Currently Pending
1435 Woodgrove Sq 968 $710,000 pending
*Lindsay & Kelner listings represent 30% of all sales *listed on the mls
You may remember that back in October there was a “coming soon” sign at 1404 Pinehurst Sq.   The property was never placed on the Multiple Listing Service and the sign was removed.    The listing agent was forthright in telling that the sellers had decided to take an “off market preemptive offer”
Rather stunning, since the sales price that was quoted was significantly below what other smaller sq foot units had sold for recently AND 1404 Pinehurst is the largest floor plan in the complex – 1368 sq ft.   In August of 2015 we  sold this same sq foot unit at 1461 Golden Meadow Sq for $777,000.    As most of you are aware the market has continued to increase since August 2015.
Additionally keep in mind that in May of 2016  1378 Cherrywood Sq sold for $801,000.  That  unit had less sq ft, at 1,292 and wasn’t an end unit….
The sellers of 1404 Pinehurst accepted an offer of $725,000
Last year, 2015, the sellers we worked with at Merrivale West were mostly (3 out of the 4) people who were moving out of the area.   This year, 2016,  we saw a different trend- 2 of the 3 sellers were people who stayed in the area and moved into another move up,, property in the  local area.
It is an encouraging sign; in a market that can often feel like it takes  an impossible feat to overcome high prices, low inventory and multiple offers.  I  always tell prospective buyers, and we do work with a range of buyers each year from high end purchases to the entry level condo purchasers, that it is  a matter of employing the right techniques and having patience.    I just had a sale close last week where the buyers and I visited homes for 11 months, had 5 offers turned down, and we switched out of an area they were originally certain they wanted to purchase in to another area that had more flexibility in styles of homes and pricing.   A long journey- but ultimately worth it, and we had some fun along the way.
A recent article in RISMedia outlines tactics for buyers to use when shopping for a home.
•    Don’t be naïve.  Understand the market realities.  Instead of obsessing over prices, value, and comparables in the area you are considering, focus directly on what it will take to get the home you want.
•    Work with someone you trust.  It may pay to find an agent who is sufficiently skilled to develop a rapport with sellers and their listing agents. Or you may need a superior number-cruncher type to get you the best deal.  (or a team that can bring both to the table)   Be whatever the agents strengths, ensure he or she is a person you feel comfortable work with: the journey to finding a home can be long a arduous.  You’ll need an friend (and advocate).
•    Be realistic.  Be very realistic.  If you’ve only seen one home in your desired market that fits your budget, then that market probably isn’t in your price range.  Accept that and either pick another area or be prepared to boost your budget.
•    Finally, try to relax.  Expect that all will not necessarily run smoothly, particularly in a highly competitive market.  Don’t get worn down by the process.  You can (and will) become a homeowner if you relax and go with the flow….
1435 Woodgrove Sq is under contract- they had 3 offers after they reduced the price from $719,000 to $710,000
Just after I posted this a price reduction came up – original price $719,000 to $710,000
1435 Woodgrove Sq is still active-it’s been on the market 12 days.  There are only 9 Condo’s and Townhouses in the Campbell Real Estate zone that are active.    It is a challenging time of year to be a seller- many other activates going on that are distractions.
We are busy helping prep our next Merrivale West  listing that will be coming on 1/9/17- a 2 bedroom and 2 bath unit that is a 1152 sq ft end unit.   We believe the 2nd full bath will make a difference in buyers interest levels and the extra sq feet.
I visited the new listing on 1435 Woodgrove Sq yesterday – and the agent confirmed that the original MLS listing information  showing 1 full bath and a 1/2 was incorrect.     It is now corrected in the MLS to reflect the correct count of 1 bath.
The unit is updated and has a great view of the greenspace – they don’t have an offer date listed, not uncommon in the current market as agents & sellers are taking a gauge of activity prior to stating an offer date.   Additionally when listing in months when there is less activity (Dec) overall it’s challenging to predict.
Currently in ALL of the Campbell real estate area (95008,95117 and some 95128) there are 10 properties in the Condo/Townhouse and only 1435 Woodgrove Sq is in the 95117 area.   Very slim inventory.
A new property in the Merrivale West complex just arrived on the Multiple Listing Service last night- 1435 Woodgrove Sq.  This floor plan has not been on the market for sale since spring of 2014.   This floor plan is the 1 bed and 1 bath floor plan- the sellers must have made some modifications as the MLS shows a 2 bedroom and 1.5 bath (county records currently show the property at 1 bed/ 1 bath)
This is the smallest sq foot unit in the complex and they are all end units that the largest amount of decks space of any floor plan on the second level which wraps around 2 side.   They also have 2 car garages. (the largest unit which is 1368 sq and they are  generally  end units with a 1 car garage)   It’s the only floor plan that is inverted – you enter from the front door and the bathroom and bedroom are on the ground floor.  The kitchen and living space are on the 2nd level.   Because there is a large amount of “public space” – open living area on the second floor a lot of owners have converted some of that space into bedroom.
Coming soon in the complex-  we will have  new listing  on the market early January.     Its the 1152 Sq foot floor plan end unit  with 2 beds/2 baths, 2 car garage.   We are working with the sellers on preparing the property for the market.
The presidential election sent mortgage rates on a dramatic upward ride, last week. Over the last decade, we’ve had few opportunities to see rates move this quickly. While equity markets climbed on the assumption of a more pro-business market to come, bonds have done the opposite.  If equities are correct, then there is a strong probability that we would be moving into a period where inflationary pressures are a bigger concern. This would certainly force the Fed to begin pushing rates upward over the next few years. Of course at this point there is still a great deal of uncertainty how this will play out.
This is one more reason to consider your next move- today at our weekly office meeting the Princeton Capital Loan officer told us that rates are up .5% over last week.
Currently there is only one Active property in 95117 zip code, in the Townhouse/Condo category:
4197 Blackford Circle- 1026 Sq foot, 2 beds and 2.5 baths.  Original listed at $799,800 on 9/23/16, then a price reduction on 10/27/16 to $749,800,  That is a good price reduction, $50,000, and I’d expect that will attract attention from buyers in the market.
619 Millich Dr, which is located right outside the Merrivale West complex gates,  has a 95008 zip and Campbell address they’ve been on the market since 10/19/16.  List price is $729,000 for 1242 Sq ft and 3 beds and 2.5 baths.   The properties that are on Millich outside the Merrivale West complex generally sell at a lower price point then similar sq footage in the Merrivale West complex.  Couple of reasons- they have Campbell schools and they are in complexes that aren’t as kept up as the Merrivale West complex and have higher HOA dues.   My sense is that is on the higher range of value for that location.
The Campbell Real Estate zone has 26 Active properties – which is just a little lighter then we’ve been experiencing in the past months, what is unusual is to have so few 95117 properties….
The historic trend for San Jose and the Northern California market  is that we see inventory levels lighten up during the last few months of the year.
I’d recommend considering listing a property now- there is not much competition and there are still buyers out there.  The key is to have pricing and condition right.   Interest rates remain low and buyers are still wanting to purchase before the end of the year
The listing agent on 1375 Pinehurst Sq let me know they had 3 offers- they are “Active Contingent” (contract has been accepted and the buyer has contingencies in place)  the status will change when the contingencies timeframes are met and the buyer removes the contingencies.  The status then will be “pending”.    It sounds like the selling process went very well and the sellers were able to find a buyer who met there needs.
1404 Pinehurst Sq  (1368 Sq ft) will not be coming on the market – the agent stated that they accepted an “off market preemptive offer”.   In my view that is rarely a good $ result for the sellers.    In this case my experience, from speaking to many buyers who have targeted Merrivale West as a complex, they really like the complex but are waiting for the larger unit to become available for sale…  these buyers would have jumped at the chance to buy a unit this size.  Missed opportunity.     My understanding is the accepted amount is lower, (quite abit)  then the recent closed sales of the most recent closed 1056 Sq ft units (1402 and 1404 Cherrywood Sq)   Sometimes there are important reasons for accepting offers off market- illness, challenging’s arranging showings- but this unit was vacant.
Here’s a link to todays San Jose Mercury News front page article regarding local rents mercurynews.ca.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=0b79d0105
Most people are aware that more rental inventory is coming on line in our area – and the bulk of what is currently new and available currently is in south county- which means commuting (and a tough one at that).   There are a great number of projects in the works and planning in the Campbell area – both townhomes.   Madison Townhomes on Sam Cava now have models available to be visited and have sold their first phase through.  They are in the higher end price points.   More Condo’s are planned on the Winchester corridor.   Projects are happening all over the local area.
Unlike the tracking we can do with the Real Estate sales market by looking at the Multiple Listing Service results that show closed sales ( the latest figure I saw recently was that 83% residential properties are sold on the active market via the MLS)  the rental market is hard to track – there is no central place to review what properties actually rented for, how long they were “active” and no central place they are advertised.   Zillow uses their algorithms to come up with their “estimates “- but no one, except Zillow, is certain exactly what information they are basing that on.    I know from having rented properties, assisted owners to find renters and speaking with other smaller landlords and property managers that they aren’t sharing the info. about what they ended up actually renting a property for with anyone, because there is no central repository of that information.   So the information you read about in the article is based on larger complexes and rental services.     Real Facts, a national company that trackstracks apartment prices nationwide at buildings with 50 or more units is frequently quoted.     BUT, there is as the the CEO of Bay Rentals Ron Stern says “I can almost feel a change in the air”
The new listing at 1375 Pinehurst Sq shows very nicely- the agent states they will list an offer date after the weekend open houses and would consider a preemptive offer if received.    Another listing should be arriving on the market this coming week- 1440 Pinehurst Sq has a “coming soon” sign in front of it.   This unit is the largest sq foot floorplan -1368 Sq ft  and a one car garage.
Our pending sale at 1402 Cherrywood Sq will be closing earlier then the close of escrow date listed- watch for results to be posted this week.
Currently 7 townhouse/condo’s listed as “active” on the mls (PUD’s aren’t a category, just a type of ownership *see 10/11/16 posting below) and 8 Single family homes.    Slight inventory increase from 11 days ago..
Often when I am hosting an Open House at Merrivale West I have buyers ask me about the type of ownership the complex has for individual units and I explain that in this complex the ownership is “PUD- Planned Unit Development”.   Confusion then occurs, as most buyers aren’t familiar with this type of ownership.
Here’s the breakdown, provided by Cornerstone Title representative Yvette Lawson, who we work closely with
Know Before You Buy: A Guide to Multi-Unit Developments

