VIRGINIA BEACH – A local real estate agent received a run-of-the-mill request last week to sell a property. What wasn’t so normal were the 20 alpacas included in the deal.
Bill Albin, a Navy technician, moved to Virginia Beach three years ago with his family. He will retire next year and move back to Colorado and is looking to sell their 5.6-acre four-bedroom home on Landstown Road. He’s also willing to part with about 20 of his family’s 33 alpacas to make their move a bit lighter.
“They’re pretty cute, fairly low-maintenance and interesting,” Albin said.
Albin had no cattle or farming background when he began raising alpacas and selling their fiber for winter-wear about five years ago in Colorado. When he and his family moved to Virginia three years ago, they brought about 10 of the animals with them. The rest that they have now are their offspring, he said.
Since he’s been in Virginia Beach, Albin hasn’t had the time to sell the alpaca fiber — a wool-like material without the itch — as often as he did before, but he still has the animals sheared once a year for yarn. The more work people put into creating a product from the fiber, the more money they can make, he said.
Albin and his wife, Isabella, often sold the fiber for shows in Denver and have a Facebook page for their small farm. Other area alpaca farms include Golden Eagle Alpaca Farm in Suffolk, Cornerstone Farm in Windsor and Zuni Tree and Alpaca Farm in Zuni.
Albin’s Realtor, Greg Garrett, put the Landstown Road property up for sale last week at $683,600 and has had five people visit the house. Albin hasn’t fully announced he is selling the alpacas just yet. As for the property, Garrett said, there is an interest in living on agricultural land and using the space to grow crops.
“More and more people are into living off the land,” Garrett said. “We’re in a different world where people want to be self-sufficient. This is the perfect opportunity to do that.”
Albin will soon post a sign outside the property saying he’s offering deals on the alpacas. He won’t part with all of them, though. It’s still a hobby he enjoys, even if he doesn’t exactly know why.
“They’re interesting to watch,” he said. “They’re a different kind of animal. I just like messing around with something like that. I don’t know why. Some people like gardening. This is one of those things we just enjoy doing.”
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