By Celeste M. Smucker _
Glenmore is a popular, upscale neighborhood a few miles east of Charlottesville. It was founded in 1992 by Frank Kessler with a mission to “provide the finest family Country Club Community of its size and time in the United States,” explained Jeff Gaffney, Chairman and CEO of Real Estate III.
Today residents and their guests revel in a lifestyle that includes golf, tennis and a state-of-the-art fitness facility along with an equestrian center, walking trails and gorgeous scenery; while the sense of security that comes from living in a gated community is also a big plus.
According to Long and Foster REALTOR® and long-time Glenmore resident Patti Rowe, Glenmore attracts “buyers are from all walks of life…retirees, families, young couples and single folks who move here from all over because of what it has to offer.”
With amenities that appeal to such a wide range of buyers, it is no wonder that Glenmore continues to be one of our area’s most popular places to call home.
Buyers Love Glenmore
Glenmore is situated in Keswick, an area attractive since Colonial times when people moved there to enjoy its natural beauty and gracious country lifestyle. Thomas Jefferson called Keswick the “Eden of the United States,” and more recently, a New York Times article dubbed it one of the most scenic spots in North America. Keswick continues to be an area deriving much of its charm from its primarily rural nature, an attribute that also contributes to Glenmore’s appeal.
“Spanning over 1,300 acres of beautiful rolling hills in Keswick, Virginia, Glenmore is a truly one-of-a-kind community that offers its residents unparalleled access to resort-style living,” said Marc Ammons, with Nest Realty Group and the Customer Representative for Craig Builders.
He noted the importance of Glenmore’s 24-hour gated access and described its Championship Golf Course (designed by noted golf course architect John B. LaFoy) listing, as well, the swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness center, and sports fields.
Marina Ringstrom, with Long and Foster – Glenmore, moved to the neighborhood in 1996 and is one of many residents who love the lifestyle describing it as “a unique place that is vibrant and appealing and always full of life with something for all ages.”
Susan Reres with Roy Wheeler Realty Co. called Glenmore a “thriving community with numerous amenities that support an active, outdoor-oriented lifestyle…golf, tennis, swimming, horseback riding, fitness facilities, trails, all in a gated community with 24/7 security.”
A recent addition to activities at Glenmore is pickleball. “Pickleball is huge,” said Long and Foster’s Tom Pace.
What is pickleball? According to the USA Pickleball Association it is “a fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.” It is played with paddles and a plastic ball with holes and can be enjoyed either inside or out.
When it was first introduced at Glenmore, a class was offered and filled up immediately, so a second class was formed to meet the demand, Pace said. He described pickleball as a sport that is active and fun, but not as demanding as tennis and just one more “social outlet” available at Glenmore.
A unique attribute of Glenmore is the equestrian center that reflects what Ringstrom calls Keswick’s “horse country feel.” She also described the neighborhood’s walking paths that contribute to the sense of community there, and are part of the area’s “total package.”
For many of Glenmore’s buyers, the 24/7 security gate is also a valuable addition to the lifestyle allowing early morning or late evening walkers and joggers to feel safe in the dark, while people going on extended vacations or business trips can be comfortable about leaving their empty homes.
This sense of security is also critical for families, explained Byrd Abbott with Roy Wheeler Realty Co. adding that parents can allow young children to ride their bikes to play tennis, go swimming, have a golf lesson or visit friends, something she said is very nice.
The guard gate also helps minimize traffic in and through the neighborhood which keeps the noise down.
With all of these benefits Glenmore is more than just a place to live, it is a community where everyone can feel at home, a community with something to offer everyone who lives there.
Pace reported there have been 39 home sales in Glenmore to date in 2017, including 32 resales and seven new homes. In addition there have been four lot sales where buyers plan to build custom homes. With this kind of activity in progress, he looks forward to surpassing last year’s total of 50 home sales noting that there is usually a flurry of activity associated with the Parade of Homes the first two weekends of October.
“The new construction market has been strong,” Reres said, “with buyers enjoying the option of working with several local and excellent builders.”
Ammons added that the demand for new construction comes both from people wanting to move into Glenmore from elsewhere and those relocating within the community. These new home buyers look forward to choosing a home design and materials that suit them rather than living with or updating those of the previous owners. “This ability to customize a home to their own specifications combined with the improved energy-efficiency, warranty and reduced maintenance cost of ownership, has made new construction a very popular choice,” he continued.
