Buying a Home in Atherton

Buying a Home in Atherton

Atherton is a gorgeous, affluent enclave in California’s highly coveted Silicon Valley. With five square miles of ultra-private, luxury neighborhoods, Atherton is one of the most opulent and exclusive communities in the nation. The sprawling gated estates, quiet residential streets, and gorgeous wooded lots make this a truly stunning place to live.

This San Mateo County haven has long topped the list of the most expensive, prestigious communities compiled by Forbes Magazine. Atherton is strictly residential. The community comprises homes, a community park and library, schools, and a private country club. The town maintains an air of quiet tranquility, but residents can travel to nearby Palo Alto or Menlo Park for shopping and dining.

Life in Atherton is marked by sophistication and peace — the ultimate California dream. If you are interested in moving to this highly desired community, peruse this guide to buying a home in Atherton.

Why should you buy a house in Atherton?

Exclusive neighborhoods

The neighborhoods and homes of Atherton are truly tranquil and luxurious. Most lots are well over one acre, giving residents plenty of privacy and quiet. The homes in Atherton have tons of architectural variety, ranging in style from contemporary to French Revival. Atherton is home to some of the biggest names in the technology sector, and it is the perfect escape for Silicon Valley power players.

Tranquil luxury

Atherton is an entirely residential community. There are no shops or restaurants within the town limits, giving it a quiet and peaceful vibe. Residents can find space for recreation at Holbrook-Palmer Park, a quiet community park, and Menlo Circus Club, a private country club.

Close to the action

Living in Atherton provides the perfect calm escape while remaining close to lively areas like Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Residents can visit one of these vibrant spots for work or recreation and escape home to their peaceful Atherton retreat.

Top 5 neighborhoods in Atherton


This serene neighborhood is nestled on the eastern end of Atherton. Lindenwood consists of graceful mansions on private lots. There are several architectural features built by one of Atherton’s earliest residents, James Flood, throughout the acre of common garden space in this neighborhood.

Lloyden Park

Many homes in this pocket neighborhood of Atherton date back to California’s Golden Age of the 1930s and 1940s. Lloyden Park is a tight-knit suburb with quiet streets lit by old-fashioned streetlights.

Atherton Oaks

Atherton Oaks homes are full of historic charm and character. With architectural wonders sitting on quiet cul-de-sacs, this is a perfect, tranquil spot to call home. This quiet neighborhood is within walking distance of the community library and Holbrook-Palmer Park.

West Atherton

This prestigious Atherton neighborhood is home to expansive private estates. Wide streets and large gated lots protect the privacy of West Atherton residents. Menlo Circus Club, a private country club, is in West Atherton. The club has equestrian facilities, tennis courts, an aquatic center, and a gorgeous clubhouse.

West of Alameda

Palatial homes on multi-acre, beautifully landscaped lots make up the neighborhood West of Alameda. The lush lawns are dotted with mature trees, vine-covered walls, and even fragrant fruit trees.

What kind of architectural homes are in Atherton?

Greek Revival

Marked by splendid columns and elegantly sloped roofs, Atherton’s Greek Revival homes are impossibly opulent. These homes often feature fountains, lush landscaping, and lavish exterior embellishments.


Atherton’s Contemporary homes are unique for their clean lines, natural materials, and spacious interiors. These homes feature large windows to let in lots of natural light and have a minimalistic approach to exterior ornamentation.

Tudor Revival

Tudor Revival homes in Atherton are distinguishable by their steep, multi-gabled roofs and decorative half-timber exterior framing. These opulent homes feature decorative entryways and exterior materials like brick or stone.


With influences from all around the Mediterranean region, these homes are noted for their pale stucco walls and red tile roofs. The exterior of these homes includes arched entryways and lots of decorative features.

French Provincial

Often called French Country, these grandiose homes are distinct for their ample exterior stonework, symmetrical proportions, and steep roofs. These Atherton homes have a romantic architectural feel, with natural color palettes and arched windows.

Determining housing costs in Atherton

Median house price

The median sales price of homes for sale in Atherton as of June 2023 is $7,565,000. Atherton homes rank among the most expensive in the nation, and the city has topped the list of the most prestigious zip codes for several years.

Closing costs

In San Mateo County, buyers typically pay a small percentage of the home purchase price in closing costs. Some costs assumed by the buyer include loan origination fees, escrow fees, title insurance, home inspection and appraisal, document recording fees, and commission.

Property taxes

San Mateo County property taxes are a general rate of 1%, plus any voter-approved fees or bonds.

Homeowner’s insurance

The average monthly homeowner’s insurance cost for California is $108 per month. You can work with your agent and lending professional to find the insurance company and coverage that works best for you.

Types of home loans

Conventional loans

A conventional loan is the most common type of home mortgage. This type of loan is backed by a private lending institution, requires a larger down payment, and has varying interest rates.

Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans

An FHA loan is insured by the government and contracted through an approved financial institution. This type of loan requires a lower downpayment and is well-suited for first-time homebuyers.

Veteran’s Affairs (VA) loans

These loans are available for service members, veterans, and their surviving spouses. A VA loan typically has generous terms. They require little to no down payment, require no private mortgage insurance, and offer competitive rates.

Tips for buying an Atherton luxury home

Work with your financial institution

Contact your financial advisor or institution representative before you begin your home search in earnest. They can review your portfolio and provide a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter.

Find an expert real estate agent

Find a buyer’s agent who knows the Atherton luxury real estate market well. An agent with the right connections can arrange viewings of exclusive properties before the details are released to the public.

Set your priorities

Outline which home features are a must for you and stick to your guidelines. Set your list of wants and needs before you begin looking at homes. And be patient; a luxury home is worth the time investment to find the perfect property.

Work with a luxury real estate team

Are you ready to look for your Atherton dream home? Working with an expert agent who knows all about the luxury market in this San Mateo County community can make your home purchase process seamless.

Stephanie Elkins is a dedicated and professional agent with extensive experience in the luxury real estate market of Silicon Valley. Contact Stephanie today to begin the search for your perfect Atherton home.

Work With Stephanie

Get assistance in determining the current property value, crafting a competitive offer, writing and negotiating a contract, and much more. Contact me today.

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