BuyersHome OwnershipReal EstateSellers November 29, 2023

Are the Top 3 Housing Market Questions on Your Mind?

When it comes to what’s happening in the housing market, there’s a lot of confusion going around right now. You may hear one thing in conversation with your friends, see something totally different on the news, and read something on social media that contradicts both of those thoughts. And, if you’re thinking about making a move, that can leave you with a lot of lingering questions. That’s where a trusted local real estate agent comes in.

Here are the top 3 questions people are asking about today’s housing market, and the data to help answer them.

1. What’s Next for Mortgage Rates?

Mortgage rates are higher than they’ve been in recent years. And, if you’re looking to buy a home, that impacts how much you can afford. That’s why so many buyers want to know what’s ahead for mortgage rates. The answer to that question is: no one can say for certain, but here’s what we know based on historical trends.

There’s a long-standing relationship between mortgage rates and inflation. Basically, when inflation is high, mortgage rates tend to follow suit. Over the past year, inflation was up, so mortgage rates were as well. But inflation is easing now. And this is why the Federal Reserve has recently paused their federal funds rate hikes, which means many experts believe mortgage rates will begin to come down.

And in some ways, we’ve started to see hints of slightly lower mortgage rates in recent weeks. But it’s certainly been volatile and will likely continue to be that way going into next year. Some ongoing variation is to be expected, but the anticipation is, that in 2024, we’ll see a downward trend. As Aziz Sunderji, Strategist at Home Economics, says:

“The bottom line is that interest rates are likely to be lower-perhaps even lower than many optimists think – in the weeks and months to come.”

2. Where Are Home Prices Headed?

While there’s been a lot of concern prices would come crashing down this year, data shows that didn’t happen. In fact, home prices are rising in most of the nation. Experts say that trend will continue, just at a slower pace that’s much more normal for the housing market – and that’s a good thing.

To help show just how confident experts are in this continued appreciation, take a look at the Home Price Expectation Survey from Pulsenomics. It’s a survey of a national panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists. As the graph below shows, the consensus is, that prices will keep climbing next year, and in the years to come.

3. Is a Recession Around the Corner?

While recession talk has been a common thing over the past few years, there’s good news on that front.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) polls experts on this topic regularly. And last year at this time, most of them thought a recession would have happened by now. But as experts look at all the leading indicators today, they’re changing their minds and saying a recession is getting less and less likely. The latest results show that more experts now think we’re not headed for another recession (see chart below):

This is big news for the housing market. And while the 48% to 52% split may seem close to half and half, the key thing to focus on is that the majority of these experts think we’ve avoided a recession already.

Bottom Line

The big takeaway? The data shows there isn’t cause for concern – there are actually more signs of hope. Let’s connect to talk more about the housing market questions on your mind as we head into the new year.

BuyersFamilyHome OwnershipSellers November 13, 2023

Life-Changing Events That Move the Housing Market

Life is a journey filled with unexpected twists and turns, like the excitement of welcoming a new addition, retiring and starting a new adventure, or the bittersweet feeling of an empty nest. If something like this is changing in your own life, you may be considering buying or selling a house. That’s because through all these life-altering events, there is one common thread—the need to move.

Reasons People Still Need To Move Today

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) there have been a lot of this type of milestone or life change over the last two years (see graph below):


And, these big life changes are going to continue to impact people moving forward, even with the current affordability challenges brought on by higher mortgage rates and rising home prices.

As Claire Trapasso, Executive News Editor at Realtor.comsays:

“Because high mortgage rates, elevated home prices, and stubbornly low inventory make today’s housing market particularly challenging, many of today’s buyers are motivated by life changes, such as growing families, supporting elderly parents or grown children, or accommodating professional needs. . .”

Lean On a Real Estate Professional for Help

Whether you’re beginning your search for a home or preparing to sell your current house, you don’t have to go it alone. With their expertise, a real estate agent is an invaluable partner who can help you smoothly transition through these big moments in your life. Here are just a few examples.

When Buying a Home

If you’re welcoming a new addition and want more space, the need for a new home may be a top priority. While higher home prices and mortgage rates are creating challenges for buyers, you may have to find a way to meet your changing needs, even with today’s mortgage rates.

A skilled real estate agent can help. Their expertise and knowledge of the local housing market can save you a considerable amount of time and stress. An agent will take the time to understand your specific needs, budget, and preferences, allowing them to narrow down your search and present you with suitable options.

When Selling a House

If you’re retiring or going through a separation or divorce, your main focus may be to make the most out of your investment when selling your house, so you can find one that works better for you moving forward.

