REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Queenly blue: Stucco turns heads in Belmont

Address: 710 Belmont Avenue

Neighborhood: Belmont

Asking: $519,000

Assessment: $420,200

Year Built: 1920

Size: 1,895 fin. sq. ft. / 200 unfin. 

Land: 0.12 acres

Agent: Sonja Casero, 296-0134, Frank Hardy Inc.

Curb Appeal: 9 out of 10

A house isn't always just a house. Some have only walls surrounding space, while others have an ineffable something— we could call it heart— that makes the place a home. It's hard to put a finger on what that element is– or a price tag, for that matter.

While visitors may quibble about whether that element is evident in this Queen Anne at the corner of Belmont Avenue and Church Street, it does have curbside presence. Its blue stucco exterior catches a passerby's eye, and a new copper roof extends over a romantic turret that makes one imagine a cozy space for reading or other private endeavors.

When the current owner bought the place in 2004, there was not a single plant on the property. Today, all the landscaping has resulted in lush gardens, even in November. Shrubs and young trees provide height and counterpoint to low herbs and grasses. A stone walkway through a small seating area leads to the front door and around the house to the fenced yard in back. Stones from two log-cabin chimneys surround raised beds that look authentic enough to be original.

Although small, the backyard is an oasis, with a koi pond and soothing waterfall, and the covered back porch is big enough entertain a small group. (Prospective buyers shouldn't get too attached to the fish, though, as they do not convey.)

Inside, warm pine floors and a gas-converted hearth create a lived-in feel in the living room beside the generous foyer. A wide doorway leads to an updated kitchen with the dining room beyond. Painted a vibrant red, it's quite dramatic, but the current clunky furniture shrinks the size of the room. New owners may probably want to shift to minimalist to give the appearance of a larger space.

Space in the back on this floor, currently used as a second living room, would make a striking master suite with a new spa-like bath and tiled shower sporting two showerheads and a built-in bench. Two steps down from the bath, what could be the bedroom leads directly to the covered porch. If new buyers wanted to make this space the master suite, they probably would add a second door to the backyard.  

In the renovation, the staircase was opened up on the second floor to create a potential office or play area. Here, built-in shelves take the place of a railing and sit low, again creating a feeling of space. Two second-story bedrooms are connected by a bath with a claw-foot tub. A washer and dryer are also up here behind closet doors.

Some extras, like plantation shutters and antique and handmade light fixtures, are in keeping with the character of the house, while a whole-house water purification system is an update for contemporary needs. Two heat pumps have also been installed.

The detached garage, accessed from Church Street, could be converted into a carriage house– the owner has an architect's plans for the conversion that will convey and might be useful for a buyer seeking some rental income.  

Beyond the obvious beauty and character of the house, the price does reflect updates and the owner's personal investment. Finding an older house in turn-key condition is a boon, though, and character is hard to price.



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"Character may be hard to price", but nowadays, real estate isn't.
Current owner paid $335,000 for this house in 2004. Even in Charlottesville there's no longer apreciating at $184,000 in five years.Even if it's Belmont.
The same flipper who brought 710 Belmont into the 21st Century also did the house two doors away, 702. It went on the market in Spring 2008 for $520,000. Even though the price was reduced to $450,000 it never sold. According to Craigslist, it rented for $1,600/month.

The same real estate agent was trying to sell 702 as 710.

Best wishes on this.

$519,000? Good luck with that.

This house was listed 'for sale by owner' a few weeks ago for $499,000 on Craigslist

So the Realtor advised that it's a good time to raise the price?