For the second time this year I’ve had a new listing go under contract after the first showing.
This may not seem that remarkable to a residential agent specializing in homes close to Charlottesville in the $350,000 to $450,000 range where median days on the market are less than 50 days but for country properties it’s definitely noteworthy. The first was an Orange County horse farm on 18 acres listed for $795,000 and just last week a lovely Greene County farm with 85 acres listed for $849,000 went under contract within 5 days.
What is important to realize is that the instant the listing goes live, every buyer’s saved search that brackets the new listing lights up. This is no time for an overpriced listing or poor photos. This is the all important first impression. This is where that sense of urgency comes into play and a good listing, priced right, will get the attention and will sell. If the first impression is less than the best it can be, this one chance is past and can never be regained. There is a pent up demand right now as we unwind from four years of slow sales. For sellers, getting off to a good start has never been more important.
Anyone who has tried to walk their way through hay fields or woodland during high summer knows what a blessing the dormancy of winter can be, especially when it’s below freezing. It’s easy going in the winter without the threat of poison ivy, blackberry brambles or snakes and you can see all there is to see once the leaves are off the trees.
Ever wonder what the view might be like if you cleared off a couple of trees? Ever wonder if you’ll see that neighbor’s house that seems so nicely screened with trees in the summer?
Winter is the best time to look at land especially when it’s nice and frozen and mud is not an issue. Make sure you are aware of hunting seasons and enjoy walking the land without sweating the summer stuff.
Speaking of land, there’s no better offering on the market right now than Camp Buckingham near Scottsville, 168 acres of fenced pasture and mature hardwood forest with significant timber value, two ponds, gorgeous building sites and lots of division rights. It’s a great value too at just $471,000. MLS# 512843.
Here’s your chance to be a stop on The Monticello Wine Trail. There are now over 200 wineries in Virginia and Virginia wines are impressing more and more critics in international blind tastings. South River Vineyard just north of Charlottesville is a small (seven acres) vineyard with mature vines growing in a near perfect Terroir (the set of special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant’s genetics, express in agricultural products such as wine, coffee and chocolate). South River Vineyard produces Chardonnay, Petit Mensang and Viognier grapes for several nearby wineries that have won significant awards with their exceptional fruit.
The vineyard is just a small part of this spectacular property of 92 choice acres overlooking the pristine South River Valley, nestled into the Blue Ridge mountains just south of Charlottesville, Virginia in Greene County. The current owners built a custom home on the property at the highest point overlooking the vineyards and the spectacle of this pristine valley where time seems to stand still. The home, with four bedrooms and three and a half baths, has been meticulously maintained and upgraded since it was built in 1992. Its timeless design and iconic Deck House quality assure it will stand for the ages. There is also a two bedroom manager’s residence above the equipment garage situated below the main residence.
Like most of the surrounding farms, South River Vineyard is protected with a conservation easement which precludes subdivision but allows for the construction of another residence and a winery that could be open to the public. All options are viable, from leasing the vineyard to a nearby winery for cash and wine, managing the vineyard and selling the fruit or expanding the vineyard and creating your own winery in one of the most spectacular settings in the Piedmont.
Please call or email John Ince for more details or to set up a tour of South River Vineyard.
Last evening was wonderful. I had been asked to prepare a listing presentation for a family, out in the county, out in one of the hollows. The hollows exist all up and down the Blue Ridge and generally follow a stream out of mountains. The streams create some nice workable bottom land and have attracted homesteaders over the centuries that have tended to be pretty self sufficient. They have a sense of community defined geographically at first which then evolves into the rich lore of the mountains as families grow generation by generation and interact story by story.
Five siblings had gathered to interview me. We stood in the bare kitchen of the 1920’s farmhouse. It’s a small farmhouse, four bedrooms and one bath in a little over 1600 square feet. I stood along one wall while all five of them stood along the opposite wall. This was the very kitchen where they all grew up and ate every meal. The youngest was now more than 50. The wood fired cook stove was still hooked up to the flue and there were stacks of short stove wood on the back porch even though mother had passed away more than a year ago.
“She made the best biscuits in that stove, biscuits every morning. She made gravy every day too, never had a meal without gravy. Guess nobody would want that old stove now, would they?”
The four brothers had shared one room upstairs. They all had their own jobs and projects caring for the 50 acres of mountain pasture and woodland. One took care of the chickens, one took care of the hogs and they all took care of the vegetable garden which was over an acre. They weren’t talking about it nostalgically but as if they had just been doing it all yesterday. I asked why the linoleum floor in the kitchen was rubbed black in a couple of places.
“That’s where Mama stood by the stove and that’s where Daddy’s chair always was. We always sat in the same place around the table you know” You could see where the kitchen table had stood. It wasn’t a big table for seven.
We talked about the hollow a little, how you could get anything you wanted. Moonshine? Smiles all around. The property had been in the same family for generations. I expected to see some regrets but found none on their faces. None had continued the farming life. All were on an acre or two but all had moved out of the hollow and become successful in different professions around Charlottesville. I gave them my spiel and they listened carefully, asked important questions then all five signed the listing agreement. It’s a beautiful property and some retiring couple will likely buy it and build a fine home on one of the high knolls with views all the way down the Piedmont Valley. They might chuckle as they describe the hollow to their friends in Alexandria but hopefully, over time, they’ll embrace the lifestyle as they learn it, as the trucks that drive by become familiar and the waves more sincere. It’s a chance to understand an important and rich part of Americana where self reliant folk know they can rely on each other, where you know you could survive off the land if you needed to. You might just find a part of yourself that remembers.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a perfect backdrop to the gently rolling hills of the Piedmont. From Stony Point or Somerset they are a blue silhouette, from Free Union and White Hall they are an imposing frontier. Venture in on the narrow, switchback gravel roads like Bacon Hollow Road in Greene County and you’ll start to understand another lifestyle. These mountains have been populated for centuries by a hardy lot that raised kids, cows and crops on meager soil cleared by hand and mule of the endless rocks that grow prolifically in this high air. What drove those early Americans to choose such a challenging lifestyle? Yes, the land was cheap but I think it was more than that. None could consider this lifestyle if they were not completely self sufficient. They would have to raise their own food, heal their own wounds and fix whatever broke. It was in their make up to do it, man and woman alike and in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia they could thrive in their own way. While Albemarle County’s fine estates enjoyed chamber music and French wine, the mountain folk had their moonshine and fiddles and their own sort of joy. While driving up into the mountains in a SUV today isn’t quite the same as driving a team and a buckboard, step out into a mountain meadow at 2000 feet elevation and you can feel just as they did 150 years ago with cool mountain air and views that go forever. It’s not for everyone but there have always been a few that consider the mountains..almost heaven.
A new listing of 155 acres on Wyatt Mountain in Greene County and a two hour exploration of the property with a forester inspired this post and gave me a renewed appreciation for mountain land and its marvelous diversity. For more information on this outstanding new offering click the link below.