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Palo Alto : Real Estate Advice

  • All334
  • Local Info27
  • Home Buying162
  • Home Selling21
  • Market Conditions42

Activity 252
Mon Nov 19, 2012
Elena Talis answered:
Hi Mindy,

The inventory is a bit higher but it is consistent with the seasonal fluctuations - see charts at What I see is that the prices have stabilized and are not rising like a run-away balloon. Well priced homes still receive multiple offers and, in a lot of cases, well above the asking price. Keep in mind that crazy offer counts a usually triggered by artificially low listing prices

I actually put a house on the market the day before Facebook went public. It sold in 5 days and closed in 3 weeks - very strong buyers. My husband wrote an article about our experience with this house on Palo Alto Patch -
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Fri Oct 5, 2012
Andrea Wince ~ Lic. 01439761 answered:
This depends upon what contract was used in the initial purchase contract. Are you buying a home and not using a Realtor to represent you? Usually in these types of situations, it's called a rent back wherein the seller pays the buyers actual costs (mortgage, insurance, utilities, etc.) for the time span agreed to. ... more
0 votes 12 answers Share Flag
Wed Jun 27, 2012
Terri Vellios answered:
agents are prohibited from discussing family, children, etc. You may want to look to Midtown.
0 votes 14 answers Share Flag
Sun Jun 10, 2012
Jenny Wan-Mernyk answered:
Ventura is a good area to consider because prices are lower, and schools are very good. I have a client who bought a house in Ventura a year ago, and the price has gone up by over 15% already. Their son got into the elementary school of their choice. It is convenient to commute routes. I'd be glad to arrange for you to talk to my client to get their feedback if you want. ... more
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Sun Jun 10, 2012
Terri Vellios answered:
I don't believe it benefits the Seller at all. When a property is not exposed to the buyers the Seller is loosing out on potential multiple offers.

I know this is happening in a lot of areas and keeping it in house raises the Broker's ranking, the agent may make some deal to the seller, but in my opinion they probably are leaving money on the table.

A seller may not want people to know they are selling and all the rest that goes into marketing a home. Some sales may be inter family and they would not go on the MLS either.

Good question!

Have an amazing day!
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0 votes 10 answers Share Flag
Fri Jul 7, 2017
Hi P...

We directly fund loans from 3 major JUMBO investors. They include ARM products as well as a 30yr fixed option. We also have a great option of a 90% option with the old traditional structure of 80/10/10 for no mortgage insurance. I would be happy to discuss all options and let you know what available in the market.

Call me anytime,

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0 votes 9 answers Share Flag
Thu May 3, 2012
John Souerbry answered:
I work with many rentals in Palo Alto, both as a property manager and a broker.
In most areas of the city, rents have kept pace with rapidly-increasing prices for residential property. Single family homes are often rented based upon bids rather than advertised rent rates and apartment rents are approaching monthly ownership costs for condos.
The forcast for residential property values is very strong over the next 24 to 48 months due to expanding employment opportunities throughout Silicon Valley. Despite the difficult development process in the City of Palo Alto, builders are still anxious to work in town, mostly on urban infill projects for rentals and re-sale (condos and small lot single family).
See my current Trulia listing - 595 Maybell. This 2.46 acre lot is being sold for residential development and we have multiple offers at or above the $16M listing price (seller to pick an offer this week).
Palo Alto can be an excellent investment target, given the right property and purchase terms.
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0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Wed Oct 31, 2012
Suzanne MacDowell answered:
You also have to consider the tax implications. Homeowners are able to take tax deductions renters do not enjoy. As to prices increasing, it will probably not happen overnight, but what goes up must go down and what goes down must go up. Right now we are at the lowest, most affordable home prices since the Great Depression. Those prices are bound to go up, which is why smart investors are buying real estate like crazy right now. They plan to rent the properties for the next 8 - 10 years, then sell them for a nice profit, all the while enjoying some rental income.

