The town of Los Gatos has a very nice series of videos about our wonderful community. Click on the link below and go to the video home page hosted on the town's site; it will auto play the "Welcome" video so be prepared for audio to kick in when you click on the link. All the clips are fairly short, so it's an easy way for visitors to get a quick visual intro to the area.
There are several websites which allow consumers to compare and contrast things like home prices, cost of living, crime statistics, and other factors. This morning I was looking on the Neighborhood Scout site and was interested in seeing how various parts of California compared to Los Gatos. Please continue reading on the new home of Live in Los Gatos
What do you need to know before buying a house in Los Gatos? Particularly for people relocatingto Los Gatos (or generally to Silicon Valley) from other areas, or from parts of Santa Clara County not close to the hills, there are a few home buying tips you'll want to know before purchasing a home in our fair town. Please continue reading on the new home of Live in Los Gatos
For people relocating to Los Gatos, it may be a little complicated to figure out where to find the best news about the town. Today I'll share with you my favorite sources today:
1. News and alerts from the Town of Los Gatos
The town government has a great website where you can find loads of information generally (everything from "how things work" to "how to volunteer" and everything in between): http://www.town.los-gatos.ca.us/
II. Los Gatos Patch - a newcomer with great information
Patch is a national news chain owned by AOL which provides local news, information, and exchanges in various areas around the country. Patch came to Los Gatos in December and has made great strides into the community with a broad range of news and events. If you haven't visited the site yet, drop by and have a read. http://losgatos.patch.com/
III. Best source for events information - the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce
The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce has a spectacular list of events in town (and events are news!), both a general overview and a month-by-month calendar of things happening in and very near to Los Gatos. From the home page, see the choices in the left sidebar and have a look at the "hot happenings" (current events) and the "community events" calendar. http://losgatoschamber.com (home page)
IV. San Jose Mercury News (Los Gatos Weekly Times)
As with many news organizations, the Los Gatos Weekly Times, which was once an independent news source affiliated with other similar news vehicles in Silicon Valley, is now owned by the Merc and most articles are online in the Mercury News website. The news is not bad - but there's not a lot of it. (And the paper version is mostly ads, unfortunately.) Prior to the takeover, the Silicon Valley Community Newspapers kept their online pieces up for years, and that was really nice. Now they are only up a short period of time before you are charged to view the archives.
I prefer the paper version, which is delivered to our home each week, since it seems that not 100% of what's there is online.
One other bias to note is that the LGWT does school coverage but it's limited 99% of the time to the the Los Gatos school district - whereas about 1/3 of the town attends other nearby public school districts. http://www.mercurynews.com/los-gatos
V. Live in Los Gatos
(Yes, this blog - a shameless plug)
I try to capture images, info and events to share with my readers to provide another vantage point or something that may not come up in the more traditional media. And since I am a Realtor (who lives and works in town), I provide housing market stats and info, much of it data I have crunched myself that you will not find elsewhere (for example, info on the subsets of the market such as by sale type, school district, or price point)..
I hope you will bookmark this site and visit often!
What about Los Gatos info on Social Media?
I have to mention this because so many people hang on the online communities. I have not found great news about Los Gatos on social media sites yet - but we may have to circle back down the road, it may get better.
Facebook: if you're hunting for info on Facebook for Los Gatos, you'll find that the majority of "results" will be real estate people sharing their blog posts there. (Here's mine, which right now is the #1 search result: http://www.facebook.com/LosGatosRealEstate)
Los Gatos news sources have changed a lot in four years
A lot has changed since then. The Los Gatos Daily News is defunct (it is now a parked website). The Los Gatos Observer was sold (and is very inactive, mostly covering sports at Los Gatos High - they do a very good job with that topic, though). The Mercury News took over the Los Gatos Times Weekly, so two sources became just one.
If you are soon relocating to Los Gatos or new to town, you may hear people drop the names of places and feel a little lost. In some cases, it may be trouble spelling an unfamiliar name, in others that the same place is known by more than one name or that one name has several potential meanings.Please continue reading on the new home of Live in Los Gatos
What's it like to live in Los Gatos? The answer to that depends on who you are, where you live, and what you love to do. Generally speaking, people who live in Los Gatos have a sense of belonging both to this great town and also to nearby areas such as San Jose,Please continue reading on the new home of Live in Los Gatos
Relocation is an upheaval, but often one full of excitement and promise. People moving to Silicon Valley find themselves coming to a place unlike any other - it's is an entrepenuer's haven, a high tech magnet. With a highly educated population, low crime, fantastic weather, scenic beauty, and opportunities in every aspect of life, the move to Silicon Valley or the San Jose area is abundant with opportunity for success and happiness.
