Home Buying in Palo Alto>Question Details

Palover, Home Buyer in Palo Alto, CA

Townhouse in PA.

Asked by Palover, Palo Alto, CA Fri Jan 1, 2010

My wife and I are considering buying a place in Palo Alto. Our budget is around $1.2 of which 500K down. How is the market for townhomes/condos right now? I know with that money we may be able to buy a house elsewhere (e.g., Mountain View, San Mateo etc.) but my wife and I have lived in large cities around the world and are used to living in smaller spaces with no yard and consider other things more important, e.g., upscale ( whatever that means) building, proximity to shops/restaurants, attention to details etc.; and - no offense intended to anybody - cannot think of any place in the Bay Area to live other than PA for so many reasons that I coudn't possibly list them here. I would appreciate people's inputs. Thanks in advance and happy new year.

Help the community by answering this question:


Just a fun extra note, the Palo Alto Elks Lodge on El Camino Real will be opening its doors in about a year or less. It will have a fabulous pool and gym. If you've considered becoming an Elk, you could volunteer a few hours a year to help the community , and belong to an old PA organization. The dues right now are pretty low.

Just in case you want to get a place where you don't have to have a pool and HOA dues to reflect the higher insurance! The building is going up near E. Charleston/El Camino.

Erica Nelson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
I agree with you completely about Palo Alto. It is such an amazing and unique place. It has a great blending of urban and country life. It boggles my mind every time I think of the innovations and wealth created here.
It sounds like you and your wife enjoy the convenience of city life so I think there are just a couple of neighborhoods that would be appropriate for you. Some of the communities in PA are rather suburban so you will need to avoid them if you like being walking distance to shops/restaurants. I would strongly suggest you look in the downtown area.
The prices have not come down that much and the inventory is low because sellers are of afraid and don't want to put their home on the market.
Find a good Real Estate Agent who can help you find great properties that are not listed in the MLS.
Web Reference: http://artandcatherine.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 6, 2010
Although nothing is available in the downtown Palo Alto area at this moment, you should be able to purchase a 3 bedroom 1500-1600 square foot condo, in very good condition for around $1,200,000. A 4 bedroom sold in the 800 High Street complex for $1,200,000 last March. Pick a good real estate agent who is local and knows the area, for there is a fairly active market of properties for sale that are not listed in the MLS, but known among the local agents. As everyone has said, gyms are plentiful downtown, Reach, Vivre and Form being the most popular. Besides Rinconada public pool, the University Club and Foothills Club are private swim/tennis clubs serving Palo Alto.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
Yes your expectations are in line with your financial constraints.
There are several gyms in downtown including Reach on High St where I use to belong.
Rinconada Pool is fabulous.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
You know what you want, you have the means to buy it. The market for what you want is in your favor. Sounds to me as if you should go for it.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
In downtown you do not get a pool or gym in the complex. The land is too expensive for the builders to add those things. However, there are a number of gyms downtown and the closest pool would be at Rinconado Park. You could also go to the Y at Pagemill and El Camino for a pool and gym. There are buildings with these options, but unfortunately not in Palo Alto. Downtown San Jose has quite a few for example.

Right now the inventory is pretty low but more should come on the market in the next few weeks. If you go to my website http://www.marcymoyer.com and click on the link on the left, Search for Homes you can search for past solds to see what your budget will get you.

Marcy Moyer
DRE 01191194
Web Reference: http://www.marcymoyer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
Thank you all for the useful feedback. In terms of amenities, are there good complexes with pool and/or gym? I haven't seen many so far, except for newer complexes closer to San Antonio (which we are not considering because - although they're new, nice etc... - they are too far away from downtown and in our opinion lack the "Palo Alto feel"). I guess what I am trying to gauge is: would 1.2/1/3 M buy a good condo/townhouse in a very good location, with amenities, and 3 bedrooms? Thanks again.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
It seems you clearly understand what is important to you.
From the sound of it, downtown Palo Alto would be your best bet.
As others have mentioned, there is 800 High Street and also several developments on the site of the old Palo Alto Medical Foundation a few blocks from Whole Foods.
There are many good options for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
As a Palo Alto resident I definately agree with you about thinking Palo Alto is the best place to live. With your budget you can comfortably afford many of the newer complexes dowtown. 800 High St is a great example but there are other buildings on Homer, Forest, and Alma, just to name a few. There are also some nice complexes near Californai Ave, like the one on Sheridan, or some new and newer units in South Palo Alto. The townhouse/condo market in Palo Alto is much less active than the single family home market in this price range so you may haved more leway in your negotiations. HOA fees tend to be high in Palo Alto, but the ammenities are definately worth it, in my opinion.

Welcome to Palo Alto!
Maarcy Moyer
DRE 01191194
Web Reference: http://www.marcymoyer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 1, 2010
I live and work in Palo Alto and you're right - it's the best place in the Bay Area for lots of reasons. Palo Alto has many neighborhoods that offer great homes for a wide variety of prices. From the Menlo Park border on the north to Ventura in the south, you can find a cul de sac to hide away on or a townhome with great restaurants just around the corner. Gunn and Palo Alto high schools are as good as most of the private schools elsewhere on the peninsula. Find an agent that will give you the straight info and I'm sure you'll be happy there. Best of luck, John
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 1, 2010
Don't give up on a house purchase. There have been 17 sales of small homes in your price range in North Palo Alto since June of 2009. You may get a better location and possibly more space in a condo or town home, but there are single family house options if you're willing to take your time.

Michael Dreyfus, Broker
Dreyfus Properties
728 Emerson Street, Palo Alto
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 1, 2010
Hi Palover,
I agree with you! I love PA too, the ambiance is great....my sister lives there.....You are one up on lot of folks, atleast you have identified an area where you want to live in, instead of swinging all over the place! Makes life easier to find a suitable property.....

Please do contact me, email/phone, and I can send you an email with all the properties - Single family homes as well as Town Homes/Condos available within $1.2K
Please check out my website and referrals.......Be well and Safe, and Happy New year! :O)
Nina Daruwalla
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 1, 2010
Hi Palover -- The market in PA is consistently strong because of its mid-peninsula location (great access to both SF and SJ), great downtown, temperate weather and strong schools. Many folks moving south from SF end up in PA because of its urban feel and academic environment. In your price range you will be able to find many nice options in downtown PA. There are newer buildings like 800 High Street that have been built in the past couple years with upscale units. I'm happy to chat by phone or in person if I can answer any other questions or provide additional information. Happy New Year.

Billy McNair
Broker Associate | Attorney | MBA
McNair Group at Coldwell Banker Previews International
Web Reference: http://www.mcnairgroup.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 1, 2010
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer