22 April, 2018

Rare custom-built estate in Palo Alto


1535 Edgewood Drive, Palo Alto

Virtual Tour: 1535 Edgewood Drive

 Rare custom-built estate located on one of the most prestigious streets in Palo Alto. This magnificent property was inspired by the Robert A. M. Stern architectural vernacular and evokes elegance and modern comfort. Its sophisticated design and open floor plan embrace indoor/outdoor living.
Built in 2002 and recently decorated by Martha Angus, this 8,212 square foot home consists of three floors featuring fine architectural details and carefully chosen luxury materials. A central grand foyer with soaring ceilings leads to multiple living areas. There are 5 bedrooms and 5.5 baths, 3 offices, a fitness center and a tremendous recreation room with kitchen area, parquet dance floor and game area.

The grand style of the house, together with the beautiful grounds, numerous terraces, and inviting resort-style pool, create a serene, architecturally stunning property. This very special offering is convenient to downtown Palo Alto and Stanford University with easy access to all of Silicon Valley.

Details of This Residence:
Main Level

·        Connecticut blue stone walkway and elevated covered porch with extensive millwork supported by Doric columns.

 ·        Oversized front door with leaded glass panes and central grand foyer with hardwood floors, high ceilings, wainscoting and crown moldings.

 ·        Large formal living room with wood burning fireplace, exquisite stone mantel, wainscot paneling, crown moldings and large windows that overlook the front yard.

·        Sun-filled formal dining room with built-ins and oversized windows.
·        Main level designer’s powder room.

·        A tremendous great room of grand proportions with soaring ceilings opening to the kitchen, natural gas fireplace surrounded by built-ins, entertainment center, large dining area, a private executive office space, intricate beams and a double-paned Nana wall of French doors that completely opens to a light-filled terrace and the back lawn.

·        Chef’s kitchen with an oversized central island with separate prep sink and rare Lumerian blue granite counters, breakfast bar, top of the line appliances, desk area, and hardwood floors.

·        Main level wet bar center with icemaker and glass display cabinet.

·        Full bath with large stall shower, limestone floor and counter that services the pool.

·        Mud room with bench, built-in cabinetry, stacked washer and dryer.

Upper Level

·        Grand stairs with intricate millwork, wainscots and huge window take you to the private upper level with a central galleria. On either side of the main corridor are the luxurious master bedroom compound and 3 additional generous bedrooms.

·        Luxurious master suite overlooking the backyard with two offices, his and hers large walk-in closets, and spa-like master bath with steam shower, oversized tub with jets, dual sink vanity, marble top and heated limestone floors and two executive offices finished in the finest materials.

·        Three family bedrooms with vaulted ceilings and large closets: one bedroom en suite bathroom and the other two bedrooms sharing a large Jack and Jill bathroom with double sinks, marble counter, tub and stall shower.

·        Upper floor laundry room with built-in cabinets and sink.

Lower Level

·        Luxurious guest suite with full bath, limestone stall shower and counter, sink and walk-in closet.

·        Expansive media room with three Murphy beds.

·        Recreation room with parquet dance floor and game room.

·        Kitchen sink with limestone counters and refrigerator.

·        CrossFit-style professional fitness center equipped with media including a television and a Sonos sound system.

·        Two storage rooms and IT closet.
·        Mechanical room.


 Park-like backyard with a variety of venues that offer a magical setting for entertaining and family gathering: numerous blue-stone terraces, arbor, heated dining and entertaining area, built-in barbecue with granite counters, lush sweeping lawn, mature trees, rose garden, fruit trees, Barbara Butler play structure, heated pool and spa - all adding to the feel of an exclusive resort.

 At A Glance:

·        5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths plus 3 offices.

·        Approximately 8,212 square feet:  Home 7,743 square feet, garage 469 square feet. One of the largest properties in Palo Alto. (per architectural plans).

·        Lot size approximately 19,593 square feet.

·        Open concept floor plan with fine architectural details and millwork throughout the house.

·        Guest quarters, recreation room, fitness center, game room, dance floor.