Planned Unit Developments, Condominiums, and Townhouses are similar dwellings on the surface, but each has different coverages in a title insurance policy. Knowing the differences is important if you are buying or currently own one of these properties. Here is a brief explanation to help you.
A Condominium is a form of ownership which involves a separation of property into individually-owned elements and common elements. Each owner holds the fee simple interest to his or her individual unit – which consists only of the airspace – and also shares in a percentage of the fee for  the common areas, which may include patios, storage, parking, decks and other use areas.
The legal description in the owners’ title policy will have several parcels that include the unit, the common area, and any easements. Owner and lender title policies will have exceptions for the governing documents (CC&Rs) and the Condominium plans. Liens affecting the association and/or common areas can affect unit owners.
A Planned Unit Development (also known as a PUD), also known has a, allows the grouping of housing units on lots smaller than usually allowed for residential construction. Within the PUD, a land owner will own a lot inclusive of the structure and improvements and will also benefit from an association that provides common areas and amenities. Automatic membership in and mandatory assessment to the association is required for the property to qualify as a PUD. A PUD can have multiple types of dwellings: single-family detached residences, townhouses, multi-family buildings, commercial, and even industrial properties.
The legal description in the owners’ title policy will show the lot as created by the map, and there will be exceptions shown for the governing documents of the association (CC&Rs). Liens affecting the association and/or common areas do not attach to the individual land owners due to the separate ownership of the common areas by the associations.
A Townhouse is a dwelling unit, generally having two or more floors, which is attached to other similar units via party walls. Townhouses are often used in PUDs and Condominium developments, which provide for clustered or attached housing and common open space. A Townhome is merely an architectural design; it has no bearing on the title policy other than it may indicate that there are party wall agreements that may be recorded or be a part of the governing documents.
As far as title insurance is concerned, both PUD’s and Condominiums have unique items that lenders must address with specific endorsements. The owner of a PUD will have ownership of the land and structures, while a Condominium owner will have ownership of the airspace and a percentage of the land and structures. The owners’ title policy will have governing documents shown as exceptions and these documents should be read by any prospective buyer so they fully understand what they are getting into. There are advantages and disadvantages to both ownerships, and any questions regarding the type of ownership should be directed to the title company for clarification.
Our Regional Coldwell Banker VP, Mike James sends out frequent updates from the various area’s and offices that he oversees in the Western region of the country and I found this great explanation of how pricing effects selling and days on market (which ultimately effects the sales price in most cases) written by one of the local area manager:
“Agents are still seeing sellers wishing to “test the market” by bringing their homes on at higher prices than previous sales and pendings.  However, this pricing strategy has proved to be risking, our local manager points out, given that many buyers expectations are that they will still need to offer over the asking.  As a result of this type of pricing strategy agents are seeing a “self-fulfilling prophecy” with these homes having little to no activity. The homes end up stagnant and linger on the market, eventually having to lower their price to generate activity. To the contrary, there has been strong activity with properties in move-in condition and priced to sell.  These homes are still receiving multiple offers that typically achieve a sales price that is over asking sale.  This was the case with one of our recent listings, which had 24 offers.  In short, the increase of homes coming on the market are being absorbed rather quickly as our market is still strong.”
I’d agree.   This just isn’t what we’ve seen in the Merrivale West complex, note the recent closed sale that had  longer days on market sold below the prior listings of the same floor plan and sq footage, we see it throughout the area.   Today David and I had a single family property close in  the 95128 zip code, which is the Cory neighborhood, directly behind Valley Fair, 551 N Redwood Ave- we closed at $1,030,000 on a list price of $939,000 and 8 days on the market – with a total of 7 offers.  Lovely results – we see this happen when pricing and condition work together and buyers feel they are putting offers in on a well priced property.
I’ve heard there are 2 properties that will be coming on the market in the complex in the near future.    One is a listing by a fellow Coldwell Banker agent and I expect she’ll have the pricing and condition in line.   She’s very aware of the current market.    The other, I’ve heard, will be listed by an out of the area broker and the sellers have very high expectations.
When going in today to write this I’ve noticed that my last blog didn’t get posted on 9/30 when 1402 Cherrywood Sq went under contract!
Our listing at 1402 Cherrywood Sq did go under contract last Friday  after 10 days on the market.  We did receive multiple offers.
Yesterday 1405 Millich Lane posted “closed” at $724,000.   This was the 1292 floor plan with 2 beds and 2.5 baths.  Last spring this floor plan was sold at 1378 Cherrywood Sq and the closing price was an all time high in the complex at $801,000.   Prior to that the last closed sale for this floor plan was  1358 Cherrywood Sq for $736,000 on 7/16/15.
Additionally this sale was the longest Days On Market for a sale in the past 2 years – since the end of 2014* no sale has taken more then 29 days to sell (most closed sales took an average of 8-10 days with very few exceptions)   1405 Millich was on the market for 57 days and had taken 2 price reductions before they found a buyer, who ended up purchasing for under the list price of $726,900.    Close on the heels of this sale  for a  lengthy  ACTIVE  time period was 1360 Charmwood Sq which had been ACTIVE for 38 days and also had to take 2 price reductions to find a buyer.
So those numbers look challenging- right?  and as I’ve been writing about we’ve been in the process of experiencing a “shift”.     The “shift” is, in my opinion TBD because we are also seeing in Merrivale West properties that receive multiple offers and come in over list price in a short amount of selling time.   8-10 days in several instances.     I do know we aren’t currently experiencing the wild “over bids” we saw in spring 2015 and 2016 – so agents and sellers need to be smarter about pricing, expectations, and what is needed to impress and stand out for buyers with regards to condition of the property.
Successful sellers owe it to themselves to be more educated about the market so that they can make good choices.   Making choices based on a prior market results  (yes, spring of 2016 is a prior market), an out of the area Realtor advice based on the market they live and work in (there is no other market  like Silicon Valley OR specifically the Campbell area condo/townhome market that is the same as our market in 95117 currently)  , or believing you have the “best” property in the complex thus buyers will rush in – that kind of reasoning is like making a wish that the results will be above what we’ve been experiencing  (in other words- current reality of what is happening in our market)    I hear these reasons all the time for sellers decisions to list HIGH and with very little preparation or marketing…..  and we are seeing the results of that approach.      We have very smart and saavy  buyers who are very knowledgeable.  As a seller the same approach should be in place- be educated, make smart choices and know the current market conditions.
Snapshot of our market 10/5/17:
we have 32 Townhouses and condo’s for sale in the Campbell real estate zone (95117,95008,and some 95128) 5 in 95117.
Last 7 days 5 townhouses/condo’s have gone under contract (pending or active contingent) and the average amount of time they were ACTIVE was 24.4 days.
4 Closed sales have posted with an increase over list price of 1.3%

9/23/ 16
We are getting ready for the weekend- our Friday night Open House is from 7-9 is this evening at 1402 Cherrywood Sq and Sat & Sunday from 1-4.
2 sales have posted “closed” in the past 2 days – the results are reflective of the current market and the up and down nature of what buyers want and expect in a property.  I also think its reflective of presentation – all 3 properties that closed this year above $740K were staged and showed very well on -line before any buyer ever set foot in the property…..  *93% of buyer start their property search by looking on the internet prior to ever visiting properties.   If you don’t have a great photo’s, well written (and accurate) discriptions and video’s  your listing gets passed over.   Then when the buyers show up you have to look just as good and clean.  (a whole other topic… dirty properties are not at ALL enticing to buyers, in fact they turn them off.)
1360 Charmwood Sq closed at $720,000 after taking 2 price reductions and being on the market 38 days.   This unit is 1156 sq ft, 2 beds and 2.5 baths and an end unit- highly desirable right?  Yes, they had a undated kitchen and baths and some nice features- the place was as neat as a pin (which is remarkable since the listing agent stated they had 3 small children)  BUT it was listed too high and buyers are very unforgiving when properties are listed on the high range of value.   It took them 2 price reductions and 38 days to receive an offer- that is a very long time in market where there is limited inventory and in a desirable complex with great schools and commutes.
1366 Merrivale West Sq closed at $730,000 on a list price  of $710,000 after 13 days on the market.  The seller of this property is a Realtor and this was his property that he resided in.   This was the 1056 sq foot floor plan with a 2 car garage.
We saw the spring selling season have some strong results with 1378 Cherrywood Sq setting the highest price for a sold property in the complex at $801,000 in mid May.   This was the 1292 Sq foot floor plan.    1431 Woodgrove Sq (our listing), the 1056 sq ft floor plan sold for $747,500 in March.   BUT then we also saw 1376 Cherrywood Sq with 1220 sq ft selling in April for $720,000.
Of the sales that have closed in the late summer to early fall season 1404 Cherrywood Sq (our listing) has been the highlight- selling in 8 days for $740,500.  This was the 1056 sq ft floor plan.   The others have sold for $699,000,$720,000, and $730,000 – and with the exception of 1366 Merrivale West Sq, they sold at list price and took longer days on market to find a buyer.
We hope that our newest listing at 1402 Cherrywood will have strong results- its updated and shows well with updated kitchen, NO acoustic ceilings & suntunnels throughout that allow sunlight in to create a warm atmosphere.   Just a few of the highlights.   I’d recommend you check us out on line also- see what 25+ professional photo’s allow the buyers to see, prior to visiting.     Hope to see you this weekend!
We all know that this housing market can be challenging, especially for buyers. Although the market in Northern California has gradually started moving back towards a bit more balance, it still is a seller’s market in many communities. No one knows the challenges of being a buyer more than someone who’s trying to sell a home at the same time as they work to buy another.
But there are ways to walk this financial tightrope, as noted in a recent article on Yahoo Finance. Financial planners and real estate veterans offered a few good tips if you find yourself trying to buy while selling:
•    Use your social network for temporary housing. People who need short-term housing after selling their home (and before landing the next one) are often able to turn to relatives or friends who may have a second home, a vacant rental unit, or even room in their home. It’s not ideal, but could be the bridge you need until you move into your next home.
•    A bridge loan or home equity line of credit. Speaking of bridging, some financial advisors recommend a bridge loan, which allows homeowners to tap into the equity in their current home. Similarly, a home equity line of credit could help in this situation. With short-term financing, you may be able to buy your next home before selling your current one and you can pay off the bridge loan once your home sells.
•    Contingent offers. Some buyers who find themselves trying to sell a home at the same time will put in a contingent offer with the purchase dependent on the sale of their current home. But that can make your offer less attractive, and in a seller’s market like this one sellers may pass on your offer in favor of one without such a contingency.
•    Go with the market trend. It’s important to understand whether it’s easier to sell a home or buy one, and then do the hard part first. In a seller’s market, for example, that means finding that next home before selling your existing one. In the buyer’s market, the reverse is true.
•    Work with an experienced REALTOR®. Never is it more important to have the help of a strong real estate professional than when you find yourself in the tricky buy-sell situation. A REALTOR® who has experience in these situations and can help you navigate through the process is worth their weight in gold.
It’s definitely not an easy task to buy a home while trying to sell another, but it can be done. By being flexible, doing some careful planning, and working with an experienced real estate professional, you may find yourself in that next home before you know it.
Tomorrow 1402 Cherrywood will be “live’ on the MLS – final prep work today and photographs tomorrow.
Open houses will be Wed 9/21 in conjunction with Broker Tour, a Friday 9/23 PM Open house from 5-7, and both Sat &  Sun 9/24 & 25 from 1-4.  As always we hope to see Merrivale West residents stop by – you are all great advocates of the complex and potential buyers are intrigued to speak with you.
Each Monday AM I spend several hours reviewing the MLS results from the prior week- I follow about 11 different local area’s  inventory levels and what properties went pending in the prior 7 days and what properties posted Sold in the 7 day period.   It’s a good overview of the market and I send out many emails to clients while I’m reviewing the results- everyone likes to keep tabs on their neighborhood.
In the Campbell area there were only 3 closed sales in the townhome/condo market in the past 7 days – that speaks volumes to how quiet the market was 30 days ago (most escrow last apprx 25-35 days)  of the 3 closed sales 2 sold under their list price (1404 Cherrywood was the only one that closed above list price)  the average days on market was 22 (1404 Cherrywood was 8 days on market and the others were 24 and 52 days)
BUT when looking at the Pending sales for the past 7 days- 12 townhomes/condo’s went under contract- activity has picked up.   There are 27 Active property in the Campbell area, which is slightly down from prior weeks.
In the single family home market there are 73 homes for sale, which a higher number then prior weeks, and 11 units changed to Pending status.  19 sales posted closed- of the 19 homes 13 sold over the list price.
1404 Cherrywood closed escrow today- sold price $740,500.  The buyers agent – Katie Galli- did a great job and the escrow was smooth with no hitches.
Its part of our job to help the sellers evaluate the offers (there were 3) for terms and conditions, but  also to take a strong look at the buyers agent.   The way an offer is written and presented tells a great deal about how the transaction will proceed through escrow.   Katie not only wrote an great offer she also came and presented it in person, with her partner, Jim Galli.  They had all the disclosures signed and completed along with the offer.
The loan officer was also important, Rob McCarthy from Loan 101 – he responded to our call immediately the day we took offers(we ALWAYS call and chat with the loan officer about the buyers qualifications) and was very convincing when discussing the buyers qualifications.
Overall a terrific transaction… and strong results.
I hope you noticed our “coming soon” sign at 1402 Cherrywood Sq – right next to our “Sale Pending” sign at 1404 Cherrywood (which closes escrow tomorrow)
34 Active listings in condo’s/townhouse category in the Campbell real estate zone (95008,95117, some 95128)   5 in the 95117.
As I’ve been blogging about this past several months the average days on market has lengthened – the biggest indicator of what currently is Days on Market  is by taking a look at the Pending sales-  for Campbell area in the condo/townhouse category it’s currently averaging 21 days and if you break out just the townhouse category it goes up to 31 day on market.   (our 1404 Cherrywood was just 8 days)
BUT if you look at the 3 sales that have gone Pending since after the Labour Day holiday (9/6-9/14) the average is reduced to 8.6 days on market.   Yes.. I know 3 sales don’t make a trend…  but interesting to consider that newer Active  properties are turning quickly….  (there are a total of 15 pending’s overall)
*1435 Golden Meadow SQ sold in 12/2014 with 29 days on the market as “active”

We are actively working on preparing our newest Merrivale West listing at 1402 Cherrywood Sq.   We plan on it being “active” in 2 weeks.
This property is nicely updated throughout- granite in kitchen, wood cabinets, bead board  paneling in bathrooms and crown molding throughout.    NO acoustical ceilings, direct access to the garage, & sun tunnels throughout the first and second floor – thus a light filled34  home!

