Silicon Valley—It’s THE HOT MARKET in California, headlined by every publication in the area from the Silicon Valley Business Journal to The Mercury News and touted on websites like Google and Facebook. Everyone wants to live in the comfortable and affluent suburbs of Menlo Park, Mountain View and Palo Alto, where the schools turn out top students and amenities abound.
Sadly, reality sets in: immediate and major housing sticker shock for newcomers from other parts of the country and abroad who move here to attend famed Stanford University or work for famous companies like Apple, Google or Facebook. They prefer to first find temporary, rental housing until they’re accustomed to the area—and the prices—and eventually deciding to buy.
New or potential employees, even more than other home seekers, need the professional expertise of an experienced agent to deal with the difficulties and distractions of house hunting so they can concentrate on their new jobs and deal with family relocation. And they need the right realtor who understands—and follows—the limited temporary housing market.
Many relocation experts don’t fully understand how difficult the rental market is, because they focus on buyers. The rental market offers few choices and little flexibility for people who want to stay for only one or two months. Often, homes aren’t large enough for families with several children; they’re almost always unfriendly to pets. These niche opportunities wind up on either end of the housing spectrum: either very expensive, high end places or poorly maintained, yet still costly properties. Rental properties are rarely offered for more than a year, and the competition among potential renters to secure these properties can be intense. Most rental listings are only posted on Craigslist, making it especially hard for real estate agents to help people seeking interim housing. Owners prefer to deal directly with renters unfamiliar with the unique aspects of Silicon Valley, in order to avoid costs and fees on short-term transactions, and to lock in terms favorable to themselves. A specialist-realtor who knows how to work with renters can help smooth the way.
Deciding to buy immediately or in the near-term is even more of a reason to engage a reliable realtor who can explain both the process and the market—an important subject for future discussion.