Our Charlottesville Home Search, Part 3

I shared details from our first weekend of going to open houses yesterday. When we came home from those visits, I wasn't excited about any of the houses. I saw positive aspects of every home and only one seemed totally out of question.

That Monday, our first offer arrived. I've shared before that it wasn't strong. We wondered if the people behind it thought we were in distress. Funny thing about living in Charlottesville...I sat on a board with one of the people behind the offer. That was interesting. I let Marc decide on the counter offer and we weren't surprised when they moved on, probably to find someone who was a little more eager to sell.

Weekend #2

More agents called us to set up showings that week and our agent, Jim Duncan, scheduled an open house for that following Sunday. Since we had to clear out of the condo for the day, we decided to visit four more open houses.

First Stop: The Lake House
I don't talk about it a lot, but we have lakes around here! We stumbled upon a relatively new home in a development near one of the lakes. The MLS pictures made it look like a totally blank slate, which excited me. Though we weren't familiar with the neighborhood, it seemed nice and convenient. It was also near the neighborhood where some friends live and we we realized that we had been a little worried about another neighborhood where we didn't know anyone the weekend before.

The Lake House had a large, combined living and dining room with loads of natural light. The bedrooms were a very good size and there was plenty of storage. Some might have seen the lack of paint or wood floors, but I kind of liked that we wouldn't have to "undo" anything. We could jump right into projects in this house.

The drawbacks to the lake house were the kitchen and the outdoor space. The kitchen was a bit small, but with a little work on the layout, the room could be more spacious. There was a fantastic deck through a door in the kitchen, but there really wasn't a back yard beyond. I wasn't crazy about the fireplace in the living room, but there was no chimney, so I imagined that the fireplace didn't have to stay.

Second Stop: The Willow House
The Willow House had a huge lot full of trees that we immediately could see Baxter loving. There was even a fence around the backyard, which was a huge bonus. Despite being a little older than the Lake House, this home has a more open floor plan. The bedrooms were great and there was a second master in the basement. The home was a split level, so that basement had plenty of natural light.

I found the kitchen and bathrooms dated, but they didn't need urgent attention. Marc thought they were just fine! He liked the bathroom that I thought needed the most work. Thankfully, he lets me take the lead on bathroom design.

A surprisingly open floor plan

Marc liked it, but I didn't

The basement bedroom

Third Stop: The Bungalow
One of the most desirable neighborhoods in our downtown area is full of bungalows. I love them. They aren't big, but they are full of charm and many have been updated over the years. Marc, being a Charlottesville native, has strong opinions about which streets are nice and which ones aren't. The Bungalow's block was deemed acceptable.

Every turn in the Bungalow revealed another cute detail. There were some nice colors on the walls, a pretty master bathroom, and a little front porch with a swing on it. The yard was quite large for the neighborhood and there were raised boxes for gardening and a compost bin in the back corner. There was new lighting and a kitchen that seemed recently remodeled, too.

If I had to find a drawback to the Bungalow, it would be that it lacked storage. We were selling a 785 square foot condo and I couldn't picture where some basic things would go in this house. When we left, Marc was solidly against the place because of the size. I didn't see it as a deal breaker. All that charm overshadowed that one negative aspect.

Fourth Stop: The One with the Cookie Jars
Our agent joked that you don't want your house to get recalled with something odd like "the one with all the cats." Well, just one week into our search, we found a house that got an odd nickname. This house had an extensive collection of cookie jars throughout the first floor. It was a little distracting.

This house had a massive lot that included a little stream. It was on a fairly busy road, but we had good friends just a block away, so we were okay with the location. The home felt very old on the inside and there was wood everywhere. I loved that there was a claw foot tub in the main bathroom.

Why didn't they show the clawfoot tub in the MLS photos?!?

Let's be brutally honest: this house needed a lot of work. The kitchen was desperate for an update. Looking around the neighborhood, there were some homes that were completely renovated and others that had seen better days. We left pretty sure we'd never be back to this place. This wasn't the best way to end the day.

When we got home, we got fantastic feedback about the open house. We were told that people liked the place and were shocked that a dog lived there. One visitor felt like there were some signs that our condo was her next home.

We were thrilled to have the compliments, but a little nervous at the same time. Things were happening so quickly! We didn't LOVE any of the homes we had visited. Aren't you supposed to love your house when you see it?


  1. I'm so curious about whether you preferred the new construction or old homes. We looked at both as well and wound up in the new construction. If you go that route, be sure to get a home warranty. It's amazing how many little things had to be fixed!

  2. You should totally love your house, but I wouldn't love any based on those photos (seriously, what terrible photos)! We totally had a 'house with all the cats', at least we remembered it...?

  3. My son just rented an apt. in C'ville. I love that town. Best of luck!
    xo Nancy

  4. I am reading along and remembering our home search. You were smart not to "LOVE" any home that you saw. It probably helped you make a good decision.

  5. I agree with you about the bathroom in that first house!

  6. I really like the willow house and loooove the bungalow. It's just so cute!


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