REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Location, location: But buyers should drink from Alice's bottle



Address: 121 Cameron Lane

Neighborhood: Ivy Terrace/Lewis Mountain

Asking: $374,900

Assessment: $336,500

Year Built: 1935

Size: 1,146 fin. sq. ft. / 86 unfin.

Land: 0.32 acres 

Agent: Ross Stevens, Stevens & Company 434-981-5268

Curb Appeal:  7 out of 10

This house at 121 Cameron Lane is reminiscent of the nostalgic era when people didn't have to be multimillionaires to live within walking distance of the Rotunda. The heavily shaded property lies on a sloped parcel off Ivy Road, where it's rare to find any place under $500K. But there's a catch– with two bedrooms and one bath, this single-level home is fit for tiny Alice. 

Inside, the living room spans the width of the house, with the front door on one side and a back door on the other. It's a large space for such a small house, with dark wooden beams across the white vaulted ceiling and a stone wood-burning fireplace flanked by built-in bookshelves. 

A small room to the right of the fireplace is doing service as a sitting room with exposed brick walls. From here, two steps lead down to the master bedroom with vaulted ceiling and a stone fireplace that mirror the living room, and a closet with built-in shelving. A door leads to a small terrace. 

The second bedroom is similar: a sitting room (this one with a built-in Formica desk or vanity) leads to the bedroom partially built into the earth (remember that sloped lot), with long narrow windows. A long shelf over the door parallels the roof, but that's it for storage– no closet here. 

The kitchen and dining room down the hall from this bedroom were originally beside the living room; the owners moved and rebuilt the kitchen in the same column as the dining room. Here cherry cabinets (and a nifty built-in plate rack) complement dark grey Formica counters, a small, stainless-steel dual sink, and a gas range (no dishwasher). A closet to the left of the stove houses a stacked washer/dryer, precluding a pantry.

The dining area is small (polite folks would use the word "cozy") with a low sloped ceiling and a low coat rack beneath the crown molding. 

The house's single bathroom between the kitchen and dining area is petite (like everything else), done in white tile with a thick black tile border on the floor and in the shower. A narrow linen cabinet provides storage. 

Outside, a garden shed directly behind the two-car, off-street parking area may come in handy, as there's no basement for storage. The grassy ivy-covered front yard has a stone and concrete pathway (cracked in places) and crushed terracotta pebbles in front of a wooden front porch built by the current owners, who have lived here since 1999, when they purchased the house for $160,000. 

There's more crushed stone beyond the back door, which meets a stone retaining wall barely restraining a garden of summer squash, basil, tomatoes, pepper, and corn. Behind the vegetable patch, a tree with a rope-and-plank swing, followed by an ivy-covered retaining wall, more grass, and some shrubbery (holly, cedars) provide a buffer from neighboring houses. 

Although the owners have made significant changes to this modest dwelling (kitchen, porch), there's still room for improvement. The bathroom is dismayingly tiny, and there's no central AC. However, two window units convey, which might be enough: at 10am on the 95-degree day of our visit, the house was still cool. Wooden siding covers the house, but the tan paint is peeling in places. 

If size isn't an issue, though, it's a surprisingly affordable property for this tony part of town. 



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$327.00 per square foot is not "surprisingly affordable" unless you're in NYC.

The current owners paid $160k in 1999. Nothing in this "world class city" is worth a 200% increase in value in 10 years unless it has been bulldozed and rebuilt.

Bubble over. How about some real reporting on how bad house sales are in the city? Down nearly 50% over 2008.

Read the Cville Bubble blog.

Jan, doubling is a 100% percent increase.

mob, what Janus is saying is the home is valued at 200%+ of what it was worth in 1999.

The city and county lived high on the hog until the bubble burst. They're having a pretty hard time trimming their budgets back nnow, even though they still have homes appraised at more than their actually worth.

I am consistently surprised by the ease with which houses in this area sell. A couple brick ranchers on Twyman have fetched a half-million.
I rented in this area and while it was nice to walk to UVA, I didn't think it was worth the premium and bought elsewhere in the city. Other people consistently find it worth it, though. I wouldn't be surprised to see this sell for close to asking.
Usually what happens around Merryden/Lewis Mountain is the current listing agency tries for a few months, then the seller quits and goes with another agent who has sold a lot of places in this area. Sally Dubose, I believe.

GSOE, a lot of houses in the city actually sell for more than their appraisal, because the City assesses neighborhoods and not individual houses. I see it a lot around Fry's Springs which has seen assessments drop 10-15% the past two years.
It's all about the individual house.

106 Cameron Lane is in Foreclosure for $326k. It will resell for less. Pulls the price of this one down. Google it. BTW, City sales are back down to levels not seen since the '90's. It's all about pricing. Or about not dropping it, if you're a seller.