How Does Your Garden Grow?

garden growHow Does Your Garden Grow?

Imagine yourself in a bountiful spring garden surrounded by tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses and beautiful blossoms in a riot of colors and hues. But how do you bring this spring wonderland to your own front yard and backyard? The answer is, by starting now.

For many of us, gardening projects end in the summer. Yet, fall planting is crucial to a good harvest in spring, be it flowers or vegetables. Here’s how to go about creating a beautiful spring garden.

Picking bulbs for spring blossoms: Right now, garden stores and nurseries are stocked up on bulbs and seeds for planting. Tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, daffodils, irises are some varieties which are sure to give you a blooming garden come spring.

Spring veggie patch: For a vegetable harvest in spring, choose vegetables which can withstand the winter chill and frost. Carrots, cabbages, turnips, broccoli, celery, parsnips, radishes, kale, and brussels sprouts are among the varieties which are most hardy.

Planting time: Plant the bulbs after summer but before the ground gets frosty. October is usually a good time for fall planting, but here in the Bay area, it is safe to plant till early November.

Where to plant: Choose an area in your yard which is sunny and has good drainage. Prepare the soil with compost and fertilize after planting the bulbs.

Mulch: Be sure to spread a layer of mulch. This keeps keep the moisture in and prevents frost from settling on the bulbs in the winter.

For more information, visit https://www.almanac.com/gardening.
For hardiness zones, check out this excellent resource on fall planting of bulbs: https://www.almanac.com/sites/default/files/d6/fall_planted_bulbs.jpg

July 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Update

July 2017 Almaden Valley real estate market update… July figures of the Almaden Valley real estate market are in, and if historic figures are any indication we should have reached the low point of the annual summer doldrums. We would not be surprised to see a slight autumn rally and then the holiday season slow-down that happens every year.

There is one anomaly this year, and that is the number of single family homes offered on the market on any given month has been lower than the number of sold homes for most of the year. There are many possible reasons for this. One is that many homes are not listed on the MLS until they are sold. In other words, many Realtors are getting homes sold before they can put them on the MLS. Generally speaking, this type of sale  indicates a strong demand for homes. The data from last month would seem to bear this out. When we look at the number of single family homes on the market in July 2017 compared to last year, we see an over 64% lower number of homes this year yet the number of homes that sold are down only a bit less than 6%. Inventory is at some of the lowest rates that we’ve seen in years.

In addition, the price per square foot increased a rather hefty 9.4% from June 2017 and at $627/sqft is among the highest rate we’ve seen.

Overall, it would appear that the Almaden Valley single family market is favoring sellers. Would you like to know the value of your home? Call me for comps, or do it yourself with my home valuation tool ChalkBug.com!

July 2017 Almaden Valley real estate market

June 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Update

June 2017 Almaden Valley real estate market update… As summer temperatures rise, the Almaden Valley single home real estate market cools a bit in a seasonal pattern we observe pretty much every year. Kids are out of school, summer vacations are planned and the sale and purchase of homes seems to be the farthest thing from many people’s minds. It would not surprise me in the least to see the market taking a summer nap until fall approaches.

Meantime, if you’ve been thinking about selling your home and wonder what it might be worth on the market these days, take a look at our proprietary easy-to-use home valuation tool ChalkBug and then give me a call!

June 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market

May 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Update

May 2017 Almaden Valley real estate market update… The Almaden Valley real estate market shows little signs of slowing down for the summer, if last month’s data is any indication. Generally speaking, we start seeing single family inventory creep upwards during late spring/early summer, but this year we’ve seen a decided drop of almost 23% from April and 50% compared to the same time last year. Sales actually outpaced listings in May and the number of single family homes that were under contract last month increased quite notably from April.

The average price per square foot retracted slightly from April to May, from $618 to $612. However, it was an increase of a bit over 5% from May 2016 when it was about $582, which indicates a stable rate of growth.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling your home, give me a call!

May 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market

April 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Update

April 2017 Almaden Valley real estate market update… April continued the spring upswing for Almaden Valley real estate. With the exception of the number of listings under contract, market data for single family homes was up from March. When we examine the graph below, two things stand out. One is that inventory is reaching a point where it cannot keep up with demand, and each of the past three months have ended with buyer activity almost outpacing sellers. When we note that the number of pending listings dropped from March to April, we get an indication that buyers are purchasing homes faster than sellers are putting them on the market.

