Your Life is Hectic, Our Life is Real Estate

FineHomeMoves - harnessing the power of the internet

Work, School, Schedules, Projects….  Life in Silicon Valley is fast paced and a little crazy at times.  Adding a house move to the mix can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. We’re lifestyle designers, we help busy people reconnect with their families, engage in their community and achieve their financial goals by investing […]

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New Slater Thomson Listing: Beautiful Santa Cruz Home

53 Hollins Drive, Santa Cruz Offered at $1,225,000 Embrace the California lifestyle with this stylish Santa Cruz home located in the beautiful Pasatiempo community with stunning views, 18-hole golf course, clubhouse, pool, and tennis courts.  Situated in one of the best locations in Pasatiempo, this single story ranch style home exudes curb appeal, charm and […]

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New Slater Thomson Listing: Stunning Los Gatos Estate

125 Sierra Azule, Los Gatos Offered at $4,000,000 Magnificent views from this luxurious Los Gatos foothills estate on a gated 1.2 acre lot.  Stunning resort style backyard completed this year with an infinity edge pool, water slide, covered dining patio, outdoor kitchen/BBQ area, multiple patios, firepit, fireplace, patio heaters.  Grand entryway and marble foyer, large […]

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Intero Prestigio: Luxury Homes

Intero Prestigio International is a division of Intero Real Estate Services focusing on the finest and most exclusive homes in Silicon Valley and surrounding areas. Each issue of Prestigio’s bi-monthly virtual magazine features over 60 pages of beautiful luxury properties. The magazine has developed a global following and reaches readers in many parts of the world including […]

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Happy Earth Day 2015

In honor of Earth Day 2015, we are highlighting sustainable landscaping – check out the Slater Thomson Team’s Sustainable Landscaping Guide to see how you can incorporate these practices at home to help save water, resources, money, and the environment! You can also click on the banner below to see our Sustainable Landscaping Guide on Prezi.com: Also check out our Sustainable […]

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Gail & Stephen’s Remodel Vlog

About a year ago, we began a total remodel on our Blossom Manor home in Los Gatos. We are happy to announce that it’s just about finished (or at least just about livable)! Check out our Home Remodel Project Playlist on the Slater Thomson YouTube Channel that follows our remodeling process all the way from demolition to the finished product […]

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Introducing the Color of the Year

Pantone® has released the 2015 Color of the Year – Marsala (18-1438). This rich tone pairs perfect with earth and neutral shades and can be incorporated into designs throughout the home with accents, accessories, or paint. Thinking of making some updates but unsure of where to start, what colors to choose or how to prioritize? Give us a […]

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Exciting News for Intero Real Estate

by Gail Thomson on May 14, 2014

in Blog

We are excited to announce that last Thursday Intero Real Estate Services officially became part of HomeServices of America, a consolidated subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, a company with unparalleled diversity and financial strength led by Warren Buffett.

We must be doing something right if one of the world’s most iconic investors is looking to align Intero with his vision of acquiring top-tier companies – Berkshire Hathaway owns dozens of well-known brands including Heinz, Geico, Fruit of the Loom, See’s Candies, Helzberg Diamonds, and Benjamin Moore. According to Fortune’s 2014 ranking, Berkshire Hathaway ranks among the world’s most influential and respected companies.

“Intero is a strong company with an excellent reputation in a growth market,” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO, HomeServices. “This transaction aligns with our vision of acquiring distinguished companies in leading markets that share our core values. We are excited to be in Silicon Valley and are looking forward to having the Intero Real Estate team join the HomeServices family.”

What does it mean to us? We do expect to begin to see some of the benefits of being part of a bigger organization over time but in the short term not much will change. We will retain the Intero name and continue to work with one of the strongest and most energetic real estate teams in the Bay Area. We’re still here for you!

We’re excited that Intero’s reputation and quality of customer service has attracted the attention of Warren Buffett and we’re looking forward to the future as part of the Berkshire Hathaway family.

