Ripe for picking: Orchard Acres has privacy, convenience

Address: 6080 York Road
Neighborhood: Orchard Acres, Crozet   
Asking: $189,000     
Assessment: $168,000     
Year Built: 1962
Size: 1,350 fin. sq. ft.
Land: 0.276 acres
Agent: Owner, Mandy Pedersen, 434-872-3450 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              434-872-3450     

Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10

Once considered primarily a rural area, today Crozet more closely resembles a Monopoly board. Neighborhoods of cookie-cutter houses dot the scenic vistas like playing pieces, and commercial enterprises crowd rustic roadsides. Planned villages like Old Trail seemingly have every convenience— except good old-fashioned charm.

It’s easy to zip right by Crozet’s historic downtown. But locals know they can enjoy live music, eat a tasty meal, borrow a book at the library, post a letter, or buy a tool at the hardware store— all without driving. So the choice is whether to be a part of “re-created small-town America” (as the ads for Old Trail invite) or become a resident of the original hometown itself.

This renovated ranch is located just under a mile outside of town in Orchard Acres, a neighborhood of simple houses built mostly in the 1960s. The property is open and flat, with perennial landscaping bordering the patio. Wisteria dangles from a large pergola, providing shade for outdoor dining. An air-conditioned workshop along a wooden fence enclosing the yard will appeal to a DIY handyman. A small water feature nestled inside river rocks is lined with clusters of tall ornamental grasses, making the yard feel like a secluded beach property.

The previous owners enclosed a carport to create a large living-room addition to expand the footprint of this modest house. Walls in the galley kitchen and tiny formal dining room were removed, and some of the original living room area was used to create a roomy, contemporary space.

Painted white cabinets and laminate countertops surround a butcher-block island. Existing oak floors were refinished, creating a country vibe in the kitchen. Another section of the original structure became a laundry facility and adjacent open pantry; the rest of the room is used for dining.

The current owners continued improvements in the living room, replacing carpet with laminate wood flooring and adding a sliding-glass door to the backyard. With a new front door, the original entryway became a closet.

Hardwood floors continue from the kitchen down a short hall into two sunny bedrooms. A third, smaller bedroom was renovated with laminate wood flooring and is now a study. The master bedroom has a large closet and an updated en suite half-bath.

Off the hall, a white-tiled bathroom with black accents has new lighting, ceramic tile floor and a contemporary porcelain sink with ebony vanity. An impressive amount of sweat equity has gone into upgrading the house inside and out, giving it a clean, modern appeal.

Homeowners in this area have seen a drop in the assessed property values of nearly 15-20 percent over the last four years, so owners who have made such improvements will not be able to align their asking price with their assessment.

Crozet continues to be a hotspot for growth— with some locals resisting a new Re-store’N Station and development of the Barnes Lumber property into “Claudius Place” (an office-and-restaurant building), not to mention a new senior community at Old Trail.

Weighing the options, a retiree or first-time homeowner will find this house roomy enough and reasonably priced. Compared to a condo or a house in a high-density development, this parcel offers privacy, a landscaped yard and amenities just a pleasant walk down the road. In the end, it’s a roll of the dice whether Crozet will continue to be the ideal location to call home considering the heavily traveled roads and the prospect of more development on the way.
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