Monday, December 26, 2011

Lynbrook High School area - a rough description

A homebuyer asked me to describe the area that is in the Lynbrook High School attendance area, so I thought I should just post it in case future homebuyers want a rough idea of it.

To send your child to Lynbrook High School, you could live in the neighborhoods just south of Bollinger and east of Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road. The exact boundaries of the Lynbrook high school region are hard to explain, but I will try. The Lynbrook region is roughly shaped like a slice of pie. The point of the slice that is in the middle of the pie coincides to the intersection of Bollinger and the point where De Anza Blvd becomes Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road. The perimeter of the slice reaches as far south as Cox and as far east as Lawrence Expressway. However, the boundary that is the perimeter of the pie is jagged and complicated to explain. In general, the further east and south you go, the more likely you will be exiting the Lynbrook area.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cost of converting kitchen electric range to gas

What would be involved to convert an electric range to a gas range if the kitchen currently does not have a gas connection?

Some initial factors to consider are the location of the gas meter and existing gas lines.
The house in this video already ran a gas line to the furnace in the garage.

Another factor is the diameter of pipe you need to safely transport the gas. Typically for most gas ranges you need a 3/4" diameter pipe to feed it. If your gas meter is way over at the other end of the house, then you'll need to run a calculation that takes into account the BTUs and distance of travel. Specifically, you will need to take into account the worst case scenario of all gas appliances running at the same time, (i.e. all appliances pulling gas simultaneously). If the pipes are not wide enough for the extreme load, this could pose a hazard.

Running a new 3/4" gas line could cost approximately $700-$800. If you can use the existing gas lines because they are just servicing two other things, then you would just need to put a T and tap out of that for a lower cost of just $200 or so.

Kitchen Remodeling Cost Breakdown Estimate

Different people have different tastes, so often home buyers plan to remodel the kitchen to their individual tastes after buying their house.

What is an approximate cost for kitchen remodel?

Many contractors will tell you that the overall cost of a complete kitchen remodel could run from $60k-$100k.

Some of the costs are components that the homeowner chooses:
Appliances could cost from $10k - $30k, depending on which appliances you choose.
Cabinets (whether paint-grade or stain-grade) could run from $12k -$14k
Countertops, assuming nice granite countertops, could cost from $5k-$7k

The Electrical Circuits often need to be upgraded in the kitchen to get a permit
Count on 7 new circuits for an approximate cost of $7k
1. Dishwasher
2. Refrigerator
3. Garbage Disposal
4. Microwave
5. Oven 220V
6. Lights - Fluorescent
7. Other

The Total, if you add up stuff you have to do, comes to approximately $65-$70k.

It's a good idea to change all the pipes to copper at this point. Whether it currently is copper or galvanized piping under the house, you'll want to run in copper from the floor up during the kitchen remodel, so you never have to run through it again. If you ever have to repipe to copper underneath the house, the pipes above the floor in the kitchen will already be copper, so you would not have to rip it up. You would be able to just tie the new copper pipes underneath into the existing copper pipes above the floor.

If the sink stays in same place, you will save yourself from some more extra plumbing work.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cupertino Collins Elementary $465k - Blast from the Past

Real estate goes up and down in the short term, but over the long run it goes up.

Here's a reminder of one that got away.

This Cupertino home with Collins Elementary was listed at $465k, which sounded like an outrageously high price at the time, but since then this house reached a value of $1.1M and after dipping back down to $900k is back up to $950k.

Blast from the Past: Ancient MLS School and District Codes

Real Estate Ancient MLS School and District Codes

Back in the olden days, real estate agents needed to memorize complicated school and school district codes.

ES = Elementary School
ED = Elementary District = 454 = ???
MD = Middle School District
HS = High School
HD = High School District = 473 = ???

What did 454 stand for?
What did 473 stand for?

For answers see below:

454 = Campbell Union Elementary School District
473 = Campbell Union High School District

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

For Asians, an address of 1344 means one life, four deaths

For Asians, an address of 1344 means "one life, four deaths"

The number 3 (pinyin san1) sounds similar to the character for "birth" (pinyin Sheng1).
The number 4 (pinyin si4) is considered an unlucky number in Chinese because it sounds like the word "death" (pinyin si3).

Similarly, the address 1314 sounds like "one life, one death" in both Mandarin and Cantonese. However, this is often used romatically to mean "until death do us part".

Whether you believe in these superstitions or not, it helps to know which addresses are lucky or unlucky in judging the resale value of the property later down the line. Even if not true, if a certain segment of the population is worried about living in a house with an "unlucky" number, then that may hurt future resale.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

City of Santa Clara "Road Diets" on Pruneridge westward toward the New Proposed Apple Campus

City of Santa Clara "Road Diets" on Pruneridge westward toward the New Proposed Apple Campus

Posted under: General Area in Santa Clara, Traffic & Public Transportation in Santa Clara, In My Neighborhood in Santa Clara | December 10, 2011 12:00 AM

The City of Santa Clara has completed implementationi of its "Road Diets" on Pruneridge and Monroe. These so-called "Road Diets" are the cities roadway lane reductions from 4 through lanes down to 2 through lanes with a two-way center left turn lane on Pruneridge Avenue from Pomeroy Ave to Lawrence Expressway and westbound Monroe from Scott Blvd to Los Padres Blvd. The City of Santa Clara has also "road dieted" Pruneridge Ave from Lawrence Expressway westward to Tantau Ave to connect new bicycle lanes to existing bicycle lanes in the City of Cupertino.

Road diets become feasible when streets operate at less than 50% of the capacity they were originally designed to carry. For instance, Pruneridge Ave was two lanes in both directions but the traffic was fairly quiet west of Pomeroy and west of Lawrence, so the city decided to reduce those sections of Pruneridge to just one lane in each direction.

West of Pomeroy, motorists can pull into the new center two-way left turn lane and wait for a gap in the traffic before completing their maneuver. Unfortunately, no such center lane exists east of Pomeroy. Therefore, parents who drop off their Eisenhower Elementary kids at the tennis court have a harder time now to turn left out of the tennis court parking lot. With the old arrangement of two lanes in each direction, parents only needed to wait for a red light at Pomeroy to turn left onto Pruneridge Ave. Now that the city has reduced the westbound lane to a single lane, the line of cars at a red light at Pomeroy now often stretches far past the tennis court exit. Parents now have no choice but to wait until they finally have a courteous drivers heading west on Pruneridge who is courteous enough to let them onto Pruneridge.

The city trumpets these changes as positive, stating that having only one lane of conflicting traffic as opposed to the original two lanes, makes it easier to see whether backing out of a driveway is safe.

In conclusion, we'll have to wait until the new Apple campus takes shape and is functional before judging whether these recent changes to Pruneridge Ave were good or bad.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How is Real Estate treated when considering Child's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

How is Real Estate treated when considering Child's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

If you have a child entering or in college, then this is an important question.

From the FinAid SmartStudent Guide(TM)to Financial Aid "Real estate is normally treated as an investment asset, not a business asset, unless it is part of a formally recognized business that provides services beyond utilities and trash collection, such as maid service. However, incorporating a business and transferring the real estate to the business bypasses this restriction, since a corporation is a separate legal entity. When combined with the small business exclusion, this can cause real estate to change from being reported as an investment asset to being entirely excluded from assets."

Real estate is a good investment. It's better to make money than lose money. Obviously, it doesn't make sense to really lose money just for the sake of getting more financial aid. However, what you can legally do is consider the timing and the mix of you cash, assets, etc and whose name they are under. In general it's better if you the parent and/or the grandparent owns the assets rather than your child. Delay putting assets in your childs name until late in their junior year in college after you've filed your last application for financial aid.

Also, spend your cash, don't save it. Don't buy anything you wouldn't buy, but if it's something you eventually need to buy and/or pay, then do it during the student financial aid years. If your car is getting old, then buy it now rather than waiting until it's really old. If you have lots of cash, should you purposely spend it by buying investment property? Yes, if it's a good investment property. No, if it's not a good investment property. If you do buy investment property, then consider the strategy I mentioned earlier that can cause real estate to change from being reported as an investment asset to being entirely excluded from assets for financial aid purposes.

