This Intero Insider – Video Series brings you Dominic Nicoli, one of our top real estate agents at Intero Real Estate Services from the Los Altos office. He speaks candidly with Intero COO Tom Tognoli and shares his insight and projections on today’s real estate market from luxury real estate to foreclosures – where we have been, where we are now, and where we are headed.
Posts Tagged ‘Los Altos’
The Bay Area hosts a number of major fault lines. The San Andreas fault is only a few miles away, and 3 major faults traverse the town of Los Altos hills – the Berrocal fault, the Altamont fault, and the Monta Vista Fault. Recent earthquakes here in the Bay Area and in Haiti serve as a reminder that we always need to be prepared for an earthquake.
Here’s a quick checklist of actions you and your family can take to be prepared in the event of an earthquake affecting our towns:
- Hazard Hunt – walk through your home to confirm tall or top heavy furniture is secured, loose objects are stored so that they don’t become flying missiles, and escape routes are likely to stay clear in the event of an earthquake.
- Water Heater – when you bought your house, one of the many real estate disclosures confirmed that the water heater was properly strapped. If you have replaced it since then – make sure it is still properly strapped to the wall!
- Utilities – make sure everyone in the family knows how to shut-off the gas and water lines if needed. Where are the needed tools stored? Does everyone know where the electrical breaker box is located?
- Disaster Supplies –Spot Pizza may not be able to deliver after a major earthquake – so make sure you have what you need! Assemble water, food, first aid kits, clothing, bedding, tools, medication, and other emergency supplies that your family may need for 3 to 5 days to be self-sufficient.
- Meeting Plan – identify an alternative to your home (if needed) for your family to meet after an earthquake. Perhaps a neighbor’s house or a Los Altos landmark.
- Radio – When requested by the cities of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, local volunteer amateur radio operators will activate an emergency 2-way radio communication network. This will link public schools, local Red Cross shelters, police, fire, hospitals and other emergency services. Disaster information and emergency instructions will be announced on commercial radio stations. Does your radio have fresh batteries or a hand crank?
- Communication Plan – Stay off the phone as much as possible. Identify an out-of-state relative or friend for all family members to call to report their location and condition after an earthquake. Setup a plan for that person (not you) to relay the news to other friends and family.
- School Plan – check the emergency plan at your children’s school. Authorize a trusted neighbor or relative to pick up your child if you are not available.
- Pets – make sure your pet has a current ID tag. Is their leash or carrier accessible? Make sure you have 3 to 5 days of food and water on hand for them too!
- Vital Documents – are your vital documents organized and stored in a fire-proof safe? Make sure they are ready to “grab and go” if needed.
- Get to Know Your Neighbors – consider organizing a neighborhood group to support one another during an earthquake or other emergency. Contact the Los Altos Police Department for information on the Citizen Corps Council and organizing your first meeting.
- CERT Me – In the case of a major disaster, emergency support will be scarce. Consider becoming a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member. The Los Altos Police Department offers CERT training that is open to everyone with priority given to Los Altos residents.
1. It’s a Great Place for a Walk!
Los Altos is a “walker-friendly” town with miles of quiet residential streets to explore, as well as several great parks. Just remember to bring a flashlight – with the scarcity of street lights in Los Altos, it can be hard to see!
2. A Little Shopping is always Fun
A little exercise can make a dog hungry! Check out the 5 Paw Bakery (315 Main Street)– where they bake such canine culinary confections as birthday cakes, yogurt and carob-dipped cookies and savory biscuits.
3. Coffee and Canines
Catch up with dog and human friends alike at one of the coffee shops in Los Altos. You’ll almost always see at least one dog sharing the love outside Starbucks (296 Main Street & 643 Los Altos Rancho), Peets (367 State Street) and Main Street Café (134 Main Street).
4. Fine Doggie Dining
When it’s time for more than a cup of coffee – enjoy a great meal on a dog-friendly patio. The staff will even bring a bowl of water for your canine friends!
