Julia, Both Buyer and Seller in 94123

San Jose neighborhoods - services vs square footage?

Asked by Julia, 94123 Wed Jan 30, 2008

I notice a huge difference between prices in the San Jose area. For example the Blossom Valley area has these humongous homes for 800K, but the same amount of money buys a lot less per square ft in , say, Willow Glen or the Rose Garden.
Is it just that services like restaurants and shopping are further away, or is there some other deciding factor?

I don't want to move into a big new monster house. I prefer some character, less tract home. I'm willing to sacrifice space for quality of construction and services nearby. Where should I be looking?

Help the community by answering this question:



Sounds like you are already leaning toward more of a "bedroom community" like Willow Glen or the Rose Garden. Yes, the suburbs can offer more house for the dollar. Of course, as you have pointed out, there is more to buying a house than just a floor plan and square footage.

Other important factors include commute, schools, services, and re-sale. Blossom Valley schools are not as highly ranked as Willow Glen and certainly does not have a "cute" downtown. The Rose Garden and Willow Glen both offer a variety of architectural styles and are both convenient to the airport, major highways, and of course the infamous Santana Row.

In the end, it comes down to your lifestyle and your square footage needs. Then look at resale-ability by looking at the neighborhood schools and how home prices have held up during both up and down markets.

Good luck!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2008
Julia - The City of Campbell has appeared in several answers to your question and I must agree. I lived in the City of Campbell for 16 years, worked for the City and now work for a real estate broker in Campbell. I have watched the small town ambiance remain yet providing the residents with a downtown that has grown to provide so many wonderful businesses and services. The schools in and around Campbell are great and sought after by many buyers. I hope this helps in your decision making.
Web Reference: http://www.blythelkern.org
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 5, 2008
Julia - Sounds like you've received some pretty good information from each realtor that commented. I'm in Campbell and can tell you we have both, the new home feel with newer construction and the old fashion charm with Victorians and such. If you are looking for the "bang for the buck" in my opinion Campbell has it. We just installed the light rail system which will add an incredible feel to the area as well as value to the homeowners. I live in Campbell and my real estate company is in Campbell as well. The other areas can be a good investment as well. I just wanted you to hear a voice from Campbell.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 28, 2008
Here's another area to consider that often overlooked but is a true hidden gem. It's the East Highlands area of San Jose. When you drive up Alum Rock Ave, you will pass the San Jose Country Club (Yes, San Jose does have a country club). Drive up through the winding streets and you might think you're in the Hollywood Hills. Some homes have 180 degree views of the entire Santa Clara Valley.

Homes are starting at $689,000. These are all older custom built homes with a few remodels springing up.

You will have to drive a bit for a great restaurant but downtown is a straight shot down Alum Rock and is about 15 minutes away. There's a gorgeous supermarket down the hill on McKee and Toyon.

Ask your Realtor to show you a few houses up here. I've lived up here for nearly five years and would never go back to be being a flatlander. The drive up here is so totally worth it!!

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 28, 2008
Julia, Corrinne has an excellent answer for you.

It comes down to supply and demand. The old addage, they don't build them like that anymore is true. But what does that mean? An older home is not going to have the building standards of a newer home, and the newer home is not going to have the ol' charm and mature trees, landscaping of the older neighborhood.

Trees really play a part in community desirability. They are admired but the mature factor is often subtle in a buyers decission. It comes down to the emotion of the neighborhood, along with affordability, schools, services, etc.

Willow Glen has a downtown area which brings the community together. Blossom Valley does not. Another factor to consider is soil expansion. Parts of Willow Glen have soils which expand and this can create foundation issues and additional maintenance. But don't let that stop you, just be aware to inspect and have an understanding of what that means to you.

As Brian suggested Campbell is another option and it too has a downtown area.

So go check out the areas, add Cambrian to your list too then buy what feels like home to you.

Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2008
Dear Julia,

Neighborhood desirability is highly subjective, depending on a homeowner's particular needs and wants. There are many factors that may make a particular neighborhood more desirable in one person's opinion, but those same factors may be less desirable in another's.

When the homes in Blossom Valley were originally built, much of the community appeal was in owning a "new" home in the suburbs. Contrast that to being in an older community where homes needed repairs and weren't yet in the vintage and charming category. When the tech industry was booming many IBM employees were driven to purchase in Blossom Valley so as to save on their commute. Not at all a bad deal then. But, the community has continued to sprawl whereas WG and RG have seen less growth in terms of community expansion aside from custom and more recently Communication’s Hill. And, of course, IBM as well as other tech firms have moved, significantly downsized or shut down completely.

