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Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

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Open House Review: 58 Gray Dove

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Venturing out to Portola Springs, I visited a spacious 3 bedroom, 3 ½ bathroom home with a large backyard and a 3 car tandem garage.

Asking Price: $1,249,888
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3.5
Square Footage: 2,717
Lot Size: 4,870
$/Sq Ft: $460
Days on Market: 15
Property Type: Residential, Single Family Mediterranean
Year Built: 2007
Community: Portola Springs - Keystone
HOA Fees: $135/month

There are Mello Roos taxes.

At the end of Gray Dove (three houses down), the street wraps around the block and across the street from the homes is a nicely landscaped slope with mature trees; however Portola Parkway sits on the other side. I did not notice traffic noise from Portola Parkway during my visit. The home's entrance is located under a covered porch. There is space for a bench or a couple of chairs next to the front door. Once inside, beautiful natural stone floors flow throughout the first level of the home. The number of windows in each room provides ample light. The home looks clean and excellently maintained.

Immediately to the left is a light, open living room area. There are 3 large windows and a set of glass French doors which opens to a small square courtyard that has a path leading to the backyard.

Further down to the left, with another set of glass French doors leading to the same courtyard, is the dining room. It has a nook in the wall to provide extra space for furniture. Across from the dining room is the staircase, coat closet, entrance to the garage and half-bathroom. The dining room has a pass thru directly to the kitchen. The short pass thru has a set of lower cabinets under a large window.

The kitchen and family room are found at the back of the home. The rooms open up to each other. To the left is the kitchen with granite countertops, natural stone backsplash and a large rectangular island which contains a sink, dishwasher and additional cabinets for storage. There is space for bar seating at the island. One wall has a built-in refrigerator, oven and microwave. The perpendicular wall has a mix of solid wood and glass front cabinets. The gas range sits along the same wall, with additional drawers and cabinets on each side. There is a generous amount of counter space. At the end of the kitchen is an area in front of the windows and glass French doors that leads out to the backyard. It appears to have enough space to be used as a small casual eating nook.

The family room is a standard room with a nice fireplace. The 5 large windows open look out to the backyard and side yard, but leaves limited wall space in comparison to the room size.

The backyard is spacious and open. It is nicely landscaped with grass, plants, trees and a stone patio, with plenty of space for outdoor entertaining.

The half bathroom comes with a pedestal sink and a window to bring in natural light.

Going up to the second floor the stairs, as well as the bedrooms, are carpeted. Once upstairs, there is a laundry room with cabinets sitting above space for a side-by-side washer and dryer. A small window separates the appliances from a built-in sink and cabinets.

The master bedroom is a good size room with 5 large windows. An open arched doorway leads into the master bathroom. To the right are dual sinks separated by a large soaking tub. A large window sits above the tub. Along the back wall are the separate toilet and a shower with sitting bench and window. To the left is a large walk-in-closet. I am unsure whether a privacy door could be installed at the bathroom entrance to limit the light and noise into the bedroom.

Both secondary bedrooms have attached bathrooms which come with a single sink and a tub/shower combo. The first bedroom has two windows and a glass door that overlooks the courtyard. The door opens up to a small landing, not quite big enough to stand comfortably on. It has a walk-in closet. The bathroom's sink has small tile backsplash and a white tile countertop. The tub/shower combo has the same white tile and accent as the sink's backsplash. It is in clean, excellent condition.

The hallway leading to the last bedroom has windows and wood linen cabinets. The last bedroom is very large and has plenty of storage space with dual closets. The space is currently used a large entertainment/bonus room. The only difference with the attached bathroom is it uses pale yellow tile with blue accent tiles for the countertop and tub/shower surround.

This is a spacious 3 bedroom house. It would have been nice if the living room area by the front entrance was an enclosed room to provide an extra enclosed space in the house. However, the rooms are spacious and the bigger secondary bedroom has enough space to be used as a bedroom with office space. The backyard is large and the courtyard provides extra entertaining space. The home is clean and turn-key. 

Very Vintage Vegas

Very Vintage Vegas

Why Do Some Homes Sell Faster Than Others?