Another point we notice is that although the same general pattern of pending and sold homes for the last few months is a repeat of the same time last year, the total numbers this year are much lower. Homes for sale, those in escrow and solds are down noticeably. However, average price per square foot is at a level we haven’t seen for quite a while. At $616/sqft, it is almost 9% higher than in April 2016. What we are seeing is a strong shift towards a seller’s market being fueled by tight inventory.

We are in the midst of a seasonal pattern of increased market interest this time of year, but a severely limited inventory of homes is frustrating buyers. The price per square foot increase indicates buyers are keen to buy. If you are thinking about selling, now may be the time. Give me a call or send me a message and let me show how I can help you make the most of our active market.

April 2017 Almaden Valley real estate market

Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Home

Spring is now well and truly upon us here in the Bay Area. After the flurry of storms and a particularly wet winter, it is delightful to see hills covered with wildflowers, bare trees full of foliage and verdant green everywhere.

It is also time to get our homes in shipshape condition for the summer. Here’s a handy spring cleaning checklist for around the home and in the yard.

Spring cleaning checklist - guttersRoof, rafters and gutters Clean out leaves and twigs left by the recent storms from your gutters. Check that the downspouts are properly connected and clear. Look for any broken or missing shingles. Check the frames of any skylights. Get a roofer to fix any damages.

Air-conditioning and heating vents – This includes a change or cleaning of filters as well as the air vents. Check the outside unit to ensure it has clear drainage, and trim away any plants or bushes around it.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Check that these are working, and be sure to replace the batteries.

Carpets – The warm weather is a good time to get the carpets steam cleaned and shampooed. Make sure you choose a time with a few sunny days for the carpets to dry out.

Attics – This is a good time to venture into attics. Check for signs of seepage or mold as well as rodents and insects. If there are windows, let in the air and sunlight. Be sure to do this on a dry and sunny day.

Crawl space air vents – Take a walk around the house and check the crawl-space air vents and netting for any signs of tear or damage. If any, it is important to fix these to keep rodents and little critters out of the crawl space.

Fences and decks – After the wet and stormy winter this year, all the woodwork in the yard – from fences to decks needs special attention. Nail down loose boards, and replace broken or rotten ones. Also, promptly treat decks for any mold and mildew as these could quickly spread to the house.

Spring cleaning checklist - power washingDriveway and walkways – Power washing is a great, low-cost way to restore the driveway and walkways to a brighter, cleaner look. Fix any loose pavers or bricks and fill in the cracks. If you notice extra unevenness caused by the ground lifting in any area, it might be a good idea to call in an arborist and check if the roots of any nearby trees are the problem.

Flower beds, hedges and lawns – De-weeding in spring is very important for all areas of the garden. Treat the soil with fertilizers and spread new mulch. Spread grass seed on the lawns to spur growth in any bald patches and fertilize. Prune all trees and bushes to encourage new growth.

Sprinklers and drip irrigation systems – Test all sprinklers and drip irrigation pipes for signs of damage or leakage. Replace any broken sprinkler heads or cracked pipes promptly.

Read more about spring cleaning do’s on the following websites:

http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/get-your-house-ready-for-summer

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/05/16/12-must-do-home-maintenance-tasks-for-spring

March 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Update

March 2017 Almaden Valley real estate market update… The Almaden Valley real estate market continues to heat up along with the temperature. The number of single family homes sold in March was up 8% from February (27 as compared to 25), while the number of homes under contract was up to 39 as compared to 27 over the same time frame – a whopping 44.4% increase! Sellers are starting to come back on the market as well – we saw an almost 21% increase in single family listings in March (29) as compared to February (24).

Comparing March 2017 to March 2016, we can see that the Almaden Valley real estate market continues to grow. The number of homes that sold in March 2017 (27) is up 17.4% from the number that sold the same time last year (23). The number of homes under contract did drop a bit last month – 39 in March 2017 vs. 43 in March 2016, for a 9.3% decrease – but this decrease could very well be due to the fact that inventory in February 2017 was down significantly from February 2016, while sold listings were dramatically higher this same time period. In other words, there simply weren’t enough homes to support the demand.

The changes in price per square foot bear out this theory. In January 2017, price per square foot was $517. In February, price per square foot increased to $549. In March, price per square foot jumped to $612, indicating buyer competition for a limited inventory of available homes.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, give me a call!