This is another place where a real estate agent’s expertise truly shines. They can accurately assess your home’s market value, suggest improvements to enhance its appeal, and craft a strategic marketing plan. Their negotiation skills are a big asset when it comes to making sure you get a fair price for your house, allowing you to move on to the next chapter of your life with confidence and peace of mind.

No matter your situation, lean on a trusted professional for help as you buy or sell a home.

Bottom Line

If recent life-changing events have you wanting or needing to move, let’s connect.

BuyersHome InspectionHome OwnershipHome RepairReal EstateSellers November 10, 2023

Decoding Home Inspections: Why Checking for Underground Tanks is Crucial.

I recently had the pleasure of listening to a talk from John S. Pollard of Pollard Environmental LLC. John, who is a VA Certified Professional Geologist, shed light on a topic that many homeowners might overlook: the importance of understanding underground oil tanks and determining whether or not one exists on a property.

John began by delving into the structure of these tanks, explaining the intricacies of their construction, including fill pipes, vent pipes, and the circulation system. He emphasized, “Many of these tanks, especially those installed before 1980, are prone to leakage.” This was surprising. The corrosion of metal tanks over time can lead to holes, especially at the bottom where moisture and sludge accumulate.

One of the most alarming statistics John shared was that “over 70% of the tanks they’ve inspected in Virginia showed signs of petroleum leakage.” While it’s true that most leaking tanks don’t cause significant problems, there are exceptions. John recounted a case in the Virginia Beach area where “a tank with a hole the size of a dime caused a petroleum discharge into a storm drain,” leading to severe environmental concerns.

The potential environmental impact of such leaks is a pretty big problem. From contaminating groundwater to harming local ecosystems, the repercussions of an unchecked underground oil tank can be serious. As potential homeowners, it’s crucial to be aware of these risks, especially when considering properties with a long history.

John also touched upon the potential for tanks to collapse over time due to metal deterioration. Although this hasn’t been widely observed yet, it’s something homeowners should be aware of. He concluded by discussing a common test used by heating oil companies to detect tank leaks, known as the “water test” or “paste test.” This test, while simple, can be a lifesaver for homeowners, ensuring that their property is safe from potential leaks.

Now, if you’re a homeowner or a potential homeowner, you might be wondering, “What can I do to ensure the safety of an underground tank?” Here are some steps and considerations based on John’s insights:

  1. Identification: First and foremost, identify if there’s an underground tank on the property. Look for fill pipes, which are usually cut off and flush with the ground, and vent pipes with a mushroom cap on top. These are usually up against the side of the house. A good home inspector should be able to help you with identification. 
  2. Age of the Tank: Understand the age of the tank. If it’s the original tank from before the 1980s, it’s probably at least 40 years old. The older the tank, the higher the risk of leakage.
  3. Physical Inspection: Check for any visible signs of leakage around the tank area. John mentioned that over 70% of the tanks they’ve tested indicated a petroleum leak, especially around the bottom of the tanks.
  4. Professional Assessment: If you suspect any issues or just want peace of mind, get a professional to assess the tank’s condition. They can test for any leakage and provide recommendations on next steps.
  5. Ground Stability: While John mentioned that they haven’t seen tanks collapsing yet, it’s essential to monitor the ground above the tank for any settling or sinking. This could indicate deterioration of the tank below.
  6. Water Testing: If you have a well or any groundwater source near the tank, get it tested for petroleum contaminants. John shared a case where petroleum from a leaking tank contaminated drinking water wells in a neighborhood.
  7. Removal or Replacement: If the tank is old, leaking, or poses a risk, consider removing it or replacing it with a newer, safer model. This is a significant step but can prevent potential environmental and health hazards in the future.

In conclusion, understanding the state and potential risks of underground oil tanks is paramount when purchasing a home. As John S. Pollard expertly highlighted, it’s not just about the aesthetics or location of a property; it’s about ensuring the safety and longevity of your investment. So, the next time you’re considering a property, make sure to delve deep, quite literally, and check for those underground tanks. Your future self, and the environment, will thank you.


