Emergency Short-Term Housing In Southern California

The interactive marketing team over at Move working pretty hard over the last few days putting together a list of available short-term housing options for people who were displaced by the Southern California fires. Our hope is that we can help people who are returning to find that their homes were either destroyed or partially burned find a temporary place to live while they get back on their feet.

With tremendous support for the Move Rentals team, we were able to reach out to local apartment associations and thousands of Southern California property managers, many of whom have been more than willing to forgo their traditional lease process and open up their vacancies to people on a short-term basis. Also, through the REALTOR.com team, we’ve been able to reach out to local and statewide REALTOR associations who have also provided lots of help in identifying homes and apartments that available for short-term leases.

Normally I don’t talk much about the work that I do at Move, but in this case, I’m going to make an exception because I feel pretty confident we’ve been able to aggregate the largest selection of temporary housing options for the fire victims and I want to get the word out to the RE.net community. Any help you can provide in spreading the word about the list of temporary homes for people displaced by the fire would be most appreciated.

Finally, one of the guys that works with me has done a tremendous job taking adding all the temporary listings we can find onto a Google Map. This has made it extremely easy for just about anyone with a website or blog to spread the word.

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The Federal Reserve and Mortgage Rates

Beeswax dragonConsumers are often misled when it comes to the subject of the Federal Reserve and how it affects mortgage interest rates. Often the media is the culprit causing the confusion. In the last few years, the Fed has taken action that caused mortgage interest rates to move in a direction other than what consumers expected, because the media provided weak reporting on the subject.

The Federal Reserve affects short−term interest rate maturities, the Fed Funds rate, and the Overnight Lending rate. These factors have a direct impact on the Prime rate. If you took only this into consideration, you may mistakenly conclude that changes made by the Fed will cause a similar movement in mortgage interest rates. However, mortgage interest rates are dictated by the trading of mortgage−backed securities, which trade on a daily basis.

The real dynamic at the heart of interest rate movement is the relationship between stocks and bonds. Stocks and bonds compete for the same investment dollar on a daily basis. There is literally only so much money to be invested. When the Federal Reserve feels that interest rates need to be decreased in an effort to stimulate the economy, this reduction in rates can often cause a stock market rally. When the market becomes bullish, the money to invest in stocks comes from the selling of mortgage−backed securities. Unfortunately, selling mortgage−backed securities to fuel stock market rallies causes interest rates to go up, not down.

Historically, there have been many times when the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates. Stocks then sell off in fear that the increase will affect corporate profit margins, and the liquidated stock assets need a place to park until the next rally comes along. The safe haven is found in mortgage−backed securities which cause mortgage rates to drop. The daily ebb and flow of money is what matters most when it comes to the movement of mortgage interest rates. I make it a point to continuously monitor interest rates for my clients, and advise them of opportunities to manage their mortgage debt at a better rate. This is the foundation of my business model as a Trusted Advisor.

Short-term Rentals in Seattle

When moving to Seattle with the intent to buy a home, don’t overlook the option to do a temporary rental. The main benefit of a short-term lease is that it buys you time so that you can check out the neighborhoods, and ensure that you don’t make a hasty home purchase decision. The main disadvantage is that short-term leases is that you pay for the privilege of being able to break out of a lease quickly.

Short-term Rentals
In the past, I’ve worked with Dale Hicklin of Short-term Suites and he does a decent job of providing for people looking to move to Seattle. His places won’t shock you in their upkeep (expect thrift and pawn-shop “finds” for your appliances), but on the plus side, he tends to fix things fast and he’s always only a phone call away. Another great option is to browse the sublet and temporary rentals on craigslist. The Stranger (an excellent local weekly magazine) lists a bunch of rentals, but I doubt that there are going to be a lot (if any) short-term rentals in a given week. Finally, you can always try the local newspaper listings, but I would use those as a last resort.

How can you learn about the neighborhoods in Seattle?
One way is to find an agent who knows all the areas in Seattle and won’t pigeonhole you into the neighborhood they know best. Also, I highly recommend wondering over to the “housing” forum on craigslist. (Have you noticed that I like craigslist? I find the community at craigslist extremely helpful!). As always, feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to give you a local’s perspective on Seattle!