Want Truly Frugal Retirement? Try Cedar Rapids, MoneyWise Says

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Cedar Rapids
Downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Cory Munson)

Editor’s Note: Recently, MoneyWise revealed its list of the 40 most frugal and friendly places to retire. In a bid to provide an idea of what housing inventory is available in these cities and towns, we’re taking a look at listings in each of the cities on the list.

Not everyone can spend $1 million or more on a second home, even if it’s with the idea that eventually you’ll retire there. So when MoneyWise’s list of 40 places to retire that are more budget-friendly came out, we were curious — what kind of homes could you find in these towns?

Last week, we looked at the 26th city on the list — Springfield, Missouri. This week, we look at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and found three great homes — all for less than $225,000.

“This small city of 128,000 is developing at a quick pace. Traffic can be heavy during rush hours, but you will find easy access to the interstate highway,” MoneyWise said. “Cost of living is low, with a median income of $53,000. Winters can be quite cold and long, while summers are hot and humid.”

“For people who are used to definite seasons and want to take advantage of investment potential in this growing city, Cedar Rapids is a great retirement option. This community has 16 healthcare centers and rates highly for medical access.”

Want to see examples of what you can find in Cedar Rapids? Let’s jump!

Sleek Studio Loft In Cool Highrise

Price: $115,000

We’ll be honest — we did find cheaper condos in Cedar Rapids (some as low as $68,000). But if you’re thinking of being frugal in your home base so you can spend more on adventure, we have to show you this one bedroom, one bath, 663 square foot studio condo in the Bottleworks building in the NewBo area.

While you won’t be able to host overnight guests comfortably, there’s something to be said for having an easy, no maintenance, high rise base of operations if you’re planning on doing a lot of travel.

The kitchen has granite counters and stainless steel appliances, and extra large windows provide city views and tons of natural light (don’t worry, when you want privacy, blackout honeycomb blinds are ready to temporarily block that). High ceilings make that small square footage seem spacious, too.

The home is close to downtown Cedar Rapids and lots of restaurants, nightlife, and more. The building is also pet friendly, and secure, and there is also a rooftop area with seating and grills (handy when you want to invite people over for dinner).

The home is listed by Diona Carpenter with Skogman Realty-Downtown.

Pretty Little Cottage With Loads of Character

Price: $129,900

Want something with a scoosh more space, and plenty of charm? We found this 1939 cottage that is adorable — with built-ins, hardwood floors, coved ceilings, arched doorways, and a pretty little front yard that overlooks a tree-lined street and is walking distance to parks.

With 1,428 square feet, it’s right-sized for the retirees looking for a home where they can have room for visitors, but would also like the option of aging in place, since two of the four bedrooms and the bathroom are downstairs on the main floor.

The home has been well-maintained, with fresh paint inside and on the trim outside, and vinyl siding. In the backyard, a large patio provides plenty of opportunity for relaxation.

The neighborhood is also home to the Brucemore Mansion Historic Site and is a quick drive to downtown entertainment and Cedar Lake.

The home is listed by Cory Rath with Keller Williams Legacy Group.

1922 Craftsman Close to the Park

Price: $204,500

Just a few minutes east of our second option, this 1922 Craftsman has tons of character and charm, and is a quick walk to Bever Park.

Still an easy-to-care-for 1,620 square feet, this home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, meaning you can still host family holidays (and hello, it’s Iowa so your odds are good for a white Christmas, too).

Hardwoods throughout the home give it warmth, and great Craftsman details punctuate the home. While the kitchen is cozy, it’s still beautiful, with great cabinetry and stainless steel Frigidaire appliances and a Samsung refrigerator.

And if you’re not totally on board the Mari Kondo downsizing trend, listing agent Shelly Federspiel with Keller Williams Legacy Group says there’s tons of closet and attic storage, plus a two-car detached garage.