Frequently asked Silicon Valley relocation questions
Because Silicon Valley has such immense intellectual capital, many people from around the world are drawn to at least consider living here. I put together a Silicon Valley relocation website, called Move2SiliconValley.com, and invite you to check it out for more in-depth information. Here’s a quick list of the most commonly asked questions that I tend to encounter about the area.
- Where exactly is Silicon Valley? This region does not have strictly defined borders, but generally is the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area (Santa Clara County, includes Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino, San Jose, Santa Clara, etc.) and the San Francisco Peninsula San Mateo County, includes Menlo Park, Foster City, Redwood Shores, San Mateo, etc.), with little fingers stretching out to a bit of the East Bay (Alameda County and the city of Fremont) and down into Santa Cruz County (city of Scotts Valley). For more info on the location of Silicon Valley, please visit the Move2SiliconValley site:
- What do homes cost in Silicon Valley? A lot… Unless you are coming from NYC’s Manhattan, or Paris, London, Tokyo, etc. – it will be painfully expensive. Recently a client of mine bought a nice Los Gatos home and found that they paid four times as much (and she and her husband got about 25% less home and 50% less yard than they had elsewhere). In Santa Clara County, the average house sells for $1 million. (All areas, not the best areas like Cupertino, Los Altos, Saratoga.) A little north, in San Mateo County, it’s $1.2 million. Further south, in Santa Cruz County, it is $850,000. Overall, it gets cheaper the more south you go and the longer your commute gets. You can check the real estate market statistics for all three sites on my Silicon Valley Real Estate Report site.
- How much does it cost to buy a 3 or 4 bedroom house with 2000 square feet in a GOOD area with good schools? This is a major Silicon Valley relocation question. Depending on where you buy, that type of house could run anywhere from about $1.2 million to about $2.4 million. Every 6 to 12 months I update a post on another of my sites with a list of cities or areas with good schools and what it costs to live there. Please have a look:
- Is there a typical down payment amount when buying a home in Santa Clara County or nearby? Most of the time, home buyers do put down more than 20% when purchasing a condo, townhouse, or house here. Often it’s 25-30%, but sometimes more, and sometimes it’s “all cash, no loans”. Just now I pulled the sales which were reported as all cash, no loans from May 1 2016 to today, June 29, 2016, and the currently reported ratio is 15%. Some agents do not complete that field, however, so it’s likely a higher percentage than that. Also, buyers coming in from other countries often need at least 30% down if their employer is also from outside of the U.S.
- Can you help me to find a rental? I hear this one a lot – sometimes once a week. No, sorry, the vast majority of rental or lease properties in the San Jose area are “for rent by owner”. Once in a great while I hear of a “courtesy rental”, which means an agent has a client who’s renting the home directly (not paying any Realtors) but wanting to find a tenant by word of mouth. So feel free to shoot me an email (please don’t text if we have never communicated before) if you’d like me to keep an ear open for you. Just don’t count on it as the odds are probably less than 1% that I’ll hear of something.
Here I have listed the best rental resources I’ve found:
- Can I talk with you or meet with you, even if I’m not going to buy a house? Yes, absolutely. I am happy to do a one hour consultation at my office or at a coffee shop if you prefer that to help you learn the ropes here. (I don’t do tours for people who are not pre-approved by a good lender and ready to buy, though.)
- Can you recommend a good lender? Yes, I would like very much to do that. About half the time, my Silicon Valley relocation and local buyer clients come with someone they found on their own, and sometimes that does not work out very well. I have five or six very well vetted, trusted lenders – both mortgage brokers and bankers – all of whom I can vouch for. Please contact me before you find someone online… I’ll put you into good hands. By the way, a great lender does not have to be on Zillow or Yelp or any other site to be hardworking, responsive, ethical, or to provide good rates. The folks I endorse spend their time taking great care of their customers and clients rather than marketing themselves.