1516 Norman Avenue: Willow Glen Elegance

May 18th, 2017

Last week, I discussed some of my recent listings in San Jose’s Evergreen area. This week, I have another new listing located in a different part of San Jose: Willow Glen. Let’s take a peek inside 1516 Norman Avenue, my latest listing in this highly desirable Silicon Valley neighborhood!

1516 Norman Avenue, San Jose 95125

Norman 1

This completely remodeled four bedroom/three bath/2,256 square foot single-story home displays the highest quality of workmanship, utilizing amazing materials. With its open, flowing floor plan to lend it a light and breezy feel, as well as a huge backyard, this home is a rare find! Two of the four spacious bedrooms are full master suites, and hardwood floors throughout the home enhance its elegance.

Norman 2

The gourmet kitchen boasts beautiful upgrades and high-end appliances, including a wine refrigerator, Thermador drawer microwave, granite-topped center island, a sink with a Hansgrohe faucet and a full suite of stainless steel appliances. Throughout the rest of the home, the upgrades are almost too numerous to count: colonial crown molding, new windows, doors and plumbing, LED recessed lighting…the list goes on and on! It’s the epitome of a modern Bay Area home.

The bathrooms are similarly upgraded, featuring travertine and marble floors, dual sinks, a soaking tub and top-of-the-line Raindance showerheads.

Outside, the home displays even more of its ample charms. Situated on a massive lot, its sprawling backyard is perfect for entertaining or relaxation, with three patios and lovely, lush magnolia and fruit trees. This property truly is gorgeous inside and out. And for those of you going green in your travels, the garage even has an electric car hookup!

1516 Norman Avenue is currently listed at $1,898,000. For more details and photos, visit the home’s website at this link or contact me directly, and please share with anyone you think might be interested in making this superb home their own.

Real Estate Spotlight: Evergreen

May 11th, 2017

One of my favorite neighborhoods in the Bay Area to work in is Evergreen in San Jose. It’s a lovely neighborhood with great homes and some amazing people. Within Evergreen, areas like the Meadowlands boast some truly stunning homes that I love touring (and, of course, selling)!

This week, I’d like to spotlight some of my recent listings in Evergreen. They should give you a pretty good idea of why I love the area so much!

2702 Scenic Meadow Ct,San Jose, CA 95135

Evergreen 1

This Meadowlands home is a stunning single-story estate with an open floor plan and incredible backyard. With a host of upgrades, including hardwood floors, crown molding and so much more, this 4 bedroom/3 bath/2,854 square foot home is a Bay Area dream. A huge lot, office space and great schools offer something offer something for buyers of all tastes. Add in the tremendous views and you’ve got a home that is truly the total package. Listed at $1,649,000. For more photos, visit the website HERE.

Evergreen 2

3110 Royal Meadow Ln,San Jose, CA 95135

Evergreen 3

Another gorgeous Meadowlands home, this  is a 4 bed/3 bath/2,652 sq. ft. beauty  is thoroughly updated and spacious within, with a massive backyard. The huge, flat lot offers complete privacy and peerless views, all while remaining within a conveniently close distance to great schools and amenities. Some of the home’s many features include high ceilings, a full downstairs guest suite, an amazing gourmet kitchen with high-end appliances, and so much more! Listed at $1,539,000. For more photos, visit the website HERE.

Evergreen 4

Recent Sale in Evergreen

If you’re curious about how homes are selling in Evergreen right now, observe this recent listing of mine that just closed escrow.

Evergreen 5

1200 Thornbury Lane is a 4 bed/3.5 bath/2,612 square foot home that I listed in The Ranch at Silver Creek Golf Course community. After multiple offers, it sold for well above asking price, and in fact set a new record for the area. Clearly, buyers love this area as much as I do!

If you or someone you know loves these Evergreen homes, please contact me for more information! I’d be happy to help anyone find the perfect property in this neighborhood to call home.

