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Erica Nelson's Blog

By Erica Glessing | Agent in San Jose, CA

Is San Jose’s North Valley a Good Place to Live?

Dozens of neighborhoods comprise San Jose and each has its own character, home values, school quality and quality of life. When you consider North Valley, what comes to mind?

North Valley is the area of San Jose near 680, 101, 237 and 880. Milpitas is on one border, and that’s the easiest way to place North San Jose in your mind’s eye.

When you leave North San Jose you run into downtown to the West, and East San Jose to the South. It’s a neighborhood that features large lot sizes, views from the foothills, and a relatively safe area for raising a family. Cisco is one of the largest companies in North San Jose, although it is located adjacent to Santa Clara in the 95134 area, it borders on North San Jose near the Great Mall.

Up towards the hills, Berryessa features an excellent newly built library that opened its doors a few years ago, and the newly opened Costco near Brokaw/101.

The zip codes are 95131, 95132, 95133 and 95134 but 95134 is not considered Berryessa while still considered North Valley. In general, 95132 will see the highest property values of the trio of zip codes due to the quality of the schools and the proximity to the sweeping foothills and view homes. The mayor of San Jose makes his home in the Berryessa foothills in 95132.

The schools in North Valley vary, with one of the strongest features being Piedmont Hills High School. The elementary school district, Berryessa Union School District, is kindergarten through eight grade with three middle schools and an elementary group with test scores that vary. The highest ranked schools are Ruskin, capping 900 API, Noble, and Vinci Park. To get into kindergarten in Berryessa, packets are available mid-March and it is recommended that you get your packet right away if you want to be sure you will be enrolled in your neighborhood school. Ruskin and Noble are impacted schools, so they fill up and you won’t necessarily get in even if you live across the street if you have not picked up your enrollment packet in a timely way.

Homes in Berryessa that feed to Piedmont Hills High School are selling the best among Berryessa area homes in the first quarter of 2010. To figure out school enrollment boundaries, you can go to the East Side Union High School District’s web site and look for the district locator. The Piedmont Hills enrollment area is shaped roughly like a horseshoe, with areas all around it feeding to Independence High School or James Lick High School to the south. It is not easy to discern the enrollment area unless you know the streets well, or use the district locator for a guide.

 If you are looking for a home in North Valley that feeds to Piedmont Hills High School or one of the strong elementaries or middle schools, work with a realtor who knows the area well. The enrollment boundaries are not necessarily easy to figure out. There is also a slice of 95127 that feeds to Noble Elementary, Piedmont Middle & Piedmont Hills High School. It is generally the area East of Piedmont/White Road very close to Penitencia Creek.

 If you are seeking a view home that feeds to Noble, Sierramont and Piedmont Hills, please check out www.EricaNelsonEstates.com for a great new listing available in among the most desirable North Valley schools.

 I moved to Berryessa in 1997. I didn't even know it existed at the time, we were just driving around looking at places in our price range. My children were born here, and we have enjoyed the parks, the schools, the library, and the ease of commute to everywhere. When you want to go skiing, just jump on 680 and you are headed to the slopes. The only thing that has gone downhill is the grocery shopping. The Berryessa Safeway is old and nothing near as good as the Milpitas Safeway, but Costco moved in and if you like Costco you are all set, and Target is at the edge of North Valley as you get to Milpitas.

I feel safe here although auto burglaries have become more common in the years past. What I love: easy to live here, great schools, great parent involvement, good parks, and the beautiful library. You can't beat it for the ratio of price for home to quality of schools. (Decent home prices, good quality of schools).

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