Disclaimer: This post is just to give you some ideas. I am a REALTOR not a lawyer. Please consult legal counsel for professional legal advice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New California Real Estate Laws Coming 2012: Water-Converving, Mining, No Fee Bundling for HOA Disclosures

Three New California Real Estate Laws Coming in 2012 are:
1. Senate Bill 837: Sellers Disclose Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures
2. Senate Bill 110: NHD Companies Disclose Mining Operations
3. Assembly Bill 771: No Fee Bundling for HOA Disclosures

In more detail:
1. Senate Bill 837: Sellers Disclose Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures
Effective January 1, 2012, the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) will include a check-box in Section A for the seller to disclose whether the property has water-conserving plumbing fixtures (e.g. low-flow toilets, shower heads, and faucets under section 1101.3 of the California Civil Code.

2. Senate Bill 110: NHD Companies Disclose Mining Operations
Starting January 1, 2012, any natural hazard disclosure (NHD) must disclose whether the property is located within one mile of a mining operation, according to the map coordinate data from the Office of Mine Reclamation.

3. Assembly Bill 771: No Fee Bundling for HOA Disclosures
The HOA cannot bundle the fee for providing required HOA disclosures with any other fees, fines, or assessments. This law will prevent an HOA's third-party document preparation company from bundling together both mandatory and non-mandatory HOA documents and charging a higher fee for providing ALL the documents.

Also, the HOA is prohibited from charging any additional fees for electronic delivery. These must be available to a requesting party if the HOA maintains the documents electronically.

Additionally, at buyer's request, the HOA must provide 12 months of approved minutes of the association board of directors meeting.

Delivery of the required HOA documents must be accompanied by a cover sheet itemizing the documents.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

95123 Blossom Hill Rd, Santa Teresa Blvd 4-bedroom homes under $450k

95123 is the Blossom Hill Rd, Santa Teresa Blvd region also known as Blossom Valley. Homes in this neighborhood belong to Oak Grove Elementary District and East Side Union High School District. If you are in the market for a 4-bedroom house in Blossom Valley, then as of this writing, three homes are available under $450,000.

Two of them are REO / bank-owned homes priced near $425k. The third home is even less expensive at just below $400,000 but has been on the market for 116 days probably because it is a fixer upper and had needed court approval for conservatorship granted. However, fortunately, this court approval was granted November 1st.

Compass Place Arcadia Terrace 1bed 1bath rental snapped up at $1500/month

Another reason to BUY properties is that it's getting harder to RENT.

I'm helping a well qualified renter because he's not ready to buy. A Compass Place Arcadia Terrace 1bed 1bath rental came up at $1500/month and I immediately called, but already this rental had been snapped up.

At least when you BUY a property, you are all set for 30 years. Your monthly payments stay the same for your 30 year mortgage (unlike if you rent, you don't have control if your landlord wants to raise rents)and YOU decide how long you want to stay (unlike if you rent, your landlord decides when they want to kick you out to sell.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cupertino School, Santa Clara Address: 258 Rodonovan Drive Santa Clara Jacuzzi Pool Sweep

258 Rodonovan Drive is less than a minute walk to and from Eisenhower Elementary of the highly-sought after Cupertino Union School District.

Cupertino Schools with Santa Clara Address : 47 Cabot Ave

47 CABOT Ave
Santa Clara, CA 95051

Robert Lei (408) 893-2410

These new Cabot Ave homes are located in the highly sought after award-winning Cupertino school district (Eisenhower Elementary, Hyde Middle, Cupertino High) and has the added benefit of Santa Clara's historic low utility costs and the cities convenient, central location within Silicon Valley. This complex on Cabot Ave has easy access to shopping on Stevens Creek Blvd and 280 freeway. Built in a Mediterranean style, these homes boast quality craftsmanship with high end materials. The gourmet kitchen has granite counters, custom cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances. These homes also provide the added convenience and comfort of two car garage and central air conditioning. --Robert Lei (408) 893-2410

47 CABOT Ave Santa Clara 95051 Middle Floor Laundry Bedrooms Kitchen 1st Floor Living Room

47 CABOT Ave Santa Clara 95051 Corner Kids Room Has Own Bathroom Robert Lei (408) 893-2410

47 CABOT Ave Santa Clara, CA 95051 Bottom Floor Robert Lei (408) 893-2410

Good deal in great school district if you don't mind nonviolent death in the property

I just got word of a good deal in great school district if you don't mind nonviolent death in the property.

The seller got many great offers on this property, but apparently the buyers who submitted their offers did not read the disclosures carefully and changed their minds when it was pointed out to them that there was a death inside the property. The owner died peacefully December of last year.

Bottom line is if you don't mind that someone recently passed away inside the house, you can get a good deal on a property in a good school district.

For people who are superstitious, perhaps you could do some blessings to remove the death issues.

Out of respect for those involved, I did not post the address in this public blog. However, if you are a serious buyer, I can give you more details privately.

Robert (408) 893-2410

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seniors can move and still keep their low property tax rate

Seniors can move and still keep their low property tax rate. For detailed information, visit the FAQ from the California Board of Equalization.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Price Trend of Santa Clara Eisenhower Elementary Condos on Mauricia Avenue

Condos are a good way to gauge the price trend of a neighborhood because condos provide a uniform apples to apples comparison. In this case, I chose the "apple" as the Mauricia Avenue 2 bedroom 2 bathroom 1067 square foot units. Click the hyperlink for the price trend graph of Santa Clara Eisenhower Elementary on Mauricia Avenue 2 bedroom 2 bathroom 1067 square foot condos.

If the above link doesn't work, then copy / paste this link in your browser:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cupertino, Santa Clara, Good schools, Convenient location for under $750,000

Now that the high-balance conforming loan limit has dropped from $729,750 down to $625,000, many homebuyers have now reduced their search criteria to $750,000 homes.

$625,000 <-- max loan without going into Jumbo loan territory
+ $125,000 <-- 20% = minimum down payment to get conventional loan without MI
= $750,000

What is the best real estate you can buy in the South Bay for $750,000? That depends on your priorities.

If your priorities are:
-- Single Family Home (no monthly HOA fee)
-- Good Schools (good API for elementary, middle, and high school)
-- Convenient to employment in the South Bay

then here are some choices:
-- Cupertino Sedgwick Elementary (API 936), Hyde Middle (API 858), Cupertino High Eichler house. This is a good option if you don't mind Eichler homes and just want the best schools you can afford for a single family home. As of this writing, homes are available on 10160 Calvert Dr, 10601 Johnson Ave, 10335 Moretti Dr, and 10550 Sterling Bl for under $750,000.

-- Santa Clara Sutter Elementary (API 902), Buchser Middle (API 799), Santa Clara High (API 772). This is a good option if you don't like Eichlers and care more about elementary than middle school.

-- Santa Clara Braly Elementary (API 854), Peterson Middle (API 863), Wilcox High (API 777). This is a good option if you plan to live at the house longer term for both elementary and middle school. 533 Sequoia Dr just came on the market and 826 Lusterleaf Dr is still available under $750,000.

Good schools, Convenient location for under $750,000

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cupertino Lynbrook High School Math Curriculum

Many parents like to buy homes in neighborhoods that will get their kids into the top schools. One such neighborhood is the Lynbrook High School neighborhood. Lynbrook High is one of the top high schools in the state.

What can your child expect at Lynbrook High as far as math curriculum?

After holding multiple open houses in the Lynbrook High neighborhood, I took the opportunity to speak to some of the parents about what their kids actually learn while in Lynbrook High. Since math is a subject which builds upon itself from stage to stage, this is the most important subject to plan. The sequence of math classes in Lynbrook High is as follows:

8th Grade: Geometry
Freshman Year: Algebra2 & Trigonometry
Sophomore Year: Pre-Calculus
Junior Year: AP Calculus

I don't know yet what comes in Senior Year. I'll have speak to some parents who happen to have a child in their Senior Year.

Is it true that the only way for students at Lynbrook to keep up with their peers is to use a private tutor? I don't know whether it's the ONLY way, but I can tell you from my discussions with Lynbrook parents that indeed it is common to have outside tutoring. Why is this so? Because other students gain extra knowledge through outside tutors, your child may need one just to keep up. Some of the Lynbrook teachers know that their students are getting outside tutoring thus make up very challenging exams. Some kids who listen in class and do well on the quizzes, but find that the exams test much more challenging concepts than were on the quizzes.

