This prime estate parcel with fabulous views awaits you on scenic Blackwells Hollow Road. Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains with grassy meadows shaded by grandfather oaks, this five acres has state road frontage, a gated entrance and a circle drive already in place. Enjoy your lunch on the picnic pavilion while you plan your dream home. $150,000 MLS 594218
Step right out your front door and start your morning with a walk or jog on the Rivanna Trail. How about breakfast or lunch at Bodos? …less than five minutes. Barracks Road Shopping Center with Hot Cakes and Greenberry’s… a 15 minute stroll.
This charming home has been beautifully renovated and lives like a new home but with spectacular mature trees and landscaping. This is a marvelous property offering and elegant lifestyle and near endless opportunities for enjoying the outdoors and everything this fine old Meadowbrook neighborhood has to offer.
No better value at just $583,000 (under assessment!).
Water and mountain views abound at Wood Duck Pond, conveniently located to Gordonsville and Orange and less than 30 minutes from Charlottesville.
The c.1991 home has been well maintained and upgraded by the current owners and features a dramatic first floor master, two bedrooms up, a beautifully finished walk out basement and an attached two bedroom, 1.5 ba. guest cottage. Porches and decks wrapping the entire house, as well as picture windows in the dramatic vaulted ceiling family room, provide enchanting views of the three ponds and on to the Southwest mountains.
Contact John Ince at Charlottesville County Properties to learn more – John@CharlottesvilleCountry.com, 434-981-3011 (cell).
I’m standing with clients gazing out over a beautiful landscape, lush pastures dotted with angus, a trout stream rushing below and the Blue Ridge mountains rising above it all…perfect. But, what might happen at that farm straight ahead or what could happen to that farm just downstream? How many houses could they build? How many townhomes?
In most cases you can rely on local zoning ordinances that will describe exactly how property can be used and sub-divided in various zoning categories. In a growth area, dense residential development is encouraged while in agricultural zoning, it is typically more restrictive with allocated division rights and minimum acreage requirements. It’s important for buyers to take a look at zoning maps and regulations which are different in each county to see how the property they are interested in might be affected by it’s surroundings.
One way to be absolutely confident that your surroundings will not change is to find that rare property that is completely surrounded by properties under conservation easement. Fortunately for those of us who appreciate the unspoiled countryside, there are several pockets of farms and estates where land owners have dedicated easements to conservation groups like the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, Piedmont Environmental Council or the Sierra Club. These easements limit subdivision of properties and building rights in perpetuity in order to maintain the rural nature of the area.
There are several farm properties on the market right now that have conservation easements on them. The easements are customized for each owner and each property so they need to be examined carefully. What is hard to find is a property that is completely surrounded by protected properties so every aspect of the subject property is safe from development forever.
High Fields Farm in the South River Valley of Greene county is just such a property. The 128 acres has frontage on the South River, a popular trout stream and rises up to an elevated plateau where a lovely single story brick home enjoys panoramic views over the valley to the Blue Ridge beyond. Most of the acreage is gently rolling pasture for cattle or hay with about 30 acres in nice hardwoods reaching to the top of a small mountain. The home has been completely re-imagined and offers a wide open floor plan while reveling in pristine retro baths and fixtures.
High Fields is also part of this concerted neighborhood effort to protect this entire valley and has its own conservation easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The easement will allow the property to be sub-divided one time and a new residence can be built on the divided parcel if desired. The existing home which is perfectly suited to luxurious downsizing can also be modified as desired.
“Under all is the land” That’s how the preamble to the Realtors Code of Ethics begins and that is what real estate really is. Legal property descriptions accurately describe the land and simply state, “and all improvements” whether it be a shack or a mansion.
The land market encompasses a broad spectrum from residential lots, to large tracts of farm land, from high density commercial zoning to low density mountain land. Each requires a broker to have special expertise and a knowledge of each county’s zoning regulations and requirements.