How do you choose where to live once you decide that Santa Clara County, or Silicon Valley, will be home? There are a lot of things to consider, from the type of home you want and the commute distance you can tolerate to the availabilty of parks and trails, excellent schools, and an ambiance where you'll feel at home. And cost, too, of course.
For many, many people relocating to Silicon Valley from within the U.S. or from abroad, Los Gatos is that place that "feels like home". People from Europe have often told me that Los Gatos has a "European feel", and from my year living in Florence, Italy, I can appreciate that correlation! With the many unique shops and great restaurants and the heavy foot traffic, Los Gatos comes across as a place for living and spending time. It's a true community.
The community aspect is extremely important in Los Gatos. Many things bring people together. Big public events are common in Los Gatos - and many of them are free! In summers, there are not one but three free musical concert series (Vasona Vibrations, Jazz on the Plazz and Music in the Park). There's Shakespeare at Oak Meadow Park too. In September, a free movie is shown at Oak Meadow Park and the event is called "Screen on the Green". In December, there will be a well-attended tree lighting ceremony on the first Friday night of the month and a huge holiday parade the next morning. Every Sunday there's a Farmer's Market in the Los Gatos town Park Plaza (across from the post office). There are so many events, all year round, that bring people together. Some are sponsored by local churches (like the St. Mary's Country Fair in early October) or the Chamber of Commerce (Claws for a Cause in September). In November there's an inter-faith Thanksgiving service. Each year it is hosted at a different house of worship. And this is only a passing glance at the fun events that happen each year in the town of Los Gatos.
There are a thousand small things too. Volunteers make this town go! Los Gatos has two museums, and volunteers are the heart and soul of those operations. Volunteers in Policing, the many town commissions are all hosted by volunteers. (My husband is a volunteer on the Los Gatos Parks Commission.)
Schools are a big deal in Los Gatos too. The town is served by three elementary and middle school districts and they range from good to great in terms of the scoring.
Another key element that makes Los Gatos special is scenic beauty. The town of Los Gatos is nestled into the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, so there are gentle, rolling hills and some steeper hills that provide dramatic and impressive views. The terrain is lovely with oak trees and redwood trees alike, but many grassy meadows where you might find deer or wild turkey. Some of Los Gatos is "horse country" too.
Vineyards are popular in lots with more space and the Santa Cruz Mountains are filled with wineries. You won't have to go far to taste locally grown and bottled wine, though - we have spots right in town where that can be done!
The Old Los Gatos or downtown area is historic and architecturally beautiful too. The Almond Grove District, the Edelen District, and the Broadway area are all turn-of-the-last century vintage and lovely old Victorian homes line the streets. Talk about charm! In December there are horse-drawn carriage rides that meander through the downtown and historic parts of Los Gatos.
Our weather is conducive to year-round fun outdoors - the Santa Clara Valley enjoys 300 sunny days a year! Los Gatos is the gateway to the coast, too, so it's only about a thirty minute drive from downtown Los Gatos to the beach at Santa Cruz.
Los Gatos also enjoys a bountiful supply of great parks. Vasona Lake County Park doesn't belong to the town (it's a county park) but it's over 100 acres, with a lake, right in the middle of the town of Los Gatos. Many other parks grace the town from one end to the other. Some have a fascinating history too.
Low crime, great schools, community spirit, fabulous dining and shops, ambiance, and parks are all a part of the Los Gatos experience.
What if you love Los Gatos but it's beyond your budget?
I can help you to find a home either in or near Los Gatos if the town is not quite in reach right now. There are many great areas adjacent to Los Gatos, such as Cambrian Park, Saratoga, Almaden Valley, Campbell, and Willow Glen - many of which are more affordable (or may offer a shorter commute). Call or email me and we'll evaluate your wants and needs together to get you as much as possible within your budget!
