Stafford / Fredericksburg Real Estate News & Market Trends

You will find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community life.  We love our region and want to share our passion with you!  Please reach out if you have any questions. We would be pleased to share a cup of coffee with you! (or a glass of wine)

Sept. 4, 2018

How to Protect Your Credit Prior to Your Closing Date

As you approach your closing date, it is important to protect your credit, even if you’ve already been pre-approved.  With that in mind, here are a few tips to make sure your closing goes as smoothly as possible. 
Keep your spending to a minimum and do not make any major purchases before closing — that includes buying furniture, any vehicles, a boat, or any excessive charges on your credit card. There will be plenty of time to dress the house once you own the home.
Keep your bank accounts stable. Do not change banks, or spend any of the money you have set aside for closing, or make any large deposits to your accounts without checking with your loan officer first.  Stability is the most important aspect of your credit. 
Just like your credit, it is IMPERATIVE you keep your employment situation stable — do not change jobs, quit your job, or decide to become self-employed. Any changes to your income will jeopardize any opportunity for you to qualify for a home loan. 
Whether you are buying a home or not, do not cosign a loan for anyone. It will open an inquiry into your credit and add to your debt. This will raise a red flag to all creditors, could raise your mortgage rate, and cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. 
Before you do anything money-wise or not so wise, ASK if you have any questions! 
When you are getting ready to get ready to buy or sell do not hesitate to call.  Being pro-active is a good thing! Get ready ahead… The better your credit is, the lower your debt to income ratio is, the better loan product and interest rate you will qualify for.   Sometimes it takes a year or so to get your numbers right, so you can never ask questions too far ahead!  
My best to you always, 
Missy Walden
National Association of Expert Advisors

Posted in Home Closing
Aug. 21, 2018

New Business Drives Standards of Living and Home Values

Up until 2009, every Slim Jim in the world was produced and distributed from the ConAgra plant in Garner, NC.  But in June of that year, a gas explosion took four lives and injured many more.  The plant soon closed leaving the Town of Garner with 98 acres of empty space and a giant hole in their economy.

However, last week, the Town of Garner announced that Amazon will create a state-of-the-art distribution center at the old ConAgra site.  Officially,

The Seattle-based e-commerce company will invest approximately $200 million in the site on Jones Sausage Road, formerly the location of the ConAgra plant where a deadly explosion occurred in June 2009. The investment will create an estimated 1,500 jobs, making the distribution center Garner’s largest employer. Amazon hopes to open the center by fall 2019.

Garner’s Economic Development Director, Joe Stallings commented that the distribution center will add approximately $45 million annually in new payroll in Garner. “That additional payroll will have positive ripple effects throughout our local economy.”

What are those ripple effects?  Garner and the surrounding experts can expect new restaurants, retailers, and residential communities to spring up.  Additionaly, the home values in the area should increase.  There is even a partnership for a $5.1 million investment in the road infrastructure.  Those jobs are not even included in the payroll prediction.

This is truly one of those times where business drives standard of living, but even more so, business is healing old wounds and transforming the local landscape from the ground up.

We’ve seen projects like this in Fredericksburg, and just like Garner, we hope and trust that our area will be transformed for the good as well.

If your employment brings you to the area and you need any information about our region, you are welcome to reach out to us.  Our team brings a wealth of “boots on the ground” knowledge to the table!  Please never hesitate to reach out.  Missy will personally buy you a cup of coffee. Our team looks forward to assisting you any way we can!

My best to you always,
Missy Walden
National Association of Expert Advisors



Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 15, 2018

Enjoying Your Empty Nest

Congratulations!  You did it.  Your children have all moved out of the house, or maybe, very soon, they will all be gone.  You’ve accomplished another of your major life goals.  While you will always be a parent, you are about to enter a new chapter of life full of freedom and great enjoyment.

It’s time to tackle another life goal:  savoring the empty nest and rediscovering your relationship with your spouse.

You should maximize this new-found freedom.  Make a strategic plan together.  Try this…

Begin by taking the time to research and dream about what you want that time together to look like.  Ask questions like:

“Where do we want to go?”  
“Who do we want to visit?”
“What new thing do we want to learn?”
“Should we buy that Harley or go on a riverboat cruise?”

