Written by PotlucK Productions
A beautiful 1962 Eichler has undergone extensive home improvements to fit the near-zero carbon emission life of its homeowners, Geoff and Bev Ainscow.
Meet the Ainscows
In 1968 Geoff and his wife, Bev, sailed from their birthplace in Manchester, England to the San Francisco Bay Area to become embroiled in the technological and social new age revolution taking place in California. They set up their home in Sunnyvale and raised two children. Geoff’s life travelled on two tracks, one a daytime engineering and management career at Hewlett Packard in Silicon Valley, the other studying the human maturation process and the condition of life on planet Earth. Both richly combined into a life of activism and teaching to spread the knowledge of a living Earth and what humans must do to bring about a sustainable, just, and meaningful life. Explosive change best describes Geoff’s life, from being born into WWII, to a life of free-thinking in California. Geoff and a team designed, produced, and published the Deep Time Walk, an app describing the history of Earth. He has been an active member of the Elders Action Network since its beginning in 2016.
The Sustainable Project: How To Be A Good Ancestor
Geoff and Bev filmed the Good Ancestor video of their Sunnyvale Eichler, just 4 weeks before Bev tragically died in 2021. The aim was to inspire viewers to think and act like Good Ancestors. Geoff and Bev have been curious seekers with a desire to be conscious global citizens for a lifetime in large part by constantly finding ways to improve their home to be more environmentally sustainable. Wanting to share what they’re doing and hopefully inspire others, they partnered with Potluck Productions to share how they’ve achieved their sustainable life.
The humorous video follows Geoff and Bev with a tour through their home, touching on several topics:
- Solar panels
- Passive solar sun scoops
- Zero electricity bill
- Smart appliances (set to run at non-peak hours)
- LED bulbs
- Double pane outside windows
- Electric vehicles
- Electric folding bikes
- Compost system and low-water garden/landscaping
- Rainwater harvesting
Good Ancestor Video Team: PotlucK Productions
Dan Damman and Chris Thomas, as Potluck Productions, have been producing branded content, documentaries, comedy sketches, and other films from the heart, like “Good Ancestor” since 2004 for clients like Mother Jones, Senator Barbara Boxer, She the People, Democracy for America, DailyKos, and Netroots Nation. Other clients include Levi Strauss & Co., the Red Tab Foundation, Tides Foundation, MoveOn.org, Dockers, and many more. They are in development on an amazing feature film project encouraging self-awareness, a dramedy called “The Yogi Trademark” that explores our culture’s competitive nature through competitive yoga.
When it comes to selling your home in Sunnyvale, or any home, in fact, it’s really important to tune into the mindset of a buyer who’s looking to move into the area. Keep in mind that your potential buyers could either be the couple from a nearby town or a family coming from halfway across the country. In either case, you’re going to want to highlight the aspects of your home that truly give it that Sunnyvale feel so that it’s a comfortable transition for your potential buyers. With over 20 years of real estate experience in the Sunnyvale/Silicon Valley area and watching it blossom into the city, it is today, we’ve figured out what the key is to sell your home for the most money in today’s market. Note that it’s a combination of these things that’ll allow you to sell your home for above your asking price. So aside from hiring the right real estate agent that knows how to get top dollar for your home, here are some of our secret tips to selling your home for 15% more in Sunnyvale, California.
1. Make your home smart
If you’re planning to sell a home that’s located in the midst of the world’s largest tech companies, you better make sure that it comes with some smart appliances. Chances are that the buyers looking into homes located in the Silicon Valley are either future or former employees of a tech company, so think of how much more value you can add to your home by tuning into your audience’s needs. According to a study done by Coldwell Banker, 64% of agents are noticing that buyers are asking more frequently about connected features than they were two to five years ago. Although the tipping point isn’t quite there yet where smart features will help a home sell more quickly, agents predict that these tech investments will soon pay off. What better place to start that tipping point than the place where technology was pretty much founded?
2. Tune in to the “Prius Effect”
Have you ever noticed how many people own a Prius these days? You’ll probably see a handful each time you hit the road. Although owning a hybrid car has many perks in terms of mileage and carbon footprint, a big reason why people choose to drive a Prius is due to their desire to show off their green bona fides. This ideology of being prideful for making the world more green is known as the “Prius Effect”, and it has made its way into the world of real estate. On top of pragmatic reasons like lower utility bills, green homes are more valuable because it’s a type of status symbol for homeowners. Green certified homes sell for 9% more than regular homes in California and their premium is highest in the hottest and most eco-minded areas. Single-family homes with green certifications sold for an average of $34,800 more than comparable homes from 2007 to 2012 when the average California home was priced at $400,000, according to the University of California research. Anyone who has visited the Bay Area can tell you that we are the leaders when it comes to living a green lifestyle. Heck, we have to bring our own recycled bags every time we go grocery shopping! If there’s any place worth investing in a green home, it’d be the Bay Area.
