Seekers of unblemished natural beauty and tranquility ﬂock to Kingsmill on the James. What was once a part of a vast plantation along the mighty James River now boasts several resort-style amenities, a plethora of historic attractions, and a captivating home location for a variety of buyers.
If you’re seriously eyeing homes for sale in Kingsmill, Williamsburg, VA, delve further into this guide to learn more about this exquisitely easy-going community.
A SCENIC AND HISTORIC LOCATION NEAR THE EASTERNMOST TIP OF VIRGINIA
Kingsmill is situated just outside the city of Williamsburg, which is less than 10 minutes away. From here, it only takes around 15-20 minutes to reach the historic communities of Jamestown and Yorktown. Facing the James River, the community is surrounded by a verdant and scenic landscape. It’s mainly composed of a gated residential neighborhood, a resort complex, and the historic namesake plantation.
Spanning over 3,000 acres, Kingsmill features:
- 24/7 security
- Club houses for rent
- Swimming pools for children and adults
- A ﬁshing and kayaking pond
- Courts for pickleball, basketball, and tennis
- Miles of walking and bike paths, as well as nature trails
REAL ESTATE PREVIEW
In Kingsmill, Williamsburg, VA, homes go up for sale anywhere between $284,000 to $2 million. The housing stock is mostly composed of well-landscaped single-family homes and spacious condos. Common architectural styles in the area include Farmhouse, Craftsman, New Traditional, and Contemporary.
Some properties go as far back as the 1980s but new construction is also available, with a few units completed only in 2020 and 2022. Residents have easy access to nearby community amenities and the top-tier facilities at Kingsmill Resort.
A WELL-PRESERVED HISTORY
The history of Kingsmill dates back to 1619 when seven explorers from the Virginia Company of London received land grants as a reward for helping the British Empire establish a foothold in North America. Approximately 500 acres were awarded to a certain Richard Kingsmill.
A century passed before his grandson, Lewis Burwell III, decided to develop the 1,400-acre Kingsmill Plantation to the west of the land where he initially settled. The centerpiece of the plantation was an opulent two-story manor house that encompassed 4,800 square feet of living space. Orchards, fenced gardens, barns, sheds, and a stable surrounded the home. Sadly, a ﬁre destroyed the manor in 1846. Only one of the brick dependencies and a few pieces of the original garden steps survive to this day.
Between the Civil War and the advent of the 20th century, much of Kingsmill fell into neglect and disrepair. However, the community’s best days were still ahead, beginning with its acquisition by the Anheuser-Busch Corporation. In collaboration with the Virginia Historical Landmarks Commission and an archeological team led by William Kelso, the corporation restored Kingsmill and its picturesque surroundings. Thousands of ruins and priceless artifacts from pre-colonial and colonial settlements were uncovered in the process and are now on display at the Kingsmill Resort.
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN AND AROUND KINGSMILL
A number of attractions are within comfortable walking and driving distance from Kingsmill. Consider checking out these places:
- At the Kingsmill Resort, history and a charming location come together for an unforgettable resort experience. As a top golf and spa destination in this part of Virginia, Kingsmill Resort offers the ﬁnest courses and facilities overlooking the water. The famous Plantation Course is a par-72 course designed by none other than legendary designers Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. Other available recreational activities here include indoor and outdoor swimming, tennis, and biking.
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a European-themed amusement park that’s a favorite among locals. Choose from an array of thrilling rides and attractions such as Apollo’s Chariot, The Loch Ness, the Sesame Street Coaster, the Parisian streets of France, and Oktoberfest revelry in Germany. The park can get crowded, especially during holidays, so make sure to plan your visit in advance. Pay for tickets at least a day early to get cheaper deals on rides.
- Jamestown Island is where English colonists established their ﬁrst-ever permanent settlement in North America in 1607. The ﬁrst wave of settlers greatly struggled with the challenges of building a community from scratch in a foreign land, from food shortages and disease to skirmishes with the natives. A handful of archeological sites, restored structures, and museum exhibits are open to the public on the western portion of the island.
- A trip to Colonial Williamsburg is essential for history enthusiasts. During Williamsburg’s 80+ years as the capital of Virginia, the ideas and aspirations of American colonists thrived and fueled the revolutionary cause. In 1926, John D. Rockefeller and other like-minded preservationists and philanthropists embarked on a project to revive the small town. Here you’ll ﬁnd a range of exhibits, art displays, educational tours, and seasonal activities (brickwork, blacksmithing, apothecary) that give us a glimpse of life in 18th-century Williamsburg.
- The last major engagement of the Revolutionary War took place at the Yorktown Battleﬁeld. Several fortiﬁcations, cannons, and various military paraphernalia from that fateful battle remain intact. Retrace the defensive lines the British carved out in preparation for the combined forces of American and French troops. Visit the Moore House, where negotiations were conducted between Lieutenant Colonel Laurens (American side) and Major Alexander Ross (British side) prior to the ofﬁcial surrender of Britain on October 19, 1781.
- The Ferguson Center for the Arts, located at Christopher Newport University, has attracted millions of people eager to witness world-class performances from the likes of Tony Bennett, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, and even Broadway classics like “The King and I” and “Jersey Boys.” Each section — the 1,700-seat Diamonstein Concert Hall, the 500-seat Peebles Theatre, and the 250-seat Studio Theater — is acoustically impeccable.
It’s not uncommon for homes for sale in Kingsmill to reach the million-dollar mark. Before you embark on your real estate journey, take into account these helpful pointers to hurdle any major challenges that may come your way.