March 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market

February 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Update

February 2017 Almaden Valley real estate market update… The real estate market for single family homes in Almaden Valley has continued its post-holiday season recovery, driven primarily by a healthy buyer demand. The number of homes sold increased almost 79% from January to February 2017, and the number of homes under contract increased almost 56%. This growth appears to be fairly in line with what we would expect this time of year.

Price per square footage is similarly edging upwards, from $517 in January to $549 last month.

Despite the healthy buyer interest in Almaden Valley real estate, sellers seem to have been a bit slow to put their homes on the market last month. The number of homes offered for sale increased a modest 4.3% from 23 in January to 24 in February 2017. It also represents a decrease from the same time in the preceding three years. It is a great time to put your home on the market!

February 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market

January 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Update

January 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Update…

The January statistics for Almaden Valley real estate show that the market volume is experiencing a healthy post-holiday upswing.

The number of new single family home listings on the market almost doubled from December according to Trendgraphix, and the number of such homes that went under contract increased by 20%.

Compared to the same time last year, the number of new single family homes that were for sale increased almost 10%, the number under contract are up a dramatic 200% and the number of sold listings is up over 8%.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, give me a call and I’ll show you how to make the most of the current Almaden Valley real estate market!

January 2017 Almaden Valley Real Estate Market

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood for You

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood for You… 

Finding the perfect neighborhoodThe New Year is often a time for changes and new beginnings. For many, that means a new home in a new neighborhood. As exciting as this may be, choosing the right neighborhood requires a lot of thought. Here are some things to think about when finding the perfect neighborhood for you.

Evaluate your requirements

If you have kids, a friendly suburban neighborhood close to schools may be right for you. Or, if you spend long hours at work and would like to cut the commute or socialize after hours, staying closer to the city might be just the thing. Whatever your situation, start with a needs assessment that includes a checklist of must-haves and must-avoids.

Think about your lifestyle

If you are tired of living in the city, moving to the suburbs may be appealing, or vice versa. But think carefully about your needs. Do you need to hit the stores regularly, dine out, be close to the freeways, or perhaps be near medical facilities? Give it serious thought ahead of time to save yourself a lot of inconvenience later.

Consider your finances

You’ve just found the perfect neighborhood, but can you really afford it? Budget-wise there is a lot to consider besides just the mortgage. Look at taxes, upkeep costs, commute expenses, and any other recurring costs which may add on. The perfect place may not be so perfect if it causes a strain on your resources.

Crime and safety

While considering neighborhoods, safety is of utmost importance. Spend some time researching the crime rate of an area. For a crime map, go to www.crimemapping.com. Find out if the area has a Neighborhood Watch group, and talk to friends or colleagues that live nearby.

Research schools

If you have kids, considering schools is critical. Even if you don’t have school going kids, a good school district increases the potential value of your home and any rental prospects. To research schools, go to www.greatschools.org. If you’re considering a new home within Santa Clara County or the Almaden Valley in particular, almadenvalleyrealestate.com has a couple of good resources as well: http://www.almadenvalleyrealestate.com/almaden-valley-schools/ and http://www.almadenvalleyrealestate.com/almaden-homes-for-sale/.

Visit the neighborhood at different times

Visit the desired neighborhood at different times of the day and week to get a better perspective. For example, drive through during rush hour to check out traffic, and late at night to see how well the street is lit up. You can also learn a lot about a neighborhood through social networks like Nextdoor.com.

Talk to neighbors

Talk to prospective neighbors to find out more about the area. They are the best resource. At the same time, you can also assess if you would be comfortable with them. Nothing can mar the charm of a new home as undesirable neighbors. If they are unfriendly and unapproachable or leave their home and yard unkempt, these may be some tell-tale signs to watch out for. Messy neighbors could adversely affect your lifestyle as well as the future value of your property.

Think of the future

Try to picture yourself and your family a few years down the line. A change of residence is a long-term thing. If the prospective neighborhood will not meet your needs a few years ahead, think again. Finally, close your eyes and picture yourself actually living there. Does the thought make you smile? Do you like the neighborhood overall? Your instinct will give you the answer.

You can find more on choosing a new neighborhood in this guide found on RISMedia. And when you’re ready to buy, give me a call!