- Fiesta Vallarta (301 State Street),
- Rick’s Café (205 State Street
- Brian’s Restaurant (680 Los Altos Rancho)
5. Ouchies Fixed 24 x 7
The Adobe Animal Hospital is open 7 days a week, 24 hours per day, providing regular and emergency vet services for dogs and other pets. From regular preventative check-ups to fast attention during an unexpected emergency – it’s reassuring to be able to go to one place. Ask someone in Los Altos which vet they use – and chances are – they’ll say Adobe.
6. Buff and Fluff
The staff at the Barking Lot (467 First Street) makes sure that Fido and Princess look sharp for their strolls through the Village. From nail clipping to baths, clips and coifs – this is the place for the latest Los Altos canine look!
7. Hanging out at Home
Some days – it’s great to just hang around home. The median lot size in Los Altos is just about a quarter acre – bigger than the average lot size in Palo Alto and Mountain View. The kids and the dog need lots of room to romp!
8. Room to Run
Los Altos does not yet have its own dog park – but it is considering working with the City of Cupertino and Santa Clara county to build one. In the meantime- check out the nearby dog parks in Mountain View and Palo Alto (Mountain
View Shoreline Dog Park) and Palo Alto (Mitchell Dog Park).
9. Need a SPaw Day?
When your pooch needs pampering – it’s time for a short drive to the Pooch Hotel in Sunnyvale. Here, your favorite companion can enjoy the swim facilities, personal trainers, aromatherapy baths, facials, massages, and pawdicures.
10. Certified Canine Design & Construction
John Hammerschmidt of Hammerschmidt Construction in Los Altos jokingly refers to himself as a “Certified Canine Designer”. Having completed multiple Los Altos remodels with custom canine features, John is well-versed in designing fido-friendly features including dog washes, dog runs and landscaping, custom breed-specific tiling, and scratch-resistant flooring.
11. Ms. Manners
Does your dog need a visit from Ms. Manners? Maybe it’s time for obedience classes. Some the best local classes are taught by the Deep Peninsula Dog Training Club at nearby Rengstorff Park.
12. Strut Your Stuff!
Since 1947, the Los Altos Kiwanis Club sponsors the Annual Los Altos Pet Parade on the Saturday following Mother’s Day each year. It features thousands of kids, their pets, and some very creative costumes!
I am in complete denial that Halloween is over, November is well underway, and the merchants have been sneaking holiday decorations and merchandise into their stores for weeks. It’s way too early to talk about plans for the holidays isn’t it?
Maybe not. Every year – I procrastinate on making holiday plans & then miss out on some events I would have liked to attend. Not this year.
Here are some of the Los Altos Holiday Events on the calendar for November and December this year.
Friday November 13 - 5 to 9 p.m.
Downtown Holiday Stroll
Enjoy treats & beverages at 50 unique downtown Los Altos shops. Music by the Peninsula Harmony Chorus. Free Carriage rides.
November 19 – December 19
The Bus Barn Theatre presents “A Christmas Pudding.” A low-calorie holiday treat with songs, music and tales from Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and George Bernard Shaw.
Sunday November 29 - 6 to 7 p.m.
Festival of Lights Parade
Since 1977 – families have gathered on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate the magic of the holiday season. Today – over 17,000 people enjoy the annual lighted floats, costumed charaters, and of course Jolly St. Nick himself. Note that people begin reserving space along the parade route at noon on the day of the parade.
November 30 to December 4
23rd Annual Gingerbread House Exhibit
Hillview Community Center. Come see the traditional and the modern versions of the classic holiday gingerbread house. If you and your family are really brave – design and build your own gingerbread house for display! See the website above for entry and exhibit details.
Friday – December 4 - 6 p.m.
Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony
Lighting the holiday tree feels like the “official” start of the holiday season – the big question is will it rain this year?
Sunday, December 6 – 1 to 4 p.m.
Holiday Barn Lighting – Westwind Community Barn
27210 Altamont Rd, Los Altos Hills. See the arts & crafts; visit Santa in an antique horse carriage; and enjoy live music.
December 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 26, 27
Holiday Carriage Rides - Enjoy a festive 25-minute carriage ride through beautiful, decorated downtown Los Altos! The carriages can accommodate 4 adults and 2 children – a perfect family treat! A carriage ride is $80 and can be reserved at (650) 949-5282.
