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94025 : Real Estate Advice

  • All30
  • Local Info6
  • Home Buying13
  • Home Selling1
  • Market Conditions0

Activity 50
Fri Apr 9, 2010
Grace Morioka answered:
Hello Ljfv, and thanks for your post.

Are you referring to the Trustee Sales conducted by the Sheriff's office for homes that are in foreclosure? These sales are conducted weekdays at the entrance to the San Mateo County Hall of Justice at 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA. Notices are published in newspapers by the banks to alert homeowners to sales in their city. Check your local newspaper in Menlo Park to see if and when a home should be auctioned. It isn't often that a home in Menlo Park goes to foreclosure--most of short saled--so keep scanning the papers for any published notice of impending sale.

Although the allured of buying a home at the "courthouse steps" is great for many frustrated buyers, I will caution you that buying a home in this manner has risks and should not be undertaken by anyone without the proper knowledge or training. Sales of this type require the buyer to buy the home (often sight unseen) for cash or certified checks (no loans or promissory notes) at the courthouse. Experienced buyers of foreclosure properties are often Realtors with access to information not normally available to the average homebuyer--such as comparables, past sales information, often pictures and information of the home's last sale, and the name of the bank holding the mortgage. Also, these individuals arrive to the auction with certified checks in various denominations to pay for the home--often more than $1 million in cash. Most have an excellent idea of the true value of the home, so if a home comes to auction and no one is buying or offering to pay for the property other than the lender, there is often a solid reason why.

So before venturing out to buy foreclosure homes at the courthouse, please take a few hours to thoroughly research the subject on the web, visit an action at San Mateo County and read books to ensure that you know and understand the risks, as well as the rewards, of purchasing a home through auction.

Good luck!

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
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Wed Oct 21, 2009
Leonette Stafford & Tony Stafford answered:
Flood Park is a little known secret in the Menlo/Atherton area. There are some areas that are close to the freeway but are less desireable, with that being said, it is a great location - convenient to freeways and major streets. Three of the neighborhoods have that desireable "Leave It To Beaver" feel. Lower prices than other Menlo Park neighborhoods farther away from shopping and restaurants than the Willows area. ... more
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Thu Nov 15, 2012
Marcy Moyer answered:
There are several areas of Menlo Park that are unincorporated. In general, services and schools for these areas are provided by entities other than the City of Menlo Park. Things like water garbage, and police are provided by San Mateo County and other private companies. There is one unincorporated area west of the Alameda which is part of the Las Lomitas School District which is a wonderful school system. Many of the lots are smaller than the average city of Menlo Park lot so the houses can be more affordable. the other area that is unincorporated is the Fair Oaks neighborhood where the numbered streets are located. This area feeds into Redwood City Schools. It has a wonderful neighborhood feel and is often more affordable than other parts of Menlo Park. Here is a link to a blog post I wrote about some great things in Menlo Park.
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Fri Oct 9, 2009
Earl Girbovan answered:
The best palce to look would be at Craig's List, and see what comparable homes in your neighborhood are renting for. If you haven't rented out a property inthe past, I would also suggest that you join the California Apartment Association. They can help you with rental forms that are up to date and protect your interest. I would also suggest that you open up a separate bank account specifically for the rental property. This will make it easier when tax time comes. ... more
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Wed Jul 1, 2015
Marcy Moyer answered:
Belle Haven is smaller than East Palo Alto and most of the homes are from the 40's and 50's with not much new development or condos like there you can find in EPA. One exception is a new green development by Clarus which was built 2 or 3 years ago. The original lots are smaller, 4-6,000 square feet which is also unlike EPA where there were many large parcells that were recently developed with new homes. The community seems a little quieter to me than many of the EPA streets. The school district is the same, Ravenswood. Menlo Park has been talking about a plan to stabilize home prices in Belle Haven by buying foreclosures, renovating, and then re-selling them. I think if this happens it will help to increase the values in that community. What will happen in 5 years is anyone's guesss. I do not see this neighborhood either jumping ahead for falling behind the trends for other areas.

