REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- McGuffey morsel: Walk Downtown to deposit rent check
Address: 412 Altamont Street
Neighborhood: North Downtown
Year Built: 1920
Size: 2,118 fin sq. ft., 100 unfin.
Land: 0.14 acres
Agent: Jim McVay, Roy Wheeler Realty Co. 434-951-5122
Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10
Just off High Street, this house is within a stone's throw of downtown. That proximity raises the parking issue, but a partial solution is that all residents get two dedicated spots by the curb. It's a quiet dead-end street, and no through traffic may be a bonus for folks looking to live in the city with young ones.
Lots are small, and homes sit close to the sidewalk. Here, the deep front porch seems to be the extent of outdoor living space that residents can use–- as the backyard slopes sharply down towards McIntire Road overlooking the County Office Building. It's not likely a new buyer would find much use for the space, but it does provide a buffer from the busy road.
One funny thing is the garage. Previous owners attempted to tear it down but couldn't get approval from the city because of its historic designation. It's understandable why they wanted to bulldoze it: its dilapidation means it's unfit to shelter a car. Think of it as a big historic shed. Given the sharp dip in the driveway, no one is likely to take a car all the way down to the garage anyway.
Inside, the living room with working fireplace is to the left of the entryway. The fireplace surround is inlayed with small smooth stones and has a contemporary feel thanks to earthy paint. On the right, the dining room opens to the kitchen, which has been updated from the original but isn't new. Buyers may want to think about factoring in the cost of cabinets, counters, and appliances for the long term (ka-ching!). A pantry off the kitchen has open shelves and inexplicably opens to the living room, which could be a turnoff for folks who like to entertain but want to keep the cans of peas out of view.
Here, square footage can be a little misleading. A basement apartment means that much space is off limits to owners. The mostly finished basement has a separate entrance from the driveway, and an unfinished section at the bottom of the basement stairs can be shared (or not).
Buyers have the option of locking the door to the basement or the interior door to the apartment. That decision will determine who gets the smidgen of storage. The one-bedroom apartment has a long narrow room the agent is calling a sitting room. In the past, the rental unit brought in $600 a month.
Upstairs, two identical bedrooms are at the front of the house. A smaller one at the back just fits a bed and looks like a good spot for a guest room or office. All three bedrooms get plenty of light.
At the top of the stairs, a window in a tiny nook brings in more (and calls out for a chair or table). A linen closet was sacrificed to make way for a stacked washer dryer outside the bathroom, which has been partially updated but the tub and tile surround look original. Some additional storage is available in an attic with partial flooring (accessed by a pull-down staircase), but there isn't a lot in the way of other storage space in this house, thanks to the ‘20s-era closets and the basement apartment.
Buyers looking at the bottom line can find cheaper houses with the same space and probably better amenities in the county. This house is priced with comps in mind: the rental income could offset the premium added for the location, but buyers looking here, even in this depressed market, are paying for the urban lifestyle as much as the house.
PHOTOS BY SARAH JACOBSON
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