1405 Millich Lane went under contract after 57 days and 2 price reductions…  Currently no Active properties on the market at Merrivale West.  First time in 2 months we’ve had no Active Listing.
1388 Pinehurst Sq posted at $699,950 sales price.   They had one offer- but what should be kept in mind it was in fairly original condition with a  clean interior presentation.  It took them 17 days as Active and it went under contract on 7/31/16, a time when the buyers were still “on vacation” and thus not as many actively looking.   The other 2 properties that were active at the same time – 1405 Millich Lane and 1360 Charmwood took 57 and 32 days to find buyer PLUS several price reductions.
1366 Merrivale West Sq went Active Contingency, they took offers yesterday.   We’ll keep you posted as more info. is available
1388 Pinehurst had a close of escrow date 8/31- but it still hasn’t posted yet.
RE: Winchester Blvd and Urban Village
With all the proposed development that is slated for Winchester Blvd (which effects all of us who live in the area’s surrounding that stretch of roadway) and the proposed Urban Village be sure to share your point of view  by taking the on line survey at https://maptionnaire.com/en/1637/.   It takes about 30-40 minutes and its’ on line at the City of San Jose’s website.
The last bit of summer is this week- kids are in school and by the end of the week it’s September!
1388 Pinehurst Sq is scheduled to close this week – 8/31/16 Wed.
Our 1404 Cherrywood Sq has had all the contingencies removed – and we are hurtling towards close of escrow on 9/15/16.
2 properties are still active in the complex – 1366 Merrivale West, which has posted they will do offers on 8/31- Wed and 1405 Millich Lane which has been active for 54 days.
Days on Market has continued to remain close to 20+ days in most local markets.   But there are markets were I see 10 days and under being well over 50% of the pending sales in the past couple of weeks.   We’ve continued to see inventory levels remain at the same level we’ve experienced all summer (end of May and on)   We will see some properties come on line as ACTIVE next week after the holiday weekend.
David and I have single family listing in 95128, directly behind the Westfield Valley Fair Mall.    We will keep you posted!  Enjoy the upcoming  holiday weekend and the last bits of summer!
1405 Millich took a price reduction after my last post yesterday- they went to $736,880 after 44 days at $749,880.
I’d expect that by next week we may see one of the properties under contract- dramatic price reductions tend to do recapture some buyers interest and they will go take a second look.  My guess is Charmwood will be viewed the most – on line and by visits.   It has the most updated interior and the most dramatic price reduction.
New listing at 1366 Merrivale West Sq, the 1056 floor plan, and listed at $710,000
1360 Charmwood Sq took a price reduction today to $719,880.  They have been on the Active market for 35 days and this is the 2nd price reduction.  Last week then went from $749,880 to $734,880 and now to $719,880.
Today’s front page article,  Home sales still slipping while prices are sky-high, in the San Jose Mercury News addresses what I have been writing about how our market has shifted the past 2 months.                Low inventory, season slow down, and buyers being challenged (they use the word the word”shy”) all this while the median price increased 5% from one year ago.
Yesterday we took offers on 1404 Cherrywood Sq and the sellers accepted an offer- the property is now listed as “ACTIVE CONTINGENT”
So what is the difference between 1404 Cherrywood Sq and the other 2 active listings in the complex?   We believe presentation and marketing are what created the excitement around this property.  We also believe that listing a property in June and July is very challenging- hence we asked the sellers to hold off abit on listing the property on the MLS till August- which they agreed to.
We have another listing in Merrivale West set to come on the market in mid Sept- we’ll keep you posted on that as we are near.   We’ve also been told there is another listing in the complex coming on this week.

1404 Cherrywood Sq had a nice weekend of Open Houses- my take on it was I felt the buyers that were showing up were “serious” buyers and more agents were actually out showing and accompanying their buyers (frequently buyers go to Open Houses by themselves- but I had many Buyers WITH agents…)
I was also visited with many MerrivaleWest residents and enjoyed our conversations.  Frequently there were strong opinions about the state of the market and presentation of properties on the Active market.
Each Monday I spend time reviewing the current state of the Mutiple Listing Service – Actives, Pendings over a 7 day period, and Closed sales for the last 7 days.    I follow several area’s closely- Campbell, San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Cambrian, Willow Glen, and Santa Clara (a hot market)   what I noticed today was that while all the numbers of Actives, Pendings remained relatively close to prior weeks there has been an reduction in the Days on Market for properties that went under contract (pendings)  last week.  In other words- properties went under contract quicker then prior weeks.   I saw many properties that were between 7-12 days, and that has been a number that throughout June and July was longer and very common to see 20+ days on market.
One week doesn’t make a trend, but it does relate back to our sense that part of the “shift” we have seen in June and July was seasonal, and that is a historical trend in the Northern California market we experience.    It’ll be interesting to see what next week brings.
Additionally, if you didn’t notice the Active property on Charmwood Sq did take a price reduction the end of last week- from $749,880 to $734,880.
Our newest listing is ACTIVE – 1404 Cherrywood Sq.   The sellers have worked with us and have done a great job preparing the property.   We are proud of what you’ll see when you visit.
As the public is aware, each property – even those with the same sq footage and floor plan, can look very different.   We feel this one will stand out from what you’ve recently seen- it’s staged and detailed to be show very clean and modern.
We will be hosting 4 Open Houses in the next 6 days-
Wed 8/10 Broker Tour and Open House to the public – 9:30 – 12:30
Friday 8/12 Evening Open House 5:00- 7:00 pm
Sat & Sun- 8/13 &14th Open House 1:00 – 4:00
Why so many you may ask? Our goal is to make it easy for any buyer to visit – we know the first 2 weeks bring  the most attention a property will receive,  thus we want to make certain everyone who is interested gets to visit.
We are currently in a market that has been showing signs of “shifting” – no, it’s has  not shifted to  a buyers market, but it does show signs of some resistance to aggressive pricing on sellers part, properties that “hit” the market with little or no preparation and properties with limited marketing.
The “shift” has been evident throughout June and July. Days on market have lengthen and buyers have taken a “respite” from aggressively looking for homes (keep in mind that is a broad statement, there are always buyers out there who are serious about buying, we are just seeing a smaller # of them). Currently activity at Merrivale West highlights this trend- Pinehurst Sq, which is under contract took 17 days to find a buyer.   The 2 other  ACTIVE properties (besides our listing at 1404 Cherrywood Sq) : Charmwood Sq has been active for 25 days and Millich Lane is even longer, at 34 days on market.
In my opinion there are several reasons for this-
1.    Seasonal (this is generally what happens to our market in No. Cal each June and July, buyers take a break for summer, travel, weddings, graduations etc)
2.    Buyer fatigue ( 4 years of increases in prices have taken their toll, having to compete over and over in the multiple offer situation has been challenging for a lot of buyers emotionally and mentally)
3.    A larger % of buyers have been priced out of the market (median price in our area is now such that more and more buyers are unable to purchase.)
4.    Sophisticated buyers are the norm, due to the internet and the amount of information available to all buyers about homes on the active market the buyers in our area are saavy (very). They expect and want a move in ready home.   It is no longer the case when sellers and agents can just put a home on the Multiple Listing Service, that is not prepped and attractive to buyers (clean, updated, and easy access to visit- all fit into this category)   and expect buyers to jump at the chance to write an offer.   They just won’t – they are far more judicious about what they purchase and in what condition.
Which leads me back to 4 opportunities for buyers to view 1404 Cherrywood – we WANT those sophisticated and saavy buyers to have the opportunity to visit a very well prepared and priced property!
We hope to see all of you this week!