As a broker specializing in country property for more than thirty years, I have helped clients buy and sell land in all seven counties surrounding Charlottesville. From mountain top lots in Greene County to thousand acre farms in Southern Albemarle, each have their nuances and highest and best use.
If you are thinking of purchasing land in the near future to build your dream home with amazing mountain views, perhaps a weekend cottage at 2200’ feet in the Blue Ridge Mountains or are looking for the perfect 20 acres for a horse farm, I have some wonderful new listings for you to consider:
Wildon Grove, 85.99 acres (566425) Spotswood Trail, 17.03 acres (560908)
Madison Road 2 tracts, 28.5 acres (565708) and 162.5 acres (565711)
Auction on October 19 >
Ragland Road, 109 acres (565072)
Carly Lane, 3.3 acres (565647)
Snow Mountain Road, 98.4 acres (567635)
Turkey Sag Road, 19.9 acres (568093)
Less than eight weeks ago I was asked to contribute my thoughts on the farm and estate market in the Charlottesville area which I consider as the seven counties that surround Charlottesville; Albemarle, Orange, Madison, Greene, Nelson, Fluvanna and Louisa. My outlook was carefully pessimistic, bemoaning the lack of activity while advising buyers about the excellent inventory and great values among motivated sellers.
Apparently the sluggish market was at a tipping point as we have seen a flurry of activity in the last two months that I believe indicate a change in the direction of this exciting segment of our real estate market. Jump started by a round of significant price drops, several large farms have gone under contract recently in Albemarle as well as Greene, Madison and Orange counties. Many of these properties had been on the market for two or more years and were now generating excitement and offers. There were 25 sales of properties over $750,000 with more than 15 acres in the last six months and there are currently 18 similar properties under contract in our market area.
Several factors have come together in the last year to help with the farm and estate market. The robust stock market has improved net worth and confidence for affluent buyers. The booming residential market in Charlottesville has restored faith in real estate ownership in general as an appreciating asset and most sellers have come to terms with realistic pricing making investing in country property an understandable value proposition.
As the real estate market reacts to supply and demand, the farm and estate market typically lags behind, responding more slowly since immediacy is rarely part of the buyer profile. Recent activity is encouraging and seems to be indicating that the buyers are back in the picture. If inventory fails to keep up with this increased demand we could see prices begin to rise again for farms and estates and rural property in general.
My advice to sellers is to strike while the iron is hot.. while out of town buyers are in town enjoying our beautiful countryside and Spring weather. Now is the perfect time for a price reduction to stimulate activity among buyers ready to pull the trigger once again. Here are some of my current offerings with recent price reductions poised to take advantage of an improved market.
Misty Ridge 20 acre Keswick horse farm Reduced $100,000
Octonia Highlands Farm 82 acre farm in the South River Valley Reduced $100,000
Brills Shop Farm 191 acre grazing farm Reduced $100,000
Etlan Road, Spectacular Madison County Farm with views of Old Rag, Reduced $15,000
Hello! I’m Taurus. Why would you want to live in the city when you could live on a beautiful place like this?
Just look around, nothing but good food growing out of the ground, beautiful girls everywhere I look and the Blue Ridge Mountains! Gorgeous! Right across the road from me is a vineyard that makes a beautiful Cab Franc! How can you beat that? These nice humans that take care of all my wants and needs live in a nice warm farmhouse and seem pretty happy too. You could have all this if you wanted and who wouldn’t?
I’ve got almost 82 acres to roam around on. There’s a nice little pond where I can look at this great blue heron and watch him catch fish. Sometimes people come out here and walk around tip toeing around the..you know. ha ha. They think I’m scary..ha ha All I have to do is blow through my nose and they run. ha ha. They probably wouldn’t do that well here. This place needs someone who loves the land like I do. They need to look at the dirt here. It’s good dirt. I can tell from the way it tastes and the way the grass tastes. yummm. They should know that you could grow anything here in this dirt. Grapes would be good. Hay would be good. I like horses. They’re pretty. Not very strong like me but they’re pretty. They’d like it here too. They could run all over the place and if the people wanted to ride them they could ride out and about forever. I wish I could open gates like they can. I’d go right over to that big barn and eat all that hay. Oh well, I thought you might like to hear about this place from a different perspective. It’s all about the land you know. That works for me. Happy New Year, everyone.
