i am buying a property in los gatos mountains( a tear down) and building my home there. Is that a good area. How much would it cost me. los gts school

Asked by Ckay, 95125 Mon Jan 24, 2011

I wanted to know costs of building, will there be a lot of overheards, fees etc? There is an existing home in that area but it is not in a great condition. My plan will be longterm. So can i build in stages as i get money to invest?

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Larry Miller, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Thu Aug 2, 2012
When you say "I am buying", and yet have some very fundamental questions, I sure hope you have not yet actually bought a property and closed escrow. The Los Gatos Mountains are replete with stories of un-buildable lots and red tagged tear downs. If you have found a property you like, you should include a visit to the planning office during your inspection period. Usually in Los Gatos, remodeling is easier to get approvals for than building from scratch. Remodeling in stages is a great idea, and does not increase costs very much. If you'd like me to look over a particular property for you, check the county records and so on, let me know.

Larry Miller
1 vote
Pat Chadwell, Agent, San Jose, CA
Wed Feb 23, 2011
That is a hard question to answer. Before you tear down the property I would check the appropriate county to find out buidling restrictions. They might let you build on the land using some part of the original structure and if torn down you might be out of luck. I really would head to the county planning depart. They will give you a lot of information.

Pat Chadwell
Realty World - Residential Specialists
1 vote
yvonneanderl, Home Owner, Los Gatos, CA
Sun Mar 23, 2014
I have lived in Los Gatos Mountains for 20 years. We plan to eventually add an additional garage and workshop to our existing home. I was told by the Santa Clara Planning Department that we must have some level of partial completion of these additions every 6 months. Planning wants to come to the house every 6 months and see some amount of "moving forward" on the project. They are concerned
(for example) about having wood beams/walls exposed to the elements for too long.

We moved up here from Santa Clara and had no idea what what we were getting into.

It is SOOO expensive to live up here. Well maintenance, septic maintenance. paying for Propane with each fill (averages $1100 - $1300 per fill for a 1,000 gallon tank). Drainage is also a big issues when we have heavy El Nino years. You either need to be a handyman (we are) or have enough money to pay someone to perform all the maintenance that will come up.

That said, we love it up here. Nature, trees, deer, turkeys, space. It is gorgeous!!
0 votes
Leili Mortaz, Agent, Campbell, CA
Tue May 22, 2012
I 2nd Michelle's input on the Los Gatos Mountain life style. We have friends who have lived in the Mountain for 20 years and now that they have moved closer to "civilization" they can not believe they put up with the nasty commute!

Granted everyone claims it's only 5 miles to downtown los gatos, but that 5 miles typically will take you 30 minutes since some roads are very narrow and hard to navigate. You also, need to consider additional costs and maintenance of heating w Propane, potential need for a pump for your water and a septic tank for sewer.

We have learned that it's not for everyone since we have friend who are sorry they have ever bought there. But there are also amazing people we have met who would never live anywhere else but the mountains.
0 votes
Michelle Car…, Agent, Coppertino, AL
Mon Apr 25, 2011
Los Gatos schools are great; however mountain living takes a unique personality and you need to know if this is truly you. Contact the City of Los Gatos directly to find out how this will work with them. Mountain properties are unique - hillsides, septic systems, etc. Make sure you fully understand what you are getting into. It is not the same as buying on a flat piece of property in town.
0 votes
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sat Mar 12, 2011
Hi Ckay

If we are looking at a flat lot then it will cost you about $150 to $200 per square foot.
Getting an open ended permit will be an issue, as building specs are time sensitive
To code and regulations that change every 9 to 12 months.

If you are looking at a lot sloped down then the cost will run from $250 to $400 per sq ft.
Due to seismic retro fits to your new home, retaining walls etc.

Right there will be over head and fess, lots of it. You should go to building department.

Let me know if I can help.

Best regards
Perry Mistry

0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Feb 28, 2011
Confused on what direction you are going. ? Why purchase a tear down if you don't know anything about the area?

Tear down a home requires city permits, quotes are from builders which will require city permits and etc

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes
Alan & Benja…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Mon Feb 28, 2011
The costs can really add up when building from scratch. If the property is in an earthquake fault zone you will be required to have an onsite geo-technical report done to detremine the properties buildability. That will also determine the spefics of the engineered foundation/piers. The property will now need to comply with all current building codes and county requirements. These include water and storage, fire protection-turn arounds-hydrants-, septic, access, set backs just to name a few.
On the other hand if there is any way to use the existing house and it's systems and go the remodeling route you will probably be able to grandfather in what is there and proceed much much quiker and for less expense. Always check with the County prior to removing contingencies to be sure you can do what you want to do.
You can ablolutely build/remodel in stages as your budget allows. It might work out better that way so you can fine tune an refine what you are trying to do as you live there.
Good luck with your project.
Alan, Michele & Ben Barbic
Coldwell Banker - Saratoga
A Family of Real Estate Professionals
DRE# 00989202, 01214145, 01358730
0 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Sun Feb 27, 2011
It depends where you are building in the mountains. There are earthquake fault zones and your property may be impacted by restrictions. You also have peculation studies for septic and well. Even though there is an existing home, you will need to check with the county. Some of the lots up there fall into Santa Cruz county instead of Santa Clara.

You can write an offer contingent on what is necessary to use the property as your intended purpose. It could take a while to go through all the inspections and studies, plus there will be a cost involved for each.
Web Reference:  http://terrivellios.com
0 votes
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