Moving to San Ramon - are older homes a better value or new homes? How do you compare Athena Residence 4 for $950K to Solaire Residence 4 for $835K?

Asked by Jb, San Ramon, CA Mon Apr 12, 2010

Folks, I am looking to move to San Ramon and wanted some advice. The short sale properties seem to have become a bidding war zone and the time frame to get a response from the bank is ridiculous.
Looking at new model homes we liked Athena Residence 4 and Solaire Residence 4. Athena Residence 4 is priced around $950K and last year it was selling at $850K. Seems a bit over priced for a 3200 sq ft house. On the other hand Solaire Residence 4 is priced around $835 which seems much more reasonable for a 2900 sq foot house.
any advice on these 2 new model homes and where else I can get a good home for the right price? Thanks.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Vickie Nagy’s answer
Vickie Nagy, Agent, Palm Springs, CA
Mon Apr 12, 2010
Hello Jb,

Look at your neigbhorhoods and location. Do you prefer the location of the Mosaic development (closer to drop down to 580)? Interested in a great community pool that will soon open? Atheana has some reasonable size parcels.

The value is in the eyes of the beholder. As for distressed inventory, charts say that just 17% of the housing inventory in San Ramon is 'distressed'. Albeit, Windemere seems to have more than their fair share as most were sold new during the housing 'bubble'...where Gale Ranch has had a slower, more controlled release over a longer period of years so there's fewer short sales there.

Vickie Nagy
CA DRE#10363932
0 votes
Amy, , San Ramon, CA
Thu May 5, 2011
If you would like to contact me directly I would be happy to help. I used to work for Shapell and can provide great insight!

Let me know....same with Lb (person who answered below). Sounds like I can give you some good info as well.
0 votes
Lb, Home Buyer, Mountain View, CA
Wed Apr 13, 2011

We are looking at Athena Residence 4 and might put an offer there....
When you mentioned 950k for Athena Residence 4 last year in Apr, was 950k the base price and all upgrades were on top of that? do you have any estimates around how much you would have paid for the house including upgrades?

Can you please reply ASAP, your help would be greatly appreciated?

0 votes
Windemere- B…, Home Buyer, San Ramon, CA
Wed Apr 21, 2010
Go for the best schools and that is Windemere at San Ramon. Why settle for less?
0 votes
Vince Puleo, , Eugene, OR
Sun Apr 18, 2010
Hi Jb,

Both properties are priced at about the same cost per square foot. So, quality of construction, location, reputation of buyer (get list of recent past clients who you can contact with questions.

Where else can you get a good home for the right price? Eugene, Oregon
0 votes
fiolibuyer, Home Buyer, San Ramon, CA
Sun Apr 18, 2010

I have not looked for too much time, just month or so.
I have purchased through realtor.
I had known 3 people who bought house through her.
One of my friend has seen not less than 200 properties over 15 months through her.
Overtime they tend to slowdown if you are not able to make up a decision, but they should be able to show you houses nevertheless.
Regarding sick etc, I remember reading one of the Agents website (His name was English agent or something) where he said we are 3 people in family doing real estate and do watch when others are sick etc.
When some agent is sick, they normally provide backup for people who are in process of contract or in contract already..
0 votes
Jb, Home Buyer, San Ramon, CA
Wed Apr 14, 2010
How do I find a realtor that works with my schedule, rather than working with their schedule? This happened to me last week where there were homes I wanted to see, but she was "sick" or out of town the other week. It is frustrating, especially in the San Ramon market, when homes fly off the shelves within days.
0 votes
Windemere- B…, Home Buyer, San Ramon, CA
Tue Apr 13, 2010
Newer homes keep values better than older ones, just look at Windemere homes, they preserve their value a lot better...
0 votes
Bob Georgiou, Agent, Danville, CA
Tue Apr 13, 2010
Calbird sums up the main issue with buying new construction. You don;t know tha character of the street or neighborhood. I recall a story about a street in Antioch by one notorious developer (who does not build in San Ramon to my knowledge) where one owner bought a home on a court and found himself surrounded by Sec 8 tenants. That is an extreme example and not the norm, but you get the idea.

