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Housing Forecast Says: If You Plan to Buy, Buy Now

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Las Palmas - The Groves

The San Jose Mercury News recently ran an article on how the San Francisco Bay Area housing costs are impacting the new home market.

Land costs have gone up at least 40-50 percent in the past two or three years, Smiley said, ranging now from $3 to $4 million an acre in San Jose, to $5 million on the Peninsula and $3 million for East Bay sites near Silicon Valley’s booming job market.

These land costs probably will translate into greater densities and more expensive housing when the new developments come to market.

SummerHill Homes maintains a commitment to building a quality product that will stand the test of time, and we build for a variety of buyer profiles. (See our list of Bay Area homes for sale for info.) Our goal is to always offer a fair market price for the product built, and to spare buyers the drama of bidding wars.

In the same San Jose Mercury News article, we meet Octavious Mendoza, a mobile app developer who is looking at homes in the $600,000 price range. Homes he describes as “old, and not very nice.” Mendoza also said, “new homes are preferable” because “you can’t go wrong buying a house in the Bay Area. The technology industry is not going away.”

We agree. If you are going to buy new, and we think you should, then now is a great time to do it. Because all builders will be asking more when they release their next round of new home communities.

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Water-Saving Tips

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Big news today about California’s drought: the San Francisco Chronicle reports $500 per day water fines have passed the California legislature. Water wasters now face serious penalties, so now seems like a good time to share some water saving tips for our Bay Area new home owners.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Wateruseitwisely has an abundance of information on judicious water use including tips for kids, tips for indoor and outdoor water use, plant care, and even a monthly water planner. We took a look at the list and learned a few things we though worth sharing:

  • If you drop ice cubes, don’t put them in the sink. Put them in a house plant. Similarly, while you wait for hot water, collect the running water and use it to water plants or make ice.
  • Soak pots and pans in the sink instead of letting the water run while dish washing.
  • Take a shower instead of a bath. A bath requires 70 gallons of water.
  • Don’t launder towels after just one use – reuse towels
  • Patronize car washes that use recycled water.

These are just a few tips. With the drought expected to last through 2015, even if this is an El Nino year, we’re all going to be expected to conserve water, and pay fines if we don’t.

Posted in General Interest, Green, Lifestyle | Comments Off

4th of July in the San Francisco Bay Area

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

What are your plans for the 4th of July and the long weekend? The sales team at our bay area new home communities will enjoy the most welcomed day off (and reopen for the weekend traffic on Saturday). With the day off approaching, everybody’s been talking about where to go celebrate the holiday, and some folks did some research into various festivities, and we figured we’d share with you a list of ways to celebrate Independence Day in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out the list, let us know if there are any big events we’re missing. Enjoy the holiday!

San Francisco Fourth of July Waterfront Celebration. Music and fireworks display over San Francisco Bay. The party starts at noon and the fireworks are at 9:30 p.m. The main events are at Pier 39, Beach Street and the Embarcadero. Many of the hills throughout the city will offer great views and there are parties all over. If that fog rolls in, though, you might be looking at illuminated, flashing fog unless you are nice and close. Free admission.

San Jose 4th of July Celebration. This is the first time in years San Jose has hosted a world class fireworks show. Its near Midtown Village and the main event is at Discovery Park.

San Francisco Symphony with Fireworks at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Music and fireworks at Shoreline in Mountain View (near Las Palmas). Tickets on sale via livenation.com. The party starts at 8 p.m.

Morgan Hill Independence Day. July 4 begins with a 7:45 a.m. five-kilometer walk/run at P.A. Walsh School followed by a parade. Then there’s a car show. Fireworks and celebration starts at 6 p.m. at Morgan Hill Community Park. Fireworks at dark.

Palo Alto Summer Festival and Chili Cook-Off. July 4. Starting at noon a lot of awesome local chefs battle for the championship of chili. Here’s your chance to enjoy an array of red-hot chili delicacies. Live music, dancing, children’s activities, food vendors. Noon-5 p.m. Mitchell Park, 600 East Meadow Drive.
San Jose Giants Fireworks Extravaganza. The single A ballclub of the San Francisco Giants will host the Stockton Ports July 4 and July 5. Fireworks begin following each game. Game time is 6:30 p.m. Municipal Stadium, 588 East Alma Ave., San Jose.

USS Hornet Museum Independence Day
. Live music on the flight deck, interactive games for all ages, prizes and a bounce house for kids. Tours of the famous aircraft carrier throughout the day. Fireworks from other Bay Area events can be viewed on deck. 1-9 p.m. July 4. 707 W. Hornet Avenue, Pier 3 in Alameda. $20-$25, $10 children.

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We’re heading to PCBC 2014!