Welcome to August- the month we believe buyers come back into the market, after taking a break over the summer.
You’ll notice that the Pinehurst Sq property went under contract today- it’s status is now  “Active Contingent”.   What that generally means is that a contract has been agreed upon and accepted by both the seller & buyer and there are contingency timeframes in place for the buyer (generally)
There could be contingency periods for a seller for items such as “contingency upon the purchase of a replacement property” – but I don’t believe this is case on this property.  More often then not the contingencies are on the buyers side.
I held a 1 bedroom and 1 bath listing of ours Open the last 2 weekends in the Cambrian area. 3322 Kimber Ct #4 listed for $414,900.  The difference of who was visiting during the 1st weekend (July 23-24th) and this past weekend (July 30th and 31st) was that the first weekend mostly neighbors and a few casual lookers.   This past weekend it felt as though the buyers were far more serious and farther along in their search.   I found it very encouraging.
It’s always exciting to see a “coming soon” sign go up for one of our listings which happened today at 1404 Cherrywood Sq.   This property will be Active next week and we are very much looking forward to showing it to potential buyers.
1404 Cherrywood Sq is the 1056 Sq foot model with the open floor plan (kitchen has opening to dining area)   We and the sellers have been working steadily to make certain we have the strongest presentation possible.   We believe it’ll “shine” when you all come to visit.   Copper plumbing, A/C, updated kitchen with recessed lighting in the kitchen, new carpet in upper level, new paint through out,  and clean, clean, clean…
We will be doing 4 open houses the first week- Wed AM, Friday PM, and both Sat and Sun- lots of opportunity for buyers to visit!
As for the current market – the other 3 Active Merrivale West listings are all still ACTIVE.    There are 20 Active townhouses and condo’s for sale in the Campbell market.   9 Townhouses and Condo’s went pending in the past 7 days, of those properties 4 went under contract in 10 days or less.     The current Active properties in Campbell (as of today) average 18 days as Active.
We firmly believe this is a seasonal effect, that we experience every June and July.   We also believe in preparing properties to shine.    Having  them priced correctly and marketed strongly is  critical.
We have a sophisticated buyer in our area – 92% of them  go on line first before they go out and visit property.    Having maximum exposure makes a big difference.   With the partners that Coldwell Banker provides for us our listings hit 600+ websites the day we list them.   Important.
I visited the 2 open houses yesterday in the complex – 1388 Pinehurst and 1405 Millich Lane.  Traffic appeared to be light.   Fellow agents in my office all report that overall traffic has been lighter for past 2 months at Open Houses- which is very much the result of the summer months and buyers interests being drawn to other activities.   Historically we  see this trend from late May through July.
Currently there are 22 condo’s and townhouses in the Campbell area listed as ACTIVE- 3 were posted yesterday and 2 on Friday.     80 single family homes are currently ACTIVE
I pulled up townhouses and condo’s in Campbell area, that went under contract (Pending status) in the past 2 weeks – a total of 7.   The average days on market for those properties was 38 days- which is a very different from prior months and of those properties that went under contract only one of them had less than 10 days on market – all the rest were in the double digits – 15,21,22,51,76,75.
Keeping in mind the continual low levels of inventory in this category,townhomes and condo’s,  unless we see a HUGE influx of Active properties we expect the trend to return to lower number of days on market as we move into August, Sept. and October.   Probably not the 7-10 days we’ve experienced for the past 1.5 years- but in the range of 7-20 days on market.
Yesterday 2 new property’s became ACTIVE on the MLS –
1360 Charmwood Sq & 1388 Pinehurst Sq – this is the week inventory picked up – as of this morning 29 ACTIVE listings for condo’s/townhouses in Campbell area.  11 new listings this week.
1405 Millich Lane remains ACTIVE and the offer date they had originally posted for 7/12/16 has long passed.
As we see these new listings come on line its very important to look at the list price –  we are seeing properties listed at the high end of value and that tends to discourage buyers from making offers.
Market Statistics that Coldwell Banker provides shows the following:
IF the asking price is at:
“Fair Market” value then the property will appeal to 95% of interested buyers
5% OVER market value the property appeals to interested buyers drops to 50%
10% OVER market value it is 30%
15% OVER market value it is 20%

Later yesterday the new listing at 1405 Millich Lane was ACTIVE on the MLS.   The agent states in their notes that they will do offers on 7/12 at noon.   List price is $744,500
We are happy to announce that will have a new listing in early August.  Its the 1056 Sq foot floor plan with 2 car garage, updated kitchen, newly painted and upper level carpets, copper plumbing, air conditioning and many more upgrades.    Our listing will be staged – as we really believe it enhances the presentation of the property.   We will keep you posted- but please plan on coming to see us and the property!
Yesterday I saw a sign for a new listing at 1405 Millich Lane- it is a 1,292 sq foot interior with 2 beds and 2 baths.    The listing agent reports that they expect to go on the market in the next 4-5 days.   He indicated the list price will be in the mid 700s.
BUT, keep in mind till it is listed on the Multiple Listing Service pricing  could change.
As we end the 1st 1/2 of 2106 we’ve only had 3 Merrivale West properties close escrow.   *these are the properties listed on the MLS  other properties could have changed ownership through a private sale.
At this point last year in 2015 only 4 properties in Merrivale West has closed escrow and the balance of the sales took place during the second half of 2016.    A total of 14 properties were sold in 2105.   Thus the sales history of 2015 was a little different then past years, for example in 2014 the sales were evenly divided between the 1st 1/2 of the year and 2nd 1/2 of the year.
What does this mean?  – well, I think we will see the same kind of results as 2015 and there will be more sales in the 2nd 1/2 of the year.      We are aware of several homeowners that are preparing their properties for last summer.
Thursday Campbell area update for inventory-  as I’ve written about inventory is creeping up in the single family homes- 72 homes as of today.     The Condo/Townhome area has stayed fairly consistent at 22-28 weekly, todays number is  25.
The Pending sales are 34 units for condo’s and townhouses, and 8 properties went under contract this past week, basically 1/3 of inventory.  All indications are that the condo/townhouse market in the Campbell area continues to have low levels of inventory and the absorption rate of new listings is strong.
What I do find interesting is that several markets are seeing a leap in inventory levels for the condo/townhome area-  Cupertino has 38 units, Sunnyvale has 26, and Santa Clara has 33 units.    These are large numbers then we’ve seen in the past few months.
David and I have spoken to several homeowners at Merrivale West this past 2 weeks – all are excited to the sales results of 1378 Cherrywood Sq,  several are considering placing their homes on the market in the next few months.     Most have a concern that the market has reached its peak.   Our response is always the same- the indications aren’t there for anyone to make an definite statement one way or the other.     But we do feel that June has been a much slower month for sales and inventory, in most markets.   AND we do still see multiple offers and over list results along with some properties sitting longer and price reductions.  Not a clear picture yet….
I am not a fan of June…  its  a tough month in Real Estate in our area.   Contrary to what the rest of the country experiences it’s not a bustling time here.  That happens for us in Feb, March, and April.
This June it seems particularly “wiggy”   –  buyers energy and focus is off.  They’ve been through another spring season of multiple offers and prices continuing to climb.  They are putting their energy into end of school, graduations, weddings etc – just not out shopping for homes in droves like spring time.
Of course, I’m speaking in a broad sense, keep in mind there are always buyers out looking.  It’s just less right now.
Sellers are also in a tough spot- they are seeing days on market growing and buyers not as willing to make large over bids.  Over bids are still happening on properties that are very well presented  (marketed and staged)  and updated with newer kitchens, baths and flooring.     Certain markets are immune from this ie. Cupertino, parts of Sunnyvale and Santa Clara in our area – due to the strong desire by buyers for schools and proximity to tech companies.   But in the other local market there’s a shift.
Sellers are bewildered.  Last month they saw their neighbors homes fly off the shelf- quick sales and over list offers.    Now some of them are receive AT LIST price offers…. yikes!  and some are having to take price reductions as their home s.
Heres some interesting stat’s –                                                                                                                                          26 condo’s/townhomes on the market in Campbell area currently.   16 are showing  Days on the Market longer then 10 .   Of the 26 Actives 7 have a price reduction from the original list price.
75 single family homes are Active in Campbell area (we’ve hovered around 50 for the past few months) and 18 of those properties have taken a price reduction.
There were 9 closed sales in the past 8 days that were Condo’s/Townhomes and 7 of them had Days on Market less then 10 days.  Keep in mind that these sales would have been sold/gone under contract  in early May.
What does this mean?   Cannot say it’s a trend, because this “shift” of buyers attention happens in June regardless of the other trends in the market – low inventory, price increases etc    We’ll need to see how the rest of the summer goes…

1378 Cherrywood Sq posted closed – $801,000.  High for the complex.
What is incredibly interesting is that 1376 Cherrywood had a sale date (day it went under contract) as 4/2 and 1378 Cherrywood had a sale date of 5/6-  basically one month difference in entering the market and the sales results were $79,000  on a difference of 72 sq ft and one less bathroom.  That is a significant number to be only one month apart.
My take on it – presentation and the extra bath.   1378 Cherrywood showed very well.  The choices the sellers made in upgrades looked higher end.   Plus the extra bathroom is a floor plan that buyers also are willing to pay more $ for.
Do you or a loved one need help keeping up with residential property tax payments? The Property Tax Postponement (PTP) Program provides loans to assist with the payment of property taxes on a homeowner’s primary residence.
Did you know?
Governor Jerry Brown has reinstated this program and the State Controller will begin accepting applications for the PTP Program beginning October 1, 2016. Because funding     for the program is limited, applicants will be approved and taxes paid on a first come, first served basis.
To be eligible for PTP, the homeowner must:
•    Be at least 62 years of age, or blind, or have a disability;
•    Own and occupy the property as their primary residence;
•    Have a total annual household income of $35,500 or less; and
•    Have at least 40% available equity in the property.
Payment Information:
•    The homeowner may choose to pay all or part of the qualified property tax postponement balance at any time (exceptions to this included in the next section)
•    The repayment will include an annual interest rate of 7%
•    The property tax lien will remain in full force and effect on the homeowner’s property until their account is paid in full