People who relocate to Silicon Valley from out of the area often are attracted to Los Gatos from what they've read about the town: low crime, great schools, scenic beauty, abundant parks, fabulous old downtown area, great community involvement and lots to do in town and nearby. There's some interesting history and architecture too. And on top of all of that, Los Gatos is only 30 minutes from the beach at Santa Cruz, twenty from San Jose and about an hour from San Francisco too. So (besides the cost of housing), what's not to like?
There are a ton of reasons to choose to live in Los Gatos. There are, however, a few things you should know as you decide to set down roots here.
First, the town's boundaries and the school disctrict boundaries are screwy. Just because the address is Los Gatos does not mean that it's really part of the town of Los Gatos (it might be in an unincorporated area, or perhaps the post office has fooled with the map to make mail delivery easier). The mountain areas, for instance (zip code 95033) are not properly part of the town - so the residents there cannot vote in town elections. But truth be told, the mountain communities are both independent, and a part of, the life of the town of Los Gatos.
Along these lines, being in Los Gatos (either having the address or really being a part of the town) does not mean you automatically get "Los Gatos Schools". The school district boundaries were set before the town's (final) boundaries were set. Much of the area was simply county when those lines were drawn. So you can drive from an area that has Los Gatos Schools (Los Gatos School District), through an area that doesn't (Union School District) to reach a remote area of town that - yes - has the school district again. Being in Los Gatos does not mean Los Gatos High necessarily. About 20% of the homes in the Town of Los Gatos have Union or Moreland Schools, not Los Gatos Schools. That said, Union and Moreland are excellent districts!
Second, there are 3 zip codes that go with Los Gatos properties, plus the zip code for PO boxes: 95030 is closest to the center of town, 95032 is on the northern end of town (used to be east Los Gatos but the post office redrew the lines a few years ago, so it's now both east AND west Los Gatos, but on the northern side of town) 95033 is the mountain areas (not part of the town per se), and 95031 is the zip code for all PO boxes. But don't let the zip codes rule your home search: some of the homes in 95032 are fairly close to downtown AND do have Los Gatos schools, for instance. And not all of the mountain properties are remote. It's just something to be aware of.
Third, yes it really is all that expensive. You will probably not find a single family home in Los Gatos for $800,000 or less. Single family homes (even on the edge of town) seem to start at about $900,000 unless there's an issue (high voltage lines, busy street etc.). Homes that are comfortable but not fancy of about 2000 square feet start at over a million dollars in the town. If you want that much home "with the schools" it will cost considerably more - perhaps $1.5 million or so. You can often buy more for your money in the mountains, though. There are nice townhomes in all school districts that are more affordable.
Finally, yes, we do have earthquakes - but they don't happen often and we don't obscess about them. The last big earthquake was in October of 1989. We try to be prepared (making sure foundations are bolted, securing tall furniture to walls, etc.) but since major earthquakes seldom happen, we don't lose a lot of sleep about it. Our homes are not brick because brick doesn't move and houses here need to have a degree of flexibility to literally roll with the punches. Maybe that's why we're relaxed: even our homes are! Be prepared - and then let it go. Weird, but true.
(1) I have a website devoted to relocating to Silicon Valley with lots of information free for the clicking: www.Move2SiliconValley.com.
(2) A nice resource for folks moving here (even those currently living in the area) is a Barclay's Locaide. This is a map book that outlines all kinds of boundaries (town, school district, zip code) but also notes items of interest like earthquake fault zones, flood plains and liquification zones. Realtors use these religiously! (NB that this does not take the place of getting a Natural Hazards Report, but it is a great asset.) The Barclay's Locaide is not available in all places but you can order the Santa Clara County edition online, and that includes Los Gatos. Also Barclays offers smaller wall maps of subsets of the county map, such as Saratoga and Los Gatos.
(3) There's a lot of information on the web (and in books), but often the best route to getting the information you need is to simply ask someone knowledgeable. Please call or email me if you'd like information about moving to Los Gatos particularly (or Silicon Valley generally). I'm here to assist you!
A blog about Los Gatos real estate, homes, houses, condos, townhomes, housing market, neightborhoods, history, events, businesses, parks, schools, photos, issues, and lifestyle by Mary Pope-Handy, town resident, enthusiast and Realtor.
Realtor, CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Road Los Gatos, CA 95030
BRE # 01153805