Posted: 12 Mar 2014 10:37 AM PDT

We know the housing market has had a strong rebound from the Great Recession – so much so, that in most communities along the Peninsula and South Bay there are now more buyers than sellers. The lack of inventory has indeed created a seller’s market in a number of towns and neighborhoods. But even in this kind of a market, some homes simply sell faster than others, Why?

Consumers may wonder why one home seems to sell immediately, perhaps with multiple offers, while a similar home down the street languishes on the market. There are many reasons, from price to the home’s condition, the neighborhood’s appeal, marketing strategies and Agent.

For homeowners who might be thinking about selling their home as the spring season approaches, below are five tips on how sellers can put their listing in the best possible light from the start.

Download (PDF, 2.08MB)


1666 Wright Avenue in Sunnyvale is for Rent

Posted: 06 Jan 2014 03:51 PM PST

I have a great new 2-story rental property located at 1666 Wright Avenue in Sunnyvale. The rent is $4,000/month with a $4,000 security deposit. Sorry, no pets (unless service animals) or smokers please.

This fabulous 3 bedroom 2.5 bathroom home has a sought after location on a beautiful tree-lined street in Sunnyvale. The desirable two-story floor plan is laid out to suit any lifestyle.

Ground Level

On the first floor there is a spacious living room with wood burning fireplace and attached dining room. The updated kitchen/family room is an ideal place for youngsters to do their homework while the evening meal is being prepared. A generously sized office is located near the updated half bath/powder room.

Second Floor

The three bedrooms and 2 updated bathrooms are located on the second level. The hall bath has a shower over tub and the master bath has a large stall shower. From each window there are lovely views of the western mountains and tree canopies.

Children living in this home would attend West Valley Elementary, Cupertino Middle and Homestead High school. (Please verify attendance with school district).

Here is a short walk through of the home:

If you would like to view this property, please call me directly at 650 917-4250. Thank you


How Coldwell Banker Helps Market Your Home Digitally

Posted: 11 Oct 2013 10:27 AM PDT

Marketing to smart phones

Real Estate Marketing to the Mobile Consumer

Real estate marketing isn't just print advertising anymore – or radio, or TV, or direct mail, or even online, social media, blogs or Twitter. It's ALL of these marketing tools and more. And it's critical if you're thinking about selling your home to select a REALTOR® and a brokerage that understands how to market in the digital age.

When it comes to digital and social media marketing, and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage leads the way.

We deploy a comprehensive, cutting edge marketing strategy that capitalizes on all the important new digital channels without forgetting the traditional marketing tools that still work well.

Why is digital marketing so important when it comes time to sell your home? Consider this:

  • On an average day there are more than 400 million tweets, 500 million active LinkedIn and Google Plus accounts and 3.2 billion likes and comments on Facebook;
  • More than one billion unique users visit YouTube each month;
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube (that's almost an hour for every person on Earth);
  • Nine in 10 homebuyers today rely on the Internet as one of their primary research sources, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.  

Coldwell Banker has been at the forefront of the revolution in real estate marketing, deploying a multi-pronged marketing strategy to reach consumers in the channels they use today – and that's increasingly online, social media and mobile communications.

While some other real estate brokerages still rely primarily on traditional and limited marketing programs, we understand the vital role that social media and digital sources play in effectively selling a home to modern consumers.

At Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, we like to think about real estate marketing as spokes on a wheel. These various marketing tools, like spokes, may be pointing in all different directions. But they all work together, overlapping, reinforcing each other, and all pointing back to the center of the hub. Our Corporate hub is our website,, and by driving traffic to it, we are also increasing the visibility of your listing.  While most Realtors had no online real estate marketing presence, mine began in 1995.   Since then, and through many iterations, it has morphed into

Earlier this year, Coldwell Banker launched a comprehensive new digital marketing initiative which leverages Google advertising, local TV station websites, a wide variety of popular real estate sites, YouTube videos, Facebook, Twitter, and many of the other top-ranked social media sites -– in addition to major print publications.