- Consider how much house you can afford
It is essential to know how much money you’re willing to shell out on a home. Is it possible to go slightly over your budget simply to snag that dream home? Or, are you willing to concede certain features to make the purchase more ﬁnancially feasible?
Your answer to these questions will largely depend on your capacity to pay off the home down payment, which is usually around 20% of the purchase price. But it’s not difﬁcult to ﬁnd lenders that can offer a lower down payment. For example, you can pay as little as 3.5% for an FHA loan. Just keep in mind that a lower down payment isn’t necessarily better because of higher monthly interest. The higher monthly mortgage payment can signiﬁcantly affect your overall budget.
2. Strengthen your ﬁnancial standing
The next step is to prepare for the home purchase. Examine areas of your ﬁnances that you need to improve to increase your chances of getting approved for a home loan.
Check your credit score to see where you stand from the perspective of potential lenders. A score of at least 700 or above grants you the best possible interest rates and perks. Although it’s not impossible to secure a loan with a credit score below 700, lenders are generally wary of any score that reaches 600 or below.
If you feel your score needs improving, start by consistently keeping credit card debt low relative to your maximum credit limit. A month-to-month trend that shows a credit utilization at around 30% of the credit limit is a ﬁgure that lenders like to see.
- Prioritize getting pre-approved
After determining your ﬁnancial capacity to pay for a home, you can start approaching lenders and securing a pre-approval letter. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essentially a guarantee from the lender that you are capable of borrowing a certain amount of money.
It’s best practice to work on this before you start house-hunting because it gives you an edge over buyers who aren’t pre-approved. That’s because the process of securing pre-approval can take some time since the lender will be assessing your ﬁnancial standing rigorously — examining every detail of past transactions and your credit reports.
Don’t mistake pre-approval for pre-qualiﬁcation, which is a surface-level review of basic ﬁnancial information you submit to the lender. Pre-qualiﬁcation does not give you a detailed estimate of how much you can loan and cannot prove ﬁnancial capacity.
- Get a feel of the market
See what the market has to offer. During your initial online search (through platforms like Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, or others), don’t just check out available homes – do a separate Google search on their particular location to see what’s nearby. Are there good schools, parks, or commercial centers within a convenient distance from your potential new home?
Then, shortlist a handful of homes you wish to see with your own eyes. Take a walk in the neighborhood and have a feel of its vibe. And while you’re there, keep an eye out for any open houses that may be available. Chances are, you might ﬁnd your dream home in one of these home tours.
Examine market data as well to get an objective pulse of the area. Look into comps (comparable homes recently sold in a given community), to see if a seller is asking for a fairly reasonable price. You’ll need to go through mounds of real estate data that can be accessed through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Working with a real estate agent is a hassle-free way to examine comps and come up with a thorough analysis of prevailing market prices.
- Strengthen your negotiating stance
Whether you want the seller to cover necessary repairs or keep your home sale contingency, it’s essential to list down your priorities before putting forward an offer. The ease or difﬁculty of negotiating will mostly depend on the local market conditions. A buyer’s market will grant you much more leeway in negotiating the terms you want.
But regardless of the state of the market, you’ll be better prepared for negotiations if you work with a real estate agent. A seasoned professional will carefully walk you through a variety of scenarios (e.g. bidding wars, counter-offers, title issues) and help you prepare accordingly. Additionally, an agent can help ensure that you don’t press the seller too hard during negotiations.
- Make a strong offer
It’s crucial to move fast once you’ve shortlisted your options. You’ll never know whether or not another buyer is closing in on a purchase on the same home. An agent can help you craft a strong and appealing offer that could potentially sway a seller to agree to your terms.
Depending on market conditions, it’s generally a good idea to offer around 5% below the asking price. Naturally, the seller would prefer extracting as much as value from the transaction so try to articulate a convincing — yet realistic — rationale on why your offer is potentially the best one they’ll ever receive. Your agent will help you iron out the ﬁner details and what’s feasible given the situation.
- Factor in the overall economic slowdown
It’s no secret that we enter 2023 with inﬂation and supply chain problems still plaguing the economy. For buyers who plan to make some real estate moves this year, there are some pointers to keep in mind:
- Buyers who’ve taken the necessary preparations to buy a home this year should act now. Waiting for better home prices or rates to come will further delay your plans. Given the higher costs, a good number of buyers could no longer afford highly desirable areas like Kingsmill. This gives those who are ready to buy now more leverage to negotiate.
- Buyers who are priced out should focus on improving ﬁnancial readiness. If you’re among those whose home-buying plans were cut down by the increase in home prices due to inﬂation, then focus instead on building your ﬁnancial muscle. Stay patient and continue saving up for a down payment and further improving your credit score.
- Buyers pushing through with a home purchase need to manage expectations carefully. Getting a smaller home without all the bells and whistles you think you need may turn out to be a good deal in the long term (you can introduce piecemeal improvements over the years). That’s because a bigger and more stately home usually entails higher maintenance and repair costs.
- But don’t ever rush any real estate transaction. Some may feel like getting an adjustable-rate loan is a good solution but it comes with major strings attached. As the name implies, adjustable-rate loans can give lower interest rates at the beginning but they usually start ﬂuctuating wildly in later years, especially during uncertain economic times. Despite what certain lenders might say, these types of loans rarely beneﬁt you in the long run.
WORK WITH COLDWELL BANKER TRADITIONS
If you need expert assistance as you explore homes for sale in Kingsmill or elsewhere in the Williamsburg area, get in touch with agents from Coldwell Banker Traditions. Our ﬁrm has been serving the communities in and around Williamsburg since 1885. Throughout our long track record of success, we always strive to provide new clients with the same high-quality service and in-depth real estate insight we’re known for.