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Fri Apr 9, 2010
Lisa Lewis Hoeflich answered:
Hi StillwaterII,

The area west of 101 is having positive growth. Most homes are modest post war homes built in the 40's and 50's 2 bdrm 1 ba homes are generally priced in the mid 700 to mid 800K range. In recent years there has been steady improvement to the existing homes and some that have been rebuilt alltogether. You can find homes in the 1.5 to 2M range as well. The Willows neighborhood has also expereienced a recent improvement to it's community centers, schools, parks etc. The location is central if you have a commute into SF or SJ. The area had sustained the economic downturn fairly well, holding property values to about the 2006 level with fewer foreclosures than other surrounding west of 101 areas.

I'd be happy to take you on a tour of the area, or send you property listings that match your criteria. Please feel free to request additional information from me regarding your home search.

Kindest regards,
A Piece of the Planet
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Tue Jul 21, 2009
Grace Morioka answered:
Hello Cali and thanks for your question.

I was just speaking with my trusty loan broker pal, Jay Deimling, today and there are construction loans, but they are very hard to get, and, to be frank, the interest rates are not good. The emphasis right now, as you know, is for banks to provide purchase money loans.

Yes, you can apply for a 203K loan, but you are also correct that all FHA loans including the 203K are taking between 45-60 days to fund and close due to the volume of loan applications coming through their system. Also, keep in mind that if the home is in really bad shape, aside from the 203K, the regular FHA loan will require that you make repairs to the home BEFORE you close escrow, which means you'd have to have money to make those repairs now.

Unfortunately, it sounds as if you're already in contract, but had you used a facilitator (like me) because we charge only 1 percent on the purchase contract, you might have been able to use as much as $16K from the sales commission at the end of the transaction toward home improvements.

At this time, my suggestion is to speak with a qualified mortgage broker who specializes in FHA loans to assist you. Jim and Jay from Lighthouse Lending are FHA experts in San Ramon if you're interested in contacting them, drop me an email at the address below and I'll be happy to provide you with the names and contact information for mortgage brokers who are knowledgeable and well connnected in the lending field.

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro, Facilitator
Area Pro Realty
Sunnyvale, CA
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Fri Apr 9, 2010
Inspiration Home Staging answered:
Are you selling your home? My guess is that the train will have an impact on the price depending on how far away you actually live from it.
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Wed May 18, 2016
Brendan Aiello answered:
Hi Chi-Hua,

The PR Status generally means that there is a contingency in the contract that has yet to be removed. PR directly means Pending with Release.

This usually means that they are willing to take a back-up offer in case the current offer falls though

If you are interested in writing and offer or backup offer on a property, let me know.

Brendan Aiello – Cashin Company Realtors
(650) 403-6262
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Fri Apr 9, 2010
Arn Cenedella answered:
West Menlo os a very diesriable area and demand is generally strong.
The current market is slower than typical but well-priced homes will st ill sell quickly.
Activity (the number of sales) usually is highest March April May with a slow down as summer goes on and then another pick up in September and October.
That being said, each year is different.
When you ask about "better months for buyers", I assume you mean when the number of competing buyers is low. Is that right?
The market in Menlo Park is not very seasonal, there is NOT a time of the year where you can buy for 10% less than at other times in the year.
My advice is that when you find a house you like , fits your needs, and can afford - make a strong offer and go for it.
I hvae been a Menlo Park real estate agent for 31 years.
Menlo Park has excellent schools, a very nice downtown, promximity to Stanford, and a wonderful Civic Center at Burgess.
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Wed Apr 15, 2009
Marcy Moyer answered:
Hi Sam,
You pose an interesting question. First of all the 2 complexes are completely different, although next to each other, and the sales prices have never been comps for eachother. 2160 is only 14 years ld which is very young for Menlo Park. There have been no sales of condos less than 20 years old in the last 6 months, and in fact the last one was on Merrill which was also a 2/2 1200 square feet for $880,000 but that was last August. this is not because there are so few sales in MP, but becuase there are so few newer condos. The locaton of Merrill is very different because it is right downtown next to the train, shops, restaurants, and was built with more modern finishes.

So, the best way to evaluate the value, in my opinion is to look at past sales history of this complex. Simliar models have sold for the following prices:
$740,000 in 2007
$710,000 in 2006
$725,000 and $675,000 (this unit) in 2005
$630,000 in 2004
$501,000 in 2001

As borne out by this list, Menlo Park did not peak in 2006 like some other communities. Things did not really slow down until 2008.

If you go just by the numbers you would assume a 14% decrease in home value from the 2007 price of $740,000, but, that does not take into account whether the seller would or could take $100,000+ less than asking, or that someone would not be willing to pay a premium for a condo that is 14 years old instead of 40 years old like most of the other Menlo Park condos.