CommunityFamilyFredericksburgThings to Do November 3, 2023

Elevate Your Weekend: Discover Urban Air Adventure Park in Fredericksburg, VA


Are you looking for a weekend escape where your kids can break free from the weekday routine and dive into a world of fun? Look no further! Urban Air Adventure Park has a new location in Fredericksburg, VA and it is your go-to destination for all things FUN! This indoor adventure hub has tons of activities that will not only entertain your kids but also allow them to burn off some energy.

urban air adventure park the apex trampolines in fredericksburg va

At Urban Air, fun reaches new heights, quite literally! The range of attractions is mind-boggling. Your adventurous little ones can test their acrobatic skills on the ProZone Performance Trampolines or embrace the high-flying thrill of the Sky Rider. If they are into climbing, the Climbing Walls and the Ropes Course are there to challenge them. And for those with a competitive streak, the Warrior Course and Dodgeball arena are perfect to spark some friendly rivalry. Of course, my favorite area is the Slam Dunk Zone!

urban air spin zone bumper cars

But that’s not all! Urban Air caters to the young and young-at-heart with its varied attractions. The Tubes Playground is a maze of fun waiting to be explored, while the Spin Zone Bumper Cars are perfect for some family-friendly collisions. And if your kiddos dream of something out of this world, they are able to go on an adventure in the Virtual Reality Zone.

urban air adventure park laser tag room in fredericksburg va

The fun extends to the Laser Tag room where your family and friends can engage in a friendly match. And for those looking to battle a friend, the Battle Beam allows you safely trade blows with your best friend. With something for everyone, Urban Air is the epitome of family-friendly fun.

urban air adventure park battle beams in fredericksburg va

So, as the weekend approaches, plan a day out at Urban Air Adventure Park. Let your kids loose in this playground of endless adventures while you sit back, relax, and maybe even join in on the fun. After all, at Urban Air, fun is a family affair!


Please reach out to me if you would like to know about more fun things to do in Fredericksburg or great places to eat!

urban air adventure park warrior course in fredericksburg va

urban air adventure park in fredericksburg va


BuyersHome OwnershipMarket UpdatesReal EstateSellers September 18, 2023

What Experts Project for Home Prices Over the Next 5 Years

If you’re planning to buy a home, one thing to consider is what experts project home prices will do in the future and how that might affect your investment. While you may have seen negative news over the past year about home prices, they’re doing far better than expected and are rising across the country. And data shows, experts forecast home prices will keep appreciating.

Experts Project Ongoing Appreciation of Home Prices

Pulsenomics polled over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts in the latest quarterly Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES). The results show what the panelists project will happen with home prices over the next five years. Here are those expert forecasts saying home prices will go up every year through 2027 (see graph below):If you’re someone who was worried home prices would fall because of stories you’ve read online, here’s the big takeaway. Even though home prices vary by local market, experts project prices will continue to rise across the country for years to come. And these numbers indicate the return to more normal home price appreciation.

And while the projected increase in 2024 isn’t as large as 2023, it’s important to recognize home price appreciation is cumulative. In other words, if these experts are correct, after your home’s value rises by 3.32% this year, it’ll appreciate by another 2.17% next year. This is a good example of why owning a home is a choice that wins big over time.

What Does This Mean for You?

Once you buy a home, price appreciation raises your home’s value, and that grows your household wealth. To see how a typical home’s value could change in the next few years using the expert projections from the HPES, check out the graph below:In this example, let’s say you bought a $400,000 home at the beginning of this year. If you factor in the forecast from the HPES, you could potentially accumulate more than $71,000 in household wealth over the next five years.

So, if you’re thinking about whether buying a home is a good choice, remember how it can be a powerful way to grow your wealth in the long run.

Bottom Line

According to the experts, home prices are expected to grow over the next five years at a more normal pace. If you’re ready to become a homeowner, know that buying today can set you up for long-term success as home values (and your own net worth) grow. Let’s connect to start the homebuying process today. Check out our current up-to-date local market stats here.

BuyersFamilyHome OwnershipReal EstateSellers September 16, 2023

Should Baby Boomers Buy or Rent After Selling Their Houses?

Are you a baby boomer who’s lived in your current house for a long time and you’re ready for a change? If you’re thinking about selling your house, you have a lot to consider. Will you move to a different state or stay nearby? Is it time to downsize or do you want more space to accommodate your loved ones? But maybe the biggest consideration boils down to this – will you buy your next home or choose to rent instead?

That decision ultimately depends on your current situation and your future plans. Here are two important factors to help you decide what’s right for you.

Expect Rents to Keep Going Up

The graph below uses data from the Census to show how rents have been climbing steadily since 1988:Rents have been going up consistently over the long run. If you choose to rent, there’s a risk your rental payment will go up each time you renew your lease. Having a higher rental expense may not be something you want to deal with every year.

When you buy a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, it helps stabilize your monthly housing payment. This allows you to lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your home loan. That keeps your payments steady and predictable for the long haul. Freddie Mac sums it up like this:

“. . . homeowners with fixed-rate loans will see little to no change to their monthly housing cost over the life of their loan. You can be confident in knowing that your mortgage payments won’t change much in the long term, even when life’s other costs do.”

