Charlottesville Real Estate

Charlottesville Real Estate

Charlottesville Real Estate covers a lot of ground. From a four story condo with panoramic Blue Ridge views, to an historic plantation with roots to Thomas Jefferson, it’s all here. We are situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains, Virginia’s Piedmont, and home to the University of Virginia and two major hospitals. Here you’ll find a vibrant city boasting a thriving downtown with charming old neighborhoods like Belmont interspersed with classy new ones offering every lifestyle like Belvedere and Lochlyn Hill.

Out in the spectacular countryside which surrounds Charlottesville one can find stunning Farms and Estates with acreage suitable for horse farms. Outside the City of Charlottesville in Albemarle County acreage is more affordable with country properties, large and small, available for any budget. The surrounding counties of Orange CountyGreene CountyMadison CountyFluvanna CountyNelson County and Louisa County offer great diversity in terms of geography, price range and proximity to Charlottesville while also providing access to such delightful small towns as Orange, Gordonsville, Lovingston, Madison, Stanardsville, Palmyra and Louisa. Whether you are looking for land for salea home in town, or a place in the country, it’s all here and I would love to introduce you to this part of the world and the wonderful opportunities that await you. 

New kid in town?

New kid in town?

When you’re 29 there are still a lot of new things that might be coming your way. The years were longer then and the end was not in sight. My 29th year with my birthday just a week away in May, 1982 found me driving through the night in my camper topped 68 Dodge step side en route from Lufkin, Texas to Afton, Virginia with all I owned in the truck bed and my fabulous German Shepherd, Jay Jay beside me on the bench seat. I’d been driving east into the night on I-64 with the excitement and trepidation of yet another beginning keeping me awake until finally, knowing I was close, I pulled into a rest stop, backed into a space and crawled into the back with Jay Jay. I slipped into my sleeping bag and with the smell of stale clothes and leather, a panting dog and dark starry skies I pondered my future. Tomorrow I would arrive at Akid Arabian Stud and take the reins as manager/trainer of an Egyptian Arabian breeding farm in Virginia, a state I fled as fast as I could after graduating from West Springfield High School in Fairfax county 11 years before.

I woke with the dawn on that auspicious day to a view over the Rockfish Valley from the top of Afton Mountain. This was not the Virginia of the DC beltway I fled. The sun was rising over the most verdant green valley I’d ever seen. Below was a patchwork of rolling hills, winding roads and streams, bright green pastures and hayfields dotted with farmhouses, and old, brick manor homes. From this mountaintop overlook I embraced this new to me world with heartfelt thanks and expectations of miracles yet to happen.

Now the years are much shorter and much of a life has been lived by that young fellow. Fate has smiled for the most part and miracles have indeed occurred. A forty year career in farm and estate brokerage has made me intimately familiar with those winding roads and the lives people live along them. Two children grew up safe, happy and well and like me have come to recognize what a special place we call home. I often pull over when I’m climbing Afton mountain on I-64 and take a moment to enjoy that spectacular view and give thanks. 

Charlottesville has grown in those 40 years, mostly well, but that view is just the same as is was in 1982. The promise it showed me those many years ago was kept and is being kept still for those who choose to embrace it.  

Call John to discuss Charlottesville Country Properties434-981-3011.

Now you need a tractor!

Now you need a tractor!

When I first looked at Firefly Farm in 1985 its 13 acres were overgrown with broom sage, vicious blackberries, and two foot tall cedars. I had walked it, carefully avoiding rusty barb wire fencing, truck parts, rows of abandoned dog houses and a three sided barn that was home to a very skinny holstein cow. The back pasture was a wide swale of about eight acres with a spring at the bottom of it and when I squinted my eyes enough I could imagine my horses grazing peacefully on its lush green pasture. It had a 1920’s asbestos sided farmhouse with no central heat, an old hand dug well and a two seater out house in the back yard. I was single, a wet behind the ears Realtor with five horses, a dog and a cat. This place looked perfect. A property I had just sold had a tractor I could buy. It was a 1953 Ferguson TO35 and came with a bush-hog, a blade and a boom. I got everything for $2500 and proudly drove it down Route 20 from Stony Point to Barboursville.