By the way, two topics that I am very good at are real estate and math. I've been interested in real estate ever since I was little 3rd grader and heard the story of one of our neighbors who was set for life because he bought many homes during the Great Depression. As a 3rd grader I started saving money for a down payment by saving the money my father gave me for getting all A's on my report card. With math, I was naturally good at it. I competed against the smartest kids in my state and came out on top as NH State Math Champion my senior year in high school. As you probably guessed, I got an 800 on my GRE Math.

If you are interested in buying or selling a house in one of the good school districts, I can take care of your real estate transaction and also tutor your kids in math.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Selling or Buying a Short Sale Rental Property in a Rent Control Neighborhood

Be careful when you are selling or buying a short sale rental property in a rent control neighborhood.

Below is a list of California Bay Area Localities With Rent Control Ordinances:
City of Campbell
City of East Palo Alto
City of Berkeley
City of Fremont
City of Hayward
City of Oakland
City of San Leandro
City of San Jose
City of San Francisco

Before buying or selling a rental property in a city with rent control, you should consult a real estate attorney familiar with the Rent Control Board of the particular city in which the rental property is located.

For example, what happens if in the months leading up to the short sale, the tenants threaten to move out and in response the landlord drastically reduces the tenants' rent? Will this set a new monthly rental base with which the new owner must use in calculation of his future potential monthly rental rate? Or does a long history of higher market rental rates take precedence over a few short months at the drastically reduced rental rate? One real estate attorney associated with the Oakland Rent Control Board stated that as soon as the owner dropped the rent, he created a new rental rate that was subject to rent control.

The new owner would inherit the drastically lowered rent as his base and could not raise the rent for the existing tenants back to market rate. This killed off any interest from real estate investors.

In one case study, the seller did drastically lower the rent to his tenants soon after putting his investment property on the market. Did the seller unwittingly hurt his own chances of selling? Maybe that was exactly what the seller wanted. It was a short sale, and the seller might have simply been trying to collect as much rent as possible before losing his property to the bank.

To the seller faced with renters who are threatening to leave, then it might be in the seller's best self interest to lower the rent. This has two advantages in the mind of the short sale seller. #1) Better to collect some rent rather than no rent, and #2) The owner collects free rent for longer before losing his home. Making the property less attractive to buyers effectively delays the sale of the property. Since the deal no longer appeals to real estate investors, it will take longer to find a buyer. Only buyers willing to buy and live in Oakland as their primary residence will still be interested.

Every extra month of delay is extra rental income for the seller. However, when faced by an owner attempting such tactics, the banks would probably save a lot of money by simply foreclosing, booting out the tenants, and selling the property as a vacant unit. That seller is counting on his hope that a bank will not respond in this manner.

Disclaimer: I am not a real estate attorney. This discussion is just so you know what issues to think about and what questions you should ask. The bottom line is whether you are selling or buying a short sale property in a rent control neighborhood, you should consult a real estate attorney familiar with the Rent Control Board of the particular city in which the rental property is located.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunnyvale Cherry Chase Elementary Houses Near Highway 85 Power Lines

In a previous blog article, I wrote about the various school attendance boundaries in the Sunnyvale Union School District.

As you can see from the Sunnyvale School District Elementary School Site Boundaries Map, the western portion of the Cherry Chase Elementary attendance area is close to highway 85 and therefore is relatively close to the power lines that run along highway 85.

Those power lines can be an eye sore and the humming noise can sometimes get on your nerves, but the more important question is "Does the extra EMF radiation from those power lines increase the likelihood of cancer in the homeowners who live near power lines?"

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) titled "Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) Radiation from Power Lines"

Some takeaways from that report are:
1. The general scientific consensus is that, thus far, the evidence available is weak and is not sufficient to establish a definitive cause-effect relationship.
2. ... exposure to extremely low frequency EMF, the type found in homes near power lines. Based on studies about the incidence of childhood leukemia involving a large number of households, NIEHS found that power line magnetic fields are a possible cause of cancer.

Concerned home owners and potential home buyers should read the entire NIEHS report. For further discussion, home owners and buyers should read the various "Fact Sheets" from Transpower (a New Zealand power company).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

School Codes for Santa Clara County

This is information that should help out many of my fellow REALTORS. Below I have listed the school codes for all of the schools (elementary, middle, and high) in Santa Clara County.

4 A. J. Dorsa Elementary Elementary OPEN 451 Alum Rock Union E
18 Ben Painter Elementary Elementary OPEN
12 Cesar Chavez Elementary Elementary OPEN
1 Clyde Arbuckle Elementary Elementary OPEN
5 Clyde L. Fischer Middle Middle OPEN
14 Donald J. Meyer Elementary Elementary OPEN
25 Harry Slonaker Elementary Elementary OPEN
3 Horace Cureton Elementary Elementary OPEN
6 Joseph George Middle Middle OPEN
1052 KIPP Heartwood Academy Elementary OPEN
11 Lee Mathson Middle Middle OPEN
24 Lester W. Shields Elementary Elementary OPEN
9 Linda Vista Elementary Elementary OPEN
10 Lyndale Elementary Elementary OPEN
7 Mildred Goss Elementary Elementary OPEN
13 Millard McCollam Elementary Elementary OPEN
15 Miller (Grandin) Elementary Elementary CLOSED
16 Mt. Hamilton Elementary Elementary CLOSED
8 O. S. Hubbard Elementary Elementary OPEN
17 Ocala Middle Middle OPEN
19 Pala Middle Middle OPEN
22 San Antonio Elementary Elementary OPEN
23 Sheppard Middle OPEN
2 Sylvia Cassell Elementary Elementary OPEN
21 Thomas P. Ryan Elementary Elementary OPEN
20 William R. Rogers Elementary Elementary OPEN
28 Brooktree Elementary Elementary OPEN 452 Berryessa Union E
29 Cherrywood Elementary Elementary OPEN
30 Laneview Elementary Elementary OPEN
31 Majestic Way Elementary Elementary OPEN
32 Morrill Middle Middle OPEN
33 Noble Elementary Elementary OPEN
34 Northwood Elementary Elementary OPEN
35 Piedmont Middle Middle OPEN
36 Ruskin Elementary Elementary OPEN
37 Sierramont Middle Middle OPEN
38 Summerdale Elementary Elementary OPEN
39 Toyon Elementary Elementary OPEN
40 Vinci Park Elementary Elementary OPEN
41 Bagby Elementary Elementary OPEN 453 Cambrian Element
43 Fammatre Charter Elementary OPEN
44 Farnham Charter Elementary OPEN
46 Price Charter Middle Middle OPEN
47 Sartorette Charter Elementary OPEN
49 Blackford Elementary Elementary OPEN 454 Campbell Union El
50 Campbell Middle Middle OPEN
51 Capri Elementary Elementary OPEN
52 Castlemont Elementary Elementary OPEN
55 Forest Hill Elementary Elementary OPEN
57 Hazelwood Elementary Elementary CLOSED
58 Lynhaven Elementary Elementary OPEN
59 Marshall Lane Elementary Elementary OPEN