·        Private yard with swimming pool, hot tub, numerous blue stone terraces and heated patio, built-in barbecue.

·        Iconic designer lighting with unique selection in every room.

·        Hardwood floors throughout the first floor.

·        Uniquely appointed bathrooms.

·        Multi-zone heating and air conditioning.

·        Fully finished 2 car attached garage.

·        Outstanding Palo Alto schools: Duveneck Elementary, Jordan Middle and Palo Alto High (buyer to confirm)

·        In close proximity to Palo Alto and Stanford University with easy access to Silicon Valley

1535 Edgewood Drive

28 January, 2018

Local Real Estate Market Report and Outlook for 2018

The local real estate market recovered from the modest dip in 2016 to unexpectedly climb and
 set new records in many area s in our communities in 2017.  Median home prices increased
15.7% in Palo Alto, 14.9% in Mountain View, 11.4% in Los Altos, 11% in Portola Valley and
7% in Menlo Park. In contrast median home prices decreased 21% in Atherton and 16.5% in
The Silicon Valley economy grew 7.8 percent last year, much higher than the nation's 2.6
percent growth. The steady job market, low mortgage rates and foreign investment helped
to propel demand for real estate and push up property prices. International buyers share
increased in 2017 including the share of Chinese buyers that had stepped back in 2016
because of their government's tightening of money outflow.
Property price increases were also driven by area housing shortages and limited available
inventory.  Supply outpaced  demand by far and buyers who are determined to purchase a
home in the area need to be ready, willing and able to move quickly. Some prospective
buyers, especially younger buyers and those entering the market for the first time, are
struggling to buy a home as affordability reaches a new low of 17% in California.
The charts below show 2017 sales data for local area communities, including median sales
prices, sale to list price ratios and prices per square foot. 
Palo Alto
Menlo Park
Los Altos
Los Altos Hills
Mountain View
Portola Valley
% Of Change
2017 Median Sale price
2017 Sale to List Price Ratio
Price Per Square Foot by City
  Challenges to Home Sales in 2018
  • Supply will remain a thorn for brokers, developers and homeowners
  • Long-time homeowners are expected to remain in their homes to avoid
  • paying significant capital gains taxes due upon sale and to maintain low
  existing mortgages
              property taxes and low rates on current mortgages.
  • More single family units are expected to become rentals
  • Mortgage interest rates are expected to move higher. According to
  • mortgage professionals 30 year interest rates will rise to 4.5 percent
     in 2018
  • The tax reform law changes affect real estate beginning with the 2018 t
    tax year.
You will no longer be able to deduct:
  • The State income tax and property taxes above $10,000 per year in total;
  • Moving expenses (with an exception for certain military);
  • Mortgage interest beyond interest on $750,000 of acquisition debt, if you purchase a new home; and
  • Mortgage interest paid on equity debt (this is no longer deductible for any taxpayers).
      I do not expect any significant changes to our local market as of the result of the new tax law because of the high demand and the wealth of our clients.
The Positives in 2018
  • The local economy is strong and job growth will be expanding
  • Wages are expected to increase
  • More millennials will be leaving the nest and looking to buy homes
  • The net cash gain to sellers is the highest since 2006
2018 Real Estate  Industry Outlook
I am optimistic about the economy and the housing market as the new
 year begins. High demand and robust economic conditions are reasons
 to be hopeful. Unless there’s a major correction in the tech sector, prices
 will continue to rise. I expect our local market to increase 8-10% in value.
The question on everybody’s mind is: are we going to hit another bubble
soon? The market conditions today are fundamentally different from the
bubble of a few years ago. Home sales are recovering and we don't have

the subprime lending we had before. Mortgage lending has stringent r
equirements today - almost too stringent. There is job growth and
business and consumer sentiments are high and business is booming
in what experts are saying could become the longest economic expansion
since WWII.
Please share my semi-annual  report with your friends who might be looking
to buy or sell their home. I will be happy to answer any questions or discuss in further detail the state of the real estate market

13 July, 2017

2017 Semi- Annual Market Report For Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton

The local housing market showed mixed results for the first semester of this year as Palo Alto’s median sale price increased 10% with average days on the market of 21 days while Menlo Park’s median sale price decreased 4.5% with average days on the market of 25 days and Atherton’s median sale price decreased 17.5% with average days on the market of 43 days. Demand from international buyers has slowed somewhat but we are still seeing multiple offers on many of our listings although the number of offers has decreased.