3. Upgrade your kitchen
If had to make one renovation that’ll appeal to home buyers, we’d recommend upgrading your kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of any home, so it’s worth it to spend some money on upgrades if necessary. About 69% of homeowners said they were willing to spend more money for new kitchen appliances, and this usually amounts to 1.5x more than what your investment will be. Add in some granite countertops and hardwood floors and you’re looking at a significant increase in your home’s value. In Sunnyvale, food really is where the heart is so highlight that in your home. Additionally, during the Covid19 pandemic, there’s been a large influx of people cooking all their meals at home, instead of ordering in or dining out.
4. Price it right the first time
Make sure that your home is priced right to sell from the get-go because your listing will attract the most attention from qualified buyers the first day it goes live on the market. Statistics show that the most favorable time to generate a sale on your Sunnyvale home is between three to seven weeks after the home is listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing System). Time on the market can significantly impact the sale of your home so it’s important that your listing doesn’t become stale or stagnate on the market for months. If this is the case, buyers will assume there’s something wrong with your home and will most likely ask for a discount. Avoid the discounts, price it right, and increase your chances of having multiple interested buyers.
5. Don’t save repairs until the last minute
Repairs left undone will cost you more money than the repair itself, so it’s better to get it done before you sell your home. Once a needed repair becomes evident to a buyer, they’ll start to wonder if the home was really maintained properly and probe around to find hidden repairs that are not visible to the naked eye. This will lead to them asking for reductions in your asking price which will end up costing you more in the end. Buyers love to negotiate the home sales price after the home inspection, so don’t give buyers a reason to want a discount. It’s also important to not try and hide a defect because you think that keeping it to yourself will help you sell your home for more money. Buyers can sue you for not disclosing a home’s structural issue, so be honest and avoid getting slapped with a lawsuit.
6. De-clutter & Depersonalize
In real estate, space is money so the more room you make in the home, the higher it’ll sell for. Make sure to clean out all areas of your home before open house time comes around because buyers will spend that time analyzing how much space they have in the home to fit all their belongings. They’ll look through your closets, cabinets, and even storage spaces (garage, attic, basement, etc.) so double check to make sure everything’s been cleared out. A big chunk of money can be lost for not putting in a little extra leg work. Also, keep in mind that what you love may not be what a prospective buyer loves. For example, you may think that your mounted hunting treasures gives your home more curb appeal when in reality buyers find it to be a distasteful distraction. When it comes to selling your home, it’s better to play it safe by neutralizing it and removing personal belongings so that it’ll appeal to a larger pool of buyers.
7. Bring the outside in
Whether you need to install some well-placed skylights or invest in a renovation that’ll give your home more floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s important to give your home as much natural light as possible. As you may have already guessed, it’s usually sunny here in Sunnyvale and the people have grown accustomed to a certain type of lifestyle. Sun is a necessity and the more it’s accessible at home, the more appealing it is to buyers. We’ve sold hundreds of Eichler homes above the asking price in the Sunnyvale area all because the design concept was based on bringing the outside in. Just remember two key components that’ll allow you to achieve this Eichler philosophy: Natural lighting & Visuals of the outside world. For more information on Eichler homes, click here.
Sunnyvale real estate is booming with home buyers trying to secure a little piece of paradise in a Sunnyvale neighborhood for their family to settle down in. Unfortunately, this popular area is made up of a patchwork of small neighborhoods that are not easily or formally defined. This causes a lot of anxiety for those looking to buy. Below is a guide of the most notable Sunnyvale neighborhoods and what each of them has to offer for a home buyer.
To be able to navigate the many Sunnyvale neighborhoods, we’ve divided the town according to its 4 zip codes:
There are many smaller pockets of homes and groupings of streets within these zip codes. It’s important to differentiate between these micro-neighborhoods when looking at where you want to live or buy a home.
94087 – Serra Park & Belleville
Primarily a residential pocket of homes, Serra Park and Belleville are south of Fremont Avenue and west of Hollenbeck Avenue, which extends to the other side of highway 85. Homes within this boundary are some of the most expensive Sunnyvale neighborhoods, and also the most in-demand. This is largely due to the excellent K-12 schools: West Valley Elementary, Cupertino Middle and Homestead High. All of these schools are conveniently within walking distance to most homes in this Sunnyvale neighborhood.
Please note that the elementary and middle schools are actually within the Cupertino school district but still in a Sunnyvale neighborhood.
Another nice benefit of this neighborhood is Serra Park, which features a playground, spacious grassy field and tennis courts.