60 Monroe Middle Middle OPEN
63 Rolling Hills Middle Middle OPEN
64 Rosemary Elementary Elementary OPEN
65 Sherman Oaks Elementary Elementary OPEN
1053 Village Elementary OPEN
1054 Boynton High Continuation OPEN 473 Campbell Union Hi
237 Branham High High School OPEN
239 Del Mar High High School OPEN
240 Leigh High High School OPEN
241 Prospect High High School OPEN
242 Westmont High High School OPEN
85 Abraham Lincoln Elementary Elementary OPEN 455 Cupertino Union S
68 Blue Hills Elementary Elementary OPEN
73 C. B. Eaton Elementary Elementary OPEN
93 Chester W. Nimitz Elementary Elementary OPEN
86 Christa McAuliffe Elementary Elementary OPEN
70 Cupertino Middle Middle OPEN
94 D. J. Sedgwick Elementary Elementary OPEN
75 Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary Elementary OPEN
77 Garden Gate Elementary Elementary OPEN
88 Joaquin Miller Middle Middle OPEN
84 John F. Kennedy Middle Middle OPEN
1056 John Muir Elementary Elementary OPEN
69 L. P. Collins Elementary Elementary OPEN
1057 Louis V. Stocklmeir Elementary Elementary OPEN
71 Manuel De Vargas Elementary Elementary OPEN
90 Montclaire Elementary Elementary OPEN
91 Muir Ok School Elementary CLOSED
1058 Murdock-Portal Elementary Elementary OPEN
72 Nelson S. Dilworth Elementary Elementary OPEN
96 Portal Instructional Center Elementary CLOSED
87 R. I. Meyerholz Elementary Elementary OPEN
1055 Sam H. Lawson Middle Middle OPEN
98 Stevens Creek Elementary Elementary OPEN
99 Stocklmeir-Ortega Intermediate Middle CLOSED
81 Warren E. Hyde Middle Middle OPEN
100 West Valley Elementary Elementary OPEN
76 William Faria Elementary Elementary OPEN
97 William Regnart Elementary Elementary OPEN
244 Andrew P. Hill High High School OPEN 474 East Side Union Hi
1064 Apollo High Continuation OPEN
1060 California Youth Outreach Academy High School OPEN
1059 Escuela Popular/Center for Training and Careers, F High School OPEN
895 Evergreen Valley High High School OPEN
1069 Foothill High Continuation OPEN
1062 Genesis High Continuation OPEN
246 Independence High High School OPEN
247 James Lick High High School OPEN
1066 Latino College Preparatory Academy High School OPEN
1065 MACSA Academia Calmecac High School OPEN
248 Mt. Pleasant High High School OPEN
249 Oak Grove High High School OPEN
1063 Pegasus High Continuation OPEN
1061 Phoenix High Continuation OPEN
251 Piedmont Hills High High School OPEN
1067 San Jose Conservation Corps Charter High School OPEN

252 Santa Teresa High High School OPEN
253 Silver Creek High High School OPEN
250 William C. Overfelt High High School OPEN
254 Yerba Buena High High School OPEN
101 Cadwallader Elementary Elementary OPEN 456 Evergreen Element
1070 Carolyn A. Clark Elementary Elementary OPEN
102 Cedar Grove Elementary Elementary OPEN
352 Chaboya Middle Middle OPEN
353 Dove Hill Elementary Elementary OPEN
103 Evergreen Elementary Elementary OPEN
106 George V. Leyva Intermediate Middle OPEN
104 Holly Oak Elementary Elementary OPEN
1071 James Franklin Smith Elementary Elementary OPEN
108 John J. Montgomery Elementary Elementary OPEN
111 Katherine R. Smith Elementary Elementary OPEN
105 Laurelwood Elementary Elementary OPEN
107 Millbrook Elementary Elementary OPEN
109 Norwood Creek Elementary Elementary OPEN
112 O. B. Whaley Elementary Elementary OPEN
110 Quimby Oak Intermediate Middle OPEN
354 Silver Oak Elementary Elementary OPEN
95 Tom Matsumoto Elementary Elementary OPEN
1073 Captain Jason M. Dahl Elementary Elementary OPEN 457 Franklin-McKinley
114 Franklin Elementary Elementary OPEN
115 G. W. Hellyer Elementary Elementary OPEN
1074 George Shirakawa Elementary Elementary OPEN
113 J. Wilbur Fair Junior High Middle OPEN
351 Jeanne R. Meadows Elementary Elementary OPEN
118 Los Arboles Elementary Elementary OPEN
119 McKinley Elementary Elementary OPEN
1072 Ramblewood Elementary Elementary OPEN
117 Robert F. Kennedy Elementary Elementary OPEN
120 Santee Elementary Elementary OPEN
121 Seven Trees Elementary Elementary OPEN
122 Stonegate Elementary Elementary OPEN
123 Sylvandale Junior High Middle OPEN
124 Windmill Springs Elementary Elementary OPEN
256 Cupertino High High School OPEN 475 Fremont Union Hig
257 Fremont High High School OPEN
258 Homestead High High School OPEN
259 Lynbrook High High School OPEN
260 Monta Vista High High School OPEN
1078 Antonio Del Buono Elementary Elementary OPEN 478 Gilroy Unified
268 Brownell Middle Middle OPEN
270 El Roble Elementary Elementary OPEN
269 Eliot Elementary Elementary OPEN
277 Gilroy High High School OPEN
271 Glen View Elementary Elementary OPEN
272 Jordan Elementary Elementary CLOSED
255 Kelley Rod Elementary Elementary OPEN
273 Las Animas Elementary Elementary OPEN
281 Luigi Aprea Elementary Elementary OPEN
1076 MACSA El Portal Leadership Academy High School OPEN
278 Mt. Madonna High Continuation OPEN
1077 Rucker Elementary Elementary OPEN

275 San Ysidro Elementary Elementary CLOSED
1075 Solorsano Middle Middle OPEN
276 South Valley Middle Middle OPEN
125 Lakeside Elementary Elementary OPEN 458 Lakeside Joint Ele
126 C. T. English Middle Middle OPEN 459 Loma Prieta Joint U
127 Loma Prieta Elementary Elementary OPEN
128 Almond Elementary Elementary OPEN 460 Los Altos Elementa
133 Ardis G. Egan Intermediate Middle OPEN
1079 Bullis-Purissima Elementary OPEN
130 Covington Elementary Elementary OPEN
129 Georgina P. Blach Intermediate Middle OPEN
134 Loyola Elementary Elementary OPEN
135 Oak Avenue Elementary Elementary OPEN
136 Santa Rita Elementary Elementary OPEN
137 Springer Elementary Elementary OPEN
139 Blossom Hill Elementary Elementary OPEN 461 Los Gatos Union E
140 Daves Avenue Elementary Elementary OPEN
142 Lexington Elementary Elementary OPEN
143 Louise Van Meter Elementary Elementary OPEN
141 Raymond J. Fisher Middle Middle OPEN
262 Los Gatos High High School OPEN 476 Los Gatos-Saratog
264 Saratoga High High School OPEN
285 Alexander Rose Elementary Elementary OPEN 479 Milpitas Unified
288 Anthony Spangler Elementary Elementary OPEN
292 Calaveras Hills Continuation OPEN
280 Curtner Elementary Elementary OPEN
287 John Sinnott Elementary Elementary OPEN
289 Joseph Weller Elementary Elementary OPEN
282 Marshall Pomeroy Elementary Elementary OPEN
293 Milpitas High High School OPEN
290 Pearl Zanker Elementary Elementary OPEN
283 Rancho Milpitas Junior High Middle OPEN
284 Robert Randall Elementary Elementary OPEN
291 Thomas Russell Junior High Middle OPEN
279 William Burnett Elementary Elementary OPEN
146 Montebello Elementary Elementary OPEN 463 Montebello Elemen
153 Country Lane Elementary Elementary OPEN 464 Moreland Elementa
155 Easterbrook Discovery Elementary OPEN
156 Elvira Castro Middle Middle OPEN
158 George C. Payne Elementary Elementary OPEN
149 Gussie M. Baker Elementary Elementary OPEN
157 Latimer Elementary Elementary OPEN
148 Leroy Anderson Elementary Elementary OPEN
160 Moreland Discovery (Elem) Elementary CLOSED
159 Samuel Curtis Rogers Middle Middle OPEN
1080 Ann Sobrato High High School OPEN 480 Morgan Hill Unified
1081 Barrett Elementary Elementary OPEN
294 Burnett Elementary Elementary OPEN
307 Central High (Continuation) Continuation OPEN
1082 Charter School of Morgan Hill Elementary OPEN

