San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor The Remodeling of White Oaks | The White Oaks Blog
San Carlos Real Estate July 16, 2008

The Remodeling of White Oaks

by Chuck Gillooley

lumber.jpg

Remodeling has become a way of life in White Oaks.    It seems that everywhere you turn, there’s a home that’s undergoing some degree of reconstruction.  This is definitely understandable — with the average White Oaks home nearing 60 years of age (or more,) homeowners are facing the challenges of owning a home that is becoming functionally obsolete.  The old knob-and-tube wiring is hopelessly inadequate for today’s modern electronics.   The galvanized piping that was used in the original plumbing often gets so blocked with rust and corrosion that the water pressure to the home is a fraction of what it should be.  And let’s not forget how cold these old homes get in the middle of winter, with minimal insulation and single-pane windows.

Functional obsolescence isn’t the only reason for remodeling.  The average White Oaks home probably averaged between 1,000 – 1,200 square feet when it was first built.  It’s no great revelation that people today want bigger homes, so many of the remodels that you’re seeing in White Oaks involve a dramatic increase in square footage over the original home.  If you recall from my previous post “Does Lot Size Matter?” the City of San Carlos Municipal Code allows owners to build a 3,000 square foot home (including garage) on virtually any lot in San Carlos, and even bigger if the lot size can accommodate a large home.   Just take a drive up Eaton Avenue or Saint Francis Way if you want to see some large and very impressive remodels.

On top of all that, the recent economic instability has made many homeowners think twice about moving to a larger home in a different neighborhood.  Not many people want to digest the larger mortgage and the significant increase in  property tax that you get when you purchase a home.  Remodeling just makes sense for many folks.

So… with all of the changes going on in White Oaks, these questions beg to be answered:

  • What do you think of the remodel projects that you see in your neighborhood, or as you drive through White Oaks?
  • Do you think these new, larger homes are aesthetically pleasing, or are they out of character for White Oaks?
  • Do larger, newer homes add value to a neighborhood, or do they diminish the quality of life for those living in smaller, adjacent homes?
  • If you have remodeled recently, how did your neighbors react to the changes?

I’d love to hear your opinion on this topic — just click the Comment link below and make your voice heard.

(For the purpose of full disclosure, we made the decision to remodel our home 8 years ago.  With four of us crammed into a 2BR, 1,200 square foot home, and child #3 on the way, we clearly needed to either add on or move out.  Since we liked our White Oaks neighborhood so much, the decision to stay and add-on was an easy oneBut being one of the first on our street to modernize and add a second story didn’t come without its share of negative comments and raised eyebrows — C.G.)
__________________________________________________________________

Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
Don’t miss a single update!
_____________________________________________________________________________

GD Star Rating
loading...
GD Star Rating
loading...
The Remodeling of White Oaks, 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating
Comments 4
  • How easy is it to do a renovation in San Carlos? Are permits easy to come by? I have heard horror stories of the permit process in Belmont.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Hey Keith,

    This is a great question. Much of it depends on how big of a renovation you are planning. I’m not as intimately familiar with the process as I was eight years ago when we remodeled, but back then there were two major departments you had to work with to get things through — the Planning Commission and the Building Commission.

    The Planning Commission scrutinized the appearance and size of the house, and determined whether the home was a good fit for the neighborhood, and assured that the styling was complementary to other homes in the area. The Building Commission was in charge of approving the blueprints, and made sure all current building codes were adhered to — they’re much more involved in the “nuts and bolts” of the house, and were in charge of all inspections and permit signoffs.

    I think whether or not a project is smooth sailing or a nightmare is greatly influenced by the architect you use. We used a firm that had done many other homes in San Carlos, so they had lots of experience getting plans approved through the City. They knew what would fly and what wouldn’t. Consequently, our project (which was a total tear-down and 2nd story addition) flew through relatively painlessly.

    I think the City of San Carlos has gone through great pains to make the planning and permit process as smooth as possible. As long as your not trying to build a pink mediterranean castle in White Oaks, they’ll definitely work with you to make your project happen.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Chuck,

    The first step in remodeling your home or adding square footage is to speak with the Planning Department (650-802-4263). They will help you determine allowable square footage, height, setbacks, aesthetics and so forth. Some projects are reviewed and approved at staff level while larger projects may require more intense design review and greater scrutiny by the Planning Commission. Smaller projects less than 500 square feet can be approved much quicker by both Planning and Building Departments. Projects less than 500 square feet also save the applicant a large amount of money as no soils reports are required and school fees (paid to Sequoia Union School District) will not be necessary.

    Once your project is approved by the Planning Department, you will submit 3 sets of plans to the Building Department (650-802-4261). The Building Department will review your plans for energy compliance, structural integrity, as well as verify Planning requirements have been met. New homes, or residential reconstruction over 2500 square feet, will require the installation of sprinklers. This can be added cost to the overall project, but the added life-safety is well worth it.

    The San Carlos Planning and Building Departments are under new management so to speak. As Building Official, my primary goal is to improve customer service for the community and ensure life-safety with each permit issued.

    There are other requirements as they pertain to remodeling your home…too many to list on this Blog. So, please feel free to contact me, at 650-802-4262, if you have further questions. You can email me, at cvalley@cityofsancarlos.org, as well.

    Thanks!

    Christopher Valley
    Building Official
    San Carlos Building Department

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Chris,

    Thanks for taking time to reply to the blog. This information should help “demystify” the permit process for homeowners in San Carlos.

    Perhaps in another post, we can discuss what the process is for new homeowners to obtain permits “after the fact.” In other words, how to get permits for un-permitted work that was already done on the house they just purchased…i.e. bonus rooms, additions, etc..

    Thanks,

    Chuck

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    GD Star Rating
    loading...
Leave a comment