Owning Your Home Comes with Unique Benefits

According to AARP, buying your next home is a better long-term strategy than renting:

“Though each option has pros and cons, buying provides more pros, with a broader range of benefits.”

To help you choose what you’ll do after you sell, here are just a few of the benefits of homeownership that article covers:

  • Owning your home can help you save money for the future. Your home, and the equity you build as a homeowner, can provide generational wealth that could be passed on to loved ones, giving them a better life.
  • You might not have to pay a monthly mortgage payment at all. If you have enough equity to buy your next home outright, you wouldn’t have a monthly mortgage payment. While you might still need to cover property taxes or maintenance fees, not having to worry about a monthly mortgage payment could be a big relief.
  • Aging in place can be simpler. If your needs change, owning your home gives you the freedom to make renovations and updates that can make everyday life easier.

Bottom Line

If you’re a baby boomer who’s wondering whether you should buy or rent your next home, let’s connect. With rents going up and homeownership providing so many benefits, it may make sense to consider buying your next home.

BuyersFredericksburgHome OwnershipMarket UpdatesMortgageReal EstateSellers September 14, 2023

When Will More Homes Finally Hit the Market in Fredericksburg?

The Lowdown on Our Local Real Estate Market

I recently attended a great and informative presentation by Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist at Bright MLS, at the Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors (FAAR) Expo 2023. As a real estate agent here in Fredericksburg, I’m constantly trying to better understand the forces shaping our local housing market to better advise you. Lisa provided invaluable insights into the current dynamics in Fredericksburg and surrounding areas. Here are some of the key things I took away:

Low Inventory Continues to Constrain

The biggest ongoing obstacle to more sales is the short supply of homes for sale. Lisa showed that active listings today remain less than half of typical pre-pandemic levels in Fredericksburg and most counties. The inadequate number of options has been wearing down buyers. Bidding wars may have eased a bit recently, but buyers still face stiff competition for the few houses available. Supply will lag far behind demand until we build significantly more new homes.

housing inventory in fredericksburg, va

The Pandemic Impact on Interest Rates

Inventory dropped so sharply due to the plunge in mortgage rates during the pandemic. The Fed slashed rates to stimulate the economy, causing rates to hit all-time lows below 3%. She also stated that she does think we will ever see rates this low again in our lifetimes. These low rates spurred a rush of buying and selling. At the same time, government stimulus payments and reduced spending left buyers flush with cash.

inflation and interest rates in fredericksburg, va

Of course, the Fed has since raised rates significantly to combat inflation. However, many existing homeowners locked in historically low rates under 4%, leaving them unwilling to sell or trade up to a higher rate. Until rates moderate, the inventory gridlock likely won’t break open.

monetary policy interest rates impact

Homeowners Staying Put Longer

Lisa explained that homeowners are staying put longer these days – now over 13 years on average. Retirees in particular, are less inclined to sell and relocate than in the past. Locally, many retirees choose to age in place near family rather than moving to traditional retirement destinations like Florida and Arizona. With fewer seniors selling, that removes a key source of homes coming onto the market.

The Outlook for Sellers and When Will More Homes Finally Hit the Market in Fredericksburg? 

Lifestyle changes are still the top trigger, prompting homeowners to sell. However, investors listing rental properties play a bigger role as short-term rental demand softens. Lisa believes more “pent-up” sellers exist who are awaiting lower rates. But with rates elevated for the foreseeable future, sellers will have to accept that reality to list in the next couple of years.

While demographics and aging boomers will eventually spur more listings, Lisa doesn’t see inventory returning to normal for at least 3-5 years. Buyers shouldn’t wait for a flood of new listings before acting. Low rates may be gone, but staying patient for more choices could mean missing your dream home.

I’m happy to go over Lisa’s insights in more detail. Her presentation gave me an even clearer understanding of the forces directing our market. I look forward to helping you navigate these ongoing inventory challenges and achieve your real estate dreams! Check out our current up-to-date local market stats here.

BuyersHome OwnershipMarket UpdatesSellers September 8, 2023

Home Price Forecasts Revised for 2023 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Price Forecasts Revised for 2023 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • Last year, some housing experts projected a decline in home prices by the end of 2023. But that didn’t happen – inventory was just too low.
  • While it’s normal for experts to re-forecast throughout the year, the good news for 2023 is that prices are no longer projected to decrease.
  • Let’s connect so you know what’s happening with home values in our local area.



BuyersFredericksburgHome OwnershipMortgageReal Estate September 5, 2023

Are Real Estate Taxes Deductible? A Dive Into Property Tax Deductions!

