Home Buying in Palo Alto>Question Details

Triciam, Home Buyer in Mountain View, CA

We are looking for a home in the 1.5 m price range. 3 br 2 bath, decent commute to Google, great schools, family neighborhood /area. Help please :)

Asked by Triciam, Mountain View, CA Sun Dec 8, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:


I am not a realtor, but I've been through the process a few times, and I live in Palo Alto. The first thing I will tell you is that, if you wish to have any chance at success here, you have to work with a Palo Alto realtor. Marcy and Juliana are both well established here, as well as a number of others. Anyone who starts off by asking if I want a pool or other generic questions will not be on my short list.

Let me summarize the reality mentioned by others below. There are 3 main challenges when you wish to buy into this market:
1) Low to non-existent inventory at all times, and only a small subset of that will likely meet anyone's criteria and qualifications.
2) High prices is no exaggeration. Unless you are looking for projects, I suggest you make $2M as your minimum price target (after bidding)
3) Extremely high competition is also no exaggeration. Be prepared to bid against at least a dozen competitors.

If you need to stick to $1.5M as your price range, you need to consider other cities.

A final thought: You need a broker who well give you personal attention. Some of the bigger names will meet with you once and send you a junior staff to work with.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 11, 2013
Please don't look for advice regarding major investments online. Talk to a few local Realtor's. I'm not local so you can read my blog about things home buyers need to know with no obligation or solicitation. I'll put a link to it in the web reference below.

J.R. Thrasher
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 10, 2013
Have you found an agent to help you yet? Let me know if you still need help with this and I can definitely guide you. 916-529-3707
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
I would be more than happy to suggest a real estate agent to help you.

Alex Greer
Loan Officer
NMLS #1056079

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
Dear Tricia,
I would be happy to sit down with you and your family to discuss with you the "Process of Purchase" and then take you through it step by step. I am very familiar with All the Cities in this Area, and will take exceptional care of you and your family!
Please check out my website:
Please also check out my Testimonials.
Be well and safe, have a Safe & Happy holiday!
Nina Daruwalla
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
Some brokerages now require a small "Transaction Fee". Other than that, Buyers rarely pay fees unless other arrangements are made.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
You would surely help your friends before you help a stranger unless there was an urgent need.. An agent is going to give her quickest and best advice to clients who are committed to working with her. Buyers are competing with other buyers. A successful agent is very busy finding the best home as quickly as possible and using every competitive edge for her own client's advantage.

Most of Palo Alto is within easy commuting range of Google. Your biggest challenge is your $1.5M price. The median price in Palo Alto is about $2.1M. The average price per square foot is about $1,100. Your $1.5M price could be very roughly expected to buy a 1,350 sf home if you can find one.

A location in Palo Alto to consider would be the Ventura neighborhood. The lots are typically a little smaller than other neighborhoods in Palo Alto. Builders make the greatest profits by building large houses and have not built very many new homes in the neighborhood. The average size of the homes sold is about 1,350 sf.

The commute along Oregon Expressway towards Google would be in the opposite direction of the slowly moving traffic jam called typical commute traffic. Your commute would be easy.

My strongest and best advice is interview top local agents and commit to working with one. Buying a house isn't like finding the best item on a grocery store shelf. It is very competitive and results are heavily dependent upon the people working with you. Your agent is key but your lender, property inspector, and others can make a big difference in being able to buy a home.

Give me a call and we can chat or come to one of my buyer seminars.

Juliana Lee
#1 Palo Alto agent - most homes bought & sold in Palo Alto according to local MLS
Cell 650.857.1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County
Web Reference: http://julianalee.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
As you know right now it is not easy to find a home in this price range in Palo Alto. Currently the lowest price home in Palo Alto is listed at $1,7 million. since June there have only been a total of 8 homes that have sold for under 1.5 million with at least 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. This trend does not appear to be getting better. So the question becomes what compromises are you willing to make?

Finding a home in Palo Alto is not likely given the small numbers and incredible competition for them. Are you willing to look in Sunnyvale or Mountain View. There is still a lot of competition in the neighborhoods with great schools, but but at least there are more in this price range. Mountain View had 93 homes sell under the 1.5 mil in the same time period that Palo Alto had 8 sales. Cuesta Park is a great neighborhood with excellent schools and had 20 of those 93 sales. Waverley Park, another neighborhood with fantastic schools had 10 sales, more than all of Palo Alto.

If you go to Sunnyvale in the 94087 zip code there were 161 sales of homes under 1.5 million in this same time period. Even Menlo Park had 31 sales under 1.5 since June.

So my advice to you is to cast a wider net. If you confine your search to Palo Alto you may meet with nothing but frustration. If you look in other areas like Menlo Park, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale you may find what you are looking for in the next few months.

My website has a easy to use search feature where you can filter by neighborhoods and schools and is easy to set up:


Marcy Moyer
Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto
Cal BRE 01191194
Web Reference: http://www.marcymoyer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
If you have not already scheduled a buyer consolation and selected your buyer agent that is my first recommendation. Once you have a full time skilled agent on your side and a plan of action then you will be informed and in a better position to negotiate and secure your desired home.

If you have not selected your agent drop me a note or phone call an schedule your consultation. You will learn about the process, the market, and determine whether or not we are a good fit. It is no obligation and you owe it to yourself.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
Hi Tricia,

If you have not already done so, begin your search by finding a great agent to help you. You can work with a full commission agent or a discount agent, like me, and get a sizeable, tax free rebate to use in closing costs or moving and repair charges for your home. So start first with an agent. Second, get a loan preapproval from a major bank as this will help demonstrate to the seller that you can and will purchase the home once in contract.

As for housing availability, we have had and continue to have housing shortages in almost all cities, so buyers are still fiercely competing for homes. The competition may have lessened, but the pricing continues to be more than the listing price in some of the more desired school districts and neighborhoods. If your search has been only in Palo Alto and Mountain View, in your price range, I would also consider Sunnyvale, parts of West San Jose and Cupertino as areas that fit your stated housing needs.

Why not give me a call in the morning and we can look at homes that might serve well as your next address!

Grace Morioka
Allison James Estates
Tel 408-426-1616
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 9, 2013
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