Today I was reminded of how incredibly important it is to maintain a good working relationship with the agent who are representing the other side in a Real Estate transaction.  While its not always easy when you are negotiating and remaining “assertive” (not aggressive – assertive) for your clients best interest it should always remain a goal to be professional and be able to  extend a sincere congratulatory exchange when Escrow closes.

David has always cautioned that you’ll never know when you need a “favor” from the other side – and today I did.

Back in 2010 I worked with Buyers to purchase a home up the peninsula- we negotiated and were able to purchase the home at less then the list price along with some repairs to be completed prior to close of escrow.   The seller’s agent was strong and we had many conversations and emails back and forth until we were able to reach agreement.   Escrow moved forward and we closed without any issues.

Fast forward to two days ago, my clients called and told me they had some serious water intrusion and could I recommend someone to make repairs.  As we talked further I found out they’d already had one contractor give them a bid for $40K to replace, install and relocate pumps throughout the property.

Certainly!  But first let’s go back and look at the disclosures and see what could find out was my advice.   The sellers had in fact disclosed information about  pumps that were located throughout the property.   I picked up the phone and reached out to the agent- not a simple straightforward call since she’d moved out of state as had her seller’s.  A little research and a phone call and email were sent- the agent responded with in an hour.

She’d already contacted the sellers for some clarification  – there were in fact pumps in place and in additional locations then the contractor was aware of (under the property) .  She also was able to come up with some maintenance information and suggestions from the contractor who had worked on the installation.   She also promised to go through her files and try locate the plumber who had performed some of the work at the property.

My clients are thrilled- yesterday they were thinking they need to spend $40K and today they have enough information to consider other less expensive options.

Moral of the story- always strive to find some common ground, be gracious (even after intense negotiations) and end the transaction on a high note.   Because you never know when or why you’ll need a “favor”

Thanks Cynthia!  You are a real professional and if you even need a “favor” let me know…


Last week I retweeted an article from Forbes magazine – “10 Steps to Repair, Rebuild, and Protect your Credit”   @patriciakelner   I’d recommend reading it.

I’ve found that frequently  Millennial buyers have a very basic understanding of their credit and how it’ll effect their future purchasing power.    I recently worked with a  30 something  couple – both engineers at one of the valley’s largest tech firms- who make great salaries but had some credit issues and a lower range (of what is acceptable to lenders) FICO score.    Not only did they have to provide ALOT of documentation about their credit history – and this is months after working to improve it prior to even starting looking at  home to  purchase- but at the final review they had to continue to bring in additional information and documentation, which held up the close of escrow.   It was incredibly frustrating and a very difficult process for them.

If you are a Millennial or are parents of the Millennial it’s good to begin working on credit scores now  before you want to purchase… it’s not a last minute process.

And, because like you (maybe) I didn’t really know the  age range of Millennials, but I guessed they were the younger group of adults.  Here’s comes up when you Google “Millennial’s age  range”

Generally speaking, Millennials are the children of Baby Boomers or Gen Xers. Older Millennials may have parents that are members of the Silent Generation. The Pew Research Center, an American think tank organization, defined “adult Millennials” as those who are 18 to 33 years old, born 1981–1996.


We’ve been talking about the low inventory levels for several years now, but it’s still jaw dropping when you consider how few properties there are for buyers to consider purchasing.

As of this AM  in the Campbell area  (contains mostly 95008, 95117, some 95128 and a few 95125 zip codes)  there are 10 Townhomes/condo’s listed as ACTIVE.     27 are PENDING – which includes 1 Merrivale West property that is set to close on 12/19/14.    18 Single Family homes are ACTIVE and  29 are PENDING. 

If you were considering putting your home on the market January would be a great time….  there is a pent up demand from Buyers in the entire Silicon Valley area and Campbell area has some of the current lowest inventory levels.


 Top Ten Improvements That Add Value  to your property

  1. Kitchen upgrade, repair or basic remodel

  2. Bathroom upgrade, repair or remodel

  3. Lighting fixtures and skylights

  4. Flooring and floor coverings

  5. Interior and exterior painting

  6. Master bedroom to master suite conversion

  7. Repair / replace / add decks, patios, porches

  8. Repair / replace roof, gutters and downspouts

  9. Repair / replace plumbing and electrical systems

  10. Converting un-permitted Square footage


Today we are expecting a HUGE storm in our area.  Officials are bracing for the worst of it arriving on Thursday and recommend that residents do the same.

Everyone should consider the following:

Clear out gutters. Make sure you have plenty of batteries for flashlights to see your way through the inevitable power outages.   Thursday would be a good day to avoid the work commute for those who can, officials say, by going in later or working from home if possible.

“The key to this storm is not just what you’re going to get but that it’s going to happen pretty rapidly,” said Larry Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “It’s not just 2 to 4 inches, it’s going to come down in like an hour. You are going to get some flooding out of it.”

I visited a client at Merrivale West on Monday- and there were a lot of leaves down due to the weather we had last week so its a good idea to check those gutters!

Try to stay safe, warm and dry!


We are almost done with 2014, there’s one property pending in the complex and no active listings.   1453 Golden Meadow Sq is set to close escrow on 12/19/14 and with that closing there will be 11 closed sales in the complex for 2014 that were listed and sold on the Multiple Listing Service.   As you can tell from the results the market in Silicon Valley has remained “hot” throughout the year and continued to produce increased $ as the year moved forward.

We are aware of a recent sale that took place on 1394 Pinehurst Sq in November.   Purchased as a private sale from the neighbor in the adjacent unit.   The sale price is listed as $559,000 on county records and the unit size was 1368 Sq ft , 2 beds and 2.5 baths.  It’s an end unit and the largest floor plan in the complex.


Currently one ACTIVE property and one PENDING property at Merrivale West

It’s fall and our inventory level is low and their are fewer buyers (overall) out in the market looking at properties. We still see multiple offers on properties AND we also see overpriced listing and price reductions. Each area has a bit of a different story ongoing- the Campbell market is still strong and desirable to buyers, but Sellers need to be aware of the dangers of overpricing.

The newest listing at Merrivale is at 1453 Golden Meadow Sq. It was listed on 10/23/14 but they are not having any showings until the first Open House on November 1st.

1436 Millich Lane is set to close next week (Close of Escrow date is listed as 10/31/14)

Both these properties have the same square footage – but 1436 Millich Lane has 2 full baths and one 1/2 bath, while 1453 Golden Meadow Sq lists the bath count as 1 full and one 1/2 bath. The spread on the list price is wide – $549,999 (Millich Lane) verses $599,795 (Golden Meadow Sq)

8/30/14- 2 new properties close

1419 Millich Court and 1446 Golden Meadow Sq both closed escrow on 8/29/14.
These sales results highlight something very basic about what buyers want- UPDATED kitchens.  If you as a seller want top $ consider the sale at  1419 Millich Court which closed at $564,000 on a $529,988 list price, the 3rd highest closed sale price in Merrivale West this year with a 6% over list sale price- update your kitchen.    Overall this property didn’t show well- there was dated flooring, popcorn ceilings in the bedrooms, ceiling to floor heavy draperies, and a liberal amount of wallpaper… BUT what it did have was granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and new cabinets.   The bathrooms were in good shape- not totally updated to todays taste, but not original.   In my opinion, and experience, it was all about the kitchen.
Regarding the other closed sale- 1446 Golden Meadow Square which originally come on the market at a $575,000 list price in June,  they closed at $550,000 on a reduced list price of $549,000 and they had been on the active market for 56 days.   This property had a dated kitchen – tile counters with grout lines, dated cabinets and lighting.
Contributing to the struggle to find a buyer was that they had come on the market at too high of an list price.   Buyers know when a property is overpriced and they vote, with their feet, as they leave the property and don’t even consider making an offer…   It is a classic mistake to over price your home and hope someone will make you an offer – buyer’s won’t and you as a seller will lose precious time, the first 2 weeks of a property being active are when you will recieve the absolute most attention, after that buyers attention move on to other properties.

8/20/14  Welcome to my Blog!

We are happy to be back on line with our new and improved version of MerrivaleWest.com.   We’ve added some new tools to the website with the goal of providing updated and real time Real Estate information about Merrivale West.  In the next few weeks we’ll continue to be adding video’s, additional photos, and provide you with an overview of the entire West San Jose Real Estate market.

In the meantime if you have any Real Estate questions contact either David or myself.  OR if you’d like to give us input on the site we’d love to hear from you.

A quick note on the newest closed sale- 1474 Woodgrove Sq.  This property is the 1056 sq foot floor plan with the kitchen that has a cut out opening to the dining area.    71 days as ACTIVE  is the amount of time it took them to find a buyer and go under contract- this is a significant amount of time in our current market.

Originally when this property came on the market, 5/9/14,  it was tenant occupied and had very limited access – I tried several times to arrange a showing and was told “maybe next week” each time.

NOTE TO SELLERS: Buyer’s NEVER want to wait till next week to view a property that is Active on the market.  They move on and go visit, and buy, the properties that they can visit easily and that are new to the market….

After the tenant vacated the sellers then took the property off the market, 6/10/14,  to do some updates- new cabinets in kitchen, new countertops and applicances.   But unfortunately the momentum was lost- when it came back on the market, 6/27/14, it still took them until 7/19/14 to find a buyer.  21 days.