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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 5-3-15.

The San Carlos Week in Review is the only in depth weekly recap of the San Carlos real estate market, and it’s available every week on the White Oaks Blog.

Chuck’s Sales

Focus = Results. If you hope to succeed in this ultra-competitive real estate market, it’s imperative that you enlist the help of an experienced Realtor who is laser-focused on the local real estate market, and who thoroughly understands the micro-economic nuances of each neighborhood.   The stakes are simply too high …

Behind the Numbers: $2,000,000 Home Sales in San Carlos.

The number of homes to sell for $2,000,000 or above in San Carlos has by almost 70% in 2014. While this may not be totally surprising given the state of the local economy, there are some interesting trends that emerge when we dig into the numbers.

Map of San Carlos Regions

The Realtor Zones. When it comes to residential real estate, the City of San Carlos is divided up into 6 different real estate “zones”: Alder Manor (Area 350), Beverly Terrace (351), El Sereno Corte (352), Howard Park (353), Clearfield Park (354), and Cordes (355). When a home is for sale …

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Reminder: Property Taxes Due Today.

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If you’re a homeowner in San Carlos and haven’t already done so, be sure to pay your second installment of your 2014-2015 property tax bill today. The second installment was due on February 10, and becomes late after April 10.  If you miss today’s deadline, it will cost you a hefty 10% penalty, which is an expensive lesson in procrastination.

For information on payment methods or to get the mailing address, visit the San Mateo County Tax Collector’s website.   Happy Friday!
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Understanding the Permit History of Your San Carlos Home.

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An Important History.

Gaining a clear understanding of the permit history of a home is pretty important if you’re seriously considering purchasing it. This is especially true if it appears that there have been modifications done to the home that obviously require permits, such as the addition of square footage, a new roof, or a wholesale kitchen remodel. But unfortunately, it’s quite common to find homes where work was done that should have required that permits be pulled, but they weren’t.  For example, did you know that you need a permit to replace your hot water heater? Most people don’t think about that at 2AM, which is when all hot water heaters are obviously programmed to fail.

Remember, once you purchase a home you inherit all the risks of illegal or un-permitted work that was done to the house, and quite possibly any liability of any problems that may arise from that work. So it’s vitally important to understand the work history on your home. This is a topic that I have discussed on the blog a number of times over the past 5 years, but it’s worth revisiting because the process for getting this information in San Carlos has changed recently.

Online Information.

Luckily, most municipalities have taken the effort to put their permit database online so that you can quickly and easily search for permits by the property address. San Carlos has done just that, and you can go right to the Permit Search page on the City of San Carlos Building Division website by clicking here.  (While we’re on the topic, if you’re interested in a Redwood City address, that can be found by clicking here.  Belmont’s is here).

While the San Carlos site is extremely informative and easy to navigate, it’s important to know that the online permit history is only from February 1999 to present. If you need permit information older than that, the process is a little bit more involved.

Pre-1999.

If you need permit history prior to February 1999, this can be obtained by filling in this form and emailing or calling the City Clerk’s Office (new process).  The request then gets routed to the San Carlos Building Division for completion. The City’s earlier permit history (non-online) dates back to approximately the mid-1960’s.

For permit history prior to the mid-1960’s, you will need to contact the San Mateo County Assessor’s Office at 650-363-4500, and see if they have any permit history on your home.

So this means if you’re looking at a particularly older home in the area, you may need to work three different channels to get the complete permit history of the home.

The Bottom Line on Permits.

This brings us back to a much broader perspective on permits. As I have written on this site before, when you have work on your house that requires permits, it’s in your best interest as a homeowner to go through the process and get them done.  Yes, it’s slightly more expensive and time consuming to do the job right, but you’ll thank yourself down the road when it’s time to sell your house.  Having the proper documentation for all of the work you’ve done to your house simply instills much more confidence in the buyer’s mind about the quality and legality of the work that you did.

And that usually translates into more $$ for your home, which makes the extra effort worthwhile.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 4-5-15.

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The listing activity was fairly light last week in San Carlos, as was generally expected, since most homeowners don’t want to have their first open house on Easter Sunday when many home buyers are committed to family activities. Consequently, I expect to see the  number of new listings pick up quite a bit in the coming weeks, as we are now heading into a stretch of 6 straight weekends without any holiday interruptions until Memorial Day weekend (Mother’s Day being the sole exception during that period).