The "problem" with the prices is not the builder or the neighborhood really but it's that price point is in transition due to downward movement in the high end market. As the multi million dollar home prices are collapsing small moves in price between 800k and 1.250 mil is going to vary wildly based on condition and location. New home prices seem to be following suit.

Remember that you are also going to have between 20k to 100k worth of upgrades to manage. Some of which will be absorbed by the builder to move the home but I have seldom seen an instance where a buyer stays to that budget. All that said there is a trick to buying homes close to 800k. That is what a good agent's job is to do for you.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Calbird, Home Buyer, San Ramon, CA
Tue Apr 13, 2010
We moved to Gale Ranch last summer and have been quite disappointed by the lack of a community. Neighbors are unfriendly and often don't reply when I say hello as I'm walking down the street. Very few kids play outside and there are no neighborhood activities. We often joke that we live on a movie set. Beautiful neighborhood but there are no people around. I'm questioning our move here.
0 votes
Kamal Randha…, Agent, El Sobrante, CA
Tue Apr 13, 2010
Hello JB,

The best value is relative. You should compare what each property offers and decide from there. Also, once your realtor gives you comps on the property, it's up to you to pay market value or bid over to compete with other buyers. Good luck to you :)

Kamal Randhawa
0 votes
Jb, Home Buyer, San Ramon, CA
Tue Apr 13, 2010
Thanks for the responses. We just started working with a REALTOR 2 weeks ago but I thought it still might be a good idea to get a 2nd or 3rd opinion.
Walking into the model homes they make it sound like there is a huge demand and buyers are lining up days before the release. I just witnessed the Athena Release that took place last Sat and the demand was almost non existant. It also seems like the sales office puts a "SOLD" sign on the lot even if it is available and once you show interest in a certain floorplan they call you and say that one just came back on the market.
We are starting to look at regular sales and should definitely start looking at bank owned properties.
0 votes
Eric J Soder…, , Pleasanton, CA
Tue Apr 13, 2010
You need to have some market research done by a REALTOR. We can pull comparables for the areas you are interested in and show you market trends over the year. Prices are moving up due to the low inventory. omitting short sale homes is a mistake in my view. New regulations have greatly improved the process. Banks are asked to respond to bids within 10 days now. It is not law, but most are falling in line with the new regulations. I hope this is of value to you

Eric Soderlund
0 votes
Bernard Gibb…, Agent, Danville, CA
Tue Apr 13, 2010
Hello Jb:

I think Vicky covers the new homes situation very well. And what she says about looking at the neighborhoods and location applies equally to all kinds of property. Location is everything.

I can understand why you feel that short sales are frsustrating. You find much disagreement there on this forum, even though there really are good deals to be had. You may want to consider bank owned homes (REOs) though. Although a few have been trashed, many are is as good condition as any other home plus the banks do respond fairly quickly to offers.

And what about regular sales of pre-owned homes. There are still plenty of these about. Yes, you may encounter multiple offers but you won't pay more than market value. The appraisal will see to that. The main thing is to have a good agent to advise you, who knows the area, when you are ready to make an offer.

Good luck in finding your ideal home.

Bernard Gibbons

Bernard Gibbons, DRE License # 01331583
J. Rockcliff Realtors, 15 Railroad Avenue, Danville, CA 94526
Phone (925) 997-1585 -
0 votes
Suzanne Look…, Agent, Lafayette, CA
Tue Apr 13, 2010
Hi Jb,
Whether you buy new or older, you would be wise to employ a realtor that will help you negotiate the price, give you up to the minute comps and will investigate the likelihood that a short sale is an option. Each short sale scenario is different and some times takes little more time than a regular sale. Although Windemere is hot for pricing, since most are distressed their property taxes are very high, due to the new infrastructure.
Good luck with your search. Anyone of us can help you navigate this very important transaction.
Suzanne Looker
Web Reference:
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in San Ramon Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more