The first job for “Fergie” and I was with the boom. The boom attaches to the three point hitch and you can raise and lower it with your hydraulics. By attaching a good chain you can pull a fence post straight out of the ground and you can drag great loads out to a burn pile. Ours was over the out house hole. The boom is a simple implement and one of the most useful.  After weeks of clearing old fence lines and pulling out what debris I could find among the three foot high broom sage it was time for the Bush-hog.

The Bush-Hog is a brand name that is used for just about any rotary cutter. It attaches to the three point hitch at the rear of the tractor and has a shaft that attaches to the PTO (power take off), which powers the bush-hog or any other implement that requires mechanical power.  My bush hog was five feet wide with two heavy blades capable of cutting everything from grass to baby cedar trees and even occasional rock outcroppings. I still had no idea what my fields looked like under all the scrub so I carefully ventured forth with the bush hog in a fairly high position. I marveled as I glanced behind me to see clean pasture emerging pass by pass as Fergie chugged along in second gear. Finishing that back field was one of the most rewarding moments of my life as I gazed at the neat mowed rows with nary a blemish. No rocks, no unwieldy ditches, hardly even a bump as this hidden gem showed itself once more. I patted Fergie on her cowling as I would a horse after a good ride and marveled at my luck.

I lived at Firefly Farm for thirty years and raised two great kids in our old farmhouse which also cleaned up nicely. It really was perfect for that time in my life. One year I forgot to put antifreeze in Fergie’s radiator and a hard freeze cracked the block. I felt guilty for being a poor steward for this hard working tractor but she was done for. A neighboring mechanic took her for parts. On my 50th birthday, (2003), I gave myself a brand new Kubota L3400 (34 horse power). It’s a mid sized diesel tractor and came with a front end loader and a new bush-hog. Unlike Fergie, this Kubota is tinker free and now twenty years later still serves as well as when it was new. The front end loader is indispensable now and I could not imagine getting a tractor without one. I guess I’ve never named this “new” tractor but I have given it many pats on the neck after a good work out.

Today, Gaby and I live at lovely Somerview Farm just 10 minutes from dear Firefly Farm. We’ve just two horses now and grown, well settled kids and our first grandson. I still have pasture to maintain and firewood to cut and move and fences to take care of. Of all my passions and hobbies, those moments of working on our land, man and machine, with my tractor are a favorite.

I did not mean to tell a story but really just wanted to offer advice to anyone contemplating their first tractor. It means much more than just buying a tool. It means a new lifestyle. Congratulations if that’s you!

How to Buy Country Property

How to Buy Country Property

You’ve been living the urban life for thirty years and dreaming of retiring to the country someday. Every weekend you drive down country roads and imagine that it’s you on that tractor, riding that horse, tilling that garden. Now it’s time to make it happen and you jot down your priorities. They have mostly to do with peace and quiet, character and charm, reaping what you sow.

 

Here are a couple of things I’ve noticed that are sometimes overlooked:

Buying country property means living the dream of having a garden of your own.

Soil: It’s easy to be impressed with bright green grass jumping up from freshly raked soil or golden grasses swaying in the summer breeze. It could be that green grass is just winter rye enjoying a heavy dose of fertilizer and that golden grass may well be broom sage indicating acidic soil.

 

If you are planning on using the land in some specific way, planting grapes perhaps, raising livestock, growing Christmas trees, the soil underneath it all is a critical component. Grapes need well drained soils and elevation, livestock need good pasture and water, Christmas trees can thrive on marginal soils found in the mountains.

 

There are excellent resources available to help you understand the soils best suited to your requirements. There are detailed soil maps available through your local extension service office and Virginia Tech has volumes of information on agricultural suitability.

