Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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