15141 Sobey Road: Dazzling Saratoga Elegance

May 4th, 2017

Over the course of my real estate career, I’ve seen many wonderful homes and have had the honor or selling some tremendous listings. But every once in awhile, a truly remarkable, dazzling listing comes along that exemplifies elegance. My new co-listing on Sobey Road in Saratoga is one of these rare gems.

Sobey1

15141 Sobey Road, Saratoga 95070

This exquisite listing is a spectacular estate that epitomizes Silicon Valley living.  Nestled on a full acre of land, this home was constructed in 2002 using the finest materials from Europe and the U.S. This approximately 6,427 sq. ft. residence includes six bedrooms, six full baths, a powder room, a generous theater/entertainment room, and an office/library.

Sobey2

Photos can barely do justice to the intricate details of this warm, light-filled home’s inspirational design, with a full suite of elegant designer touches throughout. The home’s location is incredibly desirable as well, with top-rated schools and endless breathtaking views. Beautiful professional landscaping, including lush lawns, mature trees and established vegetation, complete the package, making this home the ideal retreat!

Sobey 3

One of the reasons I enjoy real estate so much is because of the homes themselves, and this is truly the sort of one-of-a-kind residence that will remind any agent why they love this business. The beauty inside and out is absolutely a wonder to behold. If you or anyone you know would like to view this sumptuous estate and experience its magic for yourself, please contact me to arrange a showing, or attend one of our amazing open houses!

In Other News…

Canopy 1

Looking for a great home at a great value? I’ve just DROPPED THE PRICE for my exceptional listing up in Gilroy. 430 Canopy Court is a stunning newly remodeled 4 bed/2.5 bath home located on a quiet cul-de-sac. A large gourmet kitchen and huge backyard are among the numerous impressive features that make this home so desirable. Now listed at just $699,000! Act now and make it yours!

Ready for an Upgrade?

April 20th, 2017

I was reading an article lately that was pretty inspiring. It concerns a recent study conducted on behalf of Bank of America regarding millennial homeowners’ attitudes toward homeownership. You can read it right here. One of the study’s big findings is the fact that a majority of young homeowners are looking to upgrade. They (rightly) view their current home as an asset that they will eventually sell, with the money going towards the purchase of another home. This process of upgrading is important, as families grow in size, work commutes change, etc., and one’s living situation must adapt accordingly. There’s a reason they’re called “starter homes” and not “forever homes,” after all.

Upgrade Your Home

As it happens, this is a great time to act on the desire for a home upgrade. Mortgage rates are phenomenally low right now, which is a situation that cannot last forever. Eventually, they will tick back up, and many experts predict a significant rise over the course of this year. For now, though, mortgages are the most affordable and buyer-friendly that they’ve been in a while. Anyone who has been considering a real estate purchase would be wise to consider this. This most certainly includes anyone looking to upgrade their home.

Think of it this way: property values are very, very high right now. Inventory is still quite low, and demand for Bay Area homes is red hot. For first-time homebuyers, this presents quite a challenge, as I have mentioned before. But for people who already own a home-starter or otherwise-the combination of this seller’s market and the current low mortgages rates presents a great opportunity to upgrade. If a homeowner puts their house on the market now, sells it, and puts that capital towards the purchase of a new home with low monthly payments, they are extracting maximum value from their home. If they delay too long, it may be quite a while before a similar situation presents itself.

Obviously there are a great number of factors and considerations that go into purchasing a home. It’s one of the most complex and difficult decisions a person can make (which is why having a good real estate agent is so important!). But sometimes the key to progress is recognizing an opportunity and taking advantage of it, even if it seems a bit inconvenient. If you are a homeowner like the ones mentioned in the study, perhaps your plans for upgrading are focused on the distant future. Perhaps that truly is the best option at this point in time. But it’s also worth evaluating whether speeding that timeline up a bit might be the most beneficial option for you. Even if it creates a bit of financial discomfort for you now, the long-term savings and the ability to live in your dream home sooner than you thought might be worth it. Upgrading your home is not a decision to take lightly…but it’s certainly one to consider.