Oh yes, Call John. He’s cool. 434-981-3011.
What does it look like, your place in the country? Is it a tiny cabin in the mountains beside a trout stream? Is it a grand manor with manicured grounds? Maybe it’s an old farmhouse with plenty of room for your horses, cows and chickens. For those of us who imagine a country home as the culmination of and reward for a long and busy career, visions of quiet sunrises and sunsets, the sounds of a rooster in the morning and tree frogs in the evening float through our consciousness more and more often as the reality grows nearer and nearer.
Most of my clients are living in the city or suburbs and either approaching retirement or contemplating a career that allows them to work virtually anywhere they wish. Hustle and bustle, traffic jams and twelve hour days have gotten them where they are and now allows them a choice. Some choose the country and the opportunity to surround themselves with the things of the earth rather than the things of man.
I never tire of hearing the dreams as they spill out. “She’s always wanted her own horse” “He’s always wanted a John Deere tractor”. Fortunately, these are attainable dreams. Whether it be a dream of starting a vineyard, running a B&B, raising horses or growing organic food for a farm to table business, there are country properties, large and small, grand or modest that are ripe for the picking this fall in the beautiful Virginia countryside surrounding Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.
Here’s a wonderful new offering in the spectacular South River Valley of Greene County just north of Charlottesville. With 81 acres of prime farmland, a fully renovated 1900’s farmhouse and magnificent views in every direction, Octonia Highlands Farm has unlimited potential. It is located adjacent to an award winning vineyard , is all fenced for horse and cattle and has stocked pond.
I’m pretty sure my chicken’s free range eggs and my tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, peas and beans would be considered organic. The great success of the weeds in my garden, and the healthy population of Japanese beetles in my apples trees and roses are proof that I don’t spray.
That wouldn’t be enough for the USDA certification though. There are mountains of do’s and don’ts spelled out in the Guidance on Organic Agriculture that take a pretty dedicated farmer to adhere to for certification. The organic guidelines were established in 1990 with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and get tweaked a few times a year as different substances and practices are approved or disapproved. Organic farming is more a labor of love than a practical approach to making a profit from agriculture. It encourages recycling, humane treatment of animals, and natural growth of plants and animals free from antibiotics and hormonal and genetic modification. The basic tenets for Organic Farming are all good:
Organic farms and processors:
- Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
- Support animal health and welfare
- Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
- Only use approved materials
- Do not use genetically modified ingredients
- Receive annual onsite inspections
- Separate organic food from non-organic food
When you balk at the higher prices for organic food at the grocery store, go ahead and bite the bullet. You’re not paying extra because it tastes better (though it does), you are paying extra because it’s much harder to grow and takes a farmer willing to wade through paperwork, keep a daily log of farming activities, and be satisfied with a lower yield of a better product.
If you are thinking of producing an organic product, thank you. You’ll need to show that your land has gone at least three years without any non-permissible additions and will have to have soil tests done before your first certification. It’s become a way of life for over 30,000 farmers in the US and continues to grow as consumers demand a more natural, kind, and organic approach to producing our food.
Perched on a high knoll off of Dick Woods Road in Western Albemarle County, this picturesque horse farm on 21 acres enjoys far reaching views over the stunning Rockfish Valley. A stylish one bedroom cottage with an open floor plan and wrap around porch may be all you need for your downsizing plans but there is a building right for your dream home and a building site to justify a fine home. Horse facilities include a classic bank barn with seven stalls and a shed row barn with four stalls, tack room and wash rack.
Dogs will shower you with love, affection and loyalty. Cats will allow you to appreciate their felinity. Horses can empower and enthrall you with a bond beyond magic. Chickens will make you laugh, laugh, laugh!