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Guide to Sustainable Landscaping

by Gail Thomson on April 22, 2014

in Blog

Happy Earth Day from the Slater Thomson Team!

Sustainable landscaping is part of a growing national effort in the landscaping industry to create aesthetically pleasing landscapes while improving and conserving the environment and saving resources and money. Learn more about creating a sustainable garden and yard.

Sustainable Landscaping Prezi

 

 

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Factors of Credit Scoring

by Gail Thomson on March 6, 2014

in Blog

Wondering how your credit score is calculated? There are several different factors that contribute to your overall score. Follow the link below to learn how your score is calculated and the best ways to earn a high score.

The Five Factors of Credit Scoring

5 Factors of Credit Scoring

 

 

 

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Los Gatos Schools 2013 API Scores

by Gail Thomson on September 20, 2013

in Schools,Uncategorized

Schools serving Los Gatos addresses are listed below with their 2013 API score.

Los Gatos Union School District

  • Blossom Hill Elementary School – 959
  • Daves Avenue Elementary School – 917
  • Louise Van Meter Elementary School – 947
  • Lexington Elementary School – 907
  • Raymond J Fisher Middle School – 934
  • Alta Vista Elementary School – 959
  • Carlton Elementary School – 931
  • Union Middle School – 932
  • Marshall Lane Elementary School – 958
  • Rolling Hills Middle – 910
  • Lakeside Elementary School – 966
  • Loma Prieta Elementary School – 926
  • C.T. English Middle School – 939
  • Los Gatos High – 886
  • Leigh High School – 819
  • Westmont High School – 795

 

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Are you tempted by the lifestyle and the seemingly endless job opportunities in and around Silicon Valley?

How do you decide if a move to the Bay Area is right for you?

Remodeled Traditional Style

Before you even start talking salary, benefits and move logistics, make sure you do your homework and do a little pre-relocation decision analysis.  From realistic expectation-setting to understanding family needs to anticipating costs,  getting some knowledgable pre-decision support assures you that the decision to move forward is the right one.

Completing a thorough Needs Assessment means answering such questions as…  What are my individual and family lifestyle requirements? Should I buy or rent a new home?  How much will it cost and do I qualify for a mortgage?  What are the costs associated with moving?  Should I rent or sell my current home?   What neighborhoods are within commuting distance of my workplace?  Can I afford to live in a Bay Area neighborhood that I like?  Will my kids be able to attend a good school?  How will my family get established in our new location?

Gail and StephenAnswering these questions honestly and knowledgeably will help ensure your relocation success.  We’ve helped numerous families answer these questions and would be delighted to help you through the process too.  If you’d like a copy of our comprehensive Bay Area guide or you’d simply like to chat about your options, contact us today.  We’re happy to help.

 

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Today I had the unwelcome honor of watching a neighbor’s house burn down.  Thankfully a couple of brave souls working close by entered the burning house and woke the owner allowing him to escape without harm.  What if they hadn’t been there?  I couldn’t hear any smoke alarms screeching which, given the owners have lived there since the 70s, makes me think perhaps they didn’t have any.  By the time the fire trucks got there the house was totally engulfed.  I shudder to think what could have happened…

American homes suffer an unwanted fire every 10 seconds and every 60 seconds there’s a fire serious enough to warrant a call to the fire department.  Are you prepared for a fire at your home?  Take a walk through of your home today to check for potential fire hazards.  Plan your escape routes.  Install smoke alarms if you don’t already have them and replace the batteries on them if you do.  Place smoke alarms on every level of your house and test them regularly; you should also have alarms located inside and outside of all sleeping areas.

You can find out more about protecting yourself and your home from fire on the FEMA website.

Stay safe and always be prepared.

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The end of the summer buying season shows a traditional slowdown in the market but doesn’t detract from the fact that U.S. home prices have risen in October by the most in 6 years.

Record low mortgage rates, rising rents and renewed confidence boosted demand in the once battered housing market.  At the same time, the number of available homes is at the lowest level in 10 years according to the National Association of Realtors.  The resulting combination of low inventory and rising demand pushes up prices.

