Our Charlottesville Home Search, Part 4

On the morning of my last post, I had my wisdom teeth removed. My recovery was pretty rough. I was in a lot of pain and one of the medications I was taking made it hard to stay awake for too long.  Now that I'm feeling a little better, it's time to get back to the story. 

After a second Sunday of seeing homes and getting positive feedback about our open house, we realized it was time to see some houses with out realtor, Jim Duncan from Nest Realty. We really weren't thrilled by the open house experiences we had. It's hard to articulate why we were disappointed, but I guess we experienced some extremes when it came to agents. There were those who stayed camped in one room and just wanted use to sign in on a sheet of paper and those who talked so much we had a hard time remembering the rooms through which we had just walked.

A solid offer coming in on the Monday after the open house made things seem a little more urgent. After another showing, a third pretty good offer came in. More agents were calling to set up visits. We would be leaving the condo much sooner than we expected!

By Tuesday evening, March 19th, the condo was sold. It had only taken 15 days.

Weekend #3

Jim lined up four houses for us to see with him the next weekend. This is about the time that people started making noise about how the real estate market was about to take off. Between our offers and the fact that two of the four houses on the docket for the day went under contract while we were driving around, we were super nervous by the end of the day.

First Stop: The Ivy House
I haven't been showing exterior pictures, but I wish I could show you the Ivy House. The architecture was modern and though that's normally not appealing to me, I loved the look of the Ivy House.

The surrounding neighborhood was fantastic. All of the homes were of different styles, which reminded me of where I grew up. A few desirable school was a short walk away (schools weren't a factor for us, though). The lot wasn't huge, but there was a nice wooded area between the Ivy House's yard and the yards of adjacent homes.

The inside was lovely! The great room was open and airy due to lots of windows and lofted ceilings. There was a first floor master bedroom and a full bathroom, along with a laundry closet with new-looking, Bosch machines. The kitchen was open to the great room and had been updated. It had an awesome tile back splash.

My pictures aren't great. I was more concerned with seeing the houses with Marc and Jim than with photographing them. Sorry!

Oops...a little too bright!

Yikes...sorry you need sunglasses for these.

There were two small bedrooms upstairs and another bath that was really cute.

And then there was this guy:

Look at that adorable, puppy face!

I loved it! Marc was concerned about the space. He didn't like having the master bedroom on the first floor and he didn't feel like it was much of an upgrade from our condo. After thinking about it, the space wasn't exactly my style, even though I found it pleasing.

Second Stop: The Cape Cod
I love Cape Cods. It's probably the symmetry that I find so appealing. When we got to our second stop of the day, I loved the cute exterior. It was textbook Cape Cod.

The living spaces in the Cape Cod were so cute. There was a small, formal living room, a very small dining room, and a first floor bedroom. The kitchen and bathroom on the first floor needed to be updated, but those weren't deal breakers for us. There was a large deck off the kitchen and stairs that led down to a huge yard. The basement was a walk-out basement with a large living room that had a fireplace and kitchenette. There was another bathroom that needed a little work and then an unfinished area with plenty of storage.

On the second floor, there were two bedrooms. The master was huge and had nice closets.

We have the same drapes! I added trim to mine, though.

Ugh...terrible picture. Sorry.

The drawbacks were that there seemed to be problems with the construction of the house. We noticed a lot of drywall issues and there was even a spot where there was no wall (between the unfinished area of the basement and the finished area). Though we didn't expect a totally perfect kitchen, the cabinets that were there didn't seem to be painted too, too carefully. It's one thing to have to change the color on the walls. It's another to deal with a thick paint job on cabinets.

Marc didn't like the area around the house. The cul-de-sac where it was located had a mix of Cape Cods and boxy duplexes that looked like rentals. Behind the big yard was a new townhouse development. The neighborhood was very convenient, but there were high tension power lines three of four blocks away. You couldn't see them from the house and I'm not sure if the lines are proven to be dangerous, but they're obviously not the most attractive things to have around.

By the time we were headed to the car, we knew this wasn't the house for us. That was a good thing because the listing agent contacted our agent to let us know that an offer had come in and was accepted while we were there.

Third Stop: Cancelled
Our third stop went under contract that morning, so we didn't bother going to see it. 

Fourth Stop: The Ranch
Marc was so excited about the last stop because it was located in one of the neighborhoods in which he grew up. The home was built in the 90s and had a fairly generic "new construction" look to it. The lot was wide, but not especially deep and there was a huge outbuilding dominating the space from the back of the house to the property line. I think our agent guessed that it had been a pool house because there were signs that there had been a very small pool back there.

The layout was interesting. The house rambled along. There were two living rooms side-by-side, lofted ceilings, a kitchen, and a small dining room on one side of the entrance hall and bedrooms with bathrooms on the other side.

The Ranch was a rental and the tenant didn't let showings change his lifestyle. There was a lot of disorder. I bet plenty of people walked right out, not wanting to take on the project of cleaning the place up.

 I wanted to vacuum up that kitty litter so badly.

In this case, bad photography saves you from seeing some details. You're welcome.

Baxter would love this really looooong hallway.

This honestly thought this was charming.  The modest Buddha clearly has meaning to the owner. 

I think we couldn't help but laugh at this puzzle of a house. Marc seemed to really love the layout. I told him I could do something with the place, but it would take A LOT of work.

When we left, we decided to drive around a little bit and I think that sobered Marc up a bit. We saw a home one street over that could have been the Grey Gardens house. We're talking full out neglect. Jim snapped a picture of it from the car. Another house up the street had gutters hanging off the roof. Jim also pointed out some houses that had several cars in front of them, possibly a sign that lot of homes were being rented out.

Honestly, I was a little bummed out after this third Sunday out looking at houses. The spring real estate market hype was starting, we had accepted an offer on our condo, and we hadn't fallen in love with a new home yet.

We started thinking that we needed to cast an even wider net, but we had only eliminated a few neighborhoods from our search. We had two more showings the next weekend that were probably the most interesting of the entire process.


  1. piedmonthousecleaningAugust 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Amazing clicks..!! Well furnished and clean rentals. But searching this kind of rentals is really tough and less in count.

  2. i appreciate your honesty about this process. so many blogs gloss over this part and make it seem like house hunting is quick and painless. we searched for months, gave up, then searched for months again. it was exhausting and frustrating.

  3. The "Ivy" house is cute, but it seems like it wouldn't give you many projects. The ranch seems better for that.

  4. Love the Ivy house! And the school district is stellar out there....I might be biased because I went to elementary school in Ivy. Can't wait to read what you decided on!

  5. Three times, I've lived in rented houses that were listed for sale. It is incredibly stressful and in our experience, many real estate agents and potential buyers treated us disrespectfully, violated our privacy and made us feel like we were pests in houses we were legally contracted to occupy. An agent here in Charlottesville took troops of people through our house while we were on vacation, without notifying us, AND left our front door unlocked. I can see why a renter would not be motivated to assist his landlord in staging a house, nor should it be a renter's responsibility to do so.


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