Mary Anna and Randy Wu
Where were you living prior to Charlottesville and how did you begin the house hunting process?
Randy lived in northern Virginia before moving to Charlottesville to attend UVA. After college, he stuck around the area and got a job here. I am from the Charlottesville area and after attending UVA, chose to stay in the community so I could be closer to my family. After we got married, we rented a cute townhouse in Albemarle County. We really didn’t know how to start the home purchase process; we knew there were a couple houses for sale in our neighborhood that we were interested in but had no clue how to get from Starting Point A to Z of buying a home. We knew and really liked Josh from church so we thought he’d be a great person to start a conversation with about the process. He asked us to meet for coffee at Gearhart’s Chocolate (that location alone sold him to us), gave us a small handbook about the home buying process and walked us through the steps of finding a loan officer, the expenses we could expect, and answered our questions. With his initial guidance, it was pretty simple!
What made you choose Charlottesville?
Randy really enjoyed the central Virginia area after attending college here, and I simply never had much desire to leave after growing up here. There’s so much to do, places to eat, wineries to try, and pretty places to hike. We’re never bored in this area! There are also good educational opportunities in this area, and it’s a quick trip up to D.C. for us for a more urban experience.
How did you discover the neighborhood (where you eventually ended up buying), and what do you love about it?
During our home search, Randy and I stayed engaged and actively looking online for the house that best suited us. We had put an offer on a house a couple miles away in a similar neighborhood, but after that fell through, we continued the search for where we considered to be a great location and commute for us. We found our subdivision online and checked it out many times before moving in. We love that it is walkable and though we have close neighbors, we have plenty of trees and nature to enjoy. Our subdivision even has a pond with fish in it, great for fishing! We love the ability to safely walk the neighborhood streets because there’s little traffic. This was a critical requirement for our home search. We also have access to well-maintained walking trails around the subdivision where we can take a stroll through the woods! It’s a great compromise for us as a couple: Randy is from a big city and I’m from a farm in the country!
What was your experience like working with Story House Real Estate?
It went extremely smoothly. We were always impressed how easy it was to get in contact with Josh, our realtor, and anytime we had questions he was very prompt to respond and give us detailed answers about what we needed. We could tell Josh works very, very hard on behalf of his clients. We had several conversations with him first thing in the morning and even late at night when you would expect not to be able to reach anybody. We’re convinced that the man never sleeps! We felt that he was always an advocate on our behalf. Whenever we checked out a new home, Josh helped us ask the right questions of the sellers and even at the home inspection. Josh is a realtor, not a construction manager, but he has a lot of basic knowledge about buildings and construction projects that are invaluable in guiding the home buying process. We never felt he would let us buy a lemon. The staff at Story House Real Estate also collaborated very well with our mortgage company to get us where we needed to be.
What was your journey like buying/selling your home?
We started out looking for a home in town with close proximity to everything in Charlottesville. We initially wanted a home that would be a great rental property in the future. As we learned more about the area and what our money would get us, we decided we wanted a bigger home- something more long-term for our family. It was good that we could take our time and weigh our options. The house that we ended up with was not at all like the vision that we initially had at the start of our search. We even looked into building a new home with Liberty Homes. Josh adjusted with our growing vision and helped us find what we were ultimately looking for without pressuring us into making a decision we weren’t ready to make. Buying our first home was definitely a journey- I like that you used that word in the question. We had to grow in knowledge of what’s out there and also our longterm family needs before we could settle on the final home product.
What was the most stressful part of the real estate process?
The most stressful part of the real estate process was being under contract for our home but having to wait for the construction to be completed. Then, before closing on the house, there were issues with a water leak in the home and the well that needed to be addressed before we would close. Our closing date was postponed 3 times. We’re very happy with our purchase and the overall process, but I hope to never repeat the issues that we had with the builder around closing.
What was the best part of your real estate process?
#1. Hanging out with Josh White each week when we checked out houses!
#2. The end process: moving into our first permanent home!
It was fun to see what’s out there and Josh was a wonderful person to guide our journey. Seriously, we couldn’t have had a better realtor. Even the boring discussions about the contracts and such were made enjoyable by Josh’s cheerful and vibrant personality.