Trulia Community - Advice from neighbors and local experts

Find Your Community
We couldn't find that location. Please try again.
Get Expert Advice

94301 : Real Estate Advice

  • All19
  • Local Info2
  • Home Buying10
  • Home Selling1
  • Market Conditions2

Activity 252
Sat Apr 10, 2010
Grace Hanamoto answered:
Hello Megan and thanks for your post.

Depending on your housing criteria, price range, and the general location where you want to live, there are many fine school districts up and down the SF Peninsula in the areas where you would like to live. Unfortunately, it is both unethical and ill advised for those of us holding a license to recommend school districts, but I can say that in all of the areas where you are looking, there are great school districts.

Keep in mind, however, that due to the location on the Peninsula near SF and the ease of commute to both the north and south bay areas, school district as well as location greatly contribute to the overall value and ease of resale at a later date. And, of course, if you are going to purchase just a one bedroom condominium (for example), school district does not play as vital a role as if the home were, for example, a single family three bedroom property. My recommendation would be to find a great home first, and then investigate the school's perfomance to determine if it is a factor in your purchase or resale.

California rates schools by their API or Academic Performance Index, and the API for any school can be found on the California State Department of Education website at

To maximize your search and to obtain the best assistance in finding a home, work with a qualified real estate agent in the area. Good luck!

Grace Morioka, SRES, CID/Condo Expert
Area Pro Realty
Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Mountain View
... more
0 votes 7 answers Share Flag
Tue Mar 30, 2010
Alma Kee answered:
Be very careful. To get a very good idea of value you may want to pay a California licensed appraiser to give you an appraisal value. It's foolish to overprice or underprice and the $350 you will spend may save you a lot of inconvenience and money. Your Realtor may be right. Generally speaking the smaller homes in a neighborhood or complex will sell for a higher price per square foot. It's the price of admission to that neighborhood/complex. ... more
0 votes 6 answers Share Flag
Mon Mar 8, 2010
Paul Reddam answered:
I think there is some missing context here but it sounds like your trying to push your guilt on to an agent who didn't get a buyer rep agreement. Shame on both of ya.
0 votes 14 answers Share Flag
Fri Feb 26, 2010
Eric Trailer answered:
Good morning

The Palo Alto Unified School District website has a wealth of information, including boundry maps... Here's a good link to start with:

Since you have a toddler now, the boundry map for the elementary school may be of interest to you and is located here:

Gunn is located in the southern portion of Palo Alto, and here is a map of Palo Alto neighborhoods to give you an idea of where to look:

A local, experienced real estate professional will be your best resource in determining what's best for you here. Feel free to call me at 650.543.8001 for a couple of referrals.

Kindst regards,
Eric Trailer
Absolute Mortgage Banking
... more
0 votes 12 answers Share Flag
Tue Mar 30, 2010
Terri Vellios answered:
That depends on what your expectations are and the area in PA you are shopping.

Also, sellers can list their home for what ever they choose, the best bench for you would be to receive pending and sold homes, along with the active, this way you will have a better understanding of the value. ... more
0 votes 10 answers Share Flag
Wed Jul 7, 2010
Glen Mitchell answered:
Might need more details on why you are leaving him. Are you planning to buy one of the homes he showed you? Did you sign a buyer agreement to work with just him?

0 votes 24 answers Share Flag
Sun Jan 31, 2010
Anne Gealta answered:
Hi Newfamily!! I personally believe this is a GREAT time to buy your first home! Don't forget about the $8000 tax credit you will receive! Have you checked the MLS for homes in your price range?? The best plan is to get out there and see what's available. Seeing homes in person vs on the internet is so much more fun! Take a Sunday and peruse open houses! and above all, find a realtor who you are comfortable with, that you trust and who will be with you through the entire buying process. I'm in the North Bay area but would be happy to refer you to some really fabulous agents in the PA area! You can always call me with questions!! Anne Gealta 707-753-1617 ... more
0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Tue Jan 12, 2010
Brad Gill answered:
Just because a home becomes repossessed by a bank doesn't mean that that bank will turn around and immediately post the home for sale. There are many factors that banks must weigh before deciding whether or not they will immediately market the repossessed home for sale.

Currently in Santa Clara County there are about 3500 homes that have been repossessed over 2009 that have not been marketed for sale (the so called “shadow inventory” of foreclosed homes). There are currently 2500+ homes, condos and multi-family residences for sale in Santa Clara County – so imagine if all 3500 foreclosures hit the market at the same time?

Banks understand the forces that drive the housing market and with last year’s gains in real estate values holding through the beginning of this year, hopefully the banks will be more likely to hold their foreclosure inventory then rush to bring them to market.