 

It’s pretty safe to assume that if you are in an area where horse and cattle farms are common that the soils are suitable but it makes sense to do a little research and confirm what lies under all that grass. Here are a couple of links that can help.
https://www.soiltest.vt.edu/
https://www.ext.vt.edu/

    Location is a major determining factor in how to buy country property

    Location:
    It’s easy to be wooed by a low price per acre. You can find farmland for $3,000 an acre but you may not be getting the bargain you think you are. Marginal areas are slower to appreciate and if you over-improve your property with a nice house and stable you may have a harder time recouping that
    investment.

     

    There are lots of reasons to appreciate rural Virginia but make sure you weigh the
    importance of having access to amenities like those found in Charlottesville and any of the charming
    small towns within her sphere of influence. It may make more sense to settle for less acreage in a great
    area with good resale potential than a larger property out in the boonies
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boondocks

    Horses Running Free on a Charlottesville horse farm

    Want a horse?

    All land is not equal when it comes to keeping horses. It is possible to find land in the Charlottesville area that is absolutely perfect for horses. It would consist of a nice deep soil with few if any rocks. It would be gently rolling and well drained and it would already be in good grass, your horse’s favorite food.

     

    This is horse country and a horse can thrive here and live entirely off the land for most of the year. It’s not all horse country though so do your homework. Up close to the mountains the pasture will be rockier and harder on your horse’s feet. That beautiful flat bottomland along the creek looks great when dry but will often be a wet soil that can also be unhealthy for hooves.

     

    Clearing woodland to make pasture can be done but it takes years to build up the grass to compare with established pasture. If you want to breed horses you’ll want to look at the type of grass growing in your fields. The fescue grass found in much of this area needs to managed if broodmares are grazing on it. Finding a place that is already fenced and has existing stabling is usually the best buy and finding a place that allows riding off the property can be a huge benefit in how you can enjoy your horses without trailering.
    https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/418/418-050/418-050.html

    Charlottesville Real Estate

    Call John Ince for information on new listings, price reductions and properties coming soon in the Charlottesville, VA area.

    Sign up here to receive a customized Charlottesville Real Estate Market Report.

    Market update for the Charlottesville real estate market including:  Albemarle County, VA, Orange County, VA, Madison County, VA, Greene County, VA, Nelson County, VA, Fluvanna County, VA, Louisa County, VA real estate.

    Farms for sale near Charlottesville

    Farms for sale near Charlottesville

    If you are considering purchasing a farm near Charlottesville or any of the surrounding counties you may be contemplating having a horse or two, maybe some chickens perhaps planting a vineyard. Ten acres would probably be plenty of land for that but you’ve just fallen...

    read more
    Historic properties for sale, Charlottesville, Virginia

    Historic properties for sale, Charlottesville, Virginia

    Historic properties abound in Virginia. After all the "First landing" that became Jamestown in 1607 was more than 400 hundred years ago marked the beginning of the colonization of America. Virginia has been the birthplace of eight United States Presidents and...

    read more
    Frascati, Somerset, Virginia

    Frascati, Somerset, Virginia

    Here’s your second chance to acquire an iconic historic property in the heart of the Somerset estate area. Our buyer had a change of heart and sadly retreated from their commitment in the 11th hour. Frascati is now back on the market and ready for its next chapter...

    read more
    Historic Somerset: A Chance to Own a Piece of History

    Historic Somerset: A Chance to Own a Piece of History

    Historic Somerset: A Rare Opportunity to Own a Piece of HistoryWhen Frascati was completed in 1823 in Orange County, Virginia for Phillip Barbour who had just retired as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Somerset was already a pretty good...

    read more
    Frascati Estate for Sale

    Frascati Estate for Sale

    A rare opportunity to acquire a significant historic estate in a superb location just 30 minutes from Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.   The house is described in the Virginia andmarks Registry as well as in the National Register of Historic Places...

    read more
    Rising Interest Rates: What Does This Mean For You?

