Are larger lots homes in Windemere a wiser investment?

Asked by Max, 94107 Tue Nov 30, 2010

We are targeting San Ramon (Windemere) for the schools. I'm looking at larger lots (10K sqft) but it seems like those lots are rare or don’t have much usable space. We are currently underwater on our current house (Pennisula) so trying to avoid a repeat. My question is if we do find a house that does have a great lot (e.g. relatively flat with some privacy) will that type of lot typically hold it's value in the long-term? I've read some really informational albeit depressing posts (Hawkeye - great analysis by the way).

http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Ramon/2822-Piccadilly-Cir-94582…
http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Ramon/7063-Emerson-Ln-94582/hom…
http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Ramon/5662-Wells-Ln-94582/home/…
http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Ramon/3927-Jamie-Pl-94582/home/…

I'm wondering if these types of lots will hold their value for this area? For the short-term as these prices still overvalued? If we find a house in this range should we move on it?

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jo, , Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, CA
Tue Dec 7, 2010
The 3 L's are what command and keep the best prices: Location, Location, Location. Period. Find an area where every one wants to be in and too few houses up for sale and you got yourself a winner Max.

Good luck.
0 votes
Michael, Home Buyer, San Ramon, CA
Tue Dec 7, 2010
Max,

I think Gilbert makes the best point here. Because the Windemere area has so many parks, a larger lot doesn't command too much of a premium compared to peninsula homes. I would say location and home condition (such as upgrades) are more important when determining value retention.

The listing below that you provided is a great example:
http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Ramon/7063-Emerson-Ln-94582/hom…

If you compare that home to this one:
http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Ramon/7526-Balmoral-Way-94582/h…

You can see that a large lot doesn't necessarily command more $$$. Both homes in the same development as Santorini. The larger lot one is a plan 3 and the smaller lot one is a plan 2. The smaller lot one has much nicer upgrades, completed landscaping, but backs to windemere parkway. It still sold a higher price compared to the one with the larger lot.

Also, the question to ask is what will you be doing with the lot? Larger lots take up more money to landscape and maintain. With a higher ratio of Asians in the area, they tend to be ok with regular lots and will use the parks more. That's something to think about.
0 votes
Suzanne Look…, Agent, Lafayette, CA
Wed Dec 1, 2010
Hi Max,

Since you are already experiencing the downturn in property values, I would suggest you take a look at the market trends for homes in different price ranges. We are generally seeing that the more expensive homes, ie., $800,000 and up are sitting longer on the market and taking large hits. The 'economists' say that homes should appreciate about 1 to 2 percent next year and possibly the year after. I don't think any of us can predict much after that other than a very slow increase year to year if at all. That means that sellers in this price range should be very motivated to sell.

One would caution about being the largest and best home on the street. Their appreciation tends to be slowed down by the neighborhood average. Having said all this, it will be your family home and place to live for many years and it needs to feel 'right' to all of you. If you find a home with a larger than average lot, try to negotiate the best deal you can and then enjoy yourselves.

Regards,
Suzanne Looker
Web Reference:  http://www.suzannelooker.com
0 votes
Bernard Gibb…, Agent, Danville, CA
Tue Nov 30, 2010
Hi Max:

I wouldn't say that large lots are uncommon. There are large lots to be found in most parts of San Ramon, including Windemere, and generally speaking, the homes with larger lots do sell for higher prices. As far as the prices you mention are concerned, I would think that you could even find homes in Gale Ranch with large lots within that price range and I would expect those homes to appreciate more than those in Windemere. Similar location, many with the same schools, Shappell quality construction.

Bernard Gibbons

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bernard Gibbons, J. Rockcliff Realtors
DRE License # 01331583
Phone (925) 997-1585 - bernard@bernardgibbons.com

http://www.BernardGibbons.com
0 votes
Max, Home Buyer, 94107
Tue Nov 30, 2010
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Gilbert: Interesting point how how a larger lot is not much of a safety-net in an area dominated by smaller lots. It again adds more to sleepless night about buying in San Ramon.

The criteria we had been mulling over was close to what Bernard describes below: [1] larger lot that maximizes usable space; [2] away from busy streets; and [3] yard privacy (which seems rare for the area). The homes that come close to meeting the criteria range from $998K to $1.15M. Does that range seem high or do we need to reset our expectations to something lower/higher?
0 votes
Gilbert Rich…, , Santa Clara County, CA
Tue Nov 30, 2010
While lot size does help, the economic climate of the area is going to be more of a tell tale sign of whether or not the investment is a good one. The more economically stable an areas income base is the stronger the possibility your value will be sustained.

San Ramon has Chevron based in the community so that is a big help and you have Lawrence Livermore Labs in Pleasanton and Livermore that provide a strong economic base for the area.

Honestly if large lot sizes are not common in San Ramon you will not sustain a much higher value because the values will be mostly based on what the average comparable prices for the type of house are and the lot adjustments will be important but they won't be a huge safety net as far as sustaining value.
0 votes
Sunil Sethi, Agent, Fremont, CA
Tue Nov 30, 2010
I agree with Bernard. A large unusable lot isnt worth as much as one that is flat, and could support an addition, or pool, or large play area, etc.

Don't but a large lot just to for an investment, but the house first and the plus is it's got a large usable lot. Remember bigger lots also require more care.

Good luck with the purchase.
Web Reference:  http://www.sunilsethi.com
0 votes
Jeff Kim, Agent, Blackhawk, CA
Tue Nov 30, 2010
Generally, homes on larger lots have a tendency to appreciate better than smaller ones. However and more importantly your needs and requirements are more important. If you can only afford the home that is on the smaller lot than stretching yourself thin for the home on the larger lot would not make sense. However, if both are within your budget than the larger lot would generally be a better choice.
0 votes
Bernard Gibb…, Agent, Danville, CA
Tue Nov 30, 2010
Hello Max, you ask a good question.

In general terms I would say "Yes" but there are caveats. It is not just about size. Certainly most buyers want to get a home with a large a lot as they can bacause they assume that it will appreciate more in value, but that is only true when the lot is useable. Go for homes with large useable lots (not upslopes or downslopes) and you won't go far wrong. You still need to watch out for location in Windemere though. Many homes back up to busy roads and a large lot may not compensate for the noise.

Bernard Gibbons

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bernard Gibbons, J. Rockcliff Realtors
DRE License # 01331583
Phone (925) 997-1585 - bernard@bernardgibbons.com

http://www.BernardGibbons.com
0 votes
Cindy Duffy…, Agent, Danville, CA
Tue Nov 30, 2010
Absolutley! Windemere holds its strong values because of the #1 ranking schools. Location, location, location! The sacrifice is typically a small lot. A large lot with-in the best schools is a very wise investment for real estate in San Ramon!
0 votes
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