The loan issued under the PTP Program becomes due and payable when the homeowner:
•    Moves or sells the property upon which the taxes were postponed;
•    Transfers title;
•    Defaults on a senior lien;
•    Refinances;
•    Dies; or
•    Chooses to obtain a reverse mortgage.
Who is not eligible for postponement?
A homeowner who was previously enrolled in the PTP Program at the 20% equity requirement and does not meet the new eligibility requirements of 40% equity.
Note:  An applicant who refinances or has an equity loan may not have sufficient equity in the property to qualify for postponement.
What is not eligible for postponement?
•    Prior years’ delinquent taxes. “Property taxes” are defined as taxes for the current fiscal       year only
•    Mobile and manufactured homes
•    Floating homes and houseboats
The State Controller’s Office (SCO) will be conducting outreach activities and providing materials with more information closer to the October start date. This information will be found on the State Controller’s website.
Questions? Contact the Controller’s team  at (800) 952-5661 or postponement@sco.ca.gov.
Realtor.com just posted story titled “Why are Sellers Happy and Buyers at the Peak of Grumpiness?”
sort version is below:  30% think now is not a good time to purchase a home…. while more sellers are thinking now is a good time to sell….
Keep in mind this is a national survery- so as all of us who live in No. Cal/Silicon Valley know our market is unique… but I’d say those 2 points do reflex the current mood.  Buyers feel very “put upon”  as the market continues to challenge them with higher list prices,  multiple offers and the lack of affordability for more and more people in our area.
Some highlights from Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index:
•    30% of Americans say now is a good time to purchase a home, a drop of 3 percentage points from the previous month and now at an all-time survey low.
•    15% of Americans say now is a good time to sell a home, now at an all-time survey high.
•    More consumers think home prices will rise over the next 12 months compared to March, and slightly fewer consumers also expect mortgage rates to go up over the next year.
•    The percentage of respondents who say they are not concerned with losing their job increased 6 percentage points to 74%, nearly a 7 percentage point decrease in March.
•    The percentage of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago held at 11%.
Local market update- 24 Actively listed properties classified as Townhomes /condo’s in the Campbell real estate area (zips 95008,95117, some 95128, and 95030)  of the 24 only 6 have been Active for double digit days.
Simply put that means more properties are coming on the market, since 24 is a higher number then we’ve experienced in the past months,  and they are still turning quickly.   The townhouse/condo market is turning quickly.
Some rumblings of the market flattening in the single family sector.   Agents report lighter Open House traffic and fewer offers with a lower % of increases over list price.    While I think that is true I’d also add we historically see this in May.  Northern California Buyers interest(s) tend to go other places – vacations, graduations, schools out….
At this time last year (2015) 3 had only 3 closed sales in the complex and one pending- 2016 has seen 2 closed sales and one currently pending.
On another note, to add to my post from 5/5 and 5/10 here’s more information regarding property taxes – the County Tax Assessor’s annual report.    https://www.sccassessor.org/index.php/forms-and-publications/annual-report/item/424-annual-report-2015-2016   I’m still plowing through it and finding some interesting insight into how significantly the county property  taxes have increased this past year

Just checked the sales prices and amount of CLOSED single family homes in the Campbell area (includes 95008,95117, some 95128, 95030 zips) in the last 14 days there were 23 sales transactions closed- out of those 23 transactions only 2 closed at a sale price under $1M.     During the same time period 11 condo/townhomes closed.  There was a wide range in prices from $1,100,000 to $450,000.
I’ve received some inquiries and comments regarding my link below- there is a lot more to property taxes and understanding how the amounts can be reassessed  on an annual basis.  This information came from a Merrivale West resident:
In California, we’re fortunate in that the assessed value can only increase 2% per year, from the initial sale price (thanks to the passage of Prop. 13).    This cap on the increase helps expense planning, and enables long-time owners to stay in their homes, and not be “priced-out” by exorbitant property tax increases.
Here’s some interesting info. regarding property tax info. for the country- the good news is CA is not at the top of the list, but since we have such a high price point of  closed sales compared to the rest of the country the tax amount most new owners pay is significant.   * you’ll need to copy and past- it is not a direct link.
Happy May Day!
1376 Cherrywood Sq closed on 4/29.  I’m somewhat  surprised at the closing price of $720,000.  It was the 1220 sq foot floor plan with 1 full bath and one half bath.    It had 164 more sq ft then the last 2 closed units; which both closed at a higher sales price – $742,500 and $732,000 for the 1056 sq foot units BUT it lacked a 2nd full bath and only had a one car garage, both of which are very important to buyers.
It will be telling to see how 1378 Cherrywood Sq (right next door) turns out.   Floor plan size is 1292 sq and 2.5 baths, but also has only one car garage.  They are scheduling to take offers on THURS.
New listing in the complex – 1378 Cherrywood Sq listed yesterday .  List price is $698,000, its one of the larger units- 1292 sq ft with 2 beds and 2.5 baths,  1 car garage.  (the larger units in the complex have one car garages and the smallest sq foot unit 968 SQ ft with a 1 bed/1 bath has a 2 car garage!)
The property appears staged with updated kitchen and baths.   The open bar area that is between the kitchen and dining area has been removed at some stage of remodeling.   The kitchen flooring is extended out in the dining space, and the rest of the downstairs living space is carpet.   Kitchen has maple cabinets and granite counters.  They are planning on taking offers May 5th.   I would expect multiple offers as the it’s priced on the very low end of value and will only go up as buyers step up to compete.
The unit next door, which is pending, 1376 Cherrywood Sq should be closing any day- the close of escrow was listed as 4/26/16.
As I wrote about on the last post inventory has increased this week in the single family home category- the condominium and townhouse market continues to have low levels of inventory and generally a quick turn (as always when price appropriately)   95117 currently has 3 listings;  1376 Phelps Ave #2 listed at $$435,000 for a 2 bed/1 bath, 1373 Phelps Ave #8 listed at $498,000 for a 3bed/2 baths, and 3705 Blackford Ave listed at $769,000 for a 2 bed/2.5 baths.
Both 1376 Phelps #2 and 3705 Blackford Ave have been active on the market for 14 days,, 1373 Phelps Ave #2 has only been listed for 2 day and expecting to take offers on 4/28/16.     3705 Blackford Ave agent states they are hold off on taking offer till next WED 3/27- which will end up being 16 days from the list date, a fair amount of time in todays market to hold off taking offers.     However, last weekend, being tax weekend, might have affected the decision to hold off OR possibly the agent/seller feels they want 2 weekends of exposure.
This listing offers dates is tricky  – most buyers are now conditioned to ask “when is your offer date” when they visit Open Houses since it’s a scenario we are used to in this market- BUT if the offer dates comes and goes and no offers arrive (it happens….) then not only is the seller disappointed but you’ve signaled to all the other agents/buyers you’ve not received any offers.     We generally hold off on posting a date- until we’ve gone through the Open House weekend dates and have a sense of activity levels and interest then we  post and follow up with contacting all the agents and buyers who have shown interest.
I have noticed that a significant number of agents are holding off listing offer dates – and the buyer’s agents need to call or email their inquiry.   That also allows the listing agent to gather keep their pulse on the number of serious agents/buyers.
Definitely a whiff in the air that the market is changing….   the single family home market that is.   The townhouse/condo market remains tight  and inventory levels low, whatever comes on the market -price correctly- still “flies off the shelves”
I hosted our newest listing this morning at 2884 Rustic Dr, San Jose 95124 for Broker Tour.   It is a updated and remodeled 1406 Sq ft  3 bed/2 bath single family home listed for $929,900.   We always list the mid week Broker Tour also as an Open House – it allows buyers to visit properties right after they are listed.   * Broker tour  generally includes properties that are  new to the market, or have taken a price reduction.
I had an equal number of groups of Agents visiting as I did buyers-  I asked one agent if she noticed a change, as I felt the number of agents was lower then I had expected and she told me that there were 60 properties on tour and every property she visited had seemed to have lower number of visitors.    (Broker tours date varies from area to area- Campbell area is on Wed AM tour – as is Willow Glen, Cambrian, Saratoga, Los Gatos)
I was happy with the  results at our listing-because the buyers I had coming through sounded like very serious, many had made several offers (and lost out on multiple offers) and were not at all shocked or surprised at prices.  They had made the effort to be there to see this property the first Open House during the work  week, instead of waiting for the weekend  The agents were looking very specifically and/or had their buyers with them.
I went back and check the new to the market single family homes listings for the past 7 days :
Campbell 17 , Willow Glen 33, Cambrian 21, Santa Clara 25, Los Gatos 17, Sunnyvale 17, Cupertino 17
Total number of ACTIVE listings:
Campbell 46, Willow Glen 76,  Cambrian 48, Santa Clara 50, Los Gatos 85, Sunnyvale 40, Cupertino 45
What will be interesting to watch is how fast these new listings move into Pending status-  we know there has been more buyers then sellers for a significant amount of time, hence multiple offer situations, but will buyers continue to pay the top  range of prices?   Or with the increase in inventory allow buyers to have more control?  Of course this is just one week… but it does appear to be a very different week then we’ve seen for along time…  stay tuned.

