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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 4-19-14.

The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review is the only comprehensive weekly summary of the San Carlos real estate market, and it’s published every Monday on the White Oaks Blog.

Chuck’s Sales

If you hope to succeed in this ultra-competitive real estate market, it’s absolutely imperative that you enlist the help of an experienced Realtor who thoroughly understands the intricacies of the local real estate market.   The stakes are simply too high to entrust the single biggest decision of your life to …

Overbidding Hits a Fever Pitch in San Carlos

Home buyers in San Carlos are bidding more aggressively than ever on homes. The month of February 2014 set an all time record for the percentage above the list price for home sales in San Carlos.

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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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 9-7-13.

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Watching the Calendar.

Now that we are past the Labor Day Weekend, some buyers are starting to nervously watch the calendar and wondering if they’re going to find their home before we settle in for the traditional slow-down after the Thanksgiving holiday.    The good news is that we still have a good solid 2-2.5 months of market time before we hit that point.  And from discussions that I have had with other Realtors, as well as other professionals who are typically involved in the preparation of a listing (inspectors, stagers, title reps), they are all extremely busy right now — which seems to indicate that we’re going to have a very robust inventory turn during this Fall market.   If the past few weeks are any indication, there should be plenty to see in the upcoming month.

Here are the numbers from last week:

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 9-7-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 9-7-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
3 3
Average Sold Price
$1,155,000 $1,221,963
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$759 $638
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 112% 112%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 12 17
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 32 29
Inventory of Active Listings:
22 22
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,458,990 $1,466,586
Average DOM of Active Listings: 31 31
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $601 $639
Active-Pending Ratio:
0.69 : 1 0.76 : 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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Podcast: Are Some San Carlos Sellers Leaving Money on the Table?

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Three Common Causes.

As crazy as it sounds in a market where homes are fetching such astronomically high prices, some home San Carlos home sellers may still be leaving some money on the table.  Try not to laugh too hard, but it’s absolutely true.   There are a variety reasons why this may happen, but we’ll discuss the three most common ones on this podcast:

  1. Pricing the Home Too Low.
  2. Inadequate Preparation.
  3. Lack of Market Exposure.

In a market as hot as the one that we’re experiencing, why run the risk of not getting top dollar for your home?  Click on the podcast player below to find out more.


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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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Is Somebody Taking Pictures of Your New San Carlos Home?

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It’s Probably Just an Appraiser.

So you’ve just closed escrow on your new residence in San Carlos — you’ve got all your furniture in place, unpacked most of your boxes, and are just starting to settle into the vibe of your new neighborhood.   Suddenly, you see somebody pull up in front of your house, get out and take a few pictures of your home, and then get back in the car and drive away.    A couple of days later, somebody else does the same thing.   And so on, and so on  — for a few weeks.

Sound a bit disconcerting?  With all of the residential burglaries that have been happening in San Carlos lately, it’s easy for something like this to make a homeowner a little uneasy.   I have gotten several phone calls about this exact situation from a couple of clients that I’ve placed recently in San Carlos.  But the good news is that the people who are taking photos of your home are probably just appraisers.  With the rapidly escalating market that we’ve seen in 2013, appraisers really need to have recent comparable sales to justify the home that they’re appraising.  Homes that sold even 3 or 4 months ago are now outdated as comps.  So the newer the home sale, the better.

But why can’t they just pull the photo of the home from the MLS?   According to John Anderson, a Certified Residential Appraiser:

On ALL lender-related appraisals, appraisers are required to take exterior front photos of the comparable sales and listings selected for the subject property (even possible comps which may not eventually be used).

The only time we are excused from this (taking exterior front photos of the comps) by lenders is if people are visible in front of the home; it that is the case when we go by to take the photos, then we are required to state that as the reason why we used the MLS photo instead.  Some lenders request us to return to the comp at a later time/date to take the comp photos when people are not present/visible in front of the home.  The reason we can’t have people in the comp photos is because it’s a fair lending law.

The reason appraisers are required to do this (rather than use the front photos from the MLS) is to verify if there are any negative externalities (negative external influences) which would affect the value of a property, e.g., if the comps are on a busy street, or if there are electric power line pylons, if the comp is next to a gas station, backs to (or sides to, or is across the street from) apartment buildings, etc.  If there are negative externalities, a positive location adjustment is made (provided the subject is not on a busy street, backs or sides to apartment buildings, etc.).