300 El Toro Elementary Elementary OPEN
295 Encinal Elementary Elementary CLOSED
297 Jackson Elementary Elementary OPEN
308 Live Oak High High School OPEN
298 Los Paseos Elementary Elementary OPEN
301 Nordstrom Elementary Elementary OPEN
304 P. A. Walsh Elementary Elementary OPEN
302 Paradise Valley/Machado Elementary Elementary OPEN
303 San Martin/Gwinn Elementary Elementary OPEN
261 Alta Vista High Continuation OPEN 477 Mountain View-Los
265 Los Altos High High School OPEN
266 Mountain View High High School OPEN
161 Benjamin Bubb Elementary Elementary OPEN 465 Mountain View-Wh
1083 Crittenden Middle Middle OPEN
166 Edith Landels Elementary Elementary OPEN
164 Frank L. Huff Elementary Elementary OPEN
163 Isaac Newton Graham Middle Middle OPEN
167 Kenneth N. Slater Elementary Elementary OPEN
162 Mariano Castro Elementary Elementary OPEN
1084 Monta Loma Elementary Elementary OPEN
1085 Theuerkauf Elementary Elementary OPEN
168 August Boeger Junior High Middle OPEN 466 Mt. Pleasant Eleme
1086 Ida Jew Intermediate Elementary OPEN
170 Mt. Pleasant Elementary Elementary OPEN
171 Robert Sanders Elementary Elementary OPEN
172 Valle Vista Elementary Elementary OPEN
173 Alex Anderson Elementary Elementary OPEN 467 Oak Grove Elemen
175 Bernal Intermediate Middle OPEN
194 Bertha Taylor Elementary Elementary OPEN
176 Blossom Valley Elementary Elementary CLOSED
179 Caroline Davis Intermediate Middle OPEN
178 Christopher Elementary Elementary OPEN
180 Del Roble Elementary Elementary OPEN
183 Earl Frost Elementary Elementary OPEN
182 Edenvale Elementary Elementary OPEN
187 George Miner Elementary Elementary OPEN
184 Glider Elementary Elementary OPEN
185 Hayes Elementary Elementary OPEN
174 Julia Baldwin Elementary Elementary OPEN
186 Leonard Herman Intermediate Middle OPEN
188 Oak Ridge Elementary Elementary OPEN
189 Parkview Elementary Elementary OPEN
1087 Rita Ledesma Elementary Elementary OPEN
190 Sakamoto Elementary Elementary OPEN
193 Samuel Stipe Elementary Elementary OPEN
191 San Anselmo Elementary Elementary CLOSED
192 Santa Teresa Elementary Elementary OPEN
195 Orchard Elementary Elementary OPEN 468 Orchard Elementar
309 Addison Elementary Elementary OPEN 481 Palo Alto Unified
310 Barron Park Elementary Elementary OPEN
329 David Starr Jordan Middle Middle OPEN
311 Duveneck Elementary Elementary OPEN
312 El Carmelo Elementary Elementary OPEN

313 Escondido Elementary Elementary OPEN
314 Fairmeadow Elementary Elementary OPEN
1088 Greendell Elementary Elementary OPEN
325 Henry M. Gunn High High School OPEN
316 Herbert Hoover Elementary Elementary OPEN
322 Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle Middle OPEN
317 Juana Briones Elementary Elementary OPEN
318 Lucille M. Nixon Elementary Elementary OPEN
319 Ohlone Elementary Elementary OPEN
327 Palo Alto High High School OPEN
320 Palo Verde Elementary Elementary OPEN
323 Terman Middle Middle CLOSED
315 Walter Hays Elementary Elementary OPEN
347 Abraham Lincoln High High School OPEN 482 San Jose Unified
355 Allen at Steinbeck Elementary OPEN
356 Almaden Elementary Elementary OPEN
361 Anne Darling Elementary Elementary OPEN
358 Booksin Elementary Elementary OPEN
339 Bret Harte Middle Middle OPEN
344 Broadway High Continuation OPEN
1098 Canoas Elementary Elementary OPEN
338 Castillero Middle Middle OPEN
1090 Community Career Academy (Continuation) Continuation OPEN
360 Cory (Benjamin) Elementary Elementary CLOSED
1096 Downtown College Preparatory High School OPEN
362 Empire Gardens Elementary Elementary OPEN
363 Erikson Elementary Elementary CLOSED
1100 Ernesto Galarza Elementary Elementary OPEN
364 Gardner Elementary Elementary OPEN
365 Grant Elementary Elementary OPEN
366 Graystone Elementary Elementary OPEN
345 Gunderson High High School OPEN
1091 Gunderson Plus (Continuation) Continuation OPEN
367 Hacienda Science/Environmental Elementary CLOSED
367 Hacienda Science/Environmental Magnet Elementary CLOSED
1099 Hammer Montessori at Galarza Elementary Elementary OPEN
340 Herbert Hoover Middle Middle OPEN
368 Hester Elementary Elementary CLOSED
371 Horace Mann Elementary Elementary OPEN
341 John Muir Middle Middle OPEN
346 Leland High High School OPEN
1094 Leland Plus (Continuation) Continuation OPEN
1089 Lincoln Plus High Continuation OPEN
369 Los Alamitos Elementary Elementary OPEN
370 Lowell Elementary Elementary OPEN
381 Merritt Trace Elementary Elementary OPEN
1097 Middle College High High School OPEN
337 Peter Burnett Middle Middle OPEN
348 Pioneer High High School OPEN
1093 Pioneer Plus (Continuation) Continuation OPEN
359 Rachel Carson Elementary Elementary OPEN
372 Randol (James) Elementary Elementary CLOSED
373 Reed Elementary Elementary OPEN
374 River Glen Elementary OPEN
349 San Jose High Academy High School OPEN
1095 San Jose High Academy Plus Continuation OPEN
375 Schallenberger Elementary Elementary OPEN
386 Selma Olinder Elementary Elementary OPEN

376 Simonds Elementary Elementary OPEN
342 Steinbeck Middle Middle CLOSED
377 Terrell Elementary Elementary OPEN
357 Walter L. Bachrodt Elementar Elementary OPEN
378 Washington Elementary Elementary OPEN
379 Williams Elementary Elementary OPEN
380 Willow Glen Elementary Elementary OPEN
350 Willow Glen High High School OPEN
343 Willow Glen Middle Middle OPEN
1092 Willow Glen Plus (Continuation) Continuation OPEN
1048 Alternative Placement Academy High School OPEN 954 Santa Clara County
1050 Bullis Charter Elementary OPEN
1049 Leadership Public Schools - East San Jose High School OPEN
1051 Pathfinder High High School OPEN
410 Adrian Wilcox High High School OPEN 483 Santa Clara Unified
382 Bowers Elementary Elementary OPEN
383 Bracher Elementary Elementary OPEN
384 Braly Elementary Elementary OPEN
385 Briarwood Elementary Elementary OPEN
406 Buchser Middle Middle OPEN
389 C. W. Haman Elementary Elementary OPEN
1101 Don Callejon Elementary PENDING
393 George Mayne Elementary Elementary OPEN
405 Juan Cabrillo Middle Middle OPEN
390 Kathryn Hughes Elementary Elementary OPEN
391 Laurelwood Elementary Elementary OPEN
1103 Marian A. Peterson Middle Middle OPEN
394 Millikin Elementary Elementary OPEN
395 Montague Elementary Elementary OPEN
1102 New Valley Continuation High Continuation OPEN
407 Peterson (Marian A.) High High School CLOSED
398 Pomeroy Elementary Elementary OPEN
399 Ponderosa Elementary Elementary OPEN
408 Santa Clara High High School OPEN
401 Scott Lane Elementary Elementary OPEN
402 Sutter Elementary Elementary OPEN
403 Washington Elementary Elementary OPEN
404 Westwood Elementary Elementary OPEN
196 Argonaut Elementary Elementary OPEN 469 Saratoga Union Ele
197 Foothill Elementary Elementary OPEN
198 Redwood Middle Middle OPEN
199 Saratoga Elementary Elementary OPEN
201 Bishop Elementary Elementary OPEN 470 Sunnyvale Elemen
202 Cherry Chase Elementary Elementary OPEN
203 Columbia Middle Middle OPEN
204 Cumberland Elementary Elementary OPEN
205 Ellis Elementary Elementary OPEN
206 Fairwood Elementary Elementary OPEN
208 Lakewood Elementary Elementary OPEN
209 San Miguel Elementary Elementary OPEN
210 Sunnyvale Middle Middle OPEN
211 Vargas Elementary Elementary OPEN
214 Alta Vista Elementary Elementary OPEN 471 Union Elementary
216 Carlton Elementary Elementary OPEN

218 Dartmouth Middle Middle OPEN
220 Guadalupe Elementary Elementary OPEN
222 Lietz Elementary Elementary OPEN
223 Lone Hill Elementary Elementary CLOSED
225 Noddin Elementary Elementary OPEN
226 Oster Elementary Elementary OPEN
229 Union Middle Middle OPEN
231 Crittenden Middle Middle CLOSED 472 Whisman Elementa
232 Monta Loma Elementary Elementary CLOSED
234 Theuerkauf Elementary Elementary CLOSED
235 Whisman Elementary Elementary CLOSED

Monday, October 3, 2011

Near Proposed New Apple Spaceship Campus De Soto Ave at Lawrence Expressway Potential Closure

Near the Proposed New Apple Computer "Spaceship" Campus, the neighborhood residents requested a study of a potential closure of De Soto Ave at Lawrence Expressway and its effects on the surrounding neighborhood. A Notice of Public Meeting was mailed out to residents who live on De Soto Avenue and/or live in the surrounding neighborhood. The postcard calls it a "De Soto Avenue Traffic Calming Study" and the Public Meeting to discuss it is scheduled for Wednesday, October 12, 2011 from 6pm-7pm at the Santa Clara City Council Chambers at 1500 Warburton Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Broccoli floating up into my laundry utility sink?! How did that happen?