Early last Spring at the behest of my dearly beloved we took advantage of “free” peepers at Southern States here in Charlottesville. In one hand a box, half the size of a shoebox with three white and three brown chicks, in the other hand, and in those of my sweetheart were a heat lamp, waterer, chick starter feed, a roll of chicken wire and a notebook full of scribbles from the chicken seminar we had just sat through on folding chairs next to the chicken supply aisle.
The chicks lived inside of course, first in a cardboard box and then in a horse trough turned chick village with abalone shell perches, climate control and a chicken wire roof to keep curious cats and dogs safe. Their chirping filled the house as they changed from fluff balls to fledges, insisting I get to work on their outdoor abode to be chosen from over one million designs found under the Google search, “chicken coops”. After banging together two failures their palace arose with a standing seam metal roof, private roosting boxes, convenient perches, ramps, hanging feed and water and most importantly, galvanized hardware cloth extending six inches underground practically daring chicken predators to take a shot.
We started with a chicken run which worked for a couple of days until the first chick said “watch this” and flew out. Round ups proved pointless and the run was abandoned and free range adopted. Fortunately, chickens put themselves to bed right around dark so all we have to do is latch the door and they are safe for the night.
Chickens start laying at about six months. We found the first egg out in the lawn and took pictures of it from all angles, posted it on Facebook and then fried it up as a huevo ranchero. We now get 5 or 6 eggs a day. “We” is a bit of a misnomer since Gabriela travels for work and I am usually home alone. That’s a lot of eggs so I carefully plan for future favors as I dole out precious dozens of Firefly Farm free range eggs
But here is the best part. These six “free” chicks have added enormous personality to our little country home. Yes, they all have names. They follow you around looking for treats, (dried meal worms drive them crazy), they walk between the dogs legs, pick up after the horses and peck at the sliding glass door to come inside. (No way Jose). When they run, you can’t help but laugh. Their sounds are as expressive and communicative as a zoo at feeding time and they’re seriously good looking birds, each with a personality and each giving us an egg a day.
I couldn’t recommend this easy entre’ into animal husbandry more highly. Urban chickens are allowed in most areas and more and more often we are seeing chicken coops included in the real estate listings even in the city. This is a great way to get your kids involved in animals and the outdoors, instilling responsibility for those who might take it seriously. Spring is just around the corner so think about wandering into Southern States or Tractor supply in April. Just prick your ears for the peeping and prepare to add a new dimension to your life.
It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Obviously, you can drop millions on a Keswick estate and repaint the white fence every year if you like, but would you have guessed that there are currently 62 current offerings with 10 or more acres for under $400,000 in our MLS? 20 listings for less than $250,000?
If you’ve been dreaming about living out in the country where you can stretch out a little, let your dog run without following him with a poop bag, and watch your kids tumble down a hill from your kitchen window, you don’t necessarily need to cash in your retirement fund.
Just be prepared to balance the land value vs. the home value at a level that suits your needs. A $400,000 property on 15 acres with a little barn and a pond won’t resemble your home in Forest Lakes or Carrsbrook but it could still be charming and you won’t need to impress your neighbors any longer because they can’t see you. It won’t be a five minute hop to Target anymore but you might really enjoy getting to know and be known in a little town like Scottsville or Gordonsville.
Whether you want complete privacy way back in the woods or some open land for horses, cows, or chickens, you couldn’t ask for a better place to look around at the possibilities. We have everything from steep mountain woodlands to easy rolling farm land as we move down the mountain slopes towards the tidewater.
Country living is not for everybody, most folks thrive in a close community as evidenced by much of our new construction where the lots are measured in square feet. I’ve made a career of finding country homes for those who come to the Charlottesville area with that dream. I know I’ve found a good prospect then they spend the first half hour exploring the land before looking at the house. If it’s on your bucket list, let’s take a look at what’s out there. You might be surprised.