If you’re like many homeowners or prospective buyers, you’ve probably found yourself asking, “Are real estate taxes deductible?” It’s a hot question, especially come tax season, and today, we’ll shed some light on it!

Disclaimer: Remember, I am not an accountant, so always consult your trusted CPA or accountant before making any decisions based on the following info!

What are Real Estate Taxes?
Real estate taxes, often referred to as property taxes, are levies you pay to your local government based on the assessed value of your property. This includes land and any structures on it. But can you get some of that cash back come tax time?

Deducting Property Taxes: The Basics
The answer, generally, is yes—real estate taxes can be deductible. According to the IRS (and you can check their official website for a deep dive), taxpayers who itemize their federal income tax returns can deduct real estate taxes paid on their primary residences and any other homes they own.

However, there are some caveats:

  1. State and Local Taxes Limitation: There’s a cap on the amount of state and local taxes (SALT) you can deduct, which includes real estate taxes. This cap is $10,000 ($5,000 if married filing separately).
  2. Personal vs. Business: If you use your property solely for personal purposes, your property tax deduction is limited to the aforementioned SALT deduction. However, if you use your property for business or as a rental, things get a tad more complex—and potentially more beneficial. In those cases, property taxes could be deducted as a business expense.

Keep Those Records! 📂
Remember to keep detailed records if you plan to claim the real estate tax deduction. This means holding onto any tax bills or official documents from your local government. Trust me, if the IRS has questions, you’ll want to have answers!

In Conclusion…
So, to sum it up, are real estate taxes deductible? Absolutely. But as with anything tax-related, there are nuances and limitations. While I’ve provided a basic overview, you should definitely hit up your accountant for the nitty-gritty tailored to your unique situation.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

And if you’re browsing properties in Fredericksburg, VA, and curious about potential tax implications, give me a shout! Until then, happy house hunting and tax planning!

CommunityFamilyFredericksburgRestaurants August 16, 2023

Agave Bar & Grill: A Flavorful Fiesta in Downtown Fredericksburg!

Greetings, Fredericksburg food enthusiasts! Before you think it’s just another Mexican Restaurant on the list, let me assure you this one stands out. I’ve stumbled upon a hidden treasure in our picturesque town, where the quest for the ultimate Mexican dish is real. Say hello to Agave Bar & Grill.

Agave Bar & Grill Mexican Restaurant in Downtown Fredericksburg, VA

Nestled right on William Street (you can check them out here), this gem offers a vibrant atmosphere that’s both cozy and inviting. I’m sorry, I still haven’t even told you about the food, have I? Let’s dive in!

Tasty Tacos and More 🌮🌮🌮

During my recent visit, I had a trio of tacos served on authentic corn tortillas. The steak? Juicy and seasoned to perfection. The carnitas (that’s pork for those unfamiliar)? Oh, it was a melt-in-your-mouth experience. And the chicken? Tender and flavorful, just the way I like it. Each taco was generously filled, ensuring every bite was a delightful mix of meat, fresh toppings, and that soft tortilla.

tacos trio carne de asada with steak, chicken and pork

That brings me to the sides. The rice and beans were the perfect companions to my taco trio – hearty, well-spiced, and the kind of comfort food you’d expect from a top-notch Mexican eatery.

Rice and beans side

Guacamole, let’s gooo! 🥑🥑🥑

Now, let’s talk guacamole. I’ve had my fair share of guacs in various places, but Agave’s version? It’s awesome! (and I don’t use that term lightly). Creamy, zesty, and with just the right amount of chunkiness. If you love guacamole like me, you’ll appreciate the balance of flavors they’ve achieved.

Awesome guacamole at Agave Bar & Grill

Why Agave Stands Out 

Beyond the food, what struck me about Agave Bar & Grill was their commitment to providing a genuine experience. The ambiance is warm, the staff friendly, and there’s a sense of community that’s hard to find these days. Plus, their location in Downtown Fredericksburg makes it a convenient spot whether you’re out shopping, hanging out with the family, or just taking a leisurely stroll. 

Bonus, they also have the easiest paying experience I have ever had at a restaurant. Simply scan the QR code and pay from your phone! I hope more restaurants start using this because it is so convenient! 

easy payment and check out experience with qr code

In conclusion, if you’re in the mood for some authentic Mexican cuisine, flavorful dishes, and good portions (because who isn’t?), Agave Bar & Grill should be on your radar. And if you’ve already been there, why not go again? (I know I will!)

Remember, life’s too short for mediocre meals. So, treat yourself to something delicious today. And if you have any other local spots you’d like me to check out, drop a comment below. Happy eating, Fredericksburg! 🌮🥑🍹