Interest rates are also at an all time low, so carrying costs are unbellievably good right now. People have gotten spoiled by interest rates, they have been low for quite a long time and are going even lower. That won't last either. Sooner or later, just like home prices, interest rates will go back up. If we do experience a period of inflation or even hyper inflation as some are predicting they could go into double digits and that, in and of itself, will make home buying more difficult and less affordable.

I don't know what the rents are in Palo Alto specifically but I can tell you this, according to experts it is more affordable to buy right now in most of the country than to rent, and rental rates ARE going up due to the large number of people who are either afraid to buy or can't buy because they've experienced some kind of financial distress and can't qualify for a mortgage.

All things considered, if you can afford to buy, buy. There will not be another 'perfect storm' like this one for home buyers for a very, very long time.
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0 votes 14 answers Share Flag
Thu Aug 30, 2012
Hassan Sabbagh answered:
Mon May 14, 2012
Lynne Mercer answered:
Click on "Schools and Sites""
Click on "School Finder"
Type the name of the street you will live on (do not include street number)
The program will show you which school attendance area you are in. If there is more than one for that street, they will give you the street numbers that correspond to each school.

It is very easy and user friendly. But beware. Even if you are in a particular school attendance area, if that school is full, your child may need to attend a different school. So to confirm, go in person to talk to the people at the school administration building. As for transferring from one school to another, you do need to talk to them about this.
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Sat May 19, 2012
Mindy answered:
I am not a real estate professional, but my experience is that whenever a new construction happens in the neighborhood, the existing homes appreciate as well. The reasoning seems to be that newer homes always come with smaller lots and the lot value of surrounding land intrinsically appreciates due to this fact.

Barring that, if Palo Alto appreciates, then in general I'd expect the tide to lift all the neighborhoods. There is no such things as "undesirable neighborhood" in Palo Alto!

Just my 2c.
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Thu May 3, 2012
Terri Vellios answered:
From the responses I get from my clients, see below;

They schedule a pre-meeting to discuss the buyers goals and objectives and to get an understanding of how the process works, along with what how the agent works. From that meeting the Buyer and Agent will determine if they want to work together.

An automatic search based on the clients wants and needs is set up.

The agent will preview homes and discuss with the Buyer why some of the homes don't fit.

The agent will explain the pro's and concerns on each property.

Once a home is selected the agent will have a conversation with the listing agent so that the Buyer will know how to be proceed with the offer.

The agent will negotiate everything, discuss the inspections and disclosures and explain what it means to the Buyer. The agent also has resources for the Buyer, financing, etc. so that the buyer can focus on the home.

Most importantly, the agent will listen to the Buyer and be honest. They don't push them into buying something, If it is going to be costly they explain that to the Buyer. They take the time the Buyer needs.

I'll leave room here for the other agents, as I could go on for a much longer time.
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Fri Jan 11, 2013
Vicky Le answered:
Hi JJ,

I am a Redfin Referral agent and would be happy to honor the credit. Please let me know if you would like to discuss further.

You may email me at

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Vicky Le
Intero Real Estate Services
Top 10% Producing Agent
DRE 01748595
Direct: 408-342-3085
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0 votes 23 answers Share Flag
Wed Mar 7, 2012
Chris Schilling answered:
Tip #1
Make sure that you have "diplomatic clause". Different markets call it different things, but ultimately this is the portion of the contract that spells out clearly what the terms are for both notice and cost for you to be able to get out of your lease early. Life change jobs, win the lottery, get married, get divorced, lose a job....or need to move because your just hate the place. Whatever happens, know ahead of time what it takes for you to break your lease and how much it will cost you to do so.

Tip #2
Ask them which floor plans they have in the greatest quantity. Most apartments keep track of which units are in shorter supply and adjust their pricing upwards as demand increases. They also lower prices when they have an abundance of a particular floor plan. You can find a great deal by asking about their current inventory!

If you like my answer, give me the "Thumbs Up" if you really liked it, honor me with awarding me the "Best Answer". I really do appreciate it!