Friday & Saturday, December 18 & 19 – 3:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Santa Makes Early House Calls in Los Altos! St. Nick has set aside two days to stop by Los Altos homes for a quick visit. Los Altos residents only, please. Call (650) 947-2848 for more information and to register for a visit.
December 21 to 23 - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Camp Candycane - Hilliview Community Center
The summer camp dream team returns for a holiday-themed camp filled with art, projects, gift-making, music and treat-baking! Call (650) 947-2790 to register.
Friday, January 1 – 9 a.m.
2010 New Year’s Day 5K Fun Run
Community Plaza (intersection of Main and State Streets). Run, walk, stroll, roll or skate with your family and friends. No bikes. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Free event. No registration is needed.
And whatever your holiday plans may be – I hope to be the first to wish you and yours – Happy Holidays!
Buyers often contact us – looking for a new home. With the limited land available in Silicon Valley – most folks start off with a home that could be 30, 40, or even 50 or more years old. And even though – these older homes might be extensively remodeled and in wonderful condition – the dream of owning a brand new – never lived in – home remains.
In Los Altos – there are approximately 10,000 homes and the median age of Los Altos homes on the market is currently 47 years. So what’s new in Los Altos? What is available on the market that is brand new?
Currently – there are 11 new homes on the market.
Here’s the range of new single family homes in Los Altos -
High End: A brand new home with over 6700 sq feet of living space – 6 bedrooms, 4+ bathrooms, a wine cellar, and full basement on a 14,000+ sq ft lot. List price: $4,995,000.
Low End: A brand new home with 4000 square feet of living space – 4 bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms, and a basement on a 7000 sq foot lot. This home is located on a smaller corner lot on the edge of a busy street. On a larger lot on a quieter street – I think this home would sell for significantly more than its current list price of $1,599,000.
Just the Dirt - Note that there is one more brand new “single family” home listed for sale in Los Altos for the bargain price of only $998,888. On closer inspection – though – it turns out that this home is actually just a nice piece of dirt. It’s a 6750 square foot lot with approved plans and permits for a 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bath home. You supply the general contractor, materials, labor and construction budget to build your new dream home.
The median new home on the market in Los Altos is listed for $3.2 million and features 5 bedrooms and 4+ bathrooms. It has 3557 sq feet of living space on a lot that is approximately a quarter acre. The spec builders in Los Altos are making these new houses “big” with lots of amenities like
- wine cellars, outdoor kitchens and dedicated theater rooms
- basement “suites” for the extended family (a place for your teenagers)
- decadent master suites with huge master baths and walk-in closets bigger than my first apartment
- great rooms combining a gourmet kitchen, walk-in pantry and family room
- dedicated offices with built in bookcases and enough high tech wiring to make your favorite geek grin
In Los Altos, I expect to see a trend in the coming years towards slightly smaller single-level homes with an ongoing emphasis on special amenities and high end finishes. We need our toys.
If you’re not quite ready to buy or build your brand new dream home in Los Altos, here’s a market snapshot of the overall Los Altos real estate market for single family homes:
|Median List Price||$1,950,000|
|Average List Price||$2,241,075|
|Least Expensive Listing||$998,888|
|Most Expensive Listing||$4,995,000|
|Asking Price per Sq. Foot||$695|
|Average Days on Market||123|
|Total Single Family Homes on Market||78|
|Median Home Size (sq ft)||2915|
|Median Lot Size (acre)||0.25- 0.50|
|Median Number of Bedrooms||4.0|
|Median Number of Bathrooms||3.0|
Lifestyle is what comes to mind when thinking about living in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. As one of the most coveted areas in the Silicon Valley, real estate in Los Altos provides large lots, prestigious schools, and a way of life that most would consider extremely appealing. The Los Altos lifestyle does come with a price! The good news is that property prices are lower—even in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Our market is experiencing what I call a Real Estate “Trifecta.” According to Wikipedia, “trifecta” is a term used to describe any successful or favorable phenomenon or characteristic that comes in threes. The trifecta we have right now in the Silicon Valley real estate market is:
- low interest rates
- lower property values
- sellers willing to negotiate
Oh, and if you are a first-time home buyer, don’t forget the tax credit that is part of the Stimulus Package