So you see, there is likely a very good explanation as to why somebody is snapping pictures of your home.  But when it doubt, you can always ask them for ID and confirm that’s what they’re doing it for.   Better to be safe than sorry!
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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.
Get the best coverage on the San Carlos real estate market delivered right to you!
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 8-31-13.

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The Fall Market is Here.

Bring on the Fall market in San Carlos!  The stats below capture the essence of the first week of a typical Fall market in San Carlos — LOTS of sales.  As I’ve stated before numerous times on the site, the kickoff of the Fall market coincides with the return to school for the majority of kids.   In years past, that used to be after Labor Day weekend, but every year it seems like that date keeps creeping forward (especially if you get a student’s opinion on that.)   Last week was the first week that pretty much all kids were back to school.  And the buying numbers reflected it.

13 homes were went into contract, making it one of the busier buying weeks so far this year.   But only 5 new listings hit the market, so the brief “glut” of inventory that we had is evaporating rapidly.   At the time of this post, we are back down to 22 homes for sale in the entire city.   And that number will likely drop this week before it rises again.

Here are the numbers from last week:

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 8-31-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 8-31-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
3 7
Average Sold Price
$1,221,963 $1,100,143
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$638 $808
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 112% 112%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 17 11
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 29 18
Inventory of Active Listings:
22 31
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,466,586 $1,421,575
Average DOM of Active Listings: 31 29
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $639 $630
Active-Pending Ratio:
0.76 : 1 1.7 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
_____________________________________________________________________________

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.
Get the best coverage on the San Carlos real estate market delivered right to you!
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Harmony Frozen Yogurt Closes Its Doors in San Carlos.

harmony

A FroYo Fave.

The loyal fans who embraced the tangy, organic frozen yogurt and the fresh toppings will be sad to learn that Harmony Frozen Yogurt on Laurel Street has closed its doors.   From the person I spoke with today, slower sales and increased competition from other establishments on Laurel Street took its toll on what was a mainstay of the downtown shopping district of San Carlos.   It’s probably not too much of a stretch to think that they lost a big chunk of business when Tutti Frutti opened shop on San Carlos Avenue.

This flies in the face of the common misconception that every business on the hot section of north Laurel Street is a guaranteed home run.    The more shops that open along this stretch, the more it creates competition for the established businesses, regardless if they are direct competition or not.

There’s no word yet on what will take over this prime spot on Laurel Street, or if any of the other Harmony locations will be impacted.   But it certainly is a bummer to see something so uniquely San Carlos quietly slip away.
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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: 8-24-13.

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Affordable Options.

There are lots of interesting gems to be found in the numbers below which reflect last week’s real estate activity in San Carlos.  The first one to touch on is affordability.  There was a nice push of new listings again last week, which is keeping the inventory of new homes over the 30 mark.   But what was particularly interesting about last week was the affordability factor.  Of the 11 homes to debut on the market, 64% of them were under the $1M mark.  This will give first time buyers a level of choice that they haven’t had all year.

The other interesting number is the active/pending ratio.  This number has been mired at ridiculously low levels all year, well under the 1 mark.   But this past week, it surged to the highest point this year at 1.7.   This ratio is a good measure of buying vs listing activity, and looking at the numbers below for last week it shouldn’t be a surprise to see this number surge — 11 new listings compared to only 3 homes going into contract.   1.7 is not an abnormally high number, but it’s an indication that the pace of selling activity is slowing somewhat in San Carlos.

The third number that jumps out is $1,202.   That’s the price per square foot that the house on 1324 Oakhurst Avenue fetched when it closed escrow this week.  Shocking?  Not when you consider that the home sits on a nearly 10,000 sq foot flat lot on a fantastic San Carlos street.   This just drives home the point I made in this post about lot values in San Carlos — sometimes the dirt drives the value of the sale, and the structure is just an afterthought.  This sale was a perfect example of that scenario.

Here are the numbers from last week:

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 8-24-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 8-24-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week:
7 5
Average Sold Price
$1,100,143 $1,278,857
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold)
$808 $709
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 112% 108%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 11 12
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 18 21
Inventory of Active Listings:
31 25
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,421,575 $1,543,754
Average DOM of Active Listings: 29 35
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $630 $651
Active-Pending Ratio:
1.7 : 1 1.2 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
_____________________________________________________________________________

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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Warfighter Brewing Company to Open in San Carlos.

August 23, 2013 Downtown San Carlos 1 Comment
Warfighter

A Micro-Brew with a Purpose.

