Personally, I love both the Town of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills areas! Having lived in Los Altos, I know that the denizens of the town are highly educated, family oriented, health minded individuals whose varied backgrounds and differences work to make an extremely vibrant community. You won't experience anything quite like Los Altos in other communities--from the community parade to the Christmas pageant to the small farm museum--and this is what makes the town such a highly desired community as well as great place to live and, if you can't live there, to visit.
Los Altos Hills is as varied and different as is the Town of Los Altos. I represent buyers in this area, and no two houses are alike in this section of town. The hills can definitely be "hilly" with lots that have great views but little areas where children can run, but there are plenty of lots that are mostly flat or all flat from which to choose. Most of Los Altos Hills will attend Los Altos schools, and parts will be in the Palo Alto school district--but both districts are excellent. You need only decide which schools work best for your family members. Since the children have no yet attended school, you can be flexible regarding school districts.
As to which areas are more desirable, it depends, again, on what school district you prefer and also your price range. LAH homes range in value from the high $1 million to the upper $8+ million range, with most of the homes for sale landing in the range between $2.5 and $4 million in price. There are several very good homes that I can think of right off the top of my head that would be PERFECT for a family with a 4 and 5 year old--but, of course, everything depends on your housing budget.
If you're interested in buying a home in this area and would like assistance locating a desirable area or learning more about what's available, give me a call and I'll be happy to help. Remember, our company provides buyers with rebates equal to as much as 1.5% of the sales price (some restrictions apply) without any loss in service or expertise! And for homes in the LAH area, a rebate of this size can be substantial. Give me a call if you have any questions as I'm actively working with buyers in the LAH area now!
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I raised my children adjacent to the Rancho San Antonio Open Space in Los Altos Hills. We are two miles away from Hwy 280. What you get: more square footage, more luxurious home than you would in the flats, gorgeous views and property, and perhaps less neighborhood socializing. If there is a stay at home parent, it is not a big deal to manage the social part. There are areas of Los Altos Hills, where kids CAN walk to downtown and to Bullis School. Generally speaking, Los Altos Hills is delivering the most value for the dollar of just about any "country property" area.
Does anyone let their children "walk down the street to a neighbor's home" anymore unsupervised? I think you end up walking with them as a parent anyway. We met most of our neighborhs by walking the outstanding trails located throughout the Town of Los Altos Hills.
Probably there are fewer opportunities for what I call "informal play dates" within the neighborhood as you would generally have to plan having your child play with another child. But, what if you are in a neighborhood where there are not children who are your children's ages, which is often the case. You would not have informal play dates then either.
The best of both worlds: social interaction AND larger property can be found in Portola Valley, just up HWY 280. The town is set up for socializing, and people meet and greet in the various retail areas. I lived in Portola Valley before Los Altos Hills.
Link to find out about Portola Valley http://www.arjanihomes.com/local-city_details-2316-Portola+V
Cell phone reception is awful, I have Verizon and AT&T cell phones, neither work well.
But you alone can answer your question based upon your own criteria.
My husband and I have a 20 and 22 year old, who have lived their entire lives to the age of 18 in the Los Altos Hills. So, I can share some true experience with you, as my husband and I have lived in the Hills for over 30 years and raised our family here.
The folks who live in the flats, have many opinions about the Hills, and their perceived sense that they are inconvenient. I do find that folks who are not used to my hill think it is MUCH longer than it actually is from town. Townies perceive distance differently (it feels farther to them) in the hills is my observation.
Most parents do not let their children walk in neighborhoods alone anymore, like we used to when I was a child. So, even if you live in closer in to town, you are likely to be supervising your children pretty closely. Another big change: Children's lives are scheduled. They no longer walk down the street and ring doorbells for a casual play date that is driven by the kids. Parents arrange these things. So, whether you live in the hills or in the flats, you probably are supervising your children pretty closely and driving them around to soccer etc quite a bit, not matter where you live.
I would say that in Junior High one of my children really did not like living in the Hills because unlike her friends who were sneaking out their windows at night, she was not able to do this, as "an animal might try and eat me!". You have more control over your pre-teens/pre-driving children when you live in the Hills.
I am never in a traffic jam on my way home, in the hills, but I have been in traffic on Grant Road near El Camino Hospital in the afternoon where it took 20 minutes to go two miles. This does not seem very convenient to me.
There are parts of the Hills that are more convenient than others. My home is 5 minutes from Hwy 280, and 8 minutes to the closest elementary school. You get much more value in terms of land, natural beauty and square footage in the Hills. The Hills are a very good value at this time. But you probably will have somewhat more driving time, and most parts of the hills are not walkable to town, although there is one section that is.
My parents had to make the same decision back in 1978 and they choose to stay in the house in Los Altos they bought in 1967 and enlarge their home.
They didn't make the move because they didn't want to be driving everywhere. There are no stores in Los Altos Hills so just getting groceries required a drive. There are limited play fields so having kids who are involved in youth sports will likely force you to drive to one of the fields in the flats for practice or games. Note: there are a few fields in the hills, but not enough. Since properties in the hills are spread out, it is less likely that you'll know your neighbor or just run into them or their kids playing in the front yard. Play dates are much more structured.
What the hills offers is beauty, privacy, space and views. Once you're at your home it is idyllic, but the back and forth can be a hassle.
Cell phone coverage in the hills is spotty and I wouldn't rely on it getting better soon as most people don't want to see, much less have a cell tower near them.
As you are aware, there are many issues that go into your decision on whether to move to Los Altos hills. Your budget will dictate. On average - The closer to the Village of Los Altos, the more expensive the property. Homes with views tend not to have as much usable land. Flat parcels near town can run as much as 2-3 million per acre. Many homes in the hills are affected by highway 280 noise. Septic or sewer, private street or public etc.
It is vital that you seek counsel from someone who knows the area and the issues that you will face.
Coldwell Banker - Los Altos
Los Altos Hills have some very beautiful homes....YES, the commute is definately more than if you were in Los Altos itself, as all on the hills have to come down to go to either Palo Alto or Los Altos Schools.......Is there a personal reason/choice you would want to be i the hills?? The properties have larger Lot sizes, so are futher apart from each other.......the neighborhoods and homes are quite secluded, great for Privacy, but not so great for kids coming out into the neighborhood to play with other kids...There are some amazing homes both in Los Altos Hills as well as in Los Altos Town.....And Palo Alto.
Based upon your Price Point, you should get together with a good realtor, and Explore all these, and More Neighborhoods.......Cupertino and Saratoga too....all hese have excellent Schools for your children.....and then make a choice of which area you want to be in.
If you would like to sit down and talk things through, please do get in touch with me, and I can help. I have helped clients Buy/Sell in all of the above areas.
Be well and Safe, regards,
A Public Safety Commissioner with City of Cupertino
I think Grace gave you some great information. She didn't answer your question about cell phone coverage, as in most communities, this will be Dependant on the mobile phone carrier.
It is clearly evident that you enjoy your community.
Happy funding, Rudi