This blog is meant in particular for US and foreign executives thinking about or just about ready to relocate to Silicon Valley in the next few months.
To give you a head start, you may want to read first this page
which includes many tips for domestic and international home buyers looking to buy a home in Silicon Valley. Then, to get a better idea of the types of luxury mansions for sale in Silicon Valley today, check out this page
The bottom line is that buying a luxury home in Silicon Valley (just like anywhere else) is no small task and will require significant amount of your personal time as well as many hours of work from your Realtor, from the identification of your dream home to the close of escrow.
As we all know, a luxury home is defined as such mostly in the eye of the beholder. Some Silicon Valley Realtors say luxury homes starts at $2M. I have heard other listing agents in the Bay Area talk about a $5M threshold for luxury homes. One thing is certain though: The upper limit has been set for now at about $100 Million since Yuri Milner bought his home on top of one of Los Altos's hills a few years ago.
As a luxury home hunter in Silicon Valley, I would suggest that the price tag is only one of the variables to take into account when defining a luxury home in Silicon Valley. To be more precise, a high price tag is in fact the sum of attributes you would expect to find in such homes, regardless of the style, the location or even the scenery.
Whenever my clients tell me they want to buy a luxury home in the 7- figures range in Silicon Valley, here is my 5-points answer to what they should be paying attention to:
- Tip #1: Quality of the construction and of the materials used to build the home matter most. The higher the price, the better the "bones" of the house should be. By the bones I mean in particular the foundation, the roof, plumbing and electricity. The only exception that would cross my mind is if you intend to buy a historical luxury home in the Bay Area. Remember that luxury mansions are not just more expensive to buy but also costly to renovate, especially if you want to retain the charm.
- Tip #2: Location of the estate is the second most important factor, which does not come as a surprise. Do not buy gorgeous mansions in the wrong place. The neighborhood average sale price will drive down your resale price, even in Silicon Valley seller's market today. Do not forget to check with local authorities that surroundings will remain as is. This may seem obvious but in the emotion of the moment, it is easy to forget and overlook that a highway extension is under construction a few miles away from the property...
- Tip #3: Make sure the "lifestyle" provided by the home matches your expectations. Once again, it is easy to succumb to the amazing design and appeal of luxury homes and forget that these mansions are just not what you need or what you (or your family) are looking for. For instance, why buy a suburban luxury mansion if you would like to dine out every day? Do you really need a home with a pool if your dream is to live by the sea? Maybe unlike some of my fellow realtors in Silicon Valley, I am of the opinion that one should deviate as little as possible from the "must have" features that are initially defined with your real estate agent.
Tip #4: Define your maintenance budget for the property and make it one of your strong selection criteria. You may have the money to buy a luxury home, but you may not want to spend too much to live in it. Many of my executive customers are looking for and asking for energy-efficient and if possible green luxury homes in Silicon Valley.
- Tip #5: Trust your instinct. Don’t settle for nothing less than what you really want. I always ask my clients for a list of "must haves" and "nice to have" features. My advice is: Stick to your list of must have features as much as possible. Also, do not worry too much about it. You will know you found the right home the moment you will pass the doorstep (or the gates!).
To wrap up, whatever your castle might be in Silicon Valley, however extravagant your wish list might be, your dream home is only a few steps further from the last property you saw.
Be persistent, stick to your dream and the magic will happen hopefully with the help of a good Silicon Valley Realtor.
© Sophia Delacotte CDPE, SFR, CHS
San Jose Realtor
Cell: (408) 717-2575