1431 Woodgrove has closed escrow- $746,500!  Highest historical sold price for 1056 Sq Ft floor plan.
The offer was accepted with no contingencies – the escrow was very smooth and we thank the new owners and Melissa Sims, their agent, for a great transaction!
Today’s Mercury News Article titled “Is Spring Prime Time for Bay Area home seller’s” by Richard Scheinin discussing Zillow’s new numbers cruncher tool that put forth the premise that the first 2 weeks of June are the most profitable time to sell.  They are basing this on NATIONAL  sales trend results from 2008-2015.
Please take into consideration when reading any articles or stat’s that are based on NATIONAL Real Estate sales trend results you should temper your take (at the very least) the information because our Northern California market is unique and frequently follows a different trajectory.   Historically we’ve experience that March and April are our strongest months and we tend to see a tapering late May and June of listings activity and buyers attention.
The other part of this is that due to the low levels of inventory and strong buyer demand of the past 3 years we’ve experienced an year round interest level- because there are more buyers then sellers, and they (buyers) are waiting for properties to hit the market.
1376 Cherrywood Sq has posted as “active contingent”.  What that means is they have accepted an offer and the offer has contingencies in place for a period of time (could be finance, property, HOA doc’s ect).
Throughout the entire past year – all of 2015 and 2016 it was the “norm” for most buyers to make offers without any contingencies  ( which is a crazy concept for most markets in the country- but not Northern California).   When a buyer makes an offer without finance contingencies it  means that if  a loan is part of their offer they (the buyer) are willing  to waive  their contingency rights to receive a final approval  from their lender.   Sounds crazy right?   Well, it was necessary in the aggressive market we’ve been  in for  buyers to try all means to present themselves as strong and committed to the purchase –  thus waiving finance, appraisal and property condition (a timeframe where the buyers conducts their one investigations regarding the property conditions, which usually involves inspections.)
In a less aggressive market the buyers generally ask for contingency time periods.
Do I know what it means in relationship to the 1376 Cherrywood property – nope, because it could be a range of scenario’s.  I would expect we’ll see the status changing to “Pending” in about 7-10 days.
Hope no one has pulled too major of a “April Fool’s” joke on you today…
The listing on 1376 Cherrywood is still ACTIVE on the Multiple Listing Service.  The listing agent had posted sometime after Tuesday that they would be accepting offers yesterday ( 3/31/16 Thurs) at 10:00 am.   They more then likely did receive offers and are in the process of negotiating or just taking some time to post the change in status.
I did go by and visit the property- and as I thought, from viewing the photo’s on line, there were some upgrades – granite counters, a laminate flooring in lower level,  carpet that was “newer” and bathrooms with a few upgrades.  There was also air conditioning.
Our listing at 1461 Woodgrove Sq is moving towards a close date of 4/15/16, so far no glitches in the closing timeframe.  We’ve seen less delays in closing then we experienced a few months ago when the new laws from HUD were being instituted and the Escrow and Loan people were getting on board with the new timeframes that were required for disclosures.
29 condo’s/townhouses went under contract (status changed from Active to Pending or Active Contingency) in the past 14 days.   Just outside of the complex – 718 Millich Dr #A did take 31 days to find a buyer.  They had listed the 1018 sq foot property at $629,950- what a different being inside the Merrivale West complex makes…   They have HOA dues of $312 monthly AND attend the Campbell elementary district verses the Moreland Elementary School district.

I’m stopping by to visit the newest Merrivale West listing today-  it look like there has been some updating – paint, flooring.     I think the list price is right on- I’d expect there to be multiple offers.   It has a good sq footage, 1220 sq’s.
There has been a little increase of inventory- new listings are popping up on a regular basis (and going under contract within about 7-9 days IF priced correctly)   I’ve experienced,  heard and read that there is a general feeling that we are in an “later spring season” for the Real Estate  market.   Typically the Real Estate market in our area begins to see inventory levels start increase in early spring,the last few weeks in February, and we did see more listings at that point this year.   But the activity level has changed the last 2 weeks of March to a much quicker pace.   As I’ve mentioned in my  prior entries the first Listing that came on at Merrivale West in 2016 was our listing at 1431 Woodgrove Sq- listed in mid March.  This is later than normal for spring listings in the complex.
We do see some price reductions and longer days on market in the higher priced single family homes markets.    A quick snap shot of the last 14 days of closed sales for single family homes in Los Gatos – 11 closed escrow, 4 sold below list price and 1 sold @ list price, the bal. of 6 sold above list price.   While Campbell area also had 11 closed sales, 1 sold below list price, 1 sold @ list price, and the bal. of 9 sold above.
The townhome and condo market don’t seem to have the same trend- because that market is still (in most area’s) has an average price point that is below $1m and that market is hot and aggressive.

1431 Woodgrove Sq is Pending and we expect to close escrow on 4/15/16.
As I was discussing in my prior entry the way offers are written and presented make a BIG difference in the process of choosing the one to accept.  The offer on 1431 Woodgrove Sq had everything in place- it was not only strong with price and terms but the agent had every other piece of information available and ready.   It ended up being a very simple decision for the seller.
Offer date was yesterday on 1431 Woodgrove Sq- we received 6 total.   As of tomorrow AM we’ll be showing Pending-
It is always an exciting day when offers arrive and yesterday was no exception,  as a listing agent you really don’t know until right before or right after the date and time that was listed  as a deadline what to expect ( often one or two offers  arrive after the time listed as a deadline)   We generally spend several hours trying to put together a clear summary (spreadsheet) of the offers so that the sellers can have a clear understanding of each offer and the differences between the offers.     It isn’t always the highest offer that ends up being accepted – terms are also very important in our market.
Those terms include – type of financing and down payment, proof of the source of funds, contingency time frames, close of escrow dates, “as is” or more correctly “as disclosed”,  & disclosures reviewed and signed.
Our hope is that one offer will have ALL of the different area’s clearly addressed and the offer is “clean”.  The reality is that a clean and well written offer is frequently a rare occurrence…. and a joy to behold when one arrives!    One agent in the last round of offers told me that she was very very busy with several (different)  clients and thus couldn’t complete the requested disclosures that should have accompanied the offer.    That is a indication of the way the agent will act (or not act) during the Escrow process …    and while that may not be the a part of the reason an offer is accepted or denied, in this very competitive market all Agents should be crossing their “I’s” and dotting their “T’s”
My suggestion is that every buyer should be querying their agent as to their understanding of:
•    what is the seller looking for regarding terms
•    what is needed to accompany the offer – proof of funds, which disclosures should be signed and returned with the offer (standard practice in our market that some of the disclosures are returned with the offer)
•    would a introduction letter be helpful – often sellers like to know alittle background about the potential buyers
and that is the short list….    more information in the next few weeks about Woodgrove Sq!
Today is the offer date for 1431 Woodgrove Sq- all indications are that we will receive multiple offers.     The phone calls and showings by agents also the amount of agents downloading the disclosure package are strong indicators of the interest level.
The rainy weather over the weekend did slow traffic at the Open Houses, but since we also had opened up the Wednesday Broker Tour to the public – part of our marketing plan to allow buyers easy and early access to view the home- overall the number of showings was similar to our other listings.
Check out the 1431 Woodgrove Sq-
Tomorrow 1431 Woodgrove Sq will be ACTIVE on the MLS – List price will be $689,900.    Come  stop by and see us during Broker Tour on Wed AM 9:30 -12:30 OR over the weekend, both Sat. and Sun 1:00- 4:00

Did you notice our “Coming Soon” sign  @ 1431 Woodgrove Sq?    2 bedrooms and 2 baths, 1056 Sq Ft.
Lovely unit that’s been maintained meticulously!
Market update- our newest listing at 2313 Samaritan Dr #2 in 95124 was sold yesterday – after 3 days on the market.
It is not typical of the marketing period we usually recommend, but the sellers received an preemptive offer that was sooo compelling  they couldn’t not  accept it….  we are thrilled for them.
The property was remodeled throughout the interior and staged.  It showed well.   The buyer and agent went to see it the first afternoon it was on the market.
Newest listing in area surrounding Merrivale West complex –
718 Millich Dr #a, a 2 bed and 2 bath at 1018 sq feet.  Complex built in 1962.  Asking price $649,900.  They have listed offer date as March 1st.  This property is in the Campbell School District.  They have some interior updates and a yard (a plus for buyers in this market)
4165 Blackford Circle, a 2 bed and 2 bath at 1026 sq ft.  Complex built in 1984.  Asking price $749,000.  It’s only been on the market 2 days and don’t have an offer date set.  This property is in the Moreland School District.  Interior is update (with a lot of  tile..)
The Campbell zone currently has 16 active listings in the condo/townhome category- that is an increase over the past several weeks.   The average days on market for those 16 listings is 15.5 – a little higher then we’ve seen in the recent past.   The highest priced listing is at Penny Lane (Hamilton Landing cross streets are San Tomas Expressway and Hamilton) 524 Fierro Loop asking $1,199,000 for a 2 bed and 3 bath with 2085 sq feet.  The lowest priced listing is at 607 Valley Forge Way #2 for $439,000.  Its a 2 bed and one bath in 804 sq feet interior space.
This is a brief snapshot of the market- we hope there will continue to be more listings as we go further into the spring season – which is historically the busiest time in Northern California for real estate activity.
Multiple offers still abound – but we are also seeing a trend of buyers in the higher price point markets giving a push back on price.  At this point it is strictly in the single family homes market and in the 1.5 and above range.