If you or anyone you know would like more information on upgrading their home, or forming a specific plan for turning their current home into one better suited for their needs, please contact me! I am always happy to help anyone acquire the home that is right for them, now and in the future.

Spring, Transitions, and Real Estate

April 6th, 2017

Whether due to warm temperatures or watery eyes and sneezing, there’s no doubt about it: spring is in the air. The cozier climate and blooming plants aren’t the only changes afoot, though. Just as it marks a period of transition from winter to summer, spring also marks one for real estate.

The Spring Transition

Spring is in the air!

Winter historically represents a lull in the real estate market. As I have mentioned before, the combination of a plethora of holidays and harsh weather can be a rough one for home sales. Even after the new beginning of January 1st, this lull drags on for some time as rain clouds linger in the sky. Moving simply isn’t as appealing when people don’t want to even leave the house!

Fortunately, after a few months of gloom, spring rolls in with its rejuvenative effect, and the real estate paradigm shifts. A sleepy market wakes up from hibernation as relocation plans delayed by rain and cold seem much more manageable in the sunshine. The newly blossomed green leaves indicate a perfect chance to see another kind of green in the form of cold, hard cash. For Sale signs begin to sprout in front of homes all over the county. The transition has begun.

That’s where we are right now, with one exception. Interestingly enough, this spring comes on the heels of a winter with a particularly hot real estate market. Potential sellers have been staying put, sure, but buyers have been out in droves, driving inventory sky high as demand has so greatly outpaced supply. Not only have the torrential downpours these past few months ended our drought…it’s been raining offers!

This makes our current spring season particularly interesting, as now would be the time that the deluge of new listings coming on the market usually begins. And indeed, personal experience suggests that listings have certainly been ramping up in the last few weeks. While I wouldn’t say there’s a ton of inventory on the market, it would seem we are to a degree escaping the historic low supply we faced around the dawn of 2017.

What Does This Mean for This Spring?

In the near future, this steady flow of new listings means more options and opportunities for homebuyers. Demand is still so strong that these listings can only soak up so much of it, but those potential buyers that have been facing disappointment since the fall may finally feel some relief. With that said, it would take a lot of new listings, far beyond what is likely, to turn this into a true buyers’ market.  Buying a home may be easier, but it won’t be easy without plenty of luck, money and a good real estate agent.

If you’re thinking about selling, there is ample reason to make a move in the near future. As I noted, the increase of listings on the market may reduce demand for any one individual listing, however slightly, and thus drive down its potential selling price a bit. As such, now may well be the time for highest sale prices in a while, especially coupled with the buyer fatigue that may be setting in after a winter that was frustrating for many potential homebuyers. Also, steadily rising interest rates may end up pricing out a substantial amount of buyers if you delay too long. If selling your home this year is in the forecast, you may want to take inspiration from the season and spring into action!

Of course, each individual situation is unique. I encourage you to use me as a resource to help determine what is the best way for you to realize your goals, whether buying or selling. Together, we can minimize the fuss of transitioning you to a new home. Enjoy your spring, everyone!

An Award-Winning Team

March 30th, 2017

Last week, my team and I attended the Keller Williams Bay Area Estates awards show. It was a lovely evening, full of great people in a beautiful setting. It was a successful evening, too!

Team Award 1

Yes, that’s me, holding my 2016 award for being one of the top producers in the office. It was an absolute honor and delight to receive this award! It also helps put things into perspective after a very remarkable year in real estate.

Real estate is like any other market: it has its ups and its downs. Fluctuations are inherent…one must be cognizant of them, and roll with them either way. As such, in weighing one’s progress, an agent must take a more holistic view of their business.

In this past year, my business has taken a huge step forward as I have assembled my real estate team. Month by month, I have recruited some truly incredible agents to work alongside me and build our collective business. The night of the awards was a chance for us all to get together and celebrate our partnership. I am so very grateful to work with such a phenomenal group of people, and I look forward to seeing how our combined efforts propel us to new heights!