Stanley Martin Homes has a model home in Glenmore and Craig Builders is building one there as well. Buyers can also use their own builder so long as their plans and specs are approved by Glenmore’s Architectural Review Board.
Elsewhere in Glenmore, the popularity of new homes “has put some pressure on resales,” Reres noted describing the market as more in favor of buyers. “Sellers of resale homes are therefore working hard to emphasize best assets, offer incentives, and price aggressively to attract buyers,” she said.
And the good news is that it is a great time to be a buyer in Glenmore as “there are some exceptional resale properties at attractive pricing for buyers who recognize the value of established homes with full-grown landscaping and in some of the most sought-after locations,” Reres explained.
Abbott advises her sellers that with competition from new homes, they have to “make their house sparkle.” Pricing is also an issue, she continued stating that buyers will often be persuaded to make an offer if they think they are “getting a great deal.” She also cautions her sellers to be patient.
Ringstrom described the Glenmore market as “very healthy, but changing,” with “new construction leading the way.” For example, five years ago homes in the $1 million plus range were not moving, now they are selling, both new and resale. She believes this is due in part to a healthy stock market that is bringing out the cash buyers.
“The market is active to $650,000,” Abbott said. She is seeing buyers whose kids have left home, and families with children as well as retirees looking for a smaller house in a “lovely neighborhood.”
Buyers wanting a low maintenance lifestyle will find it in several Glenmore locations including Glenmore Highlands, a new home community with a “HOA [Home Owners Association] overlay that will include exterior lawn maintenance for a truly maintenance-free lifestyle,” Ammons said.
Glenmore attracts a wide demographic of buyers that includes those still working, but looking to retire in the near future and those fully retired and enjoying a leisurely lifestyle in a maintenance- free part of the community. In addition, young families appreciate the neighborhood’s safety and the quality of the Albemarle County Schools as well as the many children’s activities provided at the Club.
“There has been a noticeable influx of young families moving in,” Ringstrom said. Part of the reason for this, she believes, is the combination of current lower prices and interest rates that make it more affordable to live there than it was at one time.
Today a family can move from a small home in the city and find a much larger one with all of Glenmore’s amenities for $650,000 that previously may have cost as much as $750,000. She helped two young families find homes in Glenmore just last week.
Pace described a community where a third are families with children, a third have college age kids, and a third (like his parents) are fully retired. He emphasized that this cross section of ages is a real plus for the Glenmore community.
“The retirees like having children out and about because it helps them feel younger,” he said. From another perspective, the mix of ages helps even out the demand for golf and tennis services as the retirees can play during the week, leaving more space on the weekend for people who work a conventional job.
The popularity of Glenmore brings generations of the same families together. Ringstrom described several situations with as many as three generations enjoying the Glenmore lifestyle, sometimes with two or more generations in the same home, other times with each in their own home.
Entrepreneurs also like Glenmore where the founder had the foresight to install fiber optic cable early on offering a huge benefit to business people and telecommuters who work predominantly online and out of their homes, Ringstrom explained.
Glenmore’s Prime Location
Glenmore’s location just a few miles outside of Charlottesville, and within easy commuting distance of Richmond, is a huge advantage for families with jobs, relatives or friends in both cities.
In addition, UVA’s cultural attractions and sporting events are a big draw as is the medical center, while Martha Jefferson’s Pantops location means high quality health care services are just a short drive away. In addition, residents can easily access expanding commercial areas in Pantops and the new 5th Street Station, making life in Glenmore that much more attractive.
There is also a lot of excitement about Rivanna Village, a mixed use development adjacent to Glenmore that has been in the works for a long time, and is now finally under way with infrastructure going in, Ringstrom said.
The new development will feature retail and office space plus attached and detached homes, parks and recreation opportunities. Buyers such as relatives or friends of Glenmore residents who want to be close by and enjoy the area, but can’t afford Glenmore, may find just what they want there. Similarly, Glenmore residents can enjoy the shopping and local entrepreneurs can lease office space close to home. While they won’t be inside Glenmore’s gates, Rivanna Village residents can still join the Country Club and be part of the activities there, Pace said.
Abbott also emphasized the benefits of Rivanna Village stating that having a town center at Glenmore’s entrance is a plus for residents who may feel less removed from urban life when they have opportunities right outside their gate.
If you want to enjoy an amenity-rich community with the safety that comes with 24/7 security, ask your agent about Glenmore. Build your dream home there or take advantage of some current great buys in resale.
Celeste Smucker is a writer and blogger who lives near Charlottesville.