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Home Buying in Palo Alto : Real Estate Advice

  • All330
  • Local Info27
  • Home Buying162
  • Home Selling20
  • Market Conditions42

Activity 180
Thu May 15, 2014
Monique & Joe Carrabba answered:
What a mess. That really isn't fair. I think it's time you took this up with the agents office and hired an attorney and send them a letter requesting the money. The money the agent was to have given you should have been given to you in escrow as a credit. I'd also take this up with the DRE.

Monique Carrabba
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2 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Wed May 7, 2014
Erica Glessing answered:
It's my understanding they received many offers and sold for $1m over asking at $2.9M. I believe the offers were very strong!
0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Mon Apr 7, 2014
Erica Glessing answered:
You can ask the agent to remove it. It is OK. It is already sold! You are the client, it is you that should be happy.
0 votes 13 answers Share Flag
Mon Apr 7, 2014
Erica Glessing answered:
You may want to explore seller-back financing opportunities. If you do have a monthly cash flow that exceeds the mortgage requirement by a good %, you can usually look good to a seller who is having trouble selling his or her home.

So you might also want to explore homes that have been on the market a long time or homes that need work. If you look up La Honda from Palo Alto there are some interesting opportunities up in the woods where the sellers understand that sometimes seller carry back financing is important.

Good luck!
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0 votes 7 answers Share Flag
Sun Mar 23, 2014
Bryan Sweeley answered:
Prices for Condos and Townhomes in Palo Alto have appreciated on average 6.6% per year over the past 17 years. I expect appreciation rates to be in the 6-8% range over the next couple of years. I publish extensive charts on prices at

Prices for single family residences have risen dramatically over the past 2 years and are expected to continue this year. Palo Alto is the epicenter of money flowing in from China, which is making the Palo Alto market the hottest in the area.

As to Rickey Way, these are almost new Townhomes that are very desirable with their modern finishes and contemporary styles. Location close to Facebook, Google and other high-tech companies should ensure continued long-term demand.
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0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Tue Mar 4, 2014
Juliana Lee answered:
I don't believe the flood hazard at 780 Palo Alto Ave is what would worry buyers the most. Much of the damage from the flood of 98 was caused by the narrow channel at the Newell bridge causing water to overflow the banks and enter storm sewers. The water came up out of the storm sewers in neighborhoods closer to the bay, flooding houses and condominiums nearer 101. There is a low probability but real hazard associated with these zones. Many Palo Alto homes are in the same hazard zones. 780 Palo Alto Ave has some disclosures which were of concern to my clients and probably others. Liquefaction Palo Alto home values at ... Work with a top experience agent and learn to be your own expert. ... Juliana Lee
Top 3 agent for 3 years nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Cell 650.857.1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County
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1 vote 5 answers Share Flag
Sat Mar 1, 2014
Patrick answered:
This may be a moot point since the question was asked last year. But my two cents... At the end of the day, there are two buckets of factors in selecting an agent in my experience. First, you want some one who is knowledgeable and connected in the community you want to purchase. Second, you want someone who you can easily communicate and work with. The first bucket is objective, and you can find out who the "top agents" are in any neighborhood through various referrals or internet searches. The second is very subjective, and you never really know until you meet them and start to communicate with them. I used a website called that did the hard part (#1-top agents) for me by matching me with a handful of knowledgeable and connected agents in Palo Alto. That left me to meet with them and assess the 2nd factor (relationship) to see if we worked well together. Let me tell you, it felt good to know they really wanted my business (some agents don't really like working with buyers as much as sellers). Ultimately I found someone who helped me find the a great home for me and my family. Wouldn't have done it any other way. ... more
0 votes 8 answers Share Flag
Wed Dec 11, 2013
taipeiracer answered:
I am not a realtor, but I've been through the process a few times, and I live in Palo Alto. The first thing I will tell you is that, if you wish to have any chance at success here, you have to work with a Palo Alto realtor. Marcy and Juliana are both well established here, as well as a number of others. Anyone who starts off by asking if I want a pool or other generic questions will not be on my short list.

Let me summarize the reality mentioned by others below. There are 3 main challenges when you wish to buy into this market:
1) Low to non-existent inventory at all times, and only a small subset of that will likely meet anyone's criteria and qualifications.
2) High prices is no exaggeration. Unless you are looking for projects, I suggest you make $2M as your minimum price target (after bidding)
3) Extremely high competition is also no exaggeration. Be prepared to bid against at least a dozen competitors.

If you need to stick to $1.5M as your price range, you need to consider other cities.

A final thought: You need a broker who well give you personal attention. Some of the bigger names will meet with you once and send you a junior staff to work with.
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0 votes 10 answers Share Flag
Sun Dec 1, 2013
Pqs0103 asked:
The house looks good. problems with the neibourhood or the house itself? It's like 100k less than a similar house on the same street.
0 votes 0 Answers Share Flag
Wed Nov 20, 2013
Juliana Lee answered:
Often a homeowner wants to "test the waters" and will not listen to the advice given to them. Perhaps they were in no hurry to sell but thought there might be one buyer who the house is perfect for and would pay a premium price. Seldom will there be any significant public information about what is done to sell a house or why.