This is prime-time for the Spring real estate market in San Carlos, and I know that are sellers who were probably ready to put their home on the market last week, but opted to wait until after Easter Sunday, and the various school system’s Spring breaks. If you’re committed to finding a home in San Carlos before summer, this is the period of time that you’ll want to pay full attention to what’s happening.

Here are the details from last week:

By the Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 4-5-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 4-5-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 4 6
Average Sold Price: $1,581,000 $1,892,500
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $790 $755
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 113% 109%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 9 9
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 14 16
No. of New Listings: 4 8
Total # of Active Listings: 13 13
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,489,385 $1,412,308
Average DOM of Active Listings: 13 15
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $772 $797
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.93 : 1 0.81: 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 3-29-15.

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There were definitely some signs of hope for home buyers in San Carlos this past week.  Eight new listings made their debut, which was nearly triple the amount from the prior week.  And over half of them were below the $1.5M price threshold, which helps a bit with the affordability factor.   Of course, where these ultimately sell in anyone’s guess.

But we are now heading into the two key months of the Spring market, where buyers should see the largest number of new listings that they will see all year — April and May.  This week might prove to be a light start to April, since many agents want to avoid Easter weekend for their first open house.  But expect to see activity jump significantly next week as the Spring market hits full stride, and there’s an unbroken string of non-holiday weekend all the way up to Memorial Day Weekend.  These two months will clearly define what type of year we are going to have in the San Carlos real estate market.

Here are the details from last week:

By the Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 3-29-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 3-29-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 6 6
Average Sold Price: $1,892,500 $1,691,500
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $755 $868
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 109% 123%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 9 9
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 16 16
No. of New Listings: 8 3
Total # of Active Listings: 13 8
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,412,308 $1,413,000
Average DOM of Active Listings: 15 17
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $797 $832
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.81 : 1 0.69: 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 3-22-15.

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Home prices in San Carlos continue to be on an absolute tear.  This past week marked probably the highest amount above the asking price for closed sales of any week since I have been tracking stats on this blog — a whopping 23% on average above the list price. This was skewed upward somewhat by the sale at 2408 San Carlos Avenue, which fetched 45% above the list price.

But the rest of the homes in the sold list below all posted breathtaking premiums over their respective asking prices, the lowest being $151,000 and half of the list fetching $300,000 or higher.  That is some serious market muscle.  Unfortunately, there’s not much relief in sight — we will be starting the week off with only 8 homes for sale in the city and some of these present some unique challenges. Let’s hope for a strong surge of listings this week.

Here are the details from last week:

By the Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 3-22-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 3-22-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 6 4
Average Sold Price: $1,691,500 $1,601,559
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $868 $798
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 123% 112%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 9 14
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 16 16
No. of New Listings: 3 6
Total # of Active Listings: 8 11
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,413,000 $1,362,632
Average DOM of Active Listings: 17 12
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $832 $847
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.69 : 1 0.69: 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 3-15-15.

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The post that I published on the blog last week about the sudden drop in listings (and consequently inventory) in San Carlos was picked up and expounded on in this article the Daily Journal.  San Carlos is not alone in this respect — the number of new listings in most communities along the Peninsula are is either flat, or down from previous years, which is exactly why we are being shell-shocked with some of the prices that are being paid for homes in the past few weeks.

New listings are such a vital metric to the health and balance of the real estate market that I have started tracking them in the summary table below under San Carlos Housing Data.

Here are the details from last week:

By the Numbers.

Below is a high-level view of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 3-15-2015:

San Carlos Housing Data 3-15-15 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 4 5
Average Sold Price: $1,601,559 $1,564,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $798 $881
Average Sold as Percentage Of List Price: 112% 104%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 14 11
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 16 18
No. of New Listings: 6 4
Total # of Active Listings: 11 7
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,362,632 $1,304,714
Average DOM of Active Listings: 12 13
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $847 $901
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.69 : 1 0.39: 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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A Reminder About Leaving Valuables in Your Car.

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Complacency.