Why is broccoli floating up into my laundry utility sink?! This could happen to you too. In some homes, the kitchen drain line connects to the laundry drain line. There's nothing wrong with this. However, make sure to finish your broccoli. I witnesses one homeowner have broccoli coming up through her laundry utility sink. Apparently, her kids didn't like broccoli, so she dumped lots of broccoli down her garbage disposal. The broccoli clogged the path from her kitchen sink toward the main plumbing line. With that direction blocked, the waste from the kitchen sink was now forced to flow in the other direction, toward the laundry utility sink in the garage. Bits of broccoli were floating up into that garage sink.

The solution was to call C&K Plumbing & Drain Service. He pointed out a vent that was sticking up out of the roof above the kitchen. That was the place to snake down into the kitchen drain lines. He pointed to another vent that was on the roof above the washer dryer hookup. Those were for the laundry lines. Furthermore, on the roof above the master bathroom and the hall bathroom were one vent each for snaking down into those two bathroom drain lines if needed someday.

C&K Plumbing provided this drain service for kitchen sink drain and laundry drain with roof power snaking for a total price of $120. That was quite reasonable for short notice call on a Sunday with his assistant having to carry that heavy snake machine up onto the roof.

Let this be a lesson to all, EAT your broccoli, do NOT toss it down the drain. Even if you chop it into tiny bits with the garbage disposal, it can mix with laundry lint to clog your drains. If you really can't stand broccoli, then throw it away in the garbage rather than down the kitchen sink.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Silicon Valley. Don't underestimate the intelligence of your buyers.

When in Silicon Valley, do not underestimate the intelligence of your buyers.

I wrote a Blog about high voltage power lines near a portion of the Cherry Chase neighborhood. Buyers here in Silicon Valley are not satisfied with emf is just "approx" same as a nearby microwave. They want an EXACT answer and will use Pythagorean theorem and inverse square law to compute relative emf of each Cherry Chase listing vs. Microwave in kitchen. I got my buyers the exact voltage and height of power lines.

Robert Lei
Century 21 M&M and Associates
(408) 893-2410

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Santa Clara County Real Estate Report - September 2011

Santa Clara County Real Estate Report - September 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cupertino vs. Santa Clara vs. Berryessa property tax comparison

For buyers who are numbers driven, I did a detailed comparison of the property tax charges between sample houses in the 3 neighborhoods below:
1. Cupertino address with Cupertino schools
2. Santa Clara address with Cupertino schools
3. San Jose address with Berryessa schools

The overall property tax rates are very similar for all properties in Santa Clara County because for all properties, you start with the same 1% maximum levy on the assessed value and that 1% is the bulk of every property tax bill. The variations are due to the minor elements added on to that.

Three of the add-ons are based on the school district:
1. Community College Bonds is .000326 for CUSD/FUHSD and just .000170 for Berryessa School District.

2. Elementary or Unif School Bonds is .000308 for Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) but higher at .000507 for Berryessa School District.

3. High School Bonds is .000365 for FUHSD but higher at .000712 for East Side Union High School District.

Special assessments are also different for each community:

Some assessments are based on address (not school district).

The house with Cupertino address (based on address not school district) is charged special assessments for the following:

1. Sewer Service - Cupertino $288
2. County Library $33.66
3. Cupertino/Environment/Storm $12

In comparison, the house with San Jose address pays a San Jose Library Assessment of $27.80 and the house with Santa Clara address pays a SCCOSA Assessment of $12.

Other special assessments are based on school district (not address).

For instance, regardless of address, homes in the Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) and Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) pay CUSD Parcel Tax $125 and FUHSD Parcel Tax $98. In comparison, the Berryessa School District Parcel Tax is just $79.

In summary:
1. Cupertino address with Cupertino schools = Assessed Value*(Tax Rate = 0.011506 + 0.000072)+ $638.46
2. Santa Clara address with Cupertino schools = Assessed Value*(Tax Rate = 0.011482 + 0.000072)+ $316.80
3. San Jose address with Berryessa schools = Assessed Value*(Tax Rate = 0.012222 + 0.000072)+ $694.46

The final conclusion is that the property tax rates are only slightly different between different neighborhoods within Santa Clara County. If you are evaluating a potential purchase of investment property and need a rough property tax figure to enable you to compute cash flow then use a rough number of 0.0125 * Assessed Property Value (i.e. 1.25% * purchase price for year1)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunnyvale Somerset of Sunnyvale by Summerhill Homes in Cumberland, Sunnyvale Middle, Homestead High School District

Somerset of Sunnyvale

"Somerset of Sunnyvale" is a cluster of Single-Family Homes built by Summerhill Homes in Cumberland Elementary, Sunnyvale Middle, and Homestead High School district in the mid 1990s. These homes are a good combination of being relatively new, yet built early enough that they have decent-sized lots and are located in a good neighborhood just south of Washington Park. To get to this community from Washington Park, walk south on Pescadero Terrace or Sunset Ave. The other streets in this community are Markham Terrace, Kearney Terrace, Redondo Terrace, and Pismo Terrace.


The schools for this community are all highly rated:
Cumberland Elementary
Sunnyvale Middle
Homestead High

Price Trend

The most common models and their price trend are as follows:

Large: 1644 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
4/16/11 $1,007,900 <-- The recent price this spring was nearly back up to spring 2008 value
9/1/08 $1,000,000
6/28/08 $998,888
5/7/08 $1,009,161

Medium: 1568 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
5/4/11 $952,000 <-- In less than a year, the price has gone up $30,000
7/30/10 $922,000

Small: 1354 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
4/15/09 $815,000 <-- April 2009 was the BOTTOM of the recent downturn
5/2/08 $948,000

Sometimes statistics that are too general, such lumping the entire city of Sunnyvale, don't tell the price trend accurately because the median and average price for an entire city might simply describe a change in the mixture of sales between northern and souther Sunnyvale. However, since I am comparing EXACT same model homes in the same complex, my data above gives an accurate picture of the price trend. The bottom of this downturn was in April 2009 and ever since then the price trend has been gradually upward in the Cumberland Elementary/Sunnyvale Middle/Homstead High neighborhoods. Talk to me if you'd like me to analyze your particular neighborhood.

To see other posts is this blog:

Go to SiliconValleyHouses blogspot

94086 Education Level:

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Somerset of Sunnyvale" by Summerhill Homes in Cumberland Elementary, Sunnyvale Middle, and Homestead High School District

"Somerset of Sunnyvale" is a cluster of Single-Family Homes built by Summerhill Homes in Cumberland Elementary, Sunnyvale Middle, and Homestead High School district in the mid 1990s. These homes are a good combination of being relatively new, yet built early enough that they have decent-sized lots and are located in a good neighborhood just south of Washington Park. To get to this community from Washington Park, walk south on Pescadero Terrace or Sunset Ave. The other streets in this community are Markham Terrace, Kearney Terrace, Redondo Terrace, and Pismo Terrace.

