Whenever a potential home buyer contacts me about buying a home in Silicon Valley, or in the San Francisco Bay Area, I send them a list of great resource links to help assist in their education of the market and the area. I wanted to provide a quick list of my favorite links for you on investigating an area and evaluating the housing market.
When moving to California from another state or part of the world, it is helpful to have resources on the cost of living. Bank Rate offers a great relocation calculator for the states on cost of living components. I like this site best as it compares detailed cost like dry cleaning, gasoline, food items, and of course housing. The only area I have found in the United States more expensive to live in than San Jose is Manhattan, New York.
Most clients are interested in understanding school scores and how they relate to neighborhoods around Silicon Valley. Historically, for the Bay Area, school scores have a huge influence on affordability and re-sale value of homes. The best site for quickly identifying possible school assignments for a neighborhood with a great visual on API scores is School Performance Maps.com. This web site has a quick read on 2007 scores but if you click the ed-org link on each school pin point you can get the recent API scores through 2009. The Ed-data.org site also offers information on class size, demographics and socio-economic make up of the schools. From this site, I always suggest parents go to Great Schools.org because it offers comments from parents about the school. That is the site where you learn if there is a new principal or changes in the schools noted by parents.
Neighborhood safety is also an important check point for anyone moving into a neighborhood they have not lived in before. For crime information I recommend Crime Reports.com. This site visually shows what types of crimes and how often the crimes occur in a neighborhood. You can also sign up for email alerts regarding your specific neighborhood. If you are looking at this site and feeling overwhelmed by how much crime there is, I suggest comparing a city or neighborhood that you perceive as safe and then look at the target neighborhood. It helps to put in perspective on what we perceive as safe and what the reality of the crime report is for a particular area.
At my web site, CJBRealEstate.com, there are a number of resources available for both home buyers and sellers. You can also sign up to receive listings directly to your email box based on very specific criteria selections that you can change any time as your search refines. You can search by map or by criteria and can be removed from emails anytime you like. Your email address is never sold or given out without your permission.
At HomeValuesinSanJose.com you can research any neighborhood in Santa Clara County and review the housing market trends and history. This is a great site for comparing neighborhood by neighborhood and understanding values and where the housing market is specific to this moment in time. At this site you can also download a report of your findings refer to later and to help narrow down your home search to a specific group of neighborhoods.
A big component of my job is helping my clients sift through the information and fine tune a home search that will meet their needs best. For me, it is more than sending listings to a buyer. It is about helping my clients find out as much as possible about choosing a neighborhood, choosing a home, and determining the value of that home selection. My blog, TalkToCJ.com is also filled with post to answer questions about short sale, home inspections, and many other topics. Simply click BUYER’S TIPS . If you need help sorting through the information, contact me. I offer a no-obligation consultation to discuss your real estate needs.