Month 2 Week 2: The Magic Formula

Although I may not be tracking my 16oz of water per day, I believe I’m doing pretty well in that regard.  Also, I was very pleased with the results of the last step — 15 minute “speed elimination” as I found all kinds of stuff to eliminate.

This week, we’re going to work on the office drawers.  The magic formula that author Regina is talking about is 1) Eliminate; 2) Categorize; 3) Organize.  I guess we’re specifically applying this to our office drawer space.  She recommends organizer inserts too in case things are just thrown into a “junk” drawer.

So I’m first asking myself “When was the last time I used this?” and if the answer is not within the last 6 months, then it doesn’t need to be in my office.  Another one is ditching old business cards I’ve collected — of course these people are already logged into my relationship database so why am I keeping the cards?

First step: 30 minutes to blast through my drawers and eliminate.  Next step would be to categorize what’s left.


Local sales data for Santa Clara County — April 2009

The lower prices are bringing out a “feeding frenzy” from buyers looking for great deals!  Just last week I thought we had a great property for a client looking in Almaden — a 4/2 foreclosure in very nice condition listed for $688k.  Before we could even get an offer in it had 10 offers — crazy!  Palo Alto between $1M and $1.5M is stabilizing and Los Altos is seeing some movement.  I think the biggest gaps are with Sunnyvale and Cupertino.  I’m hearing a lot of questions like “Why would I buy in Sunnyvale or Cupertino at $1.2M when I can get Palo Alto for $1.2M now?”

Each chart here shows the percent CHANGE over the prior year in both the Average Sales Price and the Median Sales Price for single homes only, not condos — enjoy!

Chart Analysis:

Almaden Valley is seeing some foreclosures coming on the market and as I mentioned above, they are being snapped up.  Trending down 10%-20% doesn’t seem that bad compared to some other areas, however I think there is a growing inventory of $1.3M+ properties that are hard to move.


Blossom Valley is stabilizing and much of the buyer frenzy is in this area.  This is truly the foreclosure buffet and prices are finally bouncing off the bottom here.


Willow Glen is offering some nice deals on homes around $600k-$800k which are now easily 25%-30% off years past.  Surprising enough we are seeing a lot new listings coming on from builders of new homes in the $1.4M+ range — stunning homes that would have sold for hundreds of thousands more just 2 years ago.  I have to believe they are taking a loss on some of these incredible homes.


Downtown San Jose is proving that it has found a bottom on area pricing.  If you like downtown, there are some phenomenal deals on great places including some of the brand new condos — I’m seeing 2/2 units in The 88 being listed for $499k now!


Cambrian is really showing a steady path for prices and with the very decent schools it is offering our buyers a very nice option in this market.  I think foreclosure and short sale inventory is starting to run low so we’ll see if it can start bouncing off a bottom through the summer months.


Campbell is still averaging in the mid-$600s level.  Although I have seen a couple deals come up at $450k but they sold very quickly.  Anything in the $500s here will be a good deal that seems to be holding it’s price for the moment.


Los Gatos is finally hitting the wall that for months I’ve been saying it would.  Even though this trend chart shows it’s down 75% from last year, it’s deceiving.  Basically, most of the homes that are selling are around or under $1M so that’s why the average has moved down as compared to last year.


Saratoga believe it or not seems to be improving.  I’m seeing Seller’s adjust or at least begin to reasonably price their homes and people are getting moved.  21 homes sold in April this year and 24 last April so the sales volume is still respectable.


Santa Clara as we saw last month seems to be stabilizing nicely at a 25% discount over 2008 prices.  If you believe the worst is yet behind us as far as the economy and housing issues, now would be a great time to get into Santa Clara because there are great properties coming to market every week.


Sunnyvale prices are just too early to call a bottom.  We just sold Mary Ave and I have information about several other nearby Sunnyvale homes that may be distressed (short-sale or close to short).  As Palo Alto has adjusted their prices down, the gap between Palo Alto and Sunnyvale needs to be maintained — so I think we may continue to see Sunnyvale lowering list prices slightly.


Cupertino at 25%-30% discount over last years prices should be something Buyers have been waiting for.  Same rule for Sunnyvale applies to Cupertino.  Watch Palo Alto to see where Cupertino should be priced.