Of course, every couple’s questions are different, so start spending time dreaming about what you think would be fun to do.

So, pick destinations and experiences that will help you rediscover each other and reinvigorate your relationship.  Understandably, a house full of children causes parents to make relational sacrifices.  Find common hobbies and places that bring you together.

The next part of the plan is the most ingenious.  Just take it day by day.  Now you have the time to really plan for you!  Get as much out of each day as you can, and commit to being patient and flexible with each other.

A way to keep the “family together” would be to also plan an annual gathering.  You don’t want the kids to think you totally have moved on (even though you have taken down all the posters and redecorated their rooms)!  Kindly allow some input from the kids, but ultimately, you decide where and what your event will be to celebrate your lovely family.  Cherish all the time together at these gatherings.  They will love you even if its an oyster roast in your own backyard with cornhole!

Your priceless asset is time.  Share it generously with those you love, but do be selfish and cognizant that now is your turn!  Enjoy it without guilt.  You deserve it.

If your empty nesting includes a home sale or purchase, our team would love to assist you. 

Your Real Estate Mom on Mission

Missy Walden
National Association of Expert Advisors

Posted in Empty Nest
Aug. 7, 2018

Helpful Advice About Selling Your Home During a Divorce

Divorce is beyond devastating, emotionally and financially.  Even the most cooperative separations are plagued with disappointment, lack of communication, and failed expectations.  In the best-case scenario, two people who are dissolving their union will work together to resolve their differences productively and part ways amicably.  During the process, you and your spouse will experience a myriad of emotions as the marriage, family, and shared assets are legally separated. 

Multiple unanswered questions add to the increased stress level.

Some examples to consider:

What needs to be done to ensure a quick and profitable sale? 
Who will choose the realtor? 
When is the best time to list a home? 
Who bears the financial responsibilities of the sale? 
How are the proceeds divided?

You can proactively align your expectations and clear up misconceptions by doing your due diligence.   Researching what to expect throughout the selling process by teaming up with a certified expert advisor who will be honest and tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. 

Becoming familiar with real estate terminology, your market, and options will give you a better understanding of your situation to gain the confidence to know, “this too shall pass.”  Some essential terminology to understand as you go forward is the difference between “community property” and “equitable property”.

Some states are known as “community property” states and others are “equitable property” states.  Community property states follow the rule that all assets acquired during the marriage are considered “community property”.  Equitable property states follow the rule that all property will be divided between the spouses in a fair and equitable manner.

In “community property” states, all income and taxes earned or acquired during the marriage are considered to be equally owned.  This applies to all debts, no matter who created the liability.  In a divorce action, these will be divided equally.

In “equitable property” states, the court determines who receives what based upon a variety of factors, such as the relative earning contributions of the spouses.

So, which states are which?  Good question.  Here is a helpful list:

Community Property States:  Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Alaska is an opt-in state.

Equitable Property States:  All others not listed above.

There is so much to consider when selling your home while you are in the process of a divorce.  Your state laws will dictate the division of property. The one and most essential component of this transaction is an educated, neutral realtor to act as your advocate to sell your largest asset for the highest price in the most efficient manner possible. 

When you need to sell your home, do not go at it alone. Hire an expert with years of experience to guide you through the process. Working with a seasoned realtor takes the burden off both parties in a divorce, allowing you to focus your energy on what really matters: your family, your life, and preparing for your next steps in life.

If you think it would be helpful, we have written a free book about your best-selling options in a divorce.  If you would like your free copy, just click the link below, and we will get it to immediately.

If you prefer us to email you a pdf confidentially, just email us at, and we will email you a copy right away.

Missy Walden
National Association of Expert Advisors

Please don’t hesitate to text or call.  I will answer my phone.


Posted in Divorce
July 23, 2018

Home Improvements That Yield the Highest Return of Investment

Home improvements are every homeowner’s responsibility to maintain pride of ownership and assure home value.  Over the course of time, you are going to have to work on your home.  Your A/C is going to go out.  You’ll eventually need roof repairs, and kitchen appliances will have to be updated.

What every homeowner hopes is that their efforts will increase the value of their home.   What many homeowners do not take into account is the value increase does not always coincide with the improvement costs.  That cost to improvement value ratio is call ROI or Return of Investment.  

