REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- It's elementary: No-frills rancher delivers the basics

Address: 1205 Mowbray Place

Neighborhood: Martha Jefferson

Asking: $249,000

Assessment: $269,200

Year Built: 1953

Size: 1,347 fin. sq. ft., 1,208 unfin.

Land: 0.25 acres

Agent: Mary Newton, Keller Williams Realty 434-220-2200 

Curb Appeal: 6 out of 10

This brick cottage is all about transitions. It's a home for folks looking to move up or back. With three bedrooms and living on one level, it would be an upgrade for apartment dwellers. Or a downsize for folks accustomed to two levels and looking for less. 

Because the house is tucked back a bit from the road, the façade is inconspicuous. Although established trees surround the place, the landscaping is minimal to nonexistent. Burnley-Moran School is a stone's throw— close enough that parents could watch the little prince sashay all the way to first grade. 

The front door at the stoop (original ironwork) opens to a hall with a coat closet and ceiling fan. Through an arched entry, the living room sports a pretty wood-burning fireplace (also original). The dining room to the left leads to the kitchen. To the right, a squared-off hall provides access to the bedrooms and bath.  

Although all the living space is on the main level, the living quarters are separated from the common areas. In the updated bathroom, a shallow linen closet provides a smidge of storage. The transition space from shared to private areas is something apartment dwellers will appreciate, but it may be lost on former homeowners accustomed to spreading out. A former owner installed a stacked washer dryer unit in a bedroom closet to avoid treks to the basement, but now there's also a unit down there (hello, Craigslist). 

In the kitchen, 1953 still reigns– from original wood cabinets to a linoleum floor. The cabinets look fine, but the faux-marble counter could use a new face. If a dishwasher is a must, some under-the-counter storage could be sacrificed for an apartment-sized model; anything larger will take some significant reworking and maybe an addition bump-out to the backyard. 

One corner is big enough for two at a small bistro table, but this house isn't a breakfast nook kind of place: for meals, the dining room is it. A side entrance from the driveway provides access to the kitchen for schlepping groceries.  

Another downside most buyers will notice (especially this summer) is the home's lack of central AC. Several ceiling fans do relieve the agony a bit (we had to take off only two-thirds of our clothes to walk through), but that one missing element will prove to be a deal-breaker for some buyers. 

An unfinished basement is serving pretty much as a laundry room, with the new washer and dryer ready to go and some clotheslines suspended from beams, presumably for those times during a power outage when clothes simply must be washed. 

Built-in cubbies beside the stairs store cleaning products or extra kitchen goods. Beyond that, it's a concrete slab under the oil-fired boiler system. 

Out back, a flat quarter-acre abuts Long Street and then the 250 By-Pass with its audible whzzz— although from outside only; it's not noticeable inside the house thanks to trees and a fence.  

Although this house is ideal as a starter for a small family, it may also work well for an older family looking to downsize and spend their golden years living on one level. (A stone's throw from an elementary school— umm, maybe not.) It's a simple house without bells and whistles: no sexy media room or slabs of kitchen granite. No Jacuzzi or tray ceiling. 

But it's a solid place with good bones and would provide a comfy perch for folks happy to scale up or back to a simple life. 



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1 comment

Usual problem with the used real estate in the City: once you do all the upgrades necessary to welcome you to the 21st Century (hello, kitchen), you might as well have paid $300k.