    Rising Interest Rates: What Does This Mean For You?

    Little more than a year ago my clients were getting a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at 3%, a 15 year fixed at 2.5%. Sellers were getting stacks of offers and the most challenging job for a listing Realtor was determining which offer was truly the best for their client, Buyer’s agents were pulling out all the stops to get their client’s offer to the top; full price + with escalation clauses, inspections waived, appraisals waived, free leaseback for sellers for months after settlement… Sound to good to be true?

    Rising interest rates have given pause to many seeking new homes in 2022

    I guess the Fed agreed because as soon as inflation started becoming the word of the day, the Fed started bumping rates up hoping to slow the worrisome inflation by closing the damper on the real estate rally. Real estate has historically been a benchmark for wealth accumulation and consumer confidence among home owners fueling spending on all levels, creating high demand for both necessities and luxuries. When supply can’t keep up prices rise as we have witnessed in the grocery stores, gas pumps and car dealerships over the last two years.

      Rising interest rates have had a major impact on consumer confidence in 2022

      Is it working? Housing starts, the resale market and loan applications are down to pre-2008 levels nationally which is when the last fan got hit. The stock market has dropped and exuberant home buyers are now crunching serious numbers as they compute monthly payments over the breakfast table. Inventory is still low but we are seeing price drops as sellers understand that realism is setting in and buyers are being much more careful.

      Some say the Fed has acted too quickly and has not allowed the first rate hikes to have effect. Some say they should have acted earlier. There are many factors influencing our economy. Some are controllable and others are not.

      Interest rates from the Fed are one of the few controls that can be manipulated and we are witnessing the impact on the real estate market in just six months. Inevitably, rates will level and probably even lower for a soft landing at which time the refi business will be the in full swing again.

      The overall real estate market needed a re-set. 22% annual appreciation was not sustainable. Changes don’t occur overnight but you can expect buyers to have more choices and more negotiating room soon. There are opportunities in every market. What kind of opportunity are you looking for?

      Current interest rates can be found here.

      Charlottesville Real Estate

      Call John Ince for information on new listings, price reductions and properties coming soon in the Charlottesville, VA area.

      Sign up here to receive a customized Charlottesville Real Estate Market Report.

      Market update for the Charlottesville real estate market including:  Albemarle County, VA, Orange County, VA, Madison County, VA, Greene County, VA, Nelson County, VA, Fluvanna County, VA, Louisa County, VA real estate.

      Farms for sale near Charlottesville

      Farms for sale near Charlottesville

      If you are considering purchasing a farm near Charlottesville or any of the surrounding counties you may be contemplating having a horse or two, maybe some chickens perhaps planting a vineyard. Ten acres would probably be plenty of land for that but you’ve just fallen...

      read more
      Historic properties for sale, Charlottesville, Virginia

      Historic properties for sale, Charlottesville, Virginia

      Historic properties abound in Virginia. After all the "First landing" that became Jamestown in 1607 was more than 400 hundred years ago marked the beginning of the colonization of America. Virginia has been the birthplace of eight United States Presidents and...

      read more
      Frascati, Somerset, Virginia

      Frascati, Somerset, Virginia

      Here’s your second chance to acquire an iconic historic property in the heart of the Somerset estate area. Our buyer had a change of heart and sadly retreated from their commitment in the 11th hour. Frascati is now back on the market and ready for its next chapter...

      read more
      Historic Somerset: A Chance to Own a Piece of History

      Historic Somerset: A Chance to Own a Piece of History

      Historic Somerset: A Rare Opportunity to Own a Piece of HistoryWhen Frascati was completed in 1823 in Orange County, Virginia for Phillip Barbour who had just retired as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Somerset was already a pretty good...

      read more
      Frascati Estate for Sale

      Frascati Estate for Sale

      A rare opportunity to acquire a significant historic estate in a superb location just 30 minutes from Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.   The house is described in the Virginia andmarks Registry as well as in the National Register of Historic Places...

      read more
      Financing Country Property: The Best Strategy

      Financing Country Property: The Best Strategy

      Financing country property: the best strategy is to be prepared

      Financing country property can certainly be a maze to navigate. A buyer looking at a lovely home on 75 acres near Charlottesville may be thinking that the timing is perfect. Prices have finally leveled off and inventory is coming back. Rates have bumped up lately but are still at record lows historically.

