Silicon Valley Real Estate

March 18th, 2015 6:56 PM

What is the real difference between a townhome and a condominium?

A common misnomer is that a condo is a housing structure that is a part of a bigger unit or building (similar to an apartment), while a townhouse is a style of housing (usually multiple stories), where houses share walls.

Style does not determine whether the home is a condo or a townhome.  The determination is the legal type of ownership.   

No land is individually owned in a condo. Instead, it is the space inside the home that is owned. In contrast, those who own a townhouse actually own the land their home is built on.

How do you know? 

In California, it is simple; look at the Title Report.  If the home is a condo, you will find a statement similar to the following within the first few pages of the report:

Condominium as defined in section 783 of the California Civil Code.

Important: Know what you are buying.  Rely on the title report, not the description in the listing on the MLS.

Posted by Craig Jelinek on March 18th, 2015 6:56 PMLeave a Comment

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March 1st, 2015 2:52 PM

Silicon Valley is a nickname for Santa Clara County, located at the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area.  The term originally referred to the region's large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers, and eventually came to refer to all high-tech businesses in the area.

Santa Clara County encompasses 1,315 square miles. The Santa Clara Valley runs the entire length of the county from north to south, ringed by the rolling hills of the Diablo Range on the east, and the Santa Cruz Mountains on the west. Salt marshes and wetlands lie in the northwestern part of the county, adjacent to the waters of San Francisco Bay.

With a population of nearly 1.8 million, the county is one of the largest in the state and provides more than a quarter of all jobs in the Bay Area. It has one of the highest median family incomes in the United States, and a wide diversity of cultures, backgrounds and talents.

The County is home to three major universities - Stanford University, Santa Clara University and San Jose State University - as well as excellent community colleges.

There are 15 cities in Santa Clara County, ranging from Palo Alto in the north, to Gilroy in the south. San Jose is the largest city in the County, with a population of nearly one million.  Click on the city names below and learn more about each of the cities on their web sites.

Campbell                               Cupertino                                Gilroy             

Los Altos                               Los Altos Hills                        Los Gatos                   

Milpitas                                 Monte Sereno                          Morgan Hill                

Mountain View                      Palo Alto                                 San Jose

Santa Clara                             Saratoga                                  Sunnyvale

Posted in:City Information and tagged: Santa Clara County
Posted by Craig Jelinek on March 1st, 2015 2:52 PMLeave a Comment

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February 24th, 2015 5:18 PM

California schools will not be reporting Academic Performance Index (API) scores for 2014. The California Department of Education (CDE) instead has reported a 3 year API average.

For those looking for progressive improvement in API scores, this may cause some confusion.  Consider the scenario where a school’s API improved each year in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The 3 year average will be lower than the school’s 2013 score.  It will appear that the school’s performance has declined.   On the other hand, a school whose API scores have declined year-over-year will appear to be improving.

Complete this form to request a copy of the California Department of Education “Status of the Academic Performance Index and the 3-Year Academic Information Guide,” prepared by the California Department of Education.

Posted in:Education and tagged: California API Scores
Posted by Craig Jelinek on February 24th, 2015 5:18 PMLeave a Comment

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A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is an in-depth analysis done by real estate agents to determine the value of a property in the current market.  A typical CMA uses the sales comparison approach, which is based on the principle of substitution. This approach assumes a buyer will pay no more for a property than it would cost to purchase a comparable property.

When researching to develop a CMA, information is collected by the real estate agent on recent sales of properties similar to the property being valued.  These are called "comparables." Although current Active (For Sale) and Pending (under contract) listings may be included in the CMA for information purposes, only Sold properties are used in the determination of a property's value, as these represent amounts actually paid or agreed upon for properties.

Since comparable sales aren't identical to the subject property, adjustments are made for such things as square footage, number of rooms, lot size, date of sale, location, style, amenities, etc.  The purpose of these adjustments is to determine the price that would have been paid if each comparable sale were identical to the subject property. If the comparable is superior to the subject property in a factor or aspect, then a downward adjustment is made. Likewise, if the comparable is inferior to the subject property in an aspect, then an upward adjustment is made. From the analysis of adjusted sales prices of the comparable sales, an estimated market value is derived for the subject property.

The CMA report includes detailed information about the subject property, and the comparable properties.  In most cases, the CMA report will give a price range rather than an exact price. This is because, even though a significant amount of analysis goes into developing the CMA, the price derived is somewhat subjective. 

A CMA is not an appraisal.

A real estate appraisal is a comprehensive evaluation performed by a licensed or certified appraiser. Appraisal reports are used as the basis for mortgage loans, for settling estates and divorces, for tax matters, etc.  For mortgage valuations of residential property in the U.S. the appraisal is most often reported on a standardized form, such as the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report.  Typically, a CMA prepared by an experienced agent with good knowledge of the local market is in line with the property’s appraised value.

Posted in:General
Posted by Craig Jelinek on June 20th, 2013 1:21 PMLeave a Comment

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