Elena Johal Team

Market Update

In other news, home prices in the Bay Area continue to rise as inventory creeps lower and lower. This has created what is effectively the very definition of a seller’s market, as a multitude of buyers compete for the few homes on the market. Home values are reaching unprecedented heights as desperate buyers offer well above asking price in order to secure their dream home.  How this will play out in the long term is uncertain, but one thing is abundantly clear: if you’ve been thinking about selling, there has never been a better time than NOW!

This week served as a reminder of how much I love my job and the talented agents I work with…and we’re always thrilled to share that love. Whatever your real estate needs, contact me and my team and let us put our award-winning skills to work for you!

Award

New Season, New Listings

March 23rd, 2017

Well, it’s official: Spring is here! After a wet winter, it’s a welcome relief to see blue skies (albeit amidst some gray ones) and warmer temperatures. Fittingly enough, I’ve been able to do some spring cleaning of sorts lately. My listings from the winter are currently all either in contract or have closed escrow. With the seasonal shift, I’m facing a new beginning. Fortunately, this new season brings with it new listings! I’d like to highlight two new listings of mine that have come on the market in the past week, just in time for spring.

4479 Park Bristol Place, San Jose 95136

Spring Listings 1

This beautiful five bedroom, three bath home is a Blossom Valley dream come true! This highly desirable open floor plan model comes complete with a downstairs guest suite and a large upstairs master bedroom suite. Located on a quiet cul-de-sac, the home features a gourmet kitchen with gleaming granite countertops, a large garden window, newer appliances, a pantry and an open view of the dining and family rooms. Additionally, the house is freshly painted and newly remodeled with designer carpeting, amazing lighting fixtures, marble tiles and simply HUGE rooms providing plenty of space for you and your family! Dual pane windows throughout allow for ample amounts of soothing natural light.

Spring Listings 2

Outside, the sizable backyard boasts a patio, fruit trees, gardening, herb area and room for a pool, play structure and more! The sizable three-car attached garage offers room for parking and storage. The location is superb as well, within a peaceful neighborhood and walking distance from grocery stores, public transportation, great elementary school, tennis courts, playground, Hayes Mansion Park, and the library. Conveniently a few minutes away from highways 101, 87, and 85, this home is ideal for any commuter as well!

Spring Listings 3

Listed at $999,998. Here is a link to the property website for more photos and information: 4479 Park Bristol Place.

430 Canopy Court, Gilroy 95020

Spring Listings 4

A sensational Gilroy home awaits you! This one-of-a-kind property is located on a cul-de-sac and is newly remodeled. Its open floor plan and high ceilings lend it a relaxing, airy feel. Other fantastic upgrades include brand new gleaming laminate flooring, new carpet, fresh designer paint, new lighting and so much more! A large open kitchen with a breakfast bar is the perfect place to prepare a meal, and the large dining room area is the perfect place to enjoy it. The family room, with its beautiful fireplace, lends itself to recreation. All the bedrooms are quite spacious and capable of accommodating a nice size bed, a desk and more.

Spring Listings 5

The home’s luxurious master suite has high ceilings, a walk-in closet, and a full bath complete with his and hers sinks, shower and an inviting tub. The laundry room is conveniently located upstairs, near all the bedrooms. Walk out to the huge backyard, which provides plenty of room to entertain, play or have a nice outdoor dinner on the large patio covered by a trellis and surrounded by mature trees. Finally, the close proximity to the local park, tennis courts, playground, large grass field and trails and walking distance to shopping and restaurants make the location highly desirable.

Spring Listings 6

Listed at $720,000. Here is a link to the property website for more photos and information: 430 Canopy Court.

Thanks for taking a look at this two great listings with me! If you or anyone you know is interested in more information or a private showing of either property, contact me at ejohal@kw.com. Until next time, enjoy your spring, everyone!

