Happenings in the local San Jose communities.

8 Hot Tips for Keeping Your Home and Self Safe

photo(1)This week I organized an All Willow Glen Neighborhood Watch meeting at the Willow Glen Library, which I promoted via my Willow Glen Charm Facebook page. My goal was to bring together leaders representing streets throughout the neighborhood and give them some of the basic tools they need to educate their neighbors and hopefully start up local Neighborhood Watch programs.

About two dozen people came out to hear crime prevention specialist Mini Le who works with the San Jose Police Department. She shared lots of great information.

How to Stay Safe

Here are some of the general tips that stood out to me:

  1. Be outside, hang out in the front yard- people casing areas don’t want to be seen
  2. Get to know your neighbors, know names, numbers and be friendly
  3. If something seems unusual, call someone, talk about it
  4. Make your home look (and sound) occupied, open the blinds, have landscape lights, motion lights AND porch lights, radios, tv’s on timers, have cars in the driveway, put bells on your gates
  5. The most likely place a thief will go is your bedroom, its where 90% of us keep our jewelry and valuables… so, keep your valuables somewhere else!

And here are some of the things you should do outside your house:

  1. Light it up, layer it with timers, landscape lights and porch lights.
  2. Lock your gates, all doors (cars and house)- do a sweep of locks before bed and before leaving
  3. Landscape should be short and not too dense. Thieves like to hide things in bushes.

Schedule Your Own Neighborhood Watch

To schedule your own Neighborhood Watch meeting email mini.le@sanjoseca.gov. You will need at least 3 weeks lead time, location for the meeting and 10 households represented


Willow Glen Home Sale Stats 5/10/09

Well, I gotta say on my blog as I say to all my clients… the market is CHANGING! I have buyers that refuse to believe me and still want to wait until prices go down further. I am seeing multiple offers 35 offers in some cases!!

There were 23 sales in the last week for Willow Glen. The week before was only 13! Price ranged from $1.6M on Dry Creek to $199,500 on Hull Ave. I just spoke to a builder who sold a house (before being on market) for close to $4million!!

Gotta love real estate… I do!

San Jose Guide

My marketing guru husband Greg just put together a very cool guide to San Jose, CA that includes Campbell, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Cambrian and Willow Glen (neighborhoods within San Jose). There is information about schools, shopping and up to date home pricing -even a map of each area.

Let me know if you have an interest in recieving a Guide to San Jose. I hope to have it up on my site soon.

Finding a good lender – in this economy.

Okay, financially speaking, the world is a bit scary right now. Banks are closing and being absorbed. I am reading about people pulling money out of their banks (and putting it under their mattresses essentially). Our whole economic system is morphing into something new.

That being said, people (lots of people) are still buying houses. There are amazing bargains to be found. But, how do you find a good lender? One that is less likely to be absorbed or leave you high and dry…

Here are my top 5 suggestions for finding a good lender:

1) Ask about the lenders volume. A good lender is dealing in $100Million a month or more range.

2) Ask about the length of time the lender has been in business.

3) Who do they partner with or who owns the lending company? Do those partners appear strong, do you know the names of those companies?

4) What kind of education does the individual lender have?

5) Has the lending institution ever done sub prime lending?

And, of course, your realtor should be able to guide you to a great lender!

Take a new way home and get a treat!

As a realtor, I like to think I am up on the neighborhoods that I serve. Part of that is driving around a bit and checking out streets I may have not seen in awhile. Today, my meandering home took me down one of my favorite streets, Franquette. I like this street because of the huge lot sizes (I am just jealous) and how it always seems to have a house under construction. That street is really going through a metamorphosis. Anyway, today I drove by a stand out in front of someone’s home on that street that was selling tomatoes. About 7 large romas for $1.00. I have no need for tomatoes right now, but I HAD to get some! Can’t beat local and fresh for a buck!! Tacos, salads and pasta sauce for a week!

Safety fair with something for everyone!

K-9 police dogs and lots of fun had by all!

It was billed as a safety fair, but I think it was more than that. We had 16 vendors from San Jose Police horse and K-9 unit as well as doing finger printing (80 children total were fingerprinted!) and Ace Hardware showing off the latest in earthquake safety to Morgan Mulitmedia bringing us the skills to make the most of your small business marketing and internet safety and local potter Kyczy Hawk with Crowded Studio selling beautiful art pieces. The event for me was like community building (getting to know your neighbors) on a networking foundation (while learning what other people offer and how they offer it).

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Top three WG real estate picks for 8/7/08

Pick of the week! CARMEL COTTAGE CHARMER IN WILLOW GLEN! 1580 Cherry Glen Way (off Hicks & Mercer) 3 bed 2 bath 1732 sq ft. $1,199,000. This house felt like Carmel charm and just gave you a hug when you walked through the white picket fence (sounds cheesy I know, but really you should check this house out.- Open house on Sun. 8/10/08). And, there is a happy little dog that is due any minute with puppies so you might be able to see puppies at the open house! Okay, back to the house, charming bathroom with a claw foot tub and chandelier, remodeled kitchen with what the agent called Metaphoric Granite (jade green marblelooking stone that is said to be harder than granite) and a full size master suite addition that works well for privacy and access to the backyard.

Willow Glen kitchen with Metaphoric Granite (bamboo green)

Delightful kitchen with Metaphoric granite (bamboo green)

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Building community through public schools

Anyone who lives in Willow Glen should be a proponent of strong public schools. Whether you send your kids to a public school or not , strong schools are a direct reflection of both the almighty dollar (property value) and community strength (do you know your neighbors, can you go next door for sugar, if you are hurt can you knock on a strangers door?).

8/3/08, was the second community playdate for all families thinking of attending ANY Willow Glen public school in 2008, 2009, 2010. Although turn out was lower hoped, there was four families that came. As they say (whomever they are) something is better than nothing… Lets do all we can to build a better Willow Glen!

What do you think about Willow Glen public schools?

RG Neighborhood Produce Exchange

Realtor Holly Barr continues her ongoing WGx column with a twist this time around. During a quiet week for the home tour, she instead brings word of a Produce Exchange hosted by neighbors in the Rosegarden area:

Highlights of July 17, 2008 Willow Glen Realtor Tour

Tricky to find a theme this week. I did see a lot of unusual homes.

Just for the record if your third bedroom does not have a closet it is not a bedroom. Also, if your third bedroom is in a separate structure, like a garage, appraisers state that it is technically not a 3 bedroom house. I recommend you put a clear description of where that bedroom is.

RoseGardenProduceExchangePictureOn a neighborhood update note I went to the first neighborhood produce exchange. Well, the neighborhood was Rose Garden, but we are all neighbors right? Anyway, gotta love the idea. Basically you bring some produce in 2 to 4 lbs. bags between 4:00 and 7:00 and Cass has a table in her front yard. You trade what you brought for a mixture of the items other people brought. I brought two bags of large nectarines, I walked away with a big zucchini, some apples, plums and lemons. All organic and fresh let me know if you want to exchange produce next month.

Here are some interesting numbers about this past week in Willow Glen’s real estate scene:

  • 10 sales last two weeks in area 10 (Mostly 95125)
  • 229 active listings in Willow Glen this week 7/17/08

210 active listings is the gold standard for a sign of a healthy market for this area. The fact that we are consistently in the 230-240 range indicates Willow Glen to be a stable market.

If you ever have any questions about what I put here, or would like to see me take a different approach with this weekly summary of the tour, please let me know!

Holly Barr - Your Favorite Realtor