Los Altos prices are under huge pressure and it looks like they are still searching for a bottom given this chart below.  As long as large loans are hard to come by, I believe we will continue to see the inventory slowly move along.  I’ve even seeing some short-sales at the $1.5M price!


Mountain View prices are finally beginning to feel gravity.  When prices of Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, and Los Altos are all sinking, why would Mountain View be immune?  With prices down 30% over last year’s April prices, it will be VERY interesting to watch May to see if the trend continues.


Palo Alto prices have stabilized now for the last 2-3 months.  If you’re expecting another drop, I can’t say that I see that just now.  The sweet spot seems to be around $1.2M right now where homes are consistently moving.  I still feel that we are in an “on sale” season for Palo Alto so if you are thinking to get into Palo Alto, 2009 may be the best time for you.  Waiting until Spring 2010?  You may begin to see it coming back up again.


We are Realtors.  We are in the market every day representing Buyers and Sellers throughout the areas above.  Everyone has a reason why they are making the move (buying or selling) at this very moment.

We bring you this information to help you make an intelligent decision about your next move.  Timing the market is impossible and unwise because you may ultimately not be able to meet goal.  Your motivation for buying or selling should outweigh your concerns of market timing.  The market is always here, people are buying and selling every day, people are getting financing every day — the real question is ‘when are you ready to make a move?’


May Wine Friday: 2007 California Wine

It’s all about the grapes!  Our 2007 California
vintage wine tasting was another great success.  I have been reading
about how 2007 is supposed to be a phenomenal year for California wines
so I decided to give it a try for ourselves — and yes it is looking
very good!  My favorite was the Ridge Zinfandel because it was so deep,
yet immature.  However, as I expected the crowd favorite was the Menage
a Trois because it’s a blended wine that I guess you could say is more

2009 Wine May 11

Candy made some great food as always and we even kept
with the “it’s all about the grapes” theme by having grapes in every
dish — how fun was that?!  Despite Sabrina not being here, I did my
best to keep up the photo tradition but please don’t criticize me too
much because we all know I’m no replacement for her talent.  We’re
sorry if you missed us this time but stay tuned for next month and be
sure to join us.

Here is the wine lineup (from left to right) and results:

2007 Cameron Hughes Ancient Vine Zinfandel
2007 Ridge Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel (my favorite)
2007 Shenandoah Vineyards Amador County Zinfandel
2007 Castle Rock Pinot Noir
2007 Ravenswood Petite Sirah
2007 Folie a Deux Menage a Trois
2007 Rodney Strong Estate Russian River Pinot Noir

And of course we paired this wine with the food below:

2009 Wine May 2

Focaccia with Grapes and Rosemary

2009 Wine May 4  

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Grape Skewers

2009 Wine May 8  

Italian Sausage with Grapes and Basil

2009 Wine May 7  

Cabbage, Asian Pear, and Grape Salad
Pecorino-Romano Cheese with Honey

– Mark


Month 2 Week 1: Reclaiming My Office

As expected, this month we’re offered 2 new habits to incorporate into our lives.  The first work habit is — to place a 16oz glass of water (or water bottle) on my desk and take it with me everywhere until it’s finished.  The idea here is to detoxify and flush the system for optimal health.  The second is a home habit of keeping the bathroom clean by re-hanging the towel or tossing it in the hamper, wiping off the counter, and checking the trash to be emptied.  I’m already ahead on this one since it’s a natural part of my habits.

This week's office task is interesting.  Regina wants to start by doing a 15 minute “speed elimination” on my office.  Just blast through and get rid of all non-work related items (clothes, extra shoes or exercise outfit, food and drink containers, plates, etc).  I’m pretty good in this regard, no bad habits there.  Next removing seasonal items (fans vs space heaters, umbrellas, etc) or even photos that are out of date and could be updated with something newer.

Wow, 15 minutes went by very quickly!  As suggested, I need to repeat this 15 minute blast cleaning every day this week until I’ve removed all the non-essential and dated stuff.  I have printer cartridges to be recycled and I even found material from the 2007 National Association of Realtors convention that should have been tossed a long time ago…