94087 – Cherry Chase & Cumberland
Just north of Fremont Avenue and up to El Camino Real is the Cherry Chase and Cumberland neighborhood. It is also commonly known as “Cumberland South”. This is a very popular residential area in Sunnyvale real estate, offering some townhomes but mostly single-family homes. The schools are highly rated and include Cherry Chase, Cumberland Elementary, Sunnyvale Middle and Homestead High. De Anza Park and Mango Park are wonderful local parks in this area. The parks are also close to Cherry Chase Elementary and Cumberland Elementary, as well as several well-known Eichler neighborhoods.
94087 – Birdland / Raynor Park
This Sunnyvale neighborhood is known for its bird-named streets, like Quail Avenue, Swallow Drive and Oriole Way. The Birdland neighborhood surrounds Raynor Park, between Dunford Way and Homestead Road to the south. Its proximity to the Apple campus makes it ideal for employees seeking short commutes. Raynor Park is one of the most desirable neighborhoods for buyers seeking “tear downs”. These are popular for a renovation or construction project, due to the large lot sizes and small existing original homes. The largest community-based urban farm in Silicon Valley is also here, Full Circle Farms. It has 11 acres of land just south of the Bryan Osborne Nature Center and Peterson Middle School. The schools here fall within the Santa Clara School District – Laurelwood Elementary, Peterson Middle and Wilcox High School.
94087 – Heritage District
The Heritage District is bordered by Homestead Road to the south, El Camino Real to the north, Hollenbeck Ave to the west and S. Wolfe Road to the east. Fremont High School is located here, as well as many city resources like the Sunnyvale Community Center, Sunnyvale Theater and Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum. Most of the homes are surrounded either by Ortega Park, Panama Park, or Heritage Park, making it a desirable location for quick access to sports and leisure activities. Other nearby conveniences include a 24-Fitness on Fremont Avenue and a remodeled Safeway and Starbucks in the Homestead Square Shopping Center on Homestead Road. Also close by is Las Palmas Park which is a popular Polynesian-themed 24-acre recreation area with a play area, tennis courts and off-leash dog area.
94086 – Washington Park
Washington Park is sandwiched between Central Expressway and El Camino Real (82). While most homes in the 94086 zip code belong to Fremont High, this small section of homes is actually within the Homestead High boundary. This makes them highly desirable for families with school-age children. In addition to single-family homes, there are a fair number of apartments and townhomes in this Sunnyvale neighborhood, as well as a couple of mobile home parks. Washington Park has basketball courts, a play structure, horseshoe pits, a swimming pool and tennis courts. Across the street is the Stratford School Sunnyvale campus, which is a popular pre-K through 5th-grade private school. There is also a small pocket of homes within the highly desirable Cumberland Elementary School attendance boundary.
94086 – Ponderosa, Braly & Gavello Glen
The majority of the 94086 zip code falls within either the Fremont High School or Wilcox High School boundaries. Most of Ponderosa, Braly and Gavello Glen is a mix of residential and commercial use, including many business complexes. The Heritage District is the most notable area within this neighborhood, as it contains some of Sunnyvale’s oldest homes and many historical sites. This area is popular with many professionals due to the walkability to good restaurants, shops and the Sunnyvale Caltrain station. Murphy Street is where all the action is, weekly Farmer’s Market and now burgeoning commercial center with a Target, Wholefoods and other businesses.
The 94085 zip code is bound by 101 to the north and Central Expressway to the south. It features two main parks, Fair Oaks Park and Columbia Park. It also has the Sunnyvale Golf Course, where you can easily book a tee time or plan a tournament. For those looking for private school options, King’s Academy, located adjacent to Fair Oaks Park is a popular private 6-12 college prep school. Just on the other side of Highway 101 are many large local employers, such as Google, Juniper Networks, NetApp, NASA Ames Research Center and of course Lockheed Martin, just to name a few.
The 94089 zip code on North of Highway 101 including Lakewood Village, multiple mobile home parks, newer townhomes and condo developments are located near Fair Oaks and Tasman. Lakewood Village is a pocket of homes with lake names, like Lakeknoll, Silverlake and Lakechime that surround Lakewood Park. This Sunnyvale neighborhood features some of the most affordable single-family homes in the area and has seen significant appreciation over the last several years. Most of the portion of Sunnyvale north of Highway 237 is zoned for industrial use. However, the proximity to Mission College, Levi Stadium and the many businesses located near Great American Parkway can make this a convenient location for many.
This can all seem daunting at first, but with this guide in hand and our 4 Step Buyer Experience, you’ll be several steps closer to buying your dream property in one of the Sunnyvale neighborhoods. For more information and a no-obligation, 100% pressure-free initial consultation, reach out at www.atriare.com for guidance from our experts in Sunnyvale real estate.