Set forth in the tables below are the median sales prices, sale to list price ratios and price per square foot for different areas of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton for the first half of 2017.

2017 Median Sale Price In Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton

2017 Sale to List Price Ratio

2017 Price Per Square Foot for Palo Alto by Areas

2017 Price Per Square Foot for Menlo Park by Areas

2017 Price Per Square Foot for Atherton by Areas

The townhouse and condo market was down. The median sale price in Palo Alto for 2017 decreased from to $1,543,000 in 2016 to $1,472,000 in 2017 and the sale to list ratio was 106.3%. In Menlo Park the median sale price increased from $1,267,000 in 2016 to $1,312,000 in 2017 and the sale to price ratio was 100.4%.
 About the same number of homes sold during the first half of 2017 as sold during the first half of 2016. 174 houses sold in Palo Alto (compared to 170 in 2016), 149 houses sold in Menlo Park (compared to 152 houses in 2016) and 44 houses sold in Atherton (compared to 37 houses in 2015). 

 The current market conditions could be described as follow:

1-      Chinese interest in our local real estate market has slowed somewhat but not in Palo Alto.
2-     There is an abundance of liquidity in the market from IPOs and mergers and acquisitions.
3-     There is a steady increase in the number of new jobs.
4-     Consumer confidence and spending is strong. 
5-     The demand for housing outstrips supply
6-     There is low homeowner turnover due to upgrade.
7-     The improving economy is drawing buyers back to the housing market.

Looking Forward
Here are eight things housing experts expect to see in the next semester:
  1. Prices will continue to rise but more slowly in Palo Alto and will remain more stable in other areas in the Mid- Peninsula.
  2. Affordability will worsen. 
  3. Mortgage rates will be volatile.
  4. Credit availability may improve.
  5. Supply will remain short.
  6. More millennials will become homeowners.
  7. Competition will grow fiercer.
  8. Political impact on the housing market would be more likely neutral.

21 June, 2017

Homebuyer Insights Report- Bank of America

We’re excited to bring you our second annual Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, which explores the latest attitudes, behaviors and preferences of the modern homebuyer.
If there’s one thing to take away from our report this year, it’s that forward-thinking millennials are buying homes – and they’re happy with their choice. This growing group of millennials is seeing the value of getting into a home. In fact, nearly 80 percent who bought homes report that homeownership has had a positive long-term impact on their financial picture. Clearly, the millennial generation is coming of age and realizing it might not make sense to wait anymore to purchase their first home.
While “dreamers” told us last year that they want to skip the starter home in favor of a house that suits their needs over the long term, the overwhelming majority of millennial homeowners say their current home is a “stepping stone” to their forever home. These millennial owners strongly believe owning a home is more affordable than renting. This stands in sharp contrast to those who have not yet purchased a home, who say they are roughly split in their view of whether renting or owning is more affordable.
Some prospective first-time homebuyers believe their personal circumstances should line up perfectly before buying a home. Would-be buyers may think they’re not prepared in all the ways they need to be. For example, many first-time buyers in our report believe they need 20 percent or more of a home’s price for a down payment, which may be why just less than a quarter think they can currently make one. For this group, having the proper financial means to purchase is the top reason for buying a first home, ahead of additional factors such as wanting a place to call their own and preferring a mortgage to paying rent.
The reality is that, with proper help, homebuyers can very often achieve homeownership in a way that is both sustainable and rewarding. Bank of America offers a variety of tools and resources to help homebuyers navigate the homebuying process and purchase an affordable home. Our Affordable Loan Solution™ mortgage, which requires a down payment as low as 3 percent, speaks directly to the needs of first-time buyers who are striving to overcome the down payment hurdle. Additionally, our Down Payment Resource Center is an online tool that helps consumers search a variety of down payment and closing cost assistance programs.
We’re encouraged to see homeowners continuing to find the deep benefits – both financial and emotional – of homeownership. We hope that this report gives both prospective homebuyers and existing homeowners insights  that will allow them to take advantage of everything that owning a home can offer.

