bumped the price-per-square-foot up to $933, 11.5% higher than the $837 paid in July 2016.

What Silicon Valley Buyers Need to Know

It appears that the Silicon Valley real estate market will continue to be a Seller's market through the rest of the year.  Inventory levels remain extremely low which helps spur on higher prices.  Make sure you have your financing in place before you start looking for a Silicon Valley home.  In several Silicon Valley real estate markets, you're most likely going to have to offer well above list price to be competitive with other Buyers.  Your Silicon Valley REALTOR@ can help you craft a strong yet fair offer when you find the home you want.  You'll find more helpful tips on my Home Buying page.

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Aug. 1, 2017

Los Altos Downtown Green 2017 Pop-Up Park

Los Altos offers a dozen different parks around the city throughout the year.  However, that number grows by one every summer.  The Los Altos Downtown Green 2017 Pop-Up Park is in full effect until the end of August.  Located in the heart of Silicon Valley's downtown Los Altos, this temporary park provides a unique location for families, friends and professional business people to meet up.

There's something new almost every night through August 31st at the Los Altos Downtown Green 2017 pop-up park.

Los Altos Downtown Green 2017

The Los Altos Downtown Green 2017 pop-up park is set up on Third Street, between Main and State.  Currently, synthetic turf covers this stretch of land.  Colorful chairs and tables create the perfect backdrop for a variety of activities scheduled throughout the month.  In fact, almost every night throughout August includes one or two special events that are all open to the community absolutely free of charge.

Los Altos Downtown Green 2017 Schedule of Events

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Join a pilates class in the park every Sunday morning.  Beginners and pros are welcome.  Bring your favorite vinyl records on Monday nights to share with others.  Different local Silicon Valley bands perform every Tuesday evening.  Enjoy dinner with your Los Altos neighbors at the Community Supper every Wednesday evening.  Pack a picnic or pick something up from your favorite Los Altos restaurant.  From 4pm to 8pm every Thursday, shop locally at the farmer's market.  There's a 55+ nightclub set up on August 4th and 11th.  

Saturdays are reserved for movies in the park.  Watch One Big Home on August 5th, Moana on August 12th, La La Land on August 19th and Guardians of the Galaxy on August 26th.  Beginning at dusk (around 8pm), each movie plays on a giant inflatable screen under the stars.  Bring a blanket or lawn chairs to watch in comfort.  For a complete up-to-date list of all Los Altos Downtown Green 2017 events, follow them on Facebook.

Between events, Los Altos Downtown Green 2017 acts as a great place for lunch with friends.  Enjoy a late morning meeting with clients.  Or simply take a moment for yourself while you unwind after a long day.  Living in Silicon Valley means embracing every bit of life around you.  Take this time to enjoy what Silicon Valley has to offer.

StynesGroup Real Estate Services, your source for Silicon Valley Real Estate 

Posted in Los Altos Events