Thursday, July 20, 2006

Before Bluebird Cove 5: Choosing Charlottesville, VA

From our research we had determined which communities we wanted to live in around Virginia and which ones we ruled out because of environmental issues or climate. All of this was based on internet research. The internet is a great tool, but it doesn't cover every detail.

We initially took a trip to Richmond and spent a couple of days with a realtor and realized pretty quickly that it was not a place in our dreams. The rural areas we looked at were really rural and we realized that it was much too far away from the mountains.

Back to Alabama and then another trip to Virginia took us to the Charlottesville area which we had decided was it. We were going to buy a home, get settled, then look for land and build.

We had three specifications for the temporary home:

1) A screened porch because I can't imagine living without one, but now it was absolutely necessary since we were going to bring two feral cats.

2) I had to have a wooded view.

3) A new home so we could easily resell in a year or two.

The #1 community that we had said we would not live in and was Lake Monticello for varied reasons, one of them being that it was a gated community. It just didn't seem to go with the wilderness concept, but then it was only going to be a temporary home, right?

When we sat down with the realtor and put in our three specifications, there were three results within our price range and size. We had already gone the big house route and it was nice for home schooling, running a business, and having a lot of gatherings of our business group, but our son was grown and gone, we had converted to an internet business, and we would have no business group to gather in Virginia.

Two out of the three homes were in Lake Monticello. Oh my! Well, we may as well see them.

The first one was where we now live. It was almost complete when we arrived. Carpet was down, the garage door was missing but nearly everything else was in place. The colors were perfect, it had 9' ceilings and transoms, and the floor plan was just right. A screened porch, deck and covered front porch with a wooded lot and 40 acres in the rear that "would never be developed." I've since learned to realize that there is no land that will "never be developed" unless it's a preserve or land under conservation easement. We didn't realize how quickly that would be a concern for the land bordering the rear of our side of the street.

We had sold and given away a lot of our stuff to downsize, but Randal still thought we would not fit into 1584 square feet. I had drawn it all out on scale paper, so I knew we would. The other two homes we saw weren't even worth going beyond the front door. I loved the house and floor plan. Randal reminded me that there's always a chance that we could be there longer than a couple of years. He asked if I would still like it if we had to live there five years. I assured him I liked the house regardless.

Randal learned a long time back that where a man lives is in a house, but where a woman lives is in a home and it's her nest. Like my favorite bird, the Carolina Wren, who builds several nests for the female to choose from, Randal wanted to make sure I was going to be happy with this nest and then, he made the offer to buy. After all the paperwork was signed. It was end of September 2000 and we would be closing early November. We returned to Alabama to pack and say our goodbyes.

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