There are also accounting issues that these banks face. When they foreclose on a home they can continue to count it as an asset at full value until they bring such asset to the market for sale – once the asset is priced to sell they must immediately discount the value which reduces their balance sheet and hurts their financial standing. And with 141 bank failures reported by the FDIC over 2009 alone (check it out at the FDIC's website -, and added pressure by government stress tests, I’m sure that banks will be cautious to begin willfully acknowledging losses on their financial statements for some time to come.

Additionally, I also believe that there is just a lot of sorting out left to accomplish – the FDIC is frantically selling the “assets” (which would include foreclosures and delinquent mortgages) of failed banks to investors at steep discounts as they rush to recover their insurance obligations. And these investors have their own ways of dealing with their purchased inventory of REO’s.

And finally, there continue to be voluntary foreclosure moratoriums placed by national lenders as well as forced moratoriums by the GSE’s with the intent to keep delinquent homeowners in their homes long enough for these homeowners to either seek loan modifications or sell their homes on the open market as short sales.
... more
0 votes 0 Answers Share Flag
Wed Jan 6, 2010
Brad Gill answered:
Good afternoon, I think that you'll find that the South Bay Area has plenty of neighborhoods that would be of interest to you and your husband. Like yourselves, I am also a foodie and have fallen in love with several small communities near South San Jose that may fit your expectations.

Here are several different neighborhoods listed below in order of distance from South San Jose that you should look into:

• Willow Glen -
• Campbell -
• Los Gatos -
• Saratoga -
• Mountain View -
• Palo Alto -

You will also find that home prices will vary drastically in each neighborhood surrounding the above cities/towns. For more details on the possible price ranges associated with each of these locations please feel free to contact myself or a local real estate professional.

Brad Gill, Realtor (#01385310)
Cell 408.204.7699
Eagle Properties Group, your family owned San Jose real estate solution
... more
0 votes 8 answers Share Flag
Tue Oct 5, 2010
Marcy Moyer answered:
Your search returned homes for Palo Alto, Iowa, not Palo Alto Ca. so the numbers you just gave do not apply here.
As far as foreclosures in Palo Alto, there were only 4 single family homes in Palo Alto Ca that were bank owned that were sold in 2009. I do not expect that to increase much, if any in 2010. Overall foreclosures have slowed down, not speeded up. My expectation is that there will be more short sales, particularily in the upper end, in 2010, but not a wave of foreclosures. there are many reasons for this but the summary is the lower end, ie under 1.5 mil in Palo Alto is very active. Homes over 2.5 are not selling well. Banks are getting financial incentives to allow short sales and loan mods rather than foreclosures. Homes that are foreclosed are being released very slowly by banks, probably to keep prices stable.
So, I think the upper end is still in for more depreciation, maybe 10%, but I think under 2 million is PA is stable. For right now.
Marcy Moyer
DRE 01191194
... more
0 votes 15 answers Share Flag
Wed Apr 25, 2012
Terri Vellios answered:
Commute from SF to PA should be easier. But what it will come down to is lifestyle. Do you want to live in the city or the Subs?
0 votes 9 answers Share Flag
Fri Jan 15, 2010
Lynne Mercer answered:
Hi there. I understand your dilemma. You have a hard decision to make. On the one hand you are absolutely correct to think that you should not expect any great appreciation on your current town home for the short term, so you will probably take a loss on the sale after selling expenses are factored in. On the other hand, it is a fantastic time to purchase a larger home in Palo Alto. Prices have dropped and interest rates are incredibly low from a historic perspective. And don't forget this. You will be paying property taxes for as long as you own your new home, and those are based on purchase price. So, if you can buy now while prices are lower, you will reap that benefit (as well as lower payments due to low interest rates) for as long as you own the house. So there are some very good reasons to act now instead of waiting and risking that both prices and interest rates will go back up (which I expect will happen sooner or later.)

I am not so keen on your alternate proposal... buying a rental and then flipping in 2 years. Fo rone thing, interest rates are not as favaorable for investment property, the rental market is not great right now, and if you do make a profit when you sell it you will have to pay taxes on whatever profit you make. If you want investment property, either plan to keep it for a longer time frame, or wait until the market starts skyrocketing and try to get in at the beginning of that cycle and get out again before it crashes (sort of like timing the stock market... risky!)

Let me know if you want more information.
And Happy Holidays!

