Week in Review: Things We Liked from the Week That Was

First class stamps will stay at 44 cents since the Postal Regulatory Commission denied a United States Postal Service rate hike to 46 cents.  With a sharp decline in snail mail, some suggest the post office needs a new business model. It is another example of how every industry has to assess its value to keep up with shifting market realities.

As for shifting inventory, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are sweetening the deal to get foreclosures off of the books by offering low down-payments, to pay a portion of the closing costs, and even arrange for up to $30,000 to be tacked on to the mortgage amount for renovations, according to SmartMoney.com.

Foreclosures, of course, are one of the issues economists and other experts have worried about hampering the real estate recovery.  According to RealtyTrac, the market is on pace to work through distressed properties in about three years as nearly one in every four U.S. homes sold in the second quarter was a foreclosure. Although sales of these properties are worrisome for the short-term, the future looks bright, especially as this reflects a 20.1 percent decline from the same quarter last year.

I guess you can say the mobile home market is in motion.  According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, shipments in the first seven months of this year were up 6.4 percent from a year earlier.

Ever wonder what the most expensive zip codes are to live in? Forbes compiled a list and in the top ten, six are in– not surprisingly– The Golden State. I wonder if the lure of communities named Awesometown has anything to do with this?  California also has experienced a 30 percent rise of home prices since February 2009.  What lessons can be learned from the Land of Milk and Honey?

I have spoken a lot about getting a home set to sell with indoor staging, complementary paint colors, etc. It should be remembered though, that the outside is just as important as the inside.  Having dramatic outdoor mood lighting can add up to 20 percent to the perceived value of a home. Shine on!

Welcome aboard, Mason-McDuffie Real Estate! We are happy to have you.

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