The general rule is that Palo Alto requires one covered parking space for new homes. Homer is on what would be considered a sub-standard lot (there are quite a few in Palo Alto) meaning it is too small to meet current zoning goals. Generally building plans for a sub-standard lot are individually reviewed. They typically do not conform to current zoning goals.

As you mention 2025 Santa Cruz is a very different property and will appeal to very different buyers. If you look at cost per sq ft. you will see that Palo Alto is on average more expensive than Menlo Park.

Both Palo Alto and Menlo Park are very desirable cities. Palo Alto has a reputation for higher rated schools and tends to attract different buyers. Even though the two cities are next to each other, they are in different counties.
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0 votes 11 answers Share Flag
Wed Nov 20, 2013
Juliana Lee answered:
The numbers may not be intentionally deceptive. Most older homes take the square footage from the assessor's records which gives the living space. New homes may not have accurate assessor records but do have a permit issued for enclosed space which provides the larger number. Seldom does an agent want to make themselves liable for measuring and reporting a number. They want to provide whatever official records are available. Look at the reported source for the numbers.

When judging a home you always want to visit it and not just to verify the "facts". Usable space can vary tremendously from home to home even if they have comparable numbers. Number only provide a starting point.

Palo Alto home values can be viewed at

Juliana Lee
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Cell 650.857.1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County
... more
0 votes 6 answers Share Flag
Sun Nov 17, 2013
Alex Comsa answered:

My office is based in Menlo and I live in PA. I could definitely help you with your search.
Please call when you have a min or drop me an email: alex at

Alex Comsa
Intero Prestigio - Menlo Park
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0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Wed Nov 13, 2013
You would have to ask them. If they had priced the property to sell without doing a certain repair and finding they can not sell it without doing the repair that could be one reason.

My guess is that they might have been getting offers they felt were too low and so think that raising the price will fix that. More likely they we only get fewer offers.

But I can only guess.
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0 votes 18 answers Share Flag
Sun Nov 10, 2013
mark answered:
How about 144 Tennyson in Old PA (7500 sq ft lot)? It was subdivided into two lots, 3750 sq ft each fairly recently.
0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Wed Nov 6, 2013
JR Thrasher answered:
No, especially if there is no outside access from the basement.

J.R. Thrasher
0 votes 7 answers Share Flag
Tue Nov 5, 2013
John King answered:
Yes. I have a client who would consider selling his duplex near downtown Mountain View. Please contact me at 650-483-2710.
0 votes 8 answers Share Flag
Tue Nov 5, 2013
Juliana Lee answered:
Normally Frank takes on pretty big jobs but depending on what you are wanting to do, he may be interested. His work, cost management, and ethics are top rate.

He remodeled

If you are doing the remodel to make your home more personally enjoyable think it through and talk with Frank. You will be happy with the results. If you are doing the remodel to improve the sale value of your home give me a call and we can talk.

I did an analysis for a young couple buying a home in Palo Alto and put together pretty convincing evidence that adding one bathroom to the three bedroom, one bath, home they wanted to buy would increase the value by $50,000. I wouldn't say that applies to every home though.

Palo Alto home values are available at

Juliana Lee
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Cell 650.857.1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County
... more
0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Tue Sep 24, 2013
The Medford Team answered:
Evan, as a Realtor, you have access to past data and trends and should be aware that the Silicon Valley retained a higher percentage of value during the depression than outlying areas. You should also be aware that the percentage of growth during the past 18 months has been less than those in rebounding areas that were more highly depressed. Lastly, I'm confident that you understand that past gains are no guarantee for the future and no one has a crystal ball to see where we are headed.

Overall, the Silicon Valley market has been pounding upward for the past 18 months and finally appears to be slowing to catch it's breath. How will this translate into the coming months? No one knows. You might want to consider reading the following post:

Housing Market Cooling Off: Top 5 Reasons…

Because the Silicon Valley is really at the heart of Bay Area values, it is a much safer place to buy so long as the fundamentals are correct.

What you don't specify in your question is whether or not the "buyer" you are referring to is a normal home buyer or an investor: the answer to this question differs greatly based on who is buying the home. If the purchaser is a normal buyer looking to purchase a Silicon Valley home close to good schools and their work AND they plan on living there a ling time, then there is no wrong time to buy. The goal is a roof over their head, not an investment per se. Over time, they will more than likely see increases in the value of their home.

If, however, the buyer is an investor, the answer is different. I personally don't buy investment properties based on speculative return: I buy based on whether of not the property cash flows out of the gate. As prices increase in Silicon Valley, it's becoming very difficult to find properties with a good CAP rate.

Since you are a Realtor, I'd be interested in your take on this.

Lastly, take care when posting questions - if you don't wait for the question to load and hit the post button twice, then your question will appear multiple times ... as it did in this case.
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1 vote 5 answers Share Flag
Mon Sep 16, 2013
Mack McCoy answered:
Let's stop with this thread, it's FIVE YEARS OLD!
0 votes 22 answers Share Flag
Wed Sep 4, 2013
Robert Chomentowski answered:
I think higher rates along with increasing inventory is slowing prices right now as we speak. The thing is a lot of the national data you get on home price appreciation is backward looking. We won't know what's happening right now reflected in the numbers for 4-6 months. I think those numbers will slow a significant slow down in appreciation. ... more
0 votes 14 answers Share Flag
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