How A Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent Views History
Making my very first trip to see President and Founding Father Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, in Charlottesville, VA was pretty exciting. I love the history surrounding the birth of our nation and the early years of our republic. I also love great scenery. And naturally, as a Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent, I do have a fascination with homes.
I knew that Jefferson had designed the home. It was lovely. Photographs of the interior were not permitted, but the Real Estate Agent at my core was dying to snap photos. The parlor in particular, with it's bay windows, was phenomenal. I thought about what a dream listing a home like this would be, on top of a scenic Virginia mountaintop. A Real Estate Agent's dream.
What surprised me was the fact I learned during the tour about how Jefferson had financially run aground. He sold a large portion of his private library when the White House burned for what amounted to nearly one year's salary of the President of the United States. Why sell your most prized possessions? Well, what choice do you have when you're broke.
Back in the days when Jefferson was President, any entertaining done in the White House was done at the sole expense of the President. He was quite the entertainer and loved to serve his guests fine French wines. When he was out of office, his love of the finer things, and need uphold and demonstrate his social status to his visitors, had him taking loans from the Federal government and mortgaging his land at Monticello. He died in debt, owing what today would amount to two million dollars. I'm sure the designing and redesigning of the home, a lifelong project, didn't help his finances either.
Here I am a Northern Virginia Short Sale Agent, looking for a day of something completely different and realize that President Jefferson may have benefited from the services I provide to Northern Virginia home owners as a Short Sale Agent that find the financial obligations of their homes overwhelming. He had lived so beyond his means that his family had to sell the cherished family home just a few years after his death. The only reason it is not a private residence today is due to the second owner who bought it solely to preserve it.
I never would've thought that Jefferson had lived so extravagantly that he died without a dime and owing a boatload of money. We can learn a lot from history. Jefferson was most proud of having fought for many of the freedoms we enjoy today, particularly our religious freedoms. But one important lesson we can learn from his life is NOT to live beyond our means and preserve our own family homes. That's my perspective as a Real Estate in Northern Virginia.
Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker- Licensed in Virginia, GRI, SFR, Northern Virginia Short Sale Specialist. Affiliated with Long & Foster, 7526 Limestone Drive, Gainesville, VA 20155. To contact Chris Ann, call 703-402-0037 or email chrisann@LNF.com. Or you can visit her website: www.nvarealestate.net.
Header photos taken by Chris Ann Cleland.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of Chris Ann Cleland, not those of Long & Foster REALTORS®.