One Almaden property - 4 main questions

Asked by First Time Buyer, 95120 Mon Mar 15, 2010

I am looking at a 1-story property at Almaden valley. Barring all finer details, I have 4 main qns. All these are related to my own living as well as resale value of house.

a) The house has the master bd secluded or way far from the other 3 bds. This distances parents from kids, especially when they are young. How much can this affect me?

b) The house is on a T-junction of two inner and quieter roads. How much can this affect me because of Feng-shui and other scientific reasons? Does this affect home insurance?

c) The house is on the boundary between a great middle and a not-so-great middle . What are the chances of an unfortunate school rezoning?

d) The house also borders a SFHA area and an area of potential flooding, falling under the latter category. What are the chances of turning unfortunate some day?

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First Time B…, Home Buyer, 95120
Thu Mar 18, 2010
Hi All,

Thanks a lot to all the answers from all of you. Answers to all your queries as per my findings are given below:

a) Thanks for sharing the concept that many buyers do actually like this setup.

b) So apart from Asian Feng-shui believers, it won't be that a problem unless there are scientific/practical problems.

c) I called up the school. Yes, they said that Castillero and Breat Harte did not have any boundary change ever. Castillero did have a rezoning in late-05 with some other school, and included more students. I completely agree that nobody can predict the future, and sending your kid to a 100-less API school won't affect his/her academic progress significantly. But its just that you gain more resale.

d) Disclosures showed that the previous owner got a flood insurance letter from the lender when his property was included into FSHA zone. he appealed and got it changed back to potential flooding zone.

Now, the most important and the most unfortunate part --- I lost the bid !!!! I lost the house !!!! The competing offer beat us in all respects --- a) More offer price, b) More cash down (we had 20-80), c) Accepting property "as-is". Its was too tough to fight all 3 clauses with our present financial resources.
2 votes
CJ Brasiel, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Mar 15, 2010
First - Great questions.

a.) Having kids rooms away from parents when they are young is a trade off on layout but as teenagers is a bonus. I would consider it a wash and no specific effect on over all value.

b.) T-Junction for certain cultures is a no-no. Others consider it a safety issue. I have not heard of it affecting home insurance. I believe it may depend on how busy the street coming into the T is. This also falls in line with busy road re-sale. People do buy houses on busy streets. The value is not as high as inner neighborhood street but then again it probably wasn't a higher value when it was purchased before. Location value tend to pass on from seller to buyer to seller to buyer.

c.) With current budget crisis in most public school districts, re-zoning is a reality. However, it is not anything within your control. I would suggest touching base with the school district and finding out if there are any re-zoning plans for the next couple of years.

d.) There have been many cases in the San Jose (Silicon Valley) area that are within flood zones that are because of dam failure that do not require flood insurance. Other flood zones are actually inaccurate and you can speak with the planning board of San Jose or Santa Clara and they can give updated maps to the FEMA maps which have been riddled with errors and non-defined designations. Since most of us live in the "valley" we do risk dam failures and flooding from that.

Good luck!
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2 votes
Jt, Both Buyer And Seller, San Jose, CA
Thu Mar 18, 2010
Personally, I would be very concerened with Casterillo's (or any school for that matter) with low API scores.
Last year I volunteered every day in my daughter's class and at that time, she went to a public school with an api in low 800's.

EVERYONE told me "oh, don't look at the scores! Great Schools.Com rated it excellent as well.
Lucky for me, I don't work so I was able to help in the class (everyday) teach kids to read & write.
The lower performers suck all the energy & time from the teachers--trust me.
When you have a low performing school, the teachers teach to the lowest level.
A lot of these kids were from broken families, or from parents that just didn't care if homework was completed. Don't mean to generalize but that is what you normally get going into a school like that.
True, there are some "rare" cases where schools turn around.

We waited at least 2 years before getting into Almaden so I feel your pain!!! You'll find your house!!!
0 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Tue Mar 16, 2010
Please use caution when reading out of area, especially out of state agents responses to area specific questions. In California our purchase contract requires the Seller to provide the Buyer with a detailed Natural Hazard report. This report, which may be the stimuli of your question, also contains phone numbers and resources to aid you in your investigation. This report always poses questions to Buyers - it's doing it's job of encouraging Buyers to investigate to make an informed decision.