It's estimated that this new digital marketing program will attract an additional three million viewers every month and help drive more potential buyers to, our Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage website, and again, ultimately to your listing.

Real estate marketing has indeed changed dramatically over the years. So it's more important than ever to work with a REALTOR® that "gets it" and truly understands how to use a cutting-edge digital marketing program to sell your home.

For more information about Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's digital marketing strategy and how I can help you sell your property or help you find your next home, please contact me today at 650 917-4250.   I'm ready to help!


Five Issues to Think About When Buying a Home That Backs to a Los Altos Creek

Posted: 26 Sep 2013 06:11 PM PDT

Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale have many creeks that meander throughout.  The best known are Stevens Creek, Permanente Creek, Adobe Creek, Matadero Creek and San Francisquito Creek.  Living next to these creeks can be a blessing and, at times, a nuisance.

If you are thinking of buying a home next to one of our local creeks here are 5 important issues to think about before you sign on the dotted line:

Roof rat removal, that can't be good!

Roof rat removal, that can’t be good!

  1. Is the home in a designated flood hazard area?  Is it in a flood hazard zone or dam inundation zone?  Knowing the answer will determine whether you are required to have flood insurance as well as alert you to the possibility that you may have water in your home at some time in the future.
  2. Read the title report to determine whether there are water district (and other) easements for the property and where they are located.
  3. If your potential dream home backs up to a creek, know where the property boundary is.  For Example, over the years many homeowners in South Los Altos along Fallen leaf Lane have extended their fences to the top of the creek bank, inadvertently making it look like the lot is much deeper than it actually is.  It would be terrible if you wanted to add a swimming pool or expand the home on your “large lot” only to find out that the lot and its setbacks limit your plans to expand.  I once had a seller who thought they had a huge lot on Brookmill Road.  Unfortunately the lot wasn’t as large as they thought.  After research, it was determined that the fence went through a 6k s.f. lot owned by the water district.  The 18k s.f. lot turned out to be closer to 12k s.f.  Do you think that might have an effect on its value?
  4. Be aware that your privacy may not be as private as it appears.  Many of properties that back up to a creek don’t have fences in the rear of the property.  If you don’t have a fence and your neighbors on the other side of the creek also don’t have fences, each can see into each other’s yard.  Some properties located near roads can be accessed by pedestrians going down a creek bank at the bridge and walking through the creek to the property.  Note: most of the creek banks are fairly steep but some are walkable.  At Fremont Avenue and Belleville Way there is a bridge that spans the creek.  As a kid, that part of the creek was dammed up and used as the local swimming hole.  A few years back and when the creek was dry, there were a couple of people sleeping under the bridge.
  5. You will have more “nature” related nuisances.  Creeks are habitats for rats, snakes, opossums, mosquitoes, raccoons, skunks, gophers, and moles.  It can be quite time-consuming and expensive to have these animals eradicated once they establish residency in your attic, walls or lawn.  They come back pretty quickly if you don’t animal proof your property.

My intent on writing this post is not to scare people away from buying along the creeks, rather its to inform you about some of the issues that may get lost in the euphoria of buying a home.  Living near or backing up to a creek can and does have huge benefits such as privacy and space that other locations can’t give.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly at 650 917-4250 and I would be happy to discuss them with you.

Lastly, should you end up buying a home that backs up to a creek, the Santa Clara Water District has a good neighbor fence program that may pay half the cost of a good neighbor fence up to $12.50 per lineal foot.  Pretty good deal.


Want to Get the House You Want? Here’s How to Write a Lender Friendly Purchase Contract

Posted: 10 Sep 2013 03:14 PM PDT

purchase contrsct

CAR Purchase Contract

In our seller’s market, most successful home buyers tailor their purchase contract to meet the needs of the home seller.  What some buyers and their agents fail to take into account is that they also need to tailor the contract to meet the needs of the lender.  If they don’t, they may be hit with delays in funding or worse yet, they may not be able to get the loan funded at all.  Below are five things buyers should think about when crafting a lender friendly purchase contract.