Hope that helps!
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Wed Apr 1, 2009
Arn Cenedella answered:
Good analysis.
I would say some buyers prefer the Willows as it is "closer" to "downtown and civic center" than Flood Park.
All of the Flood Park properties are nearer than freeway than many in the Willows so that makes a difference.
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Sun Jan 18, 2009
Arn Cenedella answered:

Menlo Park is a fabulous place to live.
Menlo Park is located within the Sequoia High School District which serves southern San Mateo County.
There are 4 high schools within this district:
I believe test scores are typically in the mid to high 70s - good but not outstanding.
None of these schools are rates as high as the Palo Alto schools.
It has been a while since I have reviewed the stats but I believe about 1/3 of the kids going in Menlo Park go to private high schools - Menlo School, Sacred Heart, St Francis, etc.
Menlo-Atherton has a strong AP program so if your children are in the AP/Honors track I would have no reservations about Menlo-Atherton.
I live in San Carlos and my oldest boy went to Carlmont - Carlmont was fine.
I know many people who live in Menlo Park and their kids have had good experience at Menlo-Atherton.
So the answer to your question is very personal.
Hope this helps.
There is also new construction in Palo Alto you may want to check out.
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Fri Apr 9, 2010
Bill Eckler answered:
You would need to speak with a CPA regarding the tax implications of a home "swap."

Dificult times require desperate measures and these are truly difficult times. One thing for certain, we expect to see more "swaps" in the near future since it becomes a very real option for people in situations such as yours.

At this point in time "swaps" are mot a common occurance and will require a more involved search. This will change.
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Fri Apr 9, 2010
David Tapper answered:
You should be able to get back at least part of the damages because they were less than the deposits. Call me and I will get you a couple of real estate attorney's.

The seller should have provided you the leases up front, prior to removing your contingencies. Your Realtor and mortgage person didn't do you any favors. That's one reason you couldn't get the loan. You may have more recourse than you think.

Dave Tapper
Cashin Company
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Tue Apr 2, 2013
Zoey Tolu answered:
Hello Joe,
Well it seems that your are concerned about road noise affecting the future resale value of the property you are thinking to purchase. If this is a concern to you it means that potential future buyers might think the same way. But than again in a good market condition when the supply is lower than the demand those concerns will pretty much desappear. As you are metioning in your question the school district is also one of the best in the Bay Area which will be a major pivot for future buyers. Also the fact that the houses are brand new is also a positive point for future buyers. Now you also have to take in consderation of the amount of time you are going to keep this property. Don't forget when the house will be appraised at time of purchase, the appraisor will take those items in consideration and will reflect them by adjusting the value/dollars amount from the comparables.
Since you are buying it today at a buyers market maybe you might be able to negotiate a liitle bit on the price and also ask for the seller or the builders to pay for your closing costs. Again street noise can be a negative think when selling your property, it all depends on when you will be selling it. I hope this will help you decide on your purchase. If you have any other concerns just. shoot me an email at
Good luck!

Zoey Tolu
Century 21 Realty Alliance
SAn Mateo, Ca 94402
Cell: 650-619-3379
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Wed Feb 12, 2014
Rowena Emmett answered:
Hello Tricia!

We would be happy to help you! We can refer you to an experienced real estate agent who can help you find what you are looking for.

Please feel free to contact us, and we will put you in touch with a real estate agent in your area.

Best regards,
Fran and Rowena
info (at)
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Fri Apr 9, 2010
Allison Klein answered:
Congrats on your new job! Menlo Park is a very pricey area. Average sales price for homes there last month was $1.497M. You will get more for your money in Redwood City and San Carlos with a bit of a commute but not bad as they are the next cities north. Palo Alto will be even more expensive. I can send you more info just let me know and good luck! ... more
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Wed Jun 18, 2008
Earl Girbovan answered:
Nice two bedroom apartments in Menlo Park rent in the range of $1600 - $2000. You'll find most of them are in 4-plexes or small, less than 10 unit complexes. Check Craig's List or Fogster to see what's available. ... more
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Wed May 27, 2009
Myke answered:
it's tricky - especailly in a market that's just sort of flat.
Appraisals are only one part of the puzzle.

From the sound of things - it's going to be a sticky situation regardless of what you do. ... more
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