      Just ask you parents if they are still around. Financing country property is not the same as financing a residential property. Are you a non-conformist? Quite possibly you are and if you are hoping to pick up a sizable chunk of land, your loan probably will be as well.

      Financing country property isn't the same today as it was for your parents

      Country property, farms, estates and raw land do not fit the standard criteria on the application for a home loan. Whenever the ratio of land value to improvements value exceeds 30% it becomes a non-conforming loan and will not fit neatly into the packaging of loans for resale to the secondary market.

      Unfortunately, few lenders will explain the non-conformity issue at the pre-qualification stage so buyers who believe they are ready, willing and able don’t realize that the property they seek may not be.

        Farm credit is the best choice for financing country property

        The nation’s largest lender for rural properties is Farm Credit. Farm Credit has been around for about 90 years and was originated to assist farmers with reliable financing in good times and bad. Today, they still are in business to assist farmers but also make loans to rural land owners, country home owners and agribusinesses.

        Traditional lenders also participate in country property financing but usually need to be creative. They may originate two loans, one for the residence and another for the surrounding land which may carry a higher interest rate.

        Personal bankers who can keep a loan in house may choose to finance country properties for clients whose assets are known and respected and seller financing is more prevalent in country property brokerage than in the traditional residential market.

        Be prepared. Financing country property will require professional assistance.

        The best strategy for financing country property is to be prepared. Make sure you explain to your lender that you are interested in purchasing a property with some acreage and make sure they understand the nuances. We will be happy to refer you to some excellent lenders who know how to work with country property. It is indeed a perfect time to consider a purchase of country property and we’d love to help.

        Charlottesville Real Estate

        Call John Ince for information on new listings, price reductions and properties coming soon in the Charlottesville, VA area.

        Sign up here to receive a customized Charlottesville Real Estate Market Report.

        Market update for the Charlottesville real estate market including:  Albemarle County, VA, Orange County, VA, Madison County, VA, Greene County, VA, Nelson County, VA, Fluvanna County, VA, Louisa County, VA real estate.

        Farms for sale near Charlottesville

        Farms for sale near Charlottesville

        If you are considering purchasing a farm near Charlottesville or any of the surrounding counties you may be contemplating having a horse or two, maybe some chickens perhaps planting a vineyard. Ten acres would probably be plenty of land for that but you’ve just fallen...

        read more
        Historic properties for sale, Charlottesville, Virginia

        Historic properties for sale, Charlottesville, Virginia

        Historic properties abound in Virginia. After all the "First landing" that became Jamestown in 1607 was more than 400 hundred years ago marked the beginning of the colonization of America. Virginia has been the birthplace of eight United States Presidents and...

        read more
        Frascati, Somerset, Virginia

        Frascati, Somerset, Virginia

        Here’s your second chance to acquire an iconic historic property in the heart of the Somerset estate area. Our buyer had a change of heart and sadly retreated from their commitment in the 11th hour. Frascati is now back on the market and ready for its next chapter...

        read more
        Historic Somerset: A Chance to Own a Piece of History

        Historic Somerset: A Chance to Own a Piece of History

        Historic Somerset: A Rare Opportunity to Own a Piece of HistoryWhen Frascati was completed in 1823 in Orange County, Virginia for Phillip Barbour who had just retired as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Somerset was already a pretty good...

        read more
        Frascati Estate for Sale

        Frascati Estate for Sale

        A rare opportunity to acquire a significant historic estate in a superb location just 30 minutes from Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.   The house is described in the Virginia andmarks Registry as well as in the National Register of Historic Places...

        read more