For example, if you spend $10,000 replacing an old deck, you typically get an 87% ROI in home value increase.  Simply, if you spend $10,000 on your deck, you’ll typically increase the value of your home by $8,700. 

So, seeing that, you might ask, “What home improvement will give me the greatest ROI?”

Well, percentage wise, you might not guess it.  It won’t improve the value of your home greatly, but replace a front door typically gives a 97% ROI.  You just can’t beat improving that first impression of a new door.  Weight out just painting the door and replacing hardware versus a whole new door.
Here are a few other high percentage ROI home improvements.

Replace your siding with fiber-cement mix:     87%

Add a bedroom to code:                                      84%

Replace a garage door:                                        83%

Finish the basement[i]                                        78%

Major kitchen renovations:                                 74%

            (Appliances, cabinets, counters, etc.)
If you are considering renovations to improve your home value in anticipation of selling, the best advice is to consult a real estate expert before beginning. Every region is different.  

I honestly believe when you are selling and competing with new construction, you may have to make upgrades to your home that you might not see a huge return on your investment. BUT these updates make your home more marketable and able to compete with a new build. 

You have to ask yourself, “Why would someone buy my home over a new home for the same price?”

If you want to compete, you might have to add the fluff without the return on investment.  Every location is different as your ROI is mainly based on the builders you are competing with.

One of the best investments is cleanliness.  Buyers do not want to inherit your dirt and maintenance issues, so use your money wisely.

Your Real Estate Mom on Mission

Missy Walden

National Association of Expert Advisors






[i] Finished square footage with a to code basement and full bath


Posted in Home improvements
July 18, 2018

3 Tips For Families Changing Duty Stations

So, you and your family are relocating again.  I know you are probably a pro by now, but as you know, one of your biggest challenges is getting to know your new community.  I’m sure you have questions.  You need someone here with knowledge of the local life and housing market. Our team will partner with you to be your local resource for any information you need! As you prepare for this journey, some general questions might be:


What are the school districts like?

Which of the schools off the programs or classes your kids need?

Where are the best restaurants, nail salons, hair dressers, and sports leagues?

Where is the Starbucks?


As a military brat and wife, I get it.  That is why, when I work with a military family, I always try to make the transition as simple as possible.  So whether this is your first military PCS , your first home purchase, or one of many, I thought I would offer a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your move.


Tip One:  Start researching your new community now.


Don’t wait.  Ask questions. That’s what we are here for!  We are a great source of info!


What schools accommodate your kids’ needs, credit transfers, music, and sports programs? 

What communities get the best reviews? 

Do you want to live on base or off? 

Is it better to work with a local lender or a big corporate provider?

What are the advantages of working with a local lender?

Are the rates better?

What are the commute options to Northern VA.?


A move to a new place can feel less daunting when you know what you’re getting into and there is a friend there you can lean on for some solid answers.


Tip Two:  Take steps to ease the transition for your family.


Try to find at least one thing for each family member to look forward to in the new location! Maybe it is a great sports program, excellent restaurants, outdoor activities, a fantastic museum, or the carriage ride around town.  Getting your family excited about your move can cut down on stress and add some fun to the process.  Involve them in your home search.  Maybe they can pick their room and visit schools.  Most schools welcome the “inquiring great school” family.


Tip Three:  If you are buying a home, don’t make any other big financial commitments while you’re under contract.


The home search will be planned and organized by my team.  By the time we hit the road, you will have done your research.  I will confirm that all properties are fully available.  We will map out and make appointments so our time will be used wisely.  My goal is to plan, execute, and accomplish the mission of finding your family their next home.


Once you are locked into your loan, don’t make any large purchases.  That includes cars, appliances, or anything else outside of ordinary spending.  Don’t open any new lines of credit, and don’t take out or co-sign any new loans.  This keeps your credit in good standing so you will qualify for the best loan product at the best interest rate. 


Just some food for thought. We don’t want any bumps on the road to the settlement table!


Let’s do this!


Your Real Estate Mom on Mission


Missy Walden

National Association of Expert Advisors 



Posted in Military
July 2, 2018

5 Home Inspection Conditions That Should Give You Pause


Home InspectionWhen looking for a home, what perspective home conditions should give you the most pause? 