Overcoming the Annoyances of Homeownership

March 9th, 2017

Homeownership is often said to be one of the fundamental elements of the American dream. Certain unpleasant realities of homeownership, however, often get glossed over when this dream is discussed. This article regarding the most annoying things about owning a home is a great introduction to these realities. Though they’re not as attractive as the positive aspects of buying a home, it is crucial to be aware of these annoyances.

The Annoyances of Homeownership

What Are These Annoyances?

The article linked above discusses seven annoying aspects of homeownership. Though there are certainly even more than that, acknowledging these is crucial. They generally fall into two camps:

1. Pre-Close Problems

These include difficulties accessing a property and the financial clampdown induced by the often immense cost of buying a home. They certainly tend to add to the stress of a home purchase, and can actually cause buyers to get cold feet or back out of the deal in extreme cases. Hence, they are deceptively dangerous to the transaction.

2. Post-Close Problems

These include the unforeseen, unfortunate or even downright nasty things that sellers can leave behind once they’ve left a home. Also of note are elements of the home that are less attractive, stable or user-friendly as they might have seemed at first glance. Taken together, these can definitely instill a sense of buyer’s remorse in affected buyers.

So what can be done about all these things? Well, awareness is always a good first step. Just by acknowledging these issues, one can begin to deal with them in small ways. If you’re in the process of selling a home, being cognizant of these things and helping the buyer deal with them or minimize their impact is a great way to keep a transaction smooth and prevent cold feet. The buyer is already going through a lot, and they will no doubt appreciate your help in minimizing their additional stress.

And if you are the buyer? Then this really highlights the importance of hiring the right agent. It is vital to have an agent that helps raise your awareness of these issues ahead of time, and address them as necessary. Just a bit of planning and preparation can drastically reduce the impact of the annoyances mentioned above. A good real estate agent can help make your home buying experience the joyous one it should ideally be.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the less enjoyable aspects of homeownership. Naturally, you shouldn’t let them dull your enthusiasm for buying a home; in fact, just the fact that you now know about them and can deal with them accordingly should make you feel even better! As always, feel free to use me as a resource for any questions or concerns you may have about real estate. Though no real estate transaction is without headaches, I’m always happy to be my clients’ Excedrin!

First-Time Homebuyers in the Bay Area

March 2nd, 2017

If you’re a prospective first-time homebuyer in the Bay Area, or you know someone that fits that description, you likely won’t be surprised by a recent report that says California is the most challenging state for first-time homebuyers. Demand for housing is at a fever pitch and supply is notably low. Younger people looking to finally make their dreams of homeownership a reality are facing an uphill battle. This can be extremely frustrating to those who have worked hard, saved and planned, yet still can’t quite get there. I’ve written about this sort of thing before, but this newest study confirms how difficult things are in the Golden State.

First-Time Homebuyers are feeling the pinch in California

What Is Going On?

A number of factors contribute to this squeeze on first-time home buyers. In addition to the normal supply and demand issues I mentioned above, increasing mortgage rates are forcing buyers to tighten their budgets and look to somewhat cheaper homes than they may have considered previously…including those homes that would most appeal to the budget of a first-time home buyer. Now the demand for homes is being more heavily concentrated in certain price ranges, exacerbating the problem for all homebuyers, particularly those with the least resources. I’ll give you one guess which group that is.

Speaking of limited resources, it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain financing for a home, with higher rates for those who do qualify. We’ve seen this happening for months now, and there’s no end in sight. And the problem with THIS is that in California, particularly in areas like Silicon Valley, there are a relatively miniscule amount of what could be considered “cheap” homes. Due to a variety of factors, homes here are genrally just expensive. It’s no coincidence that the most difficult state for first-time home buyers also happens to contain many of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. It can take years (decades, even) to work one’s way up to the level of income necessary to afford even a lower-end home, and tighter financing requirements coupled with higher monthly mortgage payments can make even that seem out of reach.

There are other elements at play here as well, which the article I linked at the beginning touches upon. Different generational spending habits, high rents, and the difficulty obtaining the funds to make a down payment are among the other problematic elements for younger homebuyers. Taken together, it almost seems that those seeking starter homes might have to give up on their California dreaming entirely. But that’s not necessarily the case.