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

The Pacific Coast Builder Show (PCBC) happens this week at Moscone Center in San Francisco. In the world of new home construction, PCBC is one of the best ways for home builders like SummerHill Homes to remain at the forefront of what’s hot in real estate. We get to go to education seminars to learn about trends in everything from paint color to housing economics to customer service training. We also get to network with lots of other home builders and take a break from being competitors to instead share experiences and learn how to best service our customers. Plus (confession!) everybody from banks to doorknob manufacturers wants to chat and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t enjoy the attention.

Are you attending PCBC this week? Let us know and we’ll make a plan to meet up.

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NAR Economist Lawrence Yun Doesn’t See a Housing Bubble

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

We read with interest a recent Q&A with Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), that ran in the San Jose Mercury News. Yun is a man who, when he speaks, everyone interested in real estate listens. His predictions and observations is closely analyzed across the country and in the halls of congress. As a builder of new homes for sale in the bay area, we were especially interested in his thoughts on how creating more housing can ease the pain of high home prices, and on whether or not we’re seeing a bubble in bay area residential real estate (Yun says there is no bubble). Some highlights:

Yun is asked whether he saw a bubble before the 2008 crash. His response:

Lending was opening up to a point at which there were no underwriting standards. It clearly was abnormal. It was … a misalignment of all the fundamentals.

Yun looks at bay area real estate prices and contrasts now to 2008:

Underwriting standards are much tighter. People who get mortgages are meeting very strict standards. Second, there are large cash transactions. People are cashing in stock options and Asian buyers are coming in with all cash. Any time there are cash transactions and higher down payments, the risk of potential decline is reduced.

And:

The market is still in recovery mode. Together with tighter lending standards and crash transactions… there’s less risk.

We think the article is worth reading in full here

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Sales Update for our Bay Area Communities

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

SummerHill Homes is currently selling a variety of new home communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. We want to update you on all the communities, basically because recently much of the attention in the press has been just about Las Palmas, an attached homes community in Sunnyvale. (The first release sold out in the first 10 minutes. We averaged about ten offers for each home sold. The next release went even faster with 100 offers in five minutes, and all the homes sold instantly.) We want you, dear reader of this blog post, to get an update about the other communities for sale. You’ve been asking, so here you go:

Midtown Village – New Single Family Homes in Santa Clara: The final releases are now selling. 3 “Avenues”, 3 “Boulevards”, and 2 Model Home “Boulevards” remain.

Midtown Village - New Single Family Homes in Santa Clara

Evergreen Place – New Townhomes and Single Family Homes for Sale in San Jose: Final homes just released, only two model homes remain for sale.

Evergreen Place - New Townhomes and Single Family Homes for Sale in San Jose

Roubion – New Single Family Homes in Santa Clara: Final release (just five homes) scheduled for late June or early July.

Roubion - New Single Family Homes in Santa Clara

Astute readers will notice there are some model homes for sale, still. The model homes are homes we use to “stage” for potential buyers what you can do if you buy one of our homes. These homes are saved for last, and, because the model homes are the homes we use to demonstrate the best possible example of our homes for sale, the model homes are a great buy. Model homes are now for sale at Midtown Village, Evergreen Place, and soon for Roubion.

We’ll post back here with news on some other exciting developments, coming soon.

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Bay Area Gardening Advice for a Drought Year

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

With memorial day behind us, we can now turn to thoughts of summer. For many in the bay area, that means thoughts of gardening. At our new attached homes community in Sunnyvale, Las Palmas, the team of landscaping pros have thought a lot about what makes a garden beautiful. Rows of beautifully manicured palm trees dot the landscape and everywhere you’ll see beautiful little touches, including many of these drought-tolerant plants. Because this summer is a drought summer we are giving would-be gardeners some tips on some beautiful gardening options that require little water. (Note: Sunnyvale, CA is gardening Zone 9 and so are all the following selections.)

Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’
Tiny blue-green leaves form tight rosettes on trailing stems. This low grower from California makes a great groundcover.


Libertia peregrinans

Thin, stiff orangey blades of this iris relation from New Zealand reach 2 feet tall and half as wide. Clusters of inch-wide white flowers bloom in spring and summer.

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’
Short chartreuse leaves grow on stems up to 6 inches tall. This succulent from Europe spreads freely, making it a fluffy groundcover or filler between other plants.

Sedum spurium ‘Voodoo’
Small, rounded burgundy leaves cover this low-growing, quick-spreading succulent from the Caucasus. Tiny reddish flowers bloom in summer.

Salvia clevelandii
Purple-blue flower spikes rise above aromatic gray-green foliage in early summer. This sage, from Southern California and northern Baja, grows 3 to 5 feet tall, and 5 to 8 feet wide.

Sempervivum
This European native, with gray-green, pink-tipped rosettes from 2 to 5 inches across, grows into clumps spanning 2 feet or more. Reddish flowers shoot from thin, 2-foot-tall stems.

Agastache rugosa
Stems of glossy green, licorice-scented leaves reach 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. This perennial from Korea has purple-blue summer flowers that hummingbirds love.

