REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- One story: Not so much to say down 29


ADDRESS: 2458 Rock Branch Lane


ASKING: $349,900

ASSESSMENT: $296,500


SIZE: 1600 fin. sq. ft.

LAND: 2.07 acres

CURB APPEAL: 7 out of 10

AGENT:  Jordan Hague, EquitySaverUSA. 977-7283 

We have a friend who waded into the treacherous waters of personals ads after his long marriage ended. Crestfallen but undaunted after successive Friday night dinner meetings, and trying to find a silver lining in the repeatedly disappointing encounters, he'd say brightly, "Every person has a story."

That's often our sentiment as we tour houses– and some of them do. But the ones that don't, have other houses close by, and sometimes those houses have a story. That seems to be the case on Rock Branch Lane.

Exactly what's going on in this little enclave ten or so miles down 29 South just beyond Sprouse's used furniture store is not clear. This cedar-sided house, built in 1987, is on a two-acre parcel carved from a large homestead. The original farmhouse (c. 1910) next door on the remaining 57 acres is also for sale, and it's interesting to speculate what might happen when it sells.

Right now the best thing about the property at 2458 is the surroundings. The house is situated at the rear of the two acres, accessed by a pretty oval drive of pea gravel shaded by a canopy of Bradford pear trees. A fairly good size level backyard stretches to what seems like a forest, but much of that open swath and woods is not part of this parcel; it's part of the homeplace next door. The owner assures us that he (and possibly a new buyer) gets a right of first refusal for that cleared acre or so if the owner (currently a lumber company) sells that property.

Close to the house are four or five large white pines that look majestic and provide shade, but, like the brittle Bradford pears, they can be iffy in terms of longevity. A little fish pond also breaks up the sweep of grass, and the sweet tinkling of water over rocks is a pleasant distraction from the noise of cars and trucks nearby on Rt. 29.

A long bed of perennials– fragrant white lilies were blooming the day we visited– graces the property line, and shrubs around the porch break up the monotony of the long brown front of the house. A dog pen, garden shed, and classic rustic kiddy swingset (home-made and sturdy) round out the landscaping.

Inside, the house appears to be a cross between a cabin (knotty pine paneling in several rooms, large stone fireplace) and a double-wide (three bedrooms and bath off a long "shot-gun" hallway off the living room). Except for deceptively pretty "parquet" linoleum in the kitchen and laundry room, and oak floors in a new sun room added in '91, the entire house is carpeted.

The living room fireplace and a free-standing stove in the addition (family room/sunroom) are wood-burning, and finding wood to feed them shouldn't be a problem in such a heavily timbered location. The addition seems more sunroom than den because– despite knotty-pine walls and the woodstove– it's bright and airy thanks to walls of windows and sliding doors to a deck.

The three bedrooms are average in all ways: average size and configuration (small closet in each), each with a center-ceiling fan (all the other rooms in the house have one too). The full bath in the hall and in the master bath are Early Home Depot– fiberglass tub and shower, sinks atop standard-issue base cabinets, and linoleum floors. The laundry room off the long hall has a new washer/dryer that convey.

The owner points out that a saving grace of the bedrooms– indeed, a feature of all the rooms in the house– is the fact that there's a beautiful view of the woods from every window. This is true, and part of the reason the house is not as bad as it would be on a different parcel.

The kitchen is open to the living room since there's no barrier– a pretty oak counter/divider separates a small breakfast eating area between the kitchen and the new sunroom. The breakfast space leads to a large screened porch that looks like it would be a swell place to relax and enjoy tranquility and privacy without being bedeviled by mosquitoes or other gnawing critters.

 An efficient heat pump powers the hot-air heat and AC, and the utility system includes a well that the owner claims produces the "clearest crystal water in Albemarle County." The owners report electric bills average $82/ month year 'round.

So if this place had run a personals ad, would we recommend that our friend call? The jury's still out. While the little cedar house might not have many funny anecdotes or spicy secrets to reveal over dessert and coffee, it might be worth an evening to hear about the goings on up and down the lane.



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This property is MLS #452750. Equity Saver USA phone number is 977-(SAVE)7283, not 7228. Thank you!

Year Built is 1987 not 1945. :)

For the record, I have some corrections about your article.

1) You mention several of the rooms have knotty pine paneling which is incorrect. The wall to the right of the dining area and living room area is cedar and is on only one side of the room. The sunroom 1 x 6 inch tongue and groove cedar (not pine paneling). All other rooms (bedrooms, laundry room, bathrooms and the other three sides of the wall in the living/dining area) are sheet rock painted walls--not paneling.

2) The hall bathroom has ceramic tile not linoleum. The other bathroom is a no wax vinyl.

3) Also, flooring in the kitchen and laundry room are no wax vinyl not linoleum.

Thanks for your article.