So What Can a First-Time Homebuyer Do?

If you’re a first-time homebuyer like those I’ve mentioned above, my advice to you would be: don’t despair! Yes, the situation may be frustrating, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. All it means is that you should seek the services of an experienced realtor with a wealth of local knowledge and connections. Might I humbly suggest myself and my team for the task?

The reality of the situation is this: no, it won’t be easy. Few things worth doing are, as the saying goes. But there’s a huge difference between “not easy” and “impossible.” And, as another saying goes, it’s all about who you know.

Specifically, a good real estate agent should have a huge network of clients, prospects and other agents, all working together for a common goal: getting people into the homes they want to be in. So it stands to reason that these agents will be the best equipped to discover a good deal on the right situation for a client of theirs, even a first-time homebuyer. In addition, the agent’s experience and knowledge can help guide a client through the process of discovering exactly what they can afford and tailor their search accordingly. Overall, we may live in the most difficult state for first-time homebuyers, but the proper professional guidance can still make the dream of homeownership a reality for a new generation.

If you or anyone you know are looking to take the first step into the world of homeownership, I am always available as a resource. It’s a pleasure to help people in these situations realize that their seemingly impossible goal is not only possible but achievable with some smart planning and the proper guidance.

 

Expansion

February 23rd, 2017

We’re just about two months into 2017, and in the Bay Area, it’s been raining incessantly the entire time. Considering the massive drought California has been enduring for years now, the rain is a welcome change of pace, but at this point, the ground is oversaturated, rivers and reservoirs are overflowing, and the pendulum of water has swung from “not enough” to “too much.” On the other hand, spring is right around the corner, and the warming weather and ample rains guarantee one thing this year: growth. Fortunately, the recent expansion of my team has mirrored this phenomenon. Just as spring blossoms with soon mark the passage of the seasons, my team-building efforts are coming to fruition.

For example, a wonderful agent by the name of Kristina Kesovija recently joined the team. Kristina is a joy to work with and a valuable addition to our squad.

Kristina, the force behind our latest expansion

One exciting aspect of working with Kristina is the possibility of expanding our collective business. For example, right now we’re co-listing a great condo together: 3 Merritt Avenue in Oakland, CA.

3 Merritt Ave Oakland CA 94609-large-001-2-Front-1500x1000-72dpi                                3 Merritt Ave Oakland CA 94609-large-003-3-Living Room View-1500x1000-72dpi

Now, Oakland is quite a drive from my home base in the South Bay, so while I love doing business out there, the journey is so time-consuming that it’s not always feasible to do by myself. But now, with the expansion of my team to include Kristina, I don’t have to do it by myself. I have a wonderful agent who can act as my support system and makes sure the listing gets the attention it deserves despite its distance from our office.

This is the case with all the agents on my team. We work together to achieve greater results than we could ever achieve alone, and our collective business flourishes as a result. We have a higher capacity for listings than ever, while maintaining our exacting standards of quality and care with each.

In addition, working as a team allows us to all benefit from the same marketing and techniques. For example, if I have three open houses scheduled for the same time, I can’t possibly cover all of them. With my team, the open houses I cannot attend personally are getting covered by people I not only know and trust, but that I work closely with. We are all on the same page in terms of the aspects of the home to highlight, in-depth insight into its status and qualities, and a proper, consistent approach to market it. We are able to present a unified message across our entire team regardless of who is present.

This is not to say that I have any desire to be an absentee agent.  I have a very personal investment in real estate; it is my passion, and it is extremely important to me that I am present and involved in each of my listings. But I’m also one person, only capable of existing in a single space at one time, and the ability to have multiple people with the same vision under the same umbrella in multiple places at once immensely increases my efficiency. And with increased efficiency comes expansion.

The Elena Johal team continues to grow, and I have no doubt the best is yet to come. Thank you for joining me along this journey and allowing me to share my thoughts with you.