Gardening enthusiasts, whether you live in a SummerHill Homes new home community or not, we’d love to hear where you are having success.

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Selling Your Home? Here’s What to Avoid

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

It seems like everyone is trying to buy in Sunnyvale. At least that’s our impression watching all the brisk sales activity at Las Palmas, the new home community in Sunnyvale (and its not just an impression. The number of homes sold in Santa Clara County jumped 27.4% in April and the average number of days on the market dropped to just 22 days!). So we keep getting asked for tips on home sales: what should would-be home sellers avoid doing to help increase the likelihood of selling their home? The San Jose Mercury News offers these helpful tips:

  1. Don’t hold on to imagined equity

    Remember that a house is only worth what a buyer will pay for it and nothing more. Often times sellers will believe their property offers something special that isn’t available in other homes and is worth the extra money; however the chances of that being true is rare. Remember: if your home is priced properly, it will sell; if it isn’t, it won’t.
  2. Don’t leave a mess behind

    Make sure to take the extra time to prepare your home for a showing. Homebuyers visualize how they will live in a home and if that space is cluttered, it makes it difficult for buyers to see themselves living there. Cleaning up doesn’t stop after the showings either; make sure the house is cleaned up upon moving out too.
  3. Don’t stay for showings or open houses

    Who knows more about the bestselling features of a house than the homeowner? That may be true, but hanging around during showings and open houses may have a negative effect. Having the homeowner present during a showing or open house actually makes buyers feel uncomfortable and may make them want to leave quickly. Because serious buyers want to fully examine a home by opening doors and looking through cabinets, they may feel uncomfortable if the home seller is present, no matter how nice you may be.
  4. Don’t walk away from an offer because of a couple thousand dollars

    After all the showings and open houses, you’ve finally received an offer but it’s less than your asking price. After negotiating with the buyer’s agent, the final agreement is reached and it’s still a few thousand dollars short. Do you try to squeeze a little more and risk having to agree on more credit towards closing to close the deal? If you really want to sell your home, don’t try to “buy your house back” because of a few thousand dollars.

Let us know if you have any other tips…

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SummerHill Homes Wins “Public Private Partnership Award”

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

This is great! On April 17th, the SummerHill Homes new home community Maravilla was acknowledged with the prestigious “Public Private Partnership Award” by the Association of Bay Area Governments. This was at the eighth annual “Growing Smarter Together Awards” presented during the spring General Assembly to the cities of Redwood City, Walnut Creek, Campbell, Richmond, Fremont, South San Francisco, and Vallejo. Specifically, the award is for the partnership between SummerHill Homes and the City of Campbell and the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

The acknowledgement was for a successful partnership that focused on affordable housing and access to housing in the region of Silicon Valley. In Silicon Valley many hard workers cannot afford to buy a home, even with two full-time salaries, so the partnership focused on reducing blight while providing housing working people can afford. The community contains 40 homes, including 16 single family homes at market rate and 24 3-story attached homes at an affordable price. The community is close to downtown and close to jobs and the partnership is a great model of private-public collaboration at its finest.

You can learn lots more about the partnership and see short interviews with the folks involved here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55UwucfseUA&feature=youtu.be

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Celebrating Moms: How to Make Mother’s Day Special

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

SummerHill Homes has a lot of moms working in our office and with Mother’s Day just around the corner (Sunday, May 11th, and we’re guessing if you are a mom you already knew that) we thought we would share some tips to make sure the moms out there are treated to a really special day. These tips are borrowed from conversations we’ve had with the moms at our office and are their answers to “what would you think would make Mother’s Day really special for you?” so here’s what they said:

  • Mom works really hard to make life at home perfect for her family. What if she got to spend a day all about enjoying home? Instead of running all over town, let Mom celebrate the day in the comfort of home and relax for a change.
  • Do you know any of Mom’s favorite foods? How about cooking for her. Breakfast in bed is always amazing and we’re guessing if you start the day with this thoughtful gesture then the day starts off amazing and stays that way. And if you are feeling ambitious, we love the recipes over at epicurious.com. And be sure to do the dishes after, if you get to cooking.
  • You can turn “home” into “spa” fairly easily. Maybe after that breakfast in bed or ambitious meal, give Mom some pampering. Get some bubble bath stuff, a face mask, and even some nail polish. Giving her these things and the time to just chill out will be a gift any mother will treasure.
  • The May weather should be perfect for you Bay Area moms. We’re focusing on not getting in the car and schlepping around, so what about a walk? When was the last time Mom went for a nice mellow stroll with the family? We’re betting its been awhile. So get out there! Go for a walk! Its free, easy, and you’ll be glad to just get out there and stroll around.
  • If you do want to get in a car, one of the “foodie” moms here points out that opentable.com has a list of restaurants specializing in making memorable Mother’s Day meals here.

What every mom around here knows for sure is that if you let Mom relax, enjoy herself, and feel special, then you can be sure the day will be one she’ll cherish.

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