Answering this question is key as few homes are perfect.  Of course, you’ll need to decide for yourself, but these 5 home conditions rightly merit an extra layer of caution before moving forward with a contract.


Get the inspection right and enjoy your home for years.  Get it wrong, and you may very well regret your decision. 


In our experience, the five home conditions that should most make you pause, are:








And in case you are looking for land and in the Northern Virginia area, be aware of this truth.  Most properties have well and septic systems, so watch the contract for who is responsible for those inspections and repairs.  Septic is not an area in which to make a mistake.  


When you need to buy or sell your home, don’t go at it alone. Hire an expert with years of experience to guide you through the process. Working with a seasoned realtor takes the burden off the homeowner, allowing you to focus your energy on what really matters: your family, your life, and preparing for your big move.


Certified Military Relocation Specialist Missy Walden is the expert you need to get your home sold fast, and for a great price. Call or text her today at 540-903-5171!


Posted in Home inspection
June 11, 2018

Just Say No To Low Ball!

We had a super week! 

We closed on our folk’s home on London Way and they are off to Okinawa with 3 boys and 2 dogs. I am sure they have arrived by now. Our best to the Curry Family and their new venture!


We also closed on 11 Cascade Lane with an appraisal of $525,000. That will bring a solid comp to the homes close to them. What a smooth transaction that was! The Corbins were super proactive and did everything we suggested to sell their home at top value. YES!!!


I also had some great listing appointments! So more “coming soon” previews on their way to those of you that have your buyer survey filled out. Let me know what you are looking for because we have new listings hitting the market all the time! One might be the perfect home for you! I will also put a request for your needs out to our database of sellers and you never know who might perk up ready to sell your dream home. If you need a buyer's survey, let me know!



Friday I met an absolutely kind, professional plumber/gas fireplace repairman. We had 3 estimates.  #1. $5,000 estimate to replace the whole system. #2. $1,200 estimate to replace the valve and clean, #3. No written invoice. Always get a couple of estimates from tradesmen before you hire someone. You also should ask for an invoice for all repairs and price before the work begins and you pay any money towards the job. If you need any tradesmen information and references let me know.


Rant/Concern Of The Week – The Low-Ball Offer


WHY? What a waste of time and effort!

I do believe this is not always the buyer. The buyer agent should be able to educate their clients. If the home is well priced and the comps are there to justify the list price, do NOT put in a low-ball offer.


A couple of points to consider…

1.       The agent should be local and familiar with the community you want to buy a home so she can relay info to you! 

2.       Comps – the buyer representative should pull from the MRIS for the last 6-months of non-distressed homes in the same community or a 1-mile radius 

3.       Updates or repairs- Septic, well, new roof, HVAC, appliances, additional finished square feet, siding, windows, gutters? All this adds value to the appraisal and has most likely been factored into the list price.

4.       Commissions – remember the BEST deal a buyer gets in the state of Virginia is that the SELLER pays the BUYER’S agent!  How COOL is that? It is even better if you hire an agent that knows what they are doing!

5.       You will most likely as a buyer have repair requests that the seller will have to arrange and pay for on your behalf also.

6.       Closing Costs? Do not low-ball and then ask the seller to pay 3% of the contract price in closing cost on your behalf! In this market unless the house is on a cliff and has been on the market for over 6 months you should consider a REASONABLE offer and then ask for 3% in closing cost. Most often if the home is new on the market and you want the house you need to go in a very close to, if not at list price to get 3% in closing costs from the seller.

7.       Home Warranty – Who is paying for that?

8.       Well and Septic Inspection – Who is paying for that?

$300,000 contract price

-$9,000 closing cost

-$15,000 commission average

-$2,000 repairs

-$500.00  home warranty 

These are the basic numbers out of the seller’s pocket without a reduction in list price. Obviously, all these items are negotiable so if you LOVE the home, present a reasonable offer so you get in the game!

With all this said, please do not hesitate to call! We would be proud to open any doors or gather information for you! 

Have an amazing week!



The market value of homes nationally is increasing daily.  We are seeing increased appraisal values close to the 2006 resale market prices.

