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News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Competing with cash offers in the real estate market

It is no secret that even as the local housing market is doing much better these days, it is tough out there for the typical homebuyer – and even tougher for first-time homebuyers.

Because interest rates are still low and inventory is tight, homebuyers are continually losing out to all-cash buyers and investors.

“We are seeing our inventory rise, but not enough to accommodate the demand for homes,” said Carolyn Miller, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “Mortgage interest rates are edging upward, and many homebuyers feel they are being squeezed out at a time when they still see a window of opportunity.”

Miller, who has practiced real estate for more than 30 years, has seen more than her share of challenges in the market for all types of buyers and sellers. She said first-time buyers typically face more financial challenges and are less familiar with the complexity of a transaction compared to repeat buyers.

“These homebuyers get so frustrated that they either drop out of the market or make a wrong decision,” she said. “As realtors, it is our job to manage their expectations, help them understand the complexities and financial aspects of a home purchase and prepare them to move quickly in a market where there is a severe shortage of inventory.”

Miller noted that the following strategies may help homebuyers compete in this market.

• Get preapproved. Secure a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender. It is not enough to get prequalified. Getting preapproved is more in-depth than getting prequalified. The process includes an analysis of your credit report and an extensive financial background check. Your lender will be able to tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved and the interest rate you would be charged. You might even be able to lock in a specific rate. Preapproved buyers have an edge with a seller over those who are not preapproved because they have a commitment in writing from their lender. This lets the seller know that they are serious and can afford to purchase the home.

• Check the disclosure documents. When you find a property you like, review and understand the disclosures the listing agent prepares and provides. If you don’t understand something, ask questions and have your agent find the answers. Some realtors schedule inspections when they obtain the listing and use those reports as working documents to prepare the house. There may be differences between what the house is now and what it was then.

• Prepare a clean offer with the help of your realtor. Rather than worrying about the little things, be concerned about the big ones. Be genuine and honest when you make the offer. Remember that obtaining a loan is normal. After all, it’s all cash to the seller at close of escrow, and cash offers don’t always close quickly.

• Write a letter. Write a letter to the sellers telling them why you like the home, why you can see yourselves living there, etc. Owners usually love their homes and want you to feel the same way. Express your heartfelt feelings. Cash buyers may not always want the home for their residence, and that can make a difference to a seller.

• Have your agent present your offer personally. If at all possible, have your agent present your offer in person to the listing agent and seller. Real estate is a very intimate business, and an agent personally presenting a client’s offer can make all the difference.

“Remember that it’s not always all about cash. If you have all your ducks in a row, your offer will be fine,” Miller said.

The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors provided information for this article. For more information, email Rose Meily at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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