I haven’t featured a local business or restaurant in quite a while on the blog, but this story was too good to pass up.  (Credit to Paolo Lucchesi of SF Gate for the scoop on this).   In less than a month, Warfighter Brewing Company will open its doors in San Carlos.   What’s the twist that makes Warfighter different than your typical California microbrewery that have sprung up in droves over the last decade?  Warfighter has a distinct armed-forces theme, with anticipated brews such as Honor IPA, Pride cream stout, and Sacrifice cream ale, according to their pre-release info on Yelp.

But the term “service” is far more than just a theme at Warfighter — it’s woven into the DNA of the establishment.  According to the article, the impetus behind the brewery is not only to give armed forces veterans a place to connect, but also provide them with a place of employment.  A safe haven, if you will.   From their website:

A WAR FIGHTER  isn’t just a person who served during combat operations, it’s a statement of the American fighting spirit.   Both a verb and a noun, it embodies the soul of our great Nation that has been tempered through the bravery of men and women who heeded the call to arms, in every ‘clime and place’ that she’s needed them. The word knows no gender, race, creed, color,  or political affiliation, it simple describes a person who is willing to put the needs of many over the needs of his or her own…

This is a business that San Carlos should be proud to call their own, and here’s to hoping it will be a tremendous success.  Warfighter Brewing Company will be located at 360 Industrial Road, Unit E in San Carlos.

When is the grand opening?  Quite fittingly, it is scheduled for September 11, 2013.
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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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How Much Can You Build on a Lot in San Carlos?

Lot Coverage

Size Matters.

This is a natural segue from our discussion yesterday on expanding a 3-bedroom home into a 4-bedroom in San Carlos.  As a homeowner or prospective buyer in San Carlos, one of the first questions that you have to answer when it comes to expansion is can you even do it?  Finances notwithstanding, will your property be able to accommodate the expansion that’s required to add that coveted 4th bedroom?

How much you’re able to build on a lot in San Carlos is probably the most common question that gets asked by buyers and homeowners — and unfortunately it’s one of the most misunderstood topics.  That’s because there are a whole slew of factors that go into calculating how much a given lot can be built on.   The purpose of this post is to give you a very general guideline on how much you can build on a lot, and more importantly, who you can contact when you have questions about this.

All About Lot Coverage.

Here’s a very handy general guideline that was created by the City of San Carlos Building Department.  If you take nothing else from this post, take this:  RS-3 and RS-6 Zoning Summary

One of the most important metrics on this summary is Lot Coverage.  Think of Lot Coverage as a bird’s eye view of the lot, looking at coverage of structures (including garage, but not landscaping, driveways or any structure under 18” in height).   In other words, the footprint from above.  From the spreadsheet, the maximum lot coverage allowed is 40% for a flat lot, and slightly less for sloped lots.   However, in some instances the City will allow lot coverage up to an absolute max of 50%, especially for smaller lots.  But the more you push beyond 40%, the more your design will be scrutinized by the City.

The other key metric to pay attention to is Floor Area Threshold.  This is defined as the amount of square footage taken up by the the living space and garage.  Again, the cap is set at 40% of the lot size, but there are provisions for owners to build a minimum of 3,000 square feet on virtually any lot.   This exception allows larger homes to be built on some of the smaller lots that you find in the lower part of White Oaks and Oak Park.

These two guidelines must both be satisfied to determine how much you can actually build on a given lot.   Here’s a typical example of what you might encounter in the flats:   On a 5,000 square foot lot, you can actually build a 3,000 square foot home (including the garage).  But the maximum allowable footprint would be 2,500 square feet (5,000 sq feet x 50%).   The remaining 500 square feet would have to be on the second floor, or as a basement.  Again, this exception is subject to staff approval by the City.

It’s important to reiterate that this post is simply a general guideline to what you’re able to build on a piece of property in San Carlos.  If you have specific questions, or need further clarification on the attached worksheet, contact Gavin Moynahan in the San Carlos Building Department at 650-802-4267, or click here to send him an email.  (Special thanks to Gavin for the background info for this post).

Stay Local.

Finally, if you’re planning an addition or a major remodel, or your seeking out a property to accommodate this, I cannot stress enough that you should team up with a designer or architect who knows San Carlos and understands how their Building and Planning Departments operate.   That’s literally the difference between a project that goes off without a hitch, and one that gets red-lined 9 ways from Sunday.   We went through this exact process about 13 years ago, and were lucky enough to work with an architect with a proven track record in San Carlos.  It makes a difference.
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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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Chuck Gillooley
Realtor, San Carlos Resident

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Email: Chuck Gillooley
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