Our newest listing is ACTIVE today- 2313 Samaritan Dr #2 in the Cambrian area of San Jose, 95124.   Its a remodeled McKuon Condo that shows very well – stop by for Open Houses this weekend to see either David or myself hosting.   List price is $464,900 for 930 sq ft and 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.
Our stagers, as always, did a great job.  Furniture and accessories fit a small space and have a clean and fresh look- which is exactly what buyers like to see and envision for their future home.   Our stagers, Fresh Accent Staging, are from the mid penisula area and don’t often come down this way to stage but we have a long term relationship (over 9 years) so they will do the drive for us.
We hope to see you this weekend!
If you are thinkg about some upgrades to your home and want to consider the value you might be adding to your overall homes value check out  Consumer Reports magazine, March 2016,  they have a good article on “8 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value”.    The information is based on a nationally representative survey of  1,573 millennials.     The #1 item is The Kitchen is Still King ( it’s always the kitchen in every list…)   the noteworthy item is that they are recommending  Quartz countertops as one of the new “value added” items.   I personally love Quartz counters and have had them in my home for 5 years- it looks much fresher then granite and marble.
Item #6 – Painting.  I’d personally put this higher on the list, as a freshly painted interior always makes any home look and feel cleaner and fresher (and I’d also add smell better….)     They make a great point that when preparing your home for sale you don’t necessarily have to paint every sq inch.  Instead, they suggest focusing on high-traffic hears, including the kitchen and bathrooms.
The other items that I think are worth considering are lowering your homes energy usage, floor plans,  making certain your new technology is actually smart, and keeping your home stress-free.
Here’s some area sales information that Mike James, Coldwell Banker president of Northern California  just shared with us:
According to industry analyst CoreLogic, a total of 7,876 new and existing homes and condos sold in December, up 26.5 percent from November and 17.4 percent from December 2014. “Last month’s San Francisco Bay Area home sales were the highest for a December in nine years, and made for a strong 2015,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst with CoreLogic.
But CoreLogic said the steep gains came with one caveat: December got a partial boost from some transactions that normally would have been recorded in November, but were delayed by days or weeks as the industry adjusted to new federal mortgage rules that took effect in October. Nonetheless, the delays probably accounted for just a small portion of the increase.
The median sale price for all homes sold in December in the Bay Area hit $655,000, up a whopping 12.9 percent year over year from December 2014’s level of $580,000. Last month’s price was just 1.5 percent below the peak of the market in June and July of 2007.
Currently there are only 2 townhouses/condo properties ACTIVE in 95008 and 95117-   4157 Blackford Circle, 95117,  listed for $768,000 for 2 beds/2 baths, 1036 Sq Ft.  They are schedule to take offers next Wed 1/27.    They have Moreland schools- thus the property will be much in demand.      1130 Capri Dr, 95008, listed for $629,000 for 2 beds/2 baths, 1336 sq.  They took offers on 1/20/15 and the agents states they received 7 offers total… however it’s still listed as ACTIVE.   The schools district is Campbell Union.
Both properties -732 Millich Dr #b  & 3849 Panda Place, 95117 that I wrote about on 1/11/16 are under contract/pending.
There is no indication- even with all the discussions about rising interest rates,  of slowing down demand.

Sunset magazine just listed Campbell as one of the top 5 best Communities to live in the West.
It is nice to see all the wonderful aspects of the area listed – and it’s also a great marketing piece for more reason’s to want to live within a very short distance to downtown Campbell.
The isn’t much inventory to review- just a few new listings in the Campbell zone this past week. –  I’d expect them to sell very quickly.   Total of 10 listings (townhouses and condo’s) as of today.
One to keep a watch on is at 732 Millich Dr #b, which is just outside the complex.  This property has a Campbell zip 95008 and Campbell schools (verses Moreland)- which generally effects the price since Moreland is considered a more desirable school district.     The list price is $579,000 for 1018 sq ft interior with 2beds/2baths.  Their HOA dues are $310.      They are scheduled to take offers on 1/14, Thurs.
The other interesting property that came on the market is 3849 Panda Place, 95117.   This property does have Moreland schools.   The list price is $599,000 for 1,324 sq ft with 2 beds and 2 baths.   I would expect this property to significantly exceed the list price – based on condition (updated) schools, lack of inventory, and a list price that is going to attract a lot of buyers attention.    HOA on the complex is $380.   They are scheduled to take offers on 1/18, next Monday.   They listed it on 1/8.  This timeframe is allowing them 2 weeks market exposure- an different amount of time then the “normal” 7-8 days we generally see and one weekend of Open Houses.
Happy New Year!      2015 was a wonderful year for Merrivale West values-  2016 looks like we will continue to see high demand and values will remain strong.   Even with the changes in interest rates the expectation is that those changes won’t hamper buyer’s in our market area.   Supply is expected to remain low- and that effects prices and values.
Merrivale West had 14 property  that were sold in 2015 – David and I were the listing agents on 4 of them, which was 28% of the total sales in the complex.    Our sale at 1461 Golden Meadow Sq  was the highest $ sale in the history of the complex at  $777,000.    Our latest sale in the complex, at 1460 Millich Lane, which closed in December, was the highest $/SqFt  historically at $693.18 per sq foot.
We are very proud of the results – and most importantly we are pleased that our sellers all ended up being thrilled and  delighted!
Each property had plus and minus attributes- updated kitchens and baths, older kitchens and baths, copper plumbing, original galvi plumbing,  new a/c systems, no a/c system… etc- but one thing they all had in common was that the sellers were open and willing to make the commitment to preparing their properties (with our help) – fresh paint,  trimmed and freshened up patio’s, a through cleaning of the interior all add up to making buyers comfortable when they visit the property for the first time.
ALL 4 of our properties were staged- we are huge believers in the benefits of staging.   The results show that staging pays off in terms of the final sale price and the number of offers.   * we had 15 offers one property, and around 4-8 on the others.
In addition all of our properties had extensive on line presence – 20+ photo’s and virtual tours is our standard.  Approximately 92% of buyers begin their property searches on line, before they ever go out and visit a home, and yet out of the 14 homes that sold only 8 of them had Virtual tours…  ( 4 being our listings)
There are many more things that contribute to a property selling for the highest $ amt- and they all add up to make the highest and best sales price and sale conditions- some big and some small.   We are grateful to have been able to work with sellers who paid attention, listened to suggestions and implemented them.
Thanks Kathleen, Shilpa, Shiva, Julia, Fred and Barbara!
1460 Millich Lane has closed at $732,000.  We had 5 offers on this property
This property was the 1056 sq foot floor plan and this sale was the highest $$ results historically for this sq footage.
We listed 4 total properties this year in Merrivale West, out of the 14 that were listed for sale in the complex – 3 were this floor plan.
1340 Millich Lane – sold in May for $715,500
1427 Golden Meadow Sq- sold in June for $715,000
1460 Millich Lane – sold in October for $732,000
They are the top 3 sales results for this floor plan – out of 8 units (1056 sq ft)
Extensive marketing – all 3 had 23 or more photographs posted and all had Virtual Tours posted- only one other sale had a Virtual tour posted.     Of course there are many more elements to achieving strong results for sellers- but using all the tools available is just one of the most basic…..    The statistics show that if you have more photo’s and a virtual tour posted buyers will spend more time viewing your property on line, which will translate into more interest and more visits to the property.    It just makes sense…..
1311 Merrivale West Sq posted closed about one week after the listed close of escrow date.  We are seeing escrows close late due to the new TRID federal law that went into effect 10/3/15.  This law was created to implement waiting periods and disclosure periods for buyers that effect lending and escrow time periods.  Our listing at 1460 Millich Lane should be  closing on 12/2 and will be pushed back to 12/4, due to the law implementation.
Our experience with these new laws are that we are seeing about 50% closings delayed.  Some just a matter of a few days and some about one week.   The expectation is that as we move forward lenders, buyers, sellers, escrow officers and the agents involved will be better versed on what timeframes are needed moving forward and we’ll have greater accuracy.