... more
0 votes 37 answers Share Flag
Wed Sep 1, 2010
Marcy Moyer answered:
It never hurts to look. You can spend this time getting to know the market and really zeroing in on what you want. If you find something you love you could always make an offer subject to selling your home, but just be careful about committing yourself to purchase before you know you have the funds.
... more
0 votes 10 answers Share Flag
Sun Dec 6, 2009
Terri Vellios answered:
The last three sales in that area range from $966K up to $980K. They don't appear to have the updates this home has. Sutherland has only been on the market for less than 17 days and they did have price adjustment upward. It stated offers on Tuesday the first, which was last week. ... more
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Wed Dec 9, 2009
Norman Alessandrini answered:
The areas you can check out are Cuperino, Mt.View, Los Altos, Saratoga, Los Gatos and Fremont as far as good High schools. If you are looking for good grammar and middle schools the list is much broader but the above should be a good start.
I hope this helps, as always feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

DRE# 01397256
... more
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Tue Dec 8, 2009
Chris Iverson answered:
Hi TurkeyBoy,

1227 Fulton didn't make sense for $1.7M in 2007. At $1.3M now, it may be more realistic. I'm biased, but I feel you pay a premium for Palo Alto, especially that neighborhood. Whether this is an outlier or the beginning of a trend is the bigger question.

So far, prices in Palo Alto have been holding steady this year, and have stabilized at 10% -20% below the peak of 2007, depending on the price point, putting us around 2005 prices. The higher the price of the home, the bigger the drop in market value. You also note that the carrying and transaction costs for real estate are high, which is one of the reasons that people don't buy and sell homes like they do stocks or other more liquid assets.

I think the reason that we haven't seen more short sales and foreclosures in the area so far is that people at the higher price points have had enough resources to ride it out, or sell with a loss and walk away. I am meeting more people who have sold and are renting $2M houses for $5K a month vs. owning for $10K+ a month. You can rent a $3M house in Los Altos for $7500 a month, so if you need that kind of place, it may make better sense from a cash flow perspective.

As 5 year ARM loans from purchases in 2006 and 2007 start floating and potentially resetting in the next couple of years, there is a threat that the inventory of homes from people NEEDING to sell in the $2M+ range will outnumber buyers, meaning that we will see more significant price drops.

I'm a data junkie, so you can track the markets by quartile in all of our area cities on my website at:, or get information on the markets of your choice at

... more
0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Fri Nov 20, 2009
Dan Chase answered:
If you remove the inspection contingency you could miss things like a bad foundation, bad wiring, missing plumbing, rotted roof and a lot more. This could cost you 10's of thousands of $ or even reveal the house has such serious mold problems as to make it best to burn down.

Offer a lower price, but keep your financial security by keeping this clause in the contract.
... more
0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Tue Nov 17, 2009
David Tapper answered:
A few reasons Palo Alto commands a premium price is because of the downtown area, the schools, location and the weather. It's similar to Burlingame. They have the best downtowns on the Peninsula.

If you are going to be working in S.F. you may want to rent first and get to know the area. Palo Alto, Saratoga and Los Altos are going to be a minimum hours drive each way or more.

You might want to look into Millbrae & San Carlos. They also have very good schools. If you need help finding a place to rent, I will be more than happy to refer you to someone well qualified.

Welcome to S.F.

... more
0 votes 10 answers Share Flag
Thu Nov 12, 2009
Brad Gill answered:
I’m having trouble understanding your question so I will assume that the $5k is referring to a “bid” price on a foreclosure property.

If my assumption is correct, then the “bid” foreclosure property must be listed on a third party information website such as Yahoo homes, HUD homes, or even foreclosure radar possibly. I have found plenty a property on these websites that advertise foreclosures at incredibly low prices, such as the $5k bid price you may be referring to. The problem is that these prices are wrong, the $5k is referring to the total amount of past due payments owed the foreclosing lender (which may be being reported by the first or even second lien holder).

The point is that a third party information system, whether online or not, is just that, a third party and not a party to the foreclosure. This means that they may not have accurate or updated information.

The most accurate foreclosure prices, or starting bids, will come directly from the banks themselves and passed through their third party trustee who will take the property to auction. The only way to get this information is either to attend the foreclosure auctions, happens daily at the county court steps, or subscribe to a third party service that gets the information directly from the trustees and banks themselves.

If you are seeking the most accurate foreclosure information then you may wish to contact a real estate professional in your area who may be able to guide you to a local resource.

And when it comes to purchasing foreclosures, not doing your research on the property, whether it is title related or property condition related, can end up costing the investor a substantial amount. This is why it is so important to always be represented by a real estate professional with the knowledge and ability to assist you with your real estate goals.

Brad Gill, Realtor (#01385310)
Cell 408.204.7699
Eagle Properties Group, Your San Jose Real Estate Solution
... more
0 votes 0 Answers Share Flag
Mon May 2, 2011
Mario Pinedo, Ccim answered:
Definitely budget is an issue. Your commute distance puts almost any neighborhood within reach. What do you think you can afford?
0 votes 31 answers Share Flag
... 4 5 6 7 8 ...
Search Advice