 Are you looking to market your home within the next couple of months? 

Here is a link to my instant pricing tool:

Are you transferring to a new location or staying in the area? We have a program that will credit you on the sale of your house if you allow us to represent you on the buy side of your next home. I feel this always is a super fair proposition and it keeps $$$ in your pocket to transition to your next purchase. Do not hesitate to text or call me at 540.903.5171 with any questions. We look forward to seeing your home and meeting you!

Posted in News
Dec. 8, 2017

Cheers Ring Out on Fredericksburg Property

Cheers to happy hour on Fredericksburg property. At Park Lane Tavern toasts ring out on a daily basis as friends celebrate the simplicity of a good day or the magnificence of fantastic news. Held Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. the timing is perfect for stopping in after work or to meet a friend for an afternoon date. Happy Hour specials include  smaller portions of favorite items including Double Dip and Tavern Wings.

After Happy Hour is over the deals keep coming with Weekly Happenings. Mondays mean half price fish and chips. It’s not thievery on Wednesdays during Steal The Glass. Really the friendly servers at Park Lane Tavern want you to keep the cup after indulging in featured beer. Live music rocks Thirsty Thursdays where pizzas are $6 throughout the day. More music fills the pub on Fridays for Martini Madness. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday Fundays bring the weekend to a close with an excellent Bloody Mary Bar.

Families Living in Fredericksburg Dine on International Dishes

A favorite spot, this social hub is conveniently located at 1 Towne Center Blvd. Combining American fare with European tastes, an international flair adds to the flavor and to the ambiance. The menu is generous with something for everyone from Shepherd’s Pie to Jagerschnitzel. Appetites small and large are catered to with both a small plate and large plate section. Chef inspired entrees inspire mouths to water.

Youngsters living in Fredericksburg are pleased with their very own choices. Selections on the Little Mates menu include Chicken and Chips, Pizza, and Salisbury Steak. Recognizing heartier appetites that don’t quite meet the adult menu standards, the Lads and Lasses category is just right for teens. More food than that on the little guys' later Banger and Mash and Cranberry Chicken Salad is just the right size. Don’t try to deny dessert. It’s simply too tempting. Berries and Custard, Cheesecake, and Irish Whisky Bread pudding tops off a filling meal perfectly.


Posted in News
Dec. 8, 2017

An Abundance of History Rests on Fredericksburg Real Estate

Streets of Fredericksburg real estate are rich with history. Men and women of modern times can walk in the footsteps of America’s forefathers and roam the halls where history was grown. Washington Heritage Museums dot the landscape and welcome visitors through their doors. Four established properties shed light on life and culture in the 18th century.

The Mary Washington House sits proudly at 1200 Charles Street. A gift from George Washington to his mother, Mary Ball Washington pleasantly lived out her life in this charming abode. It was said that prior to the 1789 inauguration George Washington stopped by the Fredericksburg home for some words of wisdom before officially becoming president. A few steps away at 1300 Charles Street, the St. James House represents an eighteenth-century frame house. Guests of the dwelling openly admire the collection of antiques in the rooms and stylish decor staying true to the time period.

Stories of Old Are Told Near Fredericksburg Homes

Over at 1304 Caroline, the Rising Sun Tavern has some colorful stories to tell. Whispers of past celebrations and commiserations fill this piece of Fredericksburg real estate. A busy, roadside tavern in 1792 many weary travels sat for a spell wetting their whistle and cooling their heels. The Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop neighbors the tavern and can be found at 1020 Caroline Street. Practicing medicine for over fifteen years, Dr. Mercer often treated his patients with traditional methods such as with leeches, crab claws and snakeroot. Closing up shop the good doctor joined up with the Revolutionary army dying at the Battle of Princeton with the rank of Brigadier General.

History buffs and patriotic spirits adore these four treasured buildings. A reminder of simpler times the Washington Heritage Museums symbolize the deep roots of America. Tours are readily held and open a window back into the past. Hours vary by property and by season. More information can be found on scheduling a tour on the website. Members and volunteers are vital to the successful preservation of these facilities. Membership options vary and include complimentary admission, discounts and privileged events. Consider becoming one and being a part of preserving priceless history.


Posted in News