Mon09152014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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