The schools for this community are all highly rated:
Cumberland Elementary
Sunnyvale Middle
Homestead High

The most common models and their price trend are as follows:

Large: 1644 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
4/16/11 $1,007,900 <-- The recent price this spring was nearly back up to spring 2008 value
9/1/08 $1,000,000
6/28/08 $998,888
5/7/08 $1,009,161

Medium: 1568 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
5/4/11 $952,000 <-- In less than a year, the price has gone up $30,000
7/30/10 $922,000

Small: 1354 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
4/15/09 $815,000 <-- April 2009 was the BOTTOM of the recent downturn
5/2/08 $948,000

Sometimes statistics that are too general, such lumping the entire city of Sunnyvale, don't tell the price trend accurately because the median and average price for an entire city might simply describe a change in the mixture of sales between northern and souther Sunnyvale. However, since I am comparing EXACT same model homes in the same complex, my data above gives an accurate picture of the price trend. The bottom of this downturn was in April 2009 and ever since then the price trend has been gradually upward in the Cumberland Elementary/Sunnyvale Middle/Homstead High neighborhoods. Talk to me if you'd like me to analyze your particular neighborhood.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Apple's New Campus could cover a part of Pruneridge Avenue

Apple's huge 12,000 employee new campus could erase part of Pruneridge Avenue, splitting the remaining portions in two.

Steve Jobs spoke in the Cupertino City Council chamber on June 7th to announce the plans for Apple's new state-of-the-art campus in Cupertino on the site of what is now Hewlett-Packard. Job's slideshow presentation showed the site before and after. Pruneridge Avenue disappears once the gigantic ringed campus moves in.

The current HP campus is bounded by N. Wolfe and Homestead Roads and Pruneridge and N. Tantau Avenues. Pruneridge cuts through the middle of an area surrounded by what is now almost all Apple property, except for the Hamptons Apt Homes.

The Hewlett-Packard site is on the corner of Pruneridge Ave and N. Wolfe Road. Last year, HP announced it would combine its Cupertino operations with its Palo Alto campus. Apple purchases the land in late 2010. HP expects to move out completely by 2012.

Apple wants to break ground in 2012 and move into the new campus in 2015. The Infinite Loop campus near De Anza and 280 will continue to house its 2,600 employees.

Apple now owns 180 acres in Cupertino in and around the proposed new campus, according to the city. Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong says the project could get its first public hearing during a planning commission meeting in fall 2012.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Program for Sunnyvale Kids Ages 6-12

The City of Sunnyvale offers a summer program for Sunnyvale kids ages 6-12. The program runs from Mondays-Thursdays from 2pm-5pm. This program is only suited for parents who can pick up their children before or by 5pm sharp. They have a strict “Late Parent Pick-Up Policy”. Summer 2011 started back on June 20th and ends August 12th. Let me know if you want me to remind you about this program next summer (408) 596-3188 .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Many of the Santa Clara Unified schools showing strong API improvements

Many of the Santa Clara Unified schools are showing strong API improvements. Most notably, Don Callejon Elementary, Bowers Elementary, Sutter Elementary, Buscher Middle, Kathryn Hughes Elementary, Bracher Elementary, and Montague Elementary all increased by a strong 30 API points or more. For comparison, in Sunnyvale school district, only Cumberland Elementary and Vargas Elementary improved by that much. Fairwood Elementary was close though.


Elementary Schools
Bowers Elementary 830 789 5 41 Yes Yes Yes

Bracher Elementary 894 862 A 32 Yes Yes Yes

Braly Elementary 842 834 A 8 Yes No No

Briarwood Elementary 794 797 3 -3 No No No

C. W. Haman Elementary 798 797 3 1 No No No

Don Callejon 842 798 2 44 Yes Yes Yes

George Mayne Elementary 811 816 A -5 Yes No No

Kathryn Hughes Elementary 813 779 5 34 Yes Yes Yes

Laurelwood Elementary 921 902 A 19 Yes Yes Yes

Millikin Elementary 999 989 A 10 Yes Yes Yes

Montague Elementary 791 761 5 30 Yes Yes Yes

Pomeroy Elementary 781 797 3 -16 No No No

Ponderosa Elementary 855 849 A 6 Yes No No

Scott Lane Elementary 739 742 5 -3 No No No

Sutter Elementary 890 854 A 36 Yes Yes Yes

Washington Elementary 880 891 A -11 Yes Yes Yes

Westwood Elementary 785 790 5 -5 No No No

Middle Schools
Buchser Middle 785 750 5 35 Yes Yes Yes

Downtown College Prep Alviso 659 603* 10 56 Yes Yes Yes

Juan Cabrillo Middle 757 748 5 9 Yes Yes Yes

Marian A. Peterson Middle 853 850 A 3 Yes Yes Yes

High Schools
Adrian Wilcox High 770 731 5 39 Yes Yes Yes

Santa Clara High 760 734 5 26 Yes Yes Yes


Cumberland, Vargas, and Fairwood Elementary are the elementary schools in Sunnyvale school district with the fastest rate of improvement.

SUNNYVALE 796 785 D 11

Elementary Schools
Bishop Elementary 737 736 5 1 No No No

Cherry Chase Elementary 942 943 A -1 Yes Yes Yes

Cumberland Elementary 928 879 A 49 Yes Yes Yes

Ellis Elementary 811 823 A -12 Yes No No

Fairwood Elementary 787 766 5 21 Yes Yes Yes

Lakewood Elementary 802 797 3 5 Yes No No

San Miguel Elementary 762 763 5 -1 No Yes No

Vargas Elementary 769 729 5 40 Yes Yes Yes

Middle Schools
Columbia Middle 712 687 6 25 Yes Yes Yes

Sunnyvale Middle 805 822 A -17 Yes No No

Robert Lei
Century 21 M&M and Associates
761 E. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Direct: (408) 350-4726
Cell: (408) 893-2410
I'm never too busy for your Silicon Valley real estate referrals
DRE # 01716389

How API Growth Targets are Set

The State Board of Education set the statewide API target at 800 out of a possible 1,000. The Public Schools Accountability Act calls for most schools to improve their performance each year by 5% of the difference between their API and the statewide target of 800, with a minimum target of five points’ growth.

For example, a school with an API of 340 would have a growth target of 23.
A school with an API between 691 and 795 would need to gain five points.
A school with an API between 796 and 799 would have a growth target of the difference between its API and 800.
A school that is at or above 800 is expected to stay above that threshold.
ASAM schools, special education centers, and schools without valid Base API scores have no growth targets.

A school's Base API score plus its growth target becomes that school's goal for its next Growth API. The process repeats each year.

In 1998–99, the first year of the API program, 13% of elementary schools, 11% of middle schools, and 5% of high schools reached or exceeded 800 on the Growth API. In most years since then, the percentages have edged upwards. In 2010, 51% of elementary schools, 40% of middle schools, and 25% of high schools scored at least 800 points on the Growth API.

When the Growth API is calculated, a school gets more credit for improvements at the bottom of the performance range than the top, creating an incentive for schools to focus on their lowest-performing students.

School districts do not receive API scores under the Public Schools Accountability Act. However, to comply with the state's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) plan, API has been added as an additional criterion for school districts. The district Growth API, for 2010–11, must be at least 710 or one point above the Base API. For each subsequent year the required Growth API score for NCLB will increase by 30 points until it reaches 800 in 2013–14. Under NCLB, API scores are also given to county offices of education when they operate schools directly.

Academic Performance Index (API) Reports for California Public Schools

The Academic Performance Index (API) is a measurement of academic performance and progress of individual schools in California. The API is calculated using results of the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) program and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). In 2009–10, STAR consisted of four types of tests, but not all of them were used in the API. The four tests included the California Standards Tests (CSTs) which examine students' proficiency on academic content standards in a variety of subjects. STAR also included the California Alternative Performance Assessment (CAPA) for students with severe cognitive disabilities, the California Modified Assessment (CMA) for students for whom the CAPA and CSTs are not appropriate, and one test (Standards-based Tests in Spanish) taken by certain Spanish-speaking English learner students. The Spanish tests are not part of the API calculation, but the rest are. The weight of each of these tests in a school's API score varies depending on several factors, but the CSTs generally play the lead role.

The test scores for students not continuously enrolled in a school since October of the school year are not counted in the school's API. Special Education students who are exempted and students whose parents requested that they not be tested are also not counted.

API scores ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1000. The first step in calculating the API is to divide a school's individual student scores in each subject into five performance bands. The performance bands for California Standards Test (CST) results are labeled advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, and far below basic.

The next step is to apply weights to the percent of students with scores in each performance band (least weight for the lowest bands). These are summed to give a value for the subject.