09 May, 2017


For longtime Palo Alto homeowners, soaring home prices have been an unexpected windfall, a bonus on top of good schools, plentiful jobs and a close-knit community. But for some, high real estate prices are a mixed blessing: they may want to downsize to a smaller place or sell to provide for their retirement or pay for relatives’ education. Now they face a huge tax bill, in the form of capital gains. 
So it’s no surprise then that more Palo Altans are turning to charitable remainder trusts (CRT) to make selling their home less financially painful. 
“For eight years, I didn’t see any of these at all. It’s picked back up again,” says David Spence, a partner at the Menlo Park law firm Royse Law. Spence says high real estate values, the booming Silicon Valley economy and higher tax rates have been behind the flurry of inquiries he’s received in recent years. 
Area charities are also aggressively courting charitable giving while recognizing that the potential donor’s largest asset may come with a huge tax liability. Both Stanford and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, for example, boast on their websites of their ability to act as trustees for a CRT.
CRTs were not uncommon in the red-hot economy of the 1990s but tailed off through much of the first decade of this century, perhaps due to favorable changes to the tax code in 1997 but Palo Alto’s booming prices mean many potential sellers will today easily top the $500,000 per couple exclusion.
The trusts work like this: A person who wishes to sell their appreciated home instead transfers it into an irrevocable trust, which sells the asset without having to pay the capital gains tax. The trust then pays the donor (“grantor” in legalese) a portion of the trust’s assets annually. The payment stream can be a fixed dollar amount or percentage of the trust’s assets and for a fixed number of years or for life. What’s left over at the end of the trust’s life, the “remainder,” goes to the charity. The donor must pay taxes on the income stream but gets to deduct the remainder gift immediately.
Margo Felt of the Los Altos law firm Thoits Law says some clients cite tax planning, not charity, for creating a charitable trust. “Some people can end up better off having income come out of the charitable trust.” 
Spence recently worked with a retiree who had few assets aside from her home and used a CRT to pay for her retirement while giving back to the community.


As with anything tax-related, these trusts come in multiple flavors and the tax benefits can vary dramatically based on circumstances so working with a qualified attorney or estate planner is a must. The property should generally be free of debt, although Spence says that there are instances where he has worked out an agreement to split a property into separate pieces with one placed in the trust and the other, to which the debt is attached, left outside. 
“That is a solution that can sometimes be done depending on the bank, but it’s not easy,” Spence says. “The general rule is that you’ve got to get rid of the debt before you create the trust.” 
Spence also says that homeowners should not have made a commitment to sell their property and should be out of their house prior to its being placed in trust. “If the owner is living in the house [after it is in the trust], that is private inurement,” Spence says. That is, “they benefit by living in the house,” he says. 

Beyond that, for anyone sitting on a home that is worth 25 times what they paid for it, not uncommon in Silicon Valley, and who wants income for their later years a CRT may allow them to sell.

14 April, 2017

CAA Loses First Round in Rent Control Legal Battle

Last week a court denied the California Apartment Association's (CAA) request for a preliminary injunction in its case against the City of Mountain View to block the implementation of Measure V. Measure V is the city's voter approved rent control and just cause eviction ordinance. A different court recently denied the same motion in CAA's fight to block a similar initiative in the city of Richmond.
CAA had asked the court to prevent the implementation of the ordinance until resolution of the lawsuit which is scheduled for trial later this year. The court found that CAA was unable to prove its members would suffer irreparable harm if Measure V went into effect prior to the resolution of the litigation over Measure V.

This decision now paves the way for full implementation of rent control and just cause eviction in Mountain View, which goes into effect immediately. Measure V applies to buildings with three or more units with different regulations based on whether it was built before or after February 1, 1995. Under state law rent control can only apply to buildings built before that date.