  1. Make sure all borrowers are listed on the contract by name.  This sounds simple, but you would be surprised how often one of the borrowers is left off the contract.
  2. If there are any reports mentioned in the contract and/or references made about the property’s condition, they can be subject to the underwriters asking for the reports and requiring that the repairs be fixed prior to funding the loan.
  3. Any credits for Non Recurring Closing Costs (NRCC) should be for an amount up to the actual dollar amount of the NRCC’s.  To often agents put the NRCC dollar figure above the actual NRCC giving the impression that the buyer is going to receive the benefit of the entire amount.  Any monies above the actual NRCC will be lost to the buyer.
  4. Try not to include personal property in the contract.  It usually is O.K. if you include the kitchen appliances or the washer and dryer but when you start asking for the big screen T.V., the surround sound system, and the vintage car, it creates problems and delays which could potentially be costly to the buyer.
  5. Do not ask for a rent back (or occupancy agreement) that is longer than 60 days.  Lenders want to lend to owner occupants.  If they think you are an investor, your rate will be higher and your qualifying criteria different.

Once a buyer receives a fully executed copy of the purchase contract, including any addenda and/or counters offers, it should be sent to the loan officer ASAP.  In addition, any updates or changes to the contract should be sent to the loan officer in a timely fashion.  Lastly, non permitted and non conforming additions will not be given value in a typical appraisal.

Interested in Selling your Home?

Interested in Buying your Dream Home?

Give me a call at 650 917-4250

I'm David Blockhus and I've been licensed and actively selling residential real estate since 1993


Is This The Market to Try to Sell Your Home by Yourself?

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 06:00 PM PDT

Home For Sale

Home For Sale

With housing on the upturn, multiple offers and rising sales prices are being reported in our market. Some potential home sellers might think that selling their home simply requires placing a "for sale" sign in their front yard. Unfortunately, many real estate agents also think this way.  Many sellers have learned the hard way that selling a home in today's marketplace is much more difficult than they imagined; their efforts to save money on commissions may have been more costly than they anticipated.  Before venturing into doing the do-it-yourself option of being a for-sale by owner (FSBO), you need to fully understand what is involved in the selling of real estate and then compare the perceived advantages and the actual disadvantages of trying to sell your property on your own. Here are seven good reasons why hiring an experienced professional REALTOR® may actually net you more money on the sale of your home when all is said and done – as well as save you countless hours, headaches and stress in the process:

1. Being a FSBO may not actually save you as much as you think.  While you might save some of the cost of hiring a professional real estate agent to represent you, you may still need to pay 2.5 percent or more to the buyer's agent in order to attract a larger pool of buyers. Additionally, the true "savings" may be far less after you add all the other costs associated with selling – time, advertising, brochures and flyers, for-sale signs, attorney fees to draw up documents, etc.

2. You are likely to get less for your home.  The National Association of REALTORS® found that the typical FSBO home sold for $174,900 compared to a sales price of $215,000 for agent-assisted sales.  Note: these are nationwide stats!  That equates to an 18 percent loss for those do-it-yourself sellers hoping to save a 6 percent commission. In addition, prospective buyers of a FSBO property, looking for a bargain, typically reduce their offer by the amount of the real estate commission the seller is attempting to avoid paying.  So where is the savings?

3. A LOT goes into selling a home.  Less than 10 percent of sellers sold their home on their own last year, according to NAR®. Novice sellers may think you just stick a for-sale sign in the front lawn and buyers will beat a path to your door. Guess again! Professional agents develop comprehensive marketing plans, take professional photos, manage inspections and appraisers, oversee staging and house prep, hold open houses, place print and online ads, seek out potential buyers and NEGOTIATE with the buyer's agents to get the best price possible for their seller. Homeowners need to ask themselves if they are ready and capable to do all of that work on their own.

4. FSBOs limit their potential pool of buyers which typically equates in a lower sales price.  FSBO properties are usually not listed on as many of the home search engines and websites as listings handled by real estate agents. This is problematic given that 90 percent of buyers use the Internet to commence their home search, according to NAR®.  Also, FSBOs typically can't put the advertising, marketing and networking resources into reaching as many potential buyers as real estate professionals do. And with commissions reduced or even eliminated for buyer's agents, there's little incentive for real estate agents to show your home to their clients.

