Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The backyard of Heather and Brad Green’s Mountain View house is huge. And just on the other side of the fence is a city of Los Altos water tank – a very quiet neighbor – partly camouflaged by an urban forest.
This pretty much sums up why the Greens purchased the house. Brad, who grew up on a 400-acre farm in Iowa, longed for a big lot, and the couple wanted to be in the Los Altos School District.
There were other pluses, too, like the neighborhood itself – even the name of the street, Meadow Lane.
“It is a sweet, meandering street,” Heather said. “And I like the organic growth in an established neighborhood.”
But finding the property wasn’t easy, despite the fact that Heather is a realtor with Alain Pinel Realtors.
“We looked at dozens of homes and made five unsuccessful offers,” she said.
The couple’s search, which undoubtedly resonates with other local homebuyers, will be featured in an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters,” to be aired in late spring.
“I’m a big fan of the show,” said Heather, who, on a whim, submitted an online application to appear. “The timing was right because the show had just gone to five nights a week. I was both agent and buyer, and there was the Silicon Valley angle.”
When she made her pitch, she and Brad, a Google engineering director, and their children, Liam, now 3, and Larkin, 16 months, were renting an apartment at Avalon Towers on the Peninsula in Mountain View, while looking to buy.
The couple had just sold their three-bedroom midcentury house in San Francisco’s Noe Valley, after completing a major remodel.
Heather, who was project manager for the remodel and pregnant at the time, put her hand over her heart when she talked about the house.
“I loved it,” she said. “We took the kitchen down to the studs, redid the two existing baths and turned a closet into a half-bath.”
Two weeks after the project was completed, Larkin was born. And six months later, the Greens put their beloved house on the market.
Their goals: bigger house, big lot, better schools and shorter commute for Brad.
“Being in the Los Altos School District was a huge priority for me,” Heather said. “And Brad wanted to be closer to work so that he could spend more time with the children.”
The first interview for “House Hunters” took place in their Avalon Towers apartment. Larkin’s crib was in the bathroom – the “most convenient place to put it” – because of the apartment’s size.
“I hope she lives it down when she’s older, because it’s in the episode,” Heather said.
The apartment was within biking distance of Google, which spoiled Brad and figured in their bid to buy the Meadow Lane house (less than 5 miles from his workplace).
The size of the lot – 13,000 square feet – was another factor. There’s footage of Brad in a couple of backyards, shaking his head and saying, “Umm, not big enough.”
A happy ending
Five days were devoted to shooting. The episode follows the Greens from that first interview through the house-hunting phase to their decision to buy, which was made in a hamburger joint. It concludes with them in their new environment.
The four-bedroom ranch-style home was remodeled recently and boasts an upstairs master suite with balcony overlooking the backyard.
“We were originally looking for a fixer-upper, a place to make our own,” Heather said. “But we’ve put a nice layer on what was here.”
The couple changed the light fixtures to create a contemporary feeling (their furnishings are modern), painted the bedrooms and painted an accent wall in the family room.
“I like a neutral palette with pops of color,” said Heather, who embraces interior design with the same passion she has for real estate.
Speaking of real estate, she said, “I really do love the whole process, from guiding a new buyer through what can be a very intimidating process, to developing a strategic marketing plan to maximize the ROI (return on investment) for a seller.”
Being both agent and buyer put a new spin on things for her in a challenging market where inventory remains low and there are more buyers than sellers, driving prices up.
But the “House Hunters” episode has a happy ending and puts the national spotlight on the area.