In the meantime, both Willow Glen and the Rose Garden communities have weathered time and are well established. The homes are predominately older (most 60+ years many and some historic) which attracts buyers looking for that darling cottage or bungalow and services surrounding these neighborhoods have congealed with the community to create the unique sense of quality of living. How often do we see those "Life is Good in Willow Glen" license plate frames? :) Couple that with statistical data as related to schools and crime reports, and these communities have seen an increase in demand particularly over the last 10 + years.

The current decline in demand for homes verses availability of homes in Blossom Valley does not necessarily suggest that the quality of homes or services is inferior to other communities such as Willow Glen or Rose Garden. Many of the older homes, for example, may have been well built originally in terms of quality of materials, but then again they may have remodeled with inferior materials or they may need upgrading, for example, plumbing or electrical or seismic retrofitting. These factors also bear on the costs associated with living in these vintage communities.

If you are looking to own any home, whether a charmer in WG or RG or a more contemporary home in BV or any community, you should research each neighborhood carefully. Talk to people about neighborhoods, streets, parks, services and schools. When considering a home after having thoroughly researched the community, carefully review reports and inspections and always be cautious about "further inspect" recommendations in reports especially in older homes but even in brand new construction. You must carefully way all factors to determine whether or not the house is truly right for you.

All the best!
Web Reference: http://www.svreonline.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2008
Willow Glen is a great neighborhood.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 13, 2008
Julia, you are using the wrong method to evaluate market value of a house.
Are you buying the shoe, or the foot?
Homes are generally valued by a market analysis that is best neighborhood determined.
Example: a 3 bedroom 2 bath home should be of approximately the same value in the same neighborhood. I don't know why people use square footage to measure a home's value. Where is the square footage? In closets, wider hallways. or larger nathrooms? HOw about lot location? Are you right on the beach, or a block away. Next to the freeway, or two blocks away? It is not the best measurement. Square footage for value should be detrimental factor in real estate when you are leasing office space, just so you know what you are getting (Paying for). For a warehouse, one would measure Cubic feet. Certainly, square footage as a rough and dirty as a sense of living area. I have found most people cannot tell the difference between 2000 sq ft and 2200 sq ft., so should the larger one cost 10% mpore? Heck no. What about amenities, lot size, schools. Pick what you like in a good neighborhood, and you'll be fine.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 28, 2008
There are lots of neighborhoods that are more desireable.
I live in North Valley and this area is holding pretty well because of the schools, if you are looking for Character, the Willow Glen area has both, some of the areas have great schools also. For resale down the line make sure you are in an area that will sale, theres no better determiner (is that a word?) than a slow market.
Good Luck
If you need further informaton on the areas just ask, I have a listing coming up off Cherry Avenue.
Denise Stuart
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 28, 2008
I agree with Corrine's comment that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' and that neighborhood desirability is purely subjective. There are a lot of charming little houses mixed in with newer communities, such as Blossom Valley. There are jewels in every neighborhood! However, some newer communities lack that neighborly feel and if you need to be part of the community, BV probably isn’t the place for you. Also, another consideration is resale value of your investment … WG and RG (not to mention other towns such as Los Gatos & Campbell) retain their resale value and have increased exponentially year-to-year, whereas less desirable parts of SCC have just gradually increased. Lastly, very important to your decision on where to buy your home is your lifestyle: do you have a family? Do you have pets? Do you need more than 1200 square feet of living space? Are you active? Do you work in SCC?

Historically, Willow Glen and the Rose Garden areas of SJ are very desirable because of the history that encompasses the homes that are there, and they have become the 'boutique neighborhoods' not just because of the visual appeal, but also because of the small town feel you get by being there. Not only are these neighborhoods charming, but they are very convenient to shopping, restaurants, freeways and entertainment. People will pay a high price for the convenience and appeal to move into these neighborhoods. It’s not to say that the other parts of Santa Clara County are undesirable, but the typical neighborhoods of the 1970-1990 have that ‘track home’ look and they lack the attention to detail that make the homes built in the early/mid 1900s shine amongst them.

If your price tag is $800K and you want curb appeal and charm you should be looking in the parts of SCC that have that feel, and are affordable. You can buy a cute ‘little’ home in WG & Campbell for $800K. RG may be a little on the pricey side. Do a search for ‘95125’ or ‘95008’ and I’m sure that your search will include dozens of homes. Be patient, do your research and make sure that you get all that you need from the house. You must note that a lot of the older homes were built with only 2 bedrooms & 1 bath, and with little closet space. Yes, they are beautiful and built well, but they are just not convenient to today’s lifestyle. Good luck to you, and have FUN with your home search!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 28, 2008
I agree. Sounds like Willow Glen and Rose Garden would suit you, but I would also include Campbell. It has some good schools which help with re-sale and a vibrant downtown.
Remember there are three rules that make any property desireable. Location, location and location!
Web Reference: http://www.rwwindsor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2008
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