Then each subject area and test is given a weight within the index. The weights depend on which tests are given to each grade in each school. For example, a high school’s Base API includes CAHSEE results.

The Base API scores vary school by school, depending on students’ grade levels and the number of students tested. The calculation also depends on the number of valid test scores at the school.

Finally, the resulting scores are added to become one number for each school—its API. A school district's API is the sum total of all the student (not school) scores.

A caveat: Although the API is meant as a measure of academic growth, it is not intended to track the school’s growth over several years. The meaningful comparison is within each annual API cycle, between the Base API and the Growth API, because the computation of the API is kept as similar as possible within each cycle.

The incorporation of new elements into the index at the beginning of an API base/growth cycle can lead to unintentional or confusing fluctuations in API scores compared with scores from the previous cycle. The state adjusts API scores to compensate for the effect of those new elements. The mechanism for that technical adjustment is called the scale calibration factor. Even so, the CDE warns against tracking the scores year to year. A better comparison is to look at whether a school or district consistently meets its growth targets or to consider the amount of growth year to year. Even within a cycle, the students represented in each year are different. For example, in a K–6 school, you have a group of 2nd–6th graders present in year one, but in year two the 2nd graders are new and the 6th graders from year one are gone.

API County List of Schools
Select County using the Drop-down box.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Prop 90 survives battle in Santa Clara County

Prop 90 was in danger of being rescinded. However, on June 14, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to keep Prop 90 in place. Under Prop 60 and 110, if a seller or spouse is over age 55 or if a seller of any age is disabled where their original residence is sold, the seller may transfer the base year value of their home to a replacement residence of equal or lesser value within the same county. Prop 90 extended this benefit to seniors and disabled who move to counties that adopted Prop 90 rules. County Assessor Larry Stone wanted to eliminate Prop 90 to increase revenue. The eight counties that currently participate in Prop 90 tax base transfers are Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange, El Dorado, and Ventura. (El Dorado adopted Prop 90 in 2010. Santa Clara opted in 20 yrs ago.)

Apple Computer's Steve Jobs announced new campus to house 12,000 employees

Last month, Apple Computer's Steve Jobs announced to the Cupertino City Council his plan to build a new campus to house 12,000 employees. The new campus is proposed to be located between I-280, Wolfe Road, Homstead, and the Cupertino city boundary with Santa Clara. Apple Computer is in the process of submitting permits and plans to break ground before 2015.

Santa Clara Cupertino School District Eisenhower Elementary Single Family Home Price Trend

One of the more economical ways to get your child into the Cupertino Union School District is to buy in Santa Clara south of Pruneridge Avenue where residents are able to send their children to Cupertino Union School District's Eisenhower Elementary (API=916 and rising). The hyperlink takes you to the Eisenhower Elementary Single Family Home Price Trend. Since price/sqft tends to be lower for larger homes, I separated the homes into three size ranges:

Small: SqFt < 1400
Medium: 1400 < SqFt < 1700
Large: SqFt > 1700

San Jose Rio Vista Avenue Home Price Trend (Price / SqFt vs. Sale Date)

I've put together a Table and Chart showing the San Jose Rio Vista Avenue Home Price Trend (Price/SqFt vs. Sale Date). At first glance you see the price plunged on the last sale, but if you look closely you see a couple things:
1. That sale was back on 11/14/09 when prices were lower.
2. That sale was one of the larger homes (1630 sq ft). Larger homes tend to sell at lower price per square feet because when you add square footage to a home, you don't increase value at a linear rate.

Robert Lei
Century 21 M&M and Associates
761 E. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Direct: (408) 350-4726
Cell: (408) 893-2410
I'm never too busy for your Silicon Valley real estate referrals
DRE # 01716389

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunnyvale School District Boundary Map

Sunnyvale School District Boundary Map :
Shows (1) the outline of the Sunnyvale School District as a whole and
(2) the location of each school, AND (3) the colored regions showing which homes go to which school.

Santa Clara Unified School District Street Directory 2010 - 2011 :
Double-checks the information from (3) above, except you specifically enter the address of the property whose schools you want to look up.

Santa Clara Unified School District Map Boundary

Santa Clara Unified School District Map Boundary :
Shows (1) the outline of the Santa Clara Unified School District as a whole and
(2) the location of each school, but not (3) the boundary of showing which homes go to which school.

Santa Clara Unified School District Street Directory 2010 - 2011 :
Lists the information from (3) above, except in table format not map format.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Floorplans of the New DR Horton Townhomes in Sunnyvale

The Floorplans of the New DR Horton Townhomes in Sunnyvale are as follows:

Residence 1:
1338 sqft
3 bedrooms / 2.5 bathrooms
Priced from $509,990
2 stories
2 car garage

Residence 2:
1494 sqft
3 bedrooms / 3.5 bathrooms
Priced from $529,990
3 stories
2 car garage

Residence 3:
1691 sqft
3 bedrooms / 3.5 bathrooms
Priced from $559,990
3 stories
2 car garage

(408) 893-2410

Friday, May 27, 2011

S.T.A.R Testing for Cupertino Union and Fremont Union High School Districts: You can opt your child out according to one parent

S.T.A.R Testing for Cupertino Union and Fremont Union High School Districts: You can opt your child out according to one parent

Posted Under: Quality of Life in Cupertino, Schools in Cupertino, In My Neighborhood in Cupertino | April 10, 2011 8:13 AM | 120 views | No comments

Star Testing took place during the first 2 weeks right after spring break in the Cupertino Union School District (CUSD). Star Testing is administered for kids 2nd grade through 8 grade in CUSD and for high school kids in Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD).

According to one of the parents, you can opt out your child from Star Testing if that's what you want. I personally think you should let your child get accustomed to standardized testing while they are young, but if, for some reason you are against it, follow this parent's steps outlined below:

Write a handwritten letter to the principal at your School, making sure to include the following information:

1. State that you like to opt out your child for all or part of the star testing this school year.
2. Mention your child's name, grade, teacher and
3. Sign the letter.

You need a letter for each child being opted out


Fremont condo complex has issue of low water pressure. Very little money to fix it.

Fremont condo complex has issue of low water pressure. Very little money to fix it.

Posted Under: Home Buying in Fremont, Remodel & Renovate in Fremont, In My Neighborhood in Fremont | May 3, 2011 4:07 PM | 71 views | No comments
Fremont condo complex has issue of low water pressure. Very little money to fix it.

Fixing all the units will take more than a year. The complex has only enough money budgeted to fix approximately 10 units at a time. Which units they do next depends on how bad they leak and how bad the water pressure is. You can say "Come look at my unit. My water pressure is the worst in this complex." However, you still aren't guaranteed to get your unit fixed next. The property manager does not have a set schedule to fix all the units. As they have enough funds, they are going throughout the complex and repiping batches of 10 or so units. Without the budget to correct the galvanized steel piping, repiping all the units could take years. The low water pressure will be an ongoing problem. To come up with the funds in one shot, the HOA could charge each unit a special assessment. However, they do not want to charge a SPECIAL assessment because many owners already have enough trouble paying the REGULAR assessment as it is.

High Tech Realtor: Trulia Layar Real Estate App makes Zillow look like the Stone Ages

High Tech Realtor: Trulia Layar Real Estate App makes Zillow look like the Stone Ages
Posted Under: Home Buying in California, Home Selling in California, Tech Tips in California | May 4, 2011 12:45 AM | 122 views | 1 comment

A new Real Estate App has been created by Trulia in conjunction with a company called "Layar", one of the pioneers in "augmented reality". The App uses GeoLocation, Computer Vision, and Context Aware coding on an open API to augment real live objects on your camera phone with relevant data.

With regular Trulia, you look at a map, then figure out which house in the real world corresponds to the house on the map.

With the Trulia Layar Real Estate App, you take your camera phone, aim it at a bunch of houses ...or slowly turn around in a circle while pointing your camera phone at the row of houses, and as your camera passes over each house, data bubbles with listing/sales informationpop over the image of each house.

Layar has an open API. It is free to develop and/or use Apps on Layar. (This is a familiar model for developing web service apps for the web.)

Robert Lei
Century 21
Direct: (408) 350-4726
Cell: (408) 893-2410
I'm never too busy for your Silicon Valley real estate referrals