REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- This old house: City convenience with country vibe
PHOTO BY MICHAEL GARCIA
Address: 1621 Grove St. Ext.
Neighborhood: Forest Hills
Year Built: 1913
Size: 1,102 fin. sq. ft.
Land: 0.25 acres
Agent: Erin Garcia, Loring Woodruff Real Estate Associates, 434-981-7245
Curb Appeal: 5 out of 10
Every time I think I know Charlottesville, I discover a new neighborhood. Or I get lost. I did both this week on the way to Grove Street Extended, a quiet dead-end banked up against the railroad tracks behind the University of Virginia Health System on Jefferson Park Avenue.
This cozy white 1913 farmhouse with its blue front porch was originally one in a row of four and has been used as a rental off and on through years. The current owner lives in the house and rents her two spare bedrooms, bringing in about $1,000 per month. The four parking spaces in front of the house make renting easy, and it helps that the house, although almost a century old, has not been neglected.
Several updates have been made since the new millennium, including revamped electric and plumbing systems, new high-efficiency central air, duct work, insulated windows, and a gas furnace and water heater. The roof was redone in 2006 and an ADT alarm system installed for home security.
Some of the old farmhouse's quirks remain, like slanted hardwood floorboards in the dining room and upstairs bedrooms. The house predates the "more, more, more" ethos of modern construction. Shoppers looking for things like granite countertops and a mudroom should look elsewhere.
But efficiency can be refreshing, especially for those not outsourcing floor washing to the Merry Maids.
There's no foyer in the house; the front door opens directly to the living room, which has a new gas fireplace as its centerpiece. To the right is the first floor bedroom, the smallest of three. The kitchen, spacious and sunny, and breakfast bar overlook the living room from the left. White tile and oak kitchen counters provide an interesting contrast to the stainless steel sink. In an odd, turn-of-the-last-century quirk, the first floor's full bathroom is located directly across the way.
Just past the kitchen/bathroom set-up is a room the agent calls a dining room— but she notes it could be a study or fourth bedroom since it has a closet. (The closet is currently being used as a pantry.) A door shuts this area off from the kitchen, but since it's located between the kitchen and the back porch, it's not very practical as a bedroom.
The two larger bedrooms on the top floor have slanted ceilings and a small nook (about three feet on each side). The bedrooms flank the staircase that leads up to a small landing with the full bathroom just behind. The bathroom, painted light blue with a leaf stencil detail, has an original claw-foot tub— another farmhouse perk.
The house is situated close to the front of its quarter-acre lot, leaving a big backyard with raised beds and raspberry and blackberry bushes. The enclosed back porch is currently being multi-purposed as a laundry room (no basement in this place), but there's also a large outdoor patio area for cookouts in (sigh) warmer weather.
For all its rustic charm, I'm having trouble justifying the listing price, which is more than $100,000 over the (admittedly low) assessment. Granted, this house just came on the market, so maybe the seller is taking her chances. Or maybe she's trying to offset the new roof.
But looking at the city assessor's transfer record, the current owner purchased the (then recently remodeled house) in late 2006 for $259,500. We all know what came next. Cue recession, cue drop in property values. At this point, the seller is probably just trying to break even. And that's something we all can understand.
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL GARCIA
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