REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Bigger than most: Melbourne Park condo has extras


Address: 111 West Melbourne Park Circle, #A

Neighborhood: Melbourne Park in the city

Asking: $265,000

Assessment: $274,200

Year Built: 2006

Size: 1,620 fin. sq. ft. /1,050 unfin.

Land: 0.0 acres

Agent: Joan Esposito, Roy Wheeler Realty Co. 434-951-5155

Curb Appeal: 9 out of 10

Condos are not for everybody. Most buyers are looking for a detached house with more privacy and yard space than a condo or townhouse can offer (not to mention autonomy). 

We tend to think it's un-American to be told what to do to our houses (or what not to do, as is often the case with condos). These buyers want the whole house– and not one that looks like every other one in the neighborhood. 

This Melbourne Park condo might be right for a pair of empty nesters or young professionals looking for simplicity (no yard work), space, and (surprise!) room to expand. Loss of autonomy and privacy might just be worth it. 

This end unit offers a little more than a standard condo at Melbourne Park: it's larger, and has more light and a little more privacy than interior units. And it comes with some upgrades. 

The house was built to maximize natural light, with windows on three sides. The entrance opens to the kitchen on the left and a powder room with pedestal sink on the right. Stainless appliances, granite counters, and dark wood cabinets give the space a luxury feel, and the kitchen is large enough for a couple to enjoy coffee, toast, and the Post or Times on the weekend. 

A pass-through above the oven might have seemed like a good idea, but it's a little awkward to hand dishes or glasses over a stovetop. Beyond the kitchen, the great room is large enough for dining and plenty of oversized furniture; it also provides access to a modest deck. A gas log fireplace and built-in shelving keep it formal. 

One thing that's nice about this space is the high ceiling on the first floor. It keeps the place from feeling cramped, and that feeling of space continues on the second floor where two of the bedrooms have treetop views. 

Up here, the master bedroom is airy with windows on two sides, shaded this time of year by the trees surrounding the house. It's cozy but still can accommodate a full suite of furniture. 

The master bath sports a double vanity with a window dividing the two mirrors plus some extra drawers for storage below, as well as a smallish custom closet in a rich wood finish. 

The two other bedrooms and a second bath complete this level. A doorway one step up opens to an attic stairway. Unfinished, the attic just needs flooring and drywall to become a living space.

A large unfinished basement offers some possibilities or plenty of storage as is. Fixtures for a future bathroom are roughed in (the pipes are there). A walkout below the deck leads to a patch of green that's less than a yard– it's really just a narrow strip of grass surrounded by trees. That might be enough for someone who wants to enjoy a cold one in the shade after work. But as it slopes dramatically down to where Melbourne Park Circle curves around, it really can't be a play space for kids or pets. At the same time, there probably isn't much traffic other than neighbors coming and going.

The truly motivated seller has made several changes to sweeten the deal. The price has been reduced significantly, and is now well below assessment. In May 2008, the unit was priced at $339,900, then fell to $324,900 in August and has continued to drop. To encourage potential buyers, the seller is now offering owner financing, lease purchase (rent now, buy later), and will pay closing costs. Buyers who like what they see or who want a turn-key operation can also negotiate for the furniture.


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