The Spring market in Santa Clara County took off in early March this year.  It will be interesting to see how it fares in the coming season.

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How’s the housing market? Is your company hiring?

by Gail Thomson on September 12, 2012

in Blog,Buyers,Sellers

Real estate agents are often asked where we think the housing market is headed by people we meet.  By way of response I often reply with a question “How’s your company doing?   Are you hiring?

Here in Silicon Valley we definitely see a direct correlation between the hiring patterns of local companies and the health of the real estate market.    When job reqs disappear so do home buyers and when companies are fighting for new employees, we’re fighting to get offers accepted in a bidding war.   There’s good reason to expect this correlation to continue; the Bay area has limited space and there’s not much room to expand beyond our current boundaries.

When we try to predict the future of our housing market we can look to job growth predictions as a point of reference.   While not an exact science it’s probably the best indicator we have of future housing demand in our area.   According to a recent independent study looking at Bay Area job growth through 2040, by far the largest percentage of job growth in the US is expected in areas that are all key components of the Bay Area economic base.   That’s good news for our local economy as well as our real estate investments.

Obviously many things factor into the creation of a healthy housing market; interest rates, economy, affordability, desirability, election cycles; but if the job growth predictions are accurate it looks like we have sustained demand for housing in our mid to long term future.  Excuse me while I go buy some investment property…. :)

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Los Gatos schools have come out ahead again, with most schools and districts gaining ground from 2010′s already stellar performance.

Scores are based on testing administered to students in grades K-12 in the previous academic year. The excellent API results add yet another reason to the lengthy list that makes Los Gatos such a desirable area.

An API score is something that typical Los Gatos home buyers hold in high regard. With numbers in the 900s Los Gatos continues to excel in this area.

 

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It’s Deja Vu all over again

by Gail Thomson on May 3, 2012

in Blog,Buyers,Sellers

I feel like I should be watching reruns of Lost – Season 1 and listening to Boulevard of Broken Dreams on my playlist (except I didn’t have a playlist back then). It’s like 2005 all over again, with buyers bidding 10 and even 20 percent over asking, zero contingencies and multi-million dollar cash offers all over the place.

Do we have a county wide state of amnesia? Does anyone remember 2006, 2007 or even last month? You know, a time when the buyer was paying a price that the market could easily support because they already had comps to prove it, not one they hoped would just get them the house and they’d worry about paying for it later.

Appraisals in rising marketsBuyers and sellers are inclined to act emotionally where their home is involved. I’ve always held the belief that the agents, lenders and appraisers are the necessary voice of reason, keeping offers in check and making sure buyers are truly “qualified”. How does that play out in today’s world of high demand and low supply, particularly when it comes to appraisals? How does an appraiser bring in a value when all the recent comps have closed significantly lower but there were 5 offers over asking within the first week? Perhaps the question really is SHOULD an appraiser be able to bring in a significantly higher value in that situation? Let me be clear, I think a 2 or 3 % increase is easily justifiable, I’m talking about 10 and 20 % increases here.

According to one appraiser I talked to they use the simple fact that so many people ARE bidding over asking for the property as an indicator of where the market is. Hmm, how do lenders feel about that? After all, buyers are emotional and in my opinion it’s easier to over-bid for a property when you’re in competition, there’s nothing else out there and it’s only another $100 per month on your mortgage payment in order to get into a home now.

If we’re to avoid another crisis like the last one wouldn’t it be more prudent for the appraisers to have some stricter guidelines about how much a “changing market” can affect the appraisal value? If the appraisal comes in at a lower value based on recent sales then a buyer is more than welcome to bring in their own cash to close the deal. If they are neither able nor willing to do that then perhaps they’re not REALLY qualified to buy this house or the supportable market value (as opposed to the anticipated market value) hasn’t quite got there yet. Either way, appraising a house at a value way higher simply because there’s no inventory competing with the house “at this precise time” seems to me to be a sure sign of history repeating itself.

What do you think?

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