Chris Schilling, ABR, CRS, GRI, GREEN
Turbo Realty
Cell: 832-607-8073
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0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Tue Mar 6, 2012
Thomas Feng answered:
The first step to buying a home is to get pre-approved for 2 reasons. #1 so you know what you can afford, if you start looking for homes before this you are just wasting your time and in the santa clara county prices are always rising. #2 is so you can work with your lender to repair your credit to get the best rate possible for you.

The home buying process consists of 5 steps. 1. is pre-approval & planning 2. is finding a realtor and finding a home 3. is writing the offer 4. is clearing contingencies and 5. is closing escrow. Learn more about all 5 steps here on my blog

Check out my Santa Clara County home buyers blog at for weekly real estate news, weekly new listing photos, weekly market reports, school information and more!

If you have any other questions give me a call at (408) 840-3852 or shoot me an email at
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Sat Mar 3, 2012
Bill Mccord answered:
Every County has "normal and customary" allocations of closing costs but in all cases these can be changed by mutual agreement between Buyers and Sellers. Your agent will know this process very well. If you have no agent the esrow officer will be able to tell what is normal for the location of the property but has no part in the negotiation of changes.
Good luck.
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Tue Apr 10, 2012
Terri Vellios answered:
It depends on the condition of your home compared to what you will be competing against. An agent can come out and give you ideas what specifics would work for your home. Below will be general.

Curb appeal make sure the front of the home is inviting, this could mean paint.
Kitchens sell. Updated kitchens.
Floors beautiful wood floors are very appealing
Updated Baths, a master bath.

Tidy up and declutter, make sure the house sparkles and shines. Gardens are fresh, fences in good repair, a fresh coat of stain on a fence and deck makes for a good impression. Make the repairs needed.

Just to name a few.
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Wed Mar 7, 2012
Paz Bar-am answered:
For first time buyer this is the first largest purchase they are making in their life so educate your self on the process of Real estate purchase. The do’s and do not before, during and after. Educate your self about the loan process, How much money can I spend. What is a pre-approval? What is APR rate? What is a PMI? What additional fees involve when purchasing a home. Closing and title fees, who pay what in which county? what is seller disclosure and when can you get it. Home inspection, Termite inspection, Appraisal – What is it good for?
Contingencies – very important.

The more you spend on educating your self with the ABC of the transaction the less surprise you will be.
Once you know the process check the neighborhoods you like. Drive by at night. Check what is typical to that neighborhoods.

I do have some articles if you like to read.
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Sun Feb 26, 2012
George Nowicki answered:

Trulia, Zillow, RedFin etc. are all just number crunchers and they do not provide any real intelligence regarding pricing. They basically look at the cost per square foot for recent closings and a radius of that target property and extrapolate a value. They do not know or factor for upgrades, deferred maintenance, lots size, schools, views, noise and the list goes on and on. These systems work better in areas where the homes are more uniform, such as condo and newer track homes. The error rate goes up as the homes become more custom, in more rural areas. That's the short and easy answer.

Your agent will be the best person to do a detail analysis of potential properties you are considering putting offers in on. These systems are quick and easy, provide some useful information, but are not very accurate when you considering making a major purchase such as a home.

I hope that helps,

George Nowicki REALTOR®
Cell: 408.892.3379
DRE# 01363797

Realty World Platinum
3333 Bowers Ave #130
Santa Clara. CA 95054
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Sun Feb 12, 2017
Debra (Debbie) Rose answered:
By "occasional" mold...........Do you mean mold, as in mildew (dark spots) that can get in the tile grout around the tub or shower - which comes off after a spritz of some cleaning product with bleach in it??

Moisture and mold go hand in the above case I'd just air out the bathroom btter, and wouldn't worry.
Is there an exhaust fan in the bathroom......... or a window?
Make sure to use either of them, especially following a shower.

Now, if this is a issue in which mold appears on the walls and sheetrock, and it covers a larger area, then I'd probably have that tested by a mold specialist.

If there is a source causing water to'll need to address that, too.
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