Exceptional children have excelled in education and life after attending less than stellar schools. It important to keep in mind that each of your children are different and each school is different. Your expectation of the schools, your child needs and interest will determine the better fit. Not all schools will fit every child in your family. The schools may not have an over all score you prefer, however look at the bigger picture, do they have a higher percentage of graduating students, do more go on to higher learning, do they offer more AP classes, do they have more focus on a specific field of study, what about community service? Each school has a website with greater detail. Do research specific to your family. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results. And keep in mind that schools change, children grow up, students move in and out of the area so what you find today may not be the result in the future. Parent involvement is important to the success of the school and especially the student.

T-intersections are more difficult to sell because of some cultures. They are usually priced lower than others too. One thing to think about is where the car lights hit the home. If you are in bed or watching TV at night and cars are coming and going will the lights of the cars be disturbing?
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0 votes
JT, Home Buyer, San Jose, CA
Mon Mar 15, 2010
Personally, I would stay away from a house with the t-junction IF the roads are busy. It sounds like in your case they aren't so it shouldn't be a deal breaker IMO.

Regarding middle schools, if you are talking about "Casterillo" possibly being your homeschool one day you can always go private. (I have friends that have kids there & it isn't exactly academic--but who knows, it could change in a few years).

The previous owners would have to disclose if it's a flood zone--have they said anything?
I live in Almaden & love it....can't imagine living anywhere else with kids. We actually have union/campbell schools but we have our daughter going private. (have heard our schools - Guadalupe/Dartmouth/Leigh- are really good)
0 votes
Guy Berry, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Mar 15, 2010
Sounds like you are doing a good job on due diligence.
a. I agree with CJ. Frankly, I think that long term it is an advantage.
b. Doesn't affect insurance to my knowledge but definitely affects the Feng Shui and certain Asian buyers.
c. Hard to tell. You can contact the school district and see if any discussion. With schools running out of money, one of their common solutions is closing one of the schools and consolidating. So, if this is a concern, check it out.
d. It depends on the type of flood zone. As said by others, if it because of a dam failure, that is one concern. If it is caused by a creek close to the property, it is more problematic.

guy berry
Real Estate Expert Witness
0 votes
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Mon Mar 15, 2010
It depends on the age of the kids. A lot of parents would love to have the kids further away so they do not always hear them. A couple with babies may want them closer so they hear everything.

It sounds like a corner lot. Even on quiet roads they are less desirable and sell for less money. Many people avoid them.

If your property is above the flood zone it does not matter. If it is in the flood zone I would not buy. You could buy flood insurance but flooding still ruins your day.

I saw where one man said he had seen 100 year floods at least 3 times and he was considerably short of 400 years old.

The schools, no idea.
0 votes
Joanna Batem…, , San Jose, CA
Mon Mar 15, 2010
First Time Buyer
#1 - You should sleep pretty well with the kids so far away from you. You should only hear loud screams.
#2 - I can get you the names of several Feng-Shui masters and insurance agents.
#3 - Boundary issues can come up at anytime - You will want to be active in the school board
#4 - Humm - I will need the crystal ball to estimate rain fall - How long have you lived in San Jose?
All of these are concerns of every new homeowner, but do you like the property? That's what really counts!
Good Luck in your home search.
0 votes
Pat Chadwell, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Mar 15, 2010
a) I have found this set up to be very good for the parents. The resale value will negligable. It can be mentioned as a selling point.
b) Some parties do not like that set up but again resale is not really affected.
c) There has been some change of schools "rezoning". If you are paying a premium for the better school than it might affect you some in the future if it were to go the a lesser quality school.
d) Do you mean the chances of flooding? That is impossible to predict. Almaden has been well known for its family atmosphere, good schools and living. I would consider that will remain the same over the next number of years.

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out.
0 votes
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