One of the characteristics that people find endearing about San Carlos is its relatively low crime levels, and its trustworthy community feel. I know a number of residents that rarely ever lock their house or their cars, regardless of whether they are home or not. But that very trust that makes us so comfortable here can also lead to a complacency that burglars will absolutely seize.

A recent case in point was the latest smash-and-grab car burglaries that took place in the parking lot of the San Carlos Marketplace (Best Buy, Ross, etc..).  Lucky for these people, the perps were caught across the bay and most of the stolen items were recovered. Thieves love this parking lot because of its close proximity to the freeway for a getaway route, and the fact that people will leave their valuables in plain sight in the car — purses, phones, laptops — while they jump out and get lunch or coffee.  Even if the car is locked, the thieves simply just punch the windows in, grab your stuff, and they’re gone in seconds.  This has been a ongoing problem with this parking lot, and others that straddle 101.

There have also been some vehicle break-ins closer to home.  Most recently, a string of cars along Carmelita Drive were broken into in the wee hours of the morning, and valuables were taken. And it seems that only a few weeks go by and you hear of another street getting hit.

The bottom line is that you need to be extra diligent about not leaving anything of value in your car if you can at all avoid it.  If you have things in your car that a thief can turn over for money, store them out of site in the trunk.  Better yet, just take them with you.

It’s a bummer to have to write this kind of article, but just because we love and trust the community we live in, it doesn’t guarantee that everyone else that passes through our city does too.

Have a safe weekend…
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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New Ordinances in San Carlos Aim to Eliminate Unwanted Solicitations and Marketing Materials.

San Carlos City of Good Living

Reduce Intrusions.

Responding to public complaints about unwanted solicitation material and an overall invasion of privacy, The City Council of San Carlos has taken some unique and aggressive steps to severely limit the intrusion of solicitors  — both the ones that knock on your door at all hours of the day, and those that litter your yard with marketing solicitation material or newspapers that you never requested.

In its most recent sessions, the Council considered two ordinances that address both of these issues, and may finally put some teeth in the enforcement of what has become a long standing annoyance in San Carlos. The only catch is that you’ll need to take the step to register your address to ensure protection under these new laws.

Unwanted Literature.

The first ordinance that is due to be adopted by the Council in a few weeks was largely brought about by complaints about the San Francisco Examiner, and their insistence on delivering their newspaper to the driveways of virtually every household in San Carlos — whether the residents consent to it or not. The problem that has arisen is that the Examiner does not seem to heed homeowner’s requests to cease delivering the newspaper to their homes.

As is discussed in this article in the Mercury News, one of the biggest problems with unsolicited newspapers, aside from the obvious litter, is when the papers start to accumulate on a driveway.  This can be an indication to burglars that the residents are gone for an extended period of time, which is never a good thing, and something homeowners cannot control if the papers keep showing up unsolicited.

To combat this, residents will soon be able to list their home addresses in a “refusal of consent” registry posted online by the City Clerk’s Office.  They can also inform someone not to disperse literature on their property or post clearly visible signs prohibiting it.

A violation of the ordinance will be considered an infraction, according to the City Attorney, and will carry fines for violating the ordinance. The first infraction will cost $100, the second $200, and each one after that $500.

Do Not Knock.

The second ordinance that will work its way through the Council is similar to the ordinance prohibiting unwanted literature, except that it’s aimed at door-to-door solicitors.  Much like the anti-literature ordinance, a registry will be created online where residents can register their addresses to opt out of commercial solicitations at their home.

The City passed a requirement a few years ago mandating that door-to-door solicitors obtain a permit before hitting the streets, but this update to the ordinance allows residents to put solicitors on notice that their home is a “Knock-Free Zone.”  According to this article in the Daily Journal, there are some groups who are exempted from this ordinance, such as political and religious groups, but this ordinance should go a long way to eliminating the annoying doorbell ring during dinner time.

One industry that has been an equal offender on both fronts is, unfortunately, the real estate industry.  Between Realtors knocking on the door insisting that “I have a buyer for your home” (even though they’ve never seen your home), or those who leave the same message on a business card unceremoniously dumped on your porch, there are a few in the industry who have raised the ire of many homeowners.  Both of these ordinances should allow homeowners to significantly reduce these intrusions.

Once these ordinances are fully approved by the City Council, the online registries will be available for residents to sign up. I will update this post with that information as it becomes available.
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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