REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Time capsule: Save planet; step back to '57

Address: 520 Stagecoach Road

Neighborhood: Moore's Creek

Asking: $227,000

Assessment: $204,200 + $17,700 = $221,900

Year Built: 1957

Size: 1,469 fin sq. ft., 900 unfin.

Land: 0.50 acres

Agent: Courtney Sargeant, Roy Wheeler Realty Co., 434-951-5123

Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10

Despite all the buzz about new green construction, the original green remains old construction (because it doesn't require new materials and waste). Here, off 5th Street Extended, behind the new Albemarle police building, is an almost perfectly preserved 1957 time capsule. With a rural address and one-half acre, it feels like a country house though very close to the city. 

The entrance from the porch opens to the dining area, thence to the very ‘50s kitchen, where an original beige GE oven hangs on the wall like a monument to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Folks who like vintage kitchens will find one here, complete with scalloped trim above the window and red beveled Formica counters. Sky-blue walls nudge the red in a sort of patriotic direction, but a coat of fresh white paint on cabinets is enough to dilute the stars-and-stripes vibe. 

Off the dining area, a bright carpeted addition leads to the yard and could be an ideal casual living room or larger dining area. It expands the house's living space without the awkward tacked-on feeling of many additions. 

This house is a one-level proposition. The front entrance leads to a cozy living room with a large window and white wood-burning fireplace. The master bedroom and two additional bedrooms— in addition to one small bath off the hall– might be enough for a small family. Original aqua, white, and black tile are well preserved. Like the kitchen, the bath sparkles with style amid its years.

Old and new– new windows, old clothes line, and two rain barrels to collect downspout water for gardening— can all claim green cred. The property has two wells: an older one for watering the garden (as it collects some dirt) and a new one for drinking and bathing. Out back, buyers so inclined have room to expand the living space.

Buyers should take note that the assessed value is actually for two parcels: a narrow slip of land to the right of the property is included in the price. It's a sort of half lot that will generate a separate tax bill come January. The main property is assessed at $204,200, and the extra parcel at $17,700, for a total assessed value of $221,900.

Two rooms downstairs in the unfinished basement (washer/dryer, natural light) open to the garden. Off that room, another one has shelving and storage space. 

This is a house for people who will love it just the way it is, like Mr. Rogers. There are lots of other options on the market for shoppers who want a finished basement or more than one bath. 

And although this place lacks a garage, it does have a shed with electricity. While you can't park a car in a shed, there's a workbench and plenty of room for a mower, bikes, and storage. The fenced-in garden (safely adjoining county property) has established asparagus and strawberries and lots of room to grow. 

Buyers looking for a fixer-upper won't necessarily find it here. They will find a modest family house that has been maintained and shows clean thanks to some new coats of paint here and there.

This house proves the old adage that if it ain't broke, don't renovate it. Maybe old really is the new green.



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