5. Setting the right listing price is hard to do.  Real estate professionals review comparable sales and local market conditions, as well as the pluses and minuses of your home as they suggest the list price. As an owner, you may not have a clear or OBJECTIVE sense of what that price should be. The right price may get your home multiple offers and perhaps even bids over the asking price. However, if the list price too high then many potential buyers may not even look at your home, let alone make an offer. On the flip side, you could undervalue your home's features that may justify a higher sale price.

6. It's not easy to be a "closer."  Getting a potential buyer to make an offer isn't the end of the process. It is not uncommon for agents representing buyers and sellers to negotiate back and forth on many of the terms in the purchase contract, including price, occupancy requirements and other conditions of sale – and there are often additional negotiations regarding credits and repairs during the escrow process. FSBOs may find themselves sitting across from an experienced "closer" looking to drive a hard bargain and cut the best deal for themselves rather than working to reach a "fair" compromise between both parties. We’ve all heard the stories about the “great offer” that turned sour when the buyers came back and asked for price reductions or credits etc.  The escrow process is a critical part of the transaction; FSBOs should ask themselves who is looking out for their best interests?  Working with a professional REALTOR® could help sellers avoid several of the pitfalls during the negotiation and closing processes.

7. Legal landmines in selling a home.  There are a myriad of potential legal landmines for FSBOs. Who will write the purchase contract? What if a buyer's contract proposal has clauses and other terms that could be detrimental to you? Locally, we use two different purchase contracts, the PRDS and the CAR contract.  Do you know and understand each of these?  Sellers are obligated to disclose all material facts about their property and any omission or incorrect information could later be grounds for a claim or lawsuit. A REALTOR® can help you through that process by providing you with the correct advisories and disclosure forms.

Selling a home is a lot harder than most people realize, even in a good market. And it's very easy for non-professionals to make mistakes along the way that will end up costing them in the long run. With the sale of a home being the single biggest transaction most of us will ever make, this is the time to use an experienced REALTOR® to manage the process. I'm ready and willing to help you.  Just give me a call directly at 650 917-4250 for a confidential discussion about how we can sell your home for the highest price possible.




Mountain View Real Estate Market Update for July 2013

Posted: 20 Aug 2013 10:35 AM PDT

City of Mountain View Varsity Park

City of Mountain View – Varsity Park Playground


Download (PDF, 357KB)

Are you interested in Selling your Mountain View Home?

Are you interested in Buying your Mountain View Dream Home?

Give me a Call at 650 917-4250

I’m David Blockhus and I have been licensed and actively selling residential real estate locally since 1993.


Cupertino Real Estate Market Update for July 2013

Posted: 20 Aug 2013 09:20 AM PDT

Cupertino Ca Map

Cupertino California  – Map courtesy of Google Earth

Download (PDF, 358KB)

Interested in Selling Your Cupertino Home?

Interested in Buying your Cupertino Dream Home

Give me a call at 650 917-4250

I’m David Blockhus and I’ve been licensed and actively selling residential real estate locally since 1993



Sunnyvale Real Estate Market Update for July 2013

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 03:36 PM PDT

Downtown events in Downtown Sunnyvale Happenings   Photo courtesy of Sunnvale Chamber of Commerce

Downtown Sunnyvale Happenings – Photo courtesy of Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce

Download (PDF, 356KB)


Interested in Selling your Sunnyvale Home?

Interested in Buying your Sunnyvale Dream Home?

Give me a call at 650 917-4250

I’m David Blockhus and I’ve been licensed and actively selling residential real estate since 1993


Los Altos Hills Real Estate Market Update for July 2013

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 03:28 PM PDT

Los Altos Hills

Download (PDF, 374KB)

Interested in Selling your Los Altos Hills Home

Interested in Buying your Los Altos Hills Dream Home?

Give me a call at 650 917-4250

I’m David Blockhus and I’ve been licensed and actively selling residential real estate locally since 1993


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