Tips for Fairfax Home-Buyers Headed to Hunt Country


(Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:18 AM EDT)

Living in the suburbs, but ready for a change of scene? Virginia's Hunt Country might be the perfect place for your future home.

Before you dive into the home buying process, though, local brokers and Realtors have advice on what to expect from the experience and the Hunt Country lifestyle.

Joy Thompson, a Realtor with Long & Foster Purcellville:

“The buying experience should be absolutely pleasurable, fun and exciting, as long as buyers have a knowledgeable person representing them, and showing them the properties.”

“The obvious difference [between living in the suburbs and living in the country] is the maintenance and upkeep of the property's acreage. Buyers need to be made aware of what is required.”

For example, buyers should learn about well and septic systems, because homes in the country do not use public water and sewer systems, she said.

Joy Thompson is the author of an informative booklet, “The Critical Guide to Purchasing Country Property.”

Bundles Murdock, a Realtor with Middleburg Real Estate:

“Buyers can get something small for under a million, but [most properties will cost at least] a million dollars. That's a big amount, but all the beautiful properties in Hunt Country are quite pricey. Property in Clarke County can cost less.”

“Outside Warrenton, you can get something around $500,000 to $600,000, but around Middleburg, properties will cost a million, more or less.”

Andie Yahn, a Realtor with Long and Foster:

“I would say that there's probably more individualized service out here, because our firms are geared more towards boutiques. I think you get more of the ‘hometown' kind of service, and people have lived here for years and years and know the land and properties better. [In Northern Virginia,] I feel agents are more transient and don't know the area as well as we do, because we live here and have been here forever.”

“Our pricing is in line with Northern Virginia, but you get more acreage.”

Jane Allison Austin, a broker and owner of Austin Real Estate:

“This area offers a beautiful lifestyle - it's a combination of the pleasures of a small town mixed with a certain sophistication. It's a slowed-down lifestyle, but there are a lot of interesting people doing really interesting things.”

“As far as the buying experience, buyers can expect a longer time [between four months to a year to find a home]. That's an important time investment, wherever you are. We have fewer properties on the market than buyers would be used to in the city.”

“The combination buyers really have to look at are the house, the land and the location. I encourage people to come out and educate themselves on the area by driving, to see if they want paved roads, dirt roads, and which county they want to be in. Then we can start looking at houses, because the real element is where you are and what's around you and what the drive will be like.”

Ann MacMahon, a broker with Sheridan MacMahon Realtors:

Buying a home in Hunt Country “should be a very pleasant experience. It's different from buying in the suburbs, because you don't have subdivisions, so you can't say, ‘I want to live in Camelot, and I want that model house.' Almost all the houses are individually designed, with land and horse facilities, with paddocks and fences and dirt roads. It's a big change from the more urban, planned communities.”

“It's a lot of fun shopping for a house here. Usually, buyers are ready for a lifestyle change - they want more room, a little more space and they don't want to look right at another building.”

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