No apology needed â€“ thatâ€™s what this forum is for!
Q: We do not know much about "Lakes and Birds" neighborhood in Fremont CA.
A: The Lakes & Birds neighborhoods are lumped together because of their location in North Fremont, however, they are actually two totally different neighborhoods in almost every way.
The â€œBirdsâ€ neighborhood is named because all the streets are named after birds. Homes in this neighborhood are conventionally constructed single family homes â€“ they were built by Ponderosa. Homes in this neighborhood are linked with Ardenwood Elementary. There are elevated train tracks going through this neighborhood.
Ardenwood is based on a lottery system so even if you live in the district, there is no guarantee your children will make it into the school. Call the Fremont Unified School District at (510) 657-2350 for up-to-date answers â€“ they will be able to tell you whether or not there are any redistricting plans in the near future. They will also explain the lottery system to you as well.
The â€œLakesâ€ neighborhood has streets named after â€¦ lakes. The Lakes neighborhood is, in and of itself, two different neighborhoods. On the left are conventionally built single family homes with normal front, side and rear yards â€“ the builder was Citation. Homes on the left side are wrapped around Harvey Community Park.
In contrast, the homes on the right were built by Gentry and are â€œpatio-styleâ€ homes. They are centered around a nice greenbelt. Although they are classified as single family homes, they are â€œattachedâ€ by common walls on each side and the rear (in most cases). In other words, there are no side yards unless you happen to be at the end of a row of houses or at the end of a street. The homes are joined by a fire barrier of concrete cinderblocks and typically there is no direct access to the rear yards except though the house. In some homes there are internal â€œpatiosâ€ or â€œatriumsâ€ that provide light into the home and egress in case of a fire or similar emergency. Itâ€™s an older example of a westernized version of the â€œbrownstonesâ€ you see in eastern cities. They are different from townhouses in that they do not have any HOA fees and are free of many of the types of restrictions you would see in a normal planned unit development (PUD).
Due to the fact that these homes have very small lots and are quite unusual compared to most of the homes in Fremont, their values typically are less than comparably sized homes elsewhere in the city. Although there are other neighborhoods in the Tri-cities that have â€œpatio-styledâ€ homes, they all have at least one side yard whereas the â€œpatio-styleâ€ homes in the Lakes and Birds neighborhoods do not.
Homes in the â€œLakesâ€ neighborhood (both sides) are linked with Warwick Elementary.
Q: Howâ€™s this neighborhood (community, safety and schools)?
A: Overall, Realtors are prohibited by law from telling you whether or not any specific neighborhood is safe. Itâ€™s called â€œsteeringâ€ and we are prohibited by our code of ethics and federal law from providing such information. Here are a couple posts that explain more:
NO STEERING ALLOWED: 3 Important Facts To Know As A Buyer
Donâ€™t Get â€˜Steeredâ€™ in the Wrong Direction
However, we CAN tell you where to go to get information. In your case, for crime statistics, go to the following sites:
I won't repeat the comments below regarding your question; however, I do have some useful tools for vetting properties in Fremont:
1) When it comes to checking out any Fremont neighborhood I would recommend you use http://www.crimereports.com as RealtorsÂ® typically do not comment on "crime & safety" due to Federal/State anti-steering law exposure. An individual who "directs a particular race to a certain neighborhood and away from others" may be accused of "steering".
Once you enter an address in http://www.crimereports.com go to the "Incident Layers" tab to select what type of information is important to you. Next, choose the duration of time you want to look at under "Date Range" (for example, you might look at 2010 verses 2011).
If you continue to be interested in the "Lakes and Birds" area you can take a 2nd step:
Call the Fremont Police Department's Martha Matthiesen (510) 790-6979 or Karen Blount (510) 790-6689; both are Community Engagement Specialists that oversee the Neighborhood Crime Watch (NCW) program. Once you make contact with one of them explain your interest and ask for the contact info of the "Lakes and Birds" Block Captain or Co-Captain so you can obtain a direct opinion from someone living in the area.
Since the definition of "Safe" is a somewhat relative term that may not mean the same thing to all people, the information you can obtain from the block captains will help you make a decision. Truth be told, the best way to stay safe is to introduce yourself to your neighbors, exchange numbers, and agree to keep a look out for any suspicious activity around each otherâ€™s homes.
2) As far as vetting schools I suggest you take a peek at http://www.SchoolAndHousing.com
Based on property address, this site provides attendance area schools (Public, Private and Daycares) along with useful statistics and other information about each school.
Before making an offer you should call the School District to CONFIRM the schools the property will feed to!
3) I'm obviously unaware if you are working with a RealtorÂ® or not, but if you are a solo searcher make sure you have access to all homes listed on the actual MLS -- please review this post:
MLS Data Accuracy â€“ Where to search if youâ€™re â€œwithout RealtorÂ®â€
Although, it would depend on which area in the Birds & Lakes area, the north Fremont area is nice and the schools, shopping are good and close. Easy access to hwy's 880,84 & 92 is good.
As for the Gentry Homes (some are attached) are made of cinder block walls and some have flat roofs which has caused issues. If the owners don't care for these flat roofs they leak and have caused mold in some of the homes I have seen over the last 5 years however some are totally taken care of and look great so there is always something for everyone in this neighborhood. A number of these homes are right along the 880 freeway so you have noise issues too so in order to make a good buying decision you need to visit homes in this area and do your homework.
Should you have any further questions or concerns please don't hesitate to email or call