Articles by

Bethany Erickson

12/22/18 9:00am
Lakeland

Photo courtesy Pixabay

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 34th city on the list — Mesa, Arizona. This week, we look at Lakeland, Florida, and found three great homes — all for less than $500,000.

“Lakeland is nestled safely in the middle of Florida, far away from weather-beaten coasts,” MoneyWise said. “The climate is warm and mild all year, and the cost of living requires an income of only $39,000. This is a family-friendly town that is home to a hospital and 17 healthcare centers.”

CONDO IN A LAKESIDE DEVELOPMENT

Price: $109,900

Located in the popular Casa Loma community, which was developed around Scott Lake, this three-bedroom, two-bath condo has 1,425 square feet of living space, making it a great spot for the downsizers who still want to host family. (more…)

12/16/18 9:00am

North PoleAs we count down to mere single digits before Christmas Day, what better town to visit than North Pole, Alaska, where we’ve found a renovated Midcentury cabin surrounded by trees?

That’s right, North Pole.

Now, purists will say that the town, with a population of a little more than 2,000, just 14 miles southeast of Fairbanks is not the true North Pole, but hundreds of thousands of children each year send their Santa letters there just the same, and thousands of people ship their Christmas cards to the post office there just so they can have the town’s postmark on the envelopes.

The charming community also responds to letters addressed to 1 Santa Claus Lane, too, and the city’s fire trucks and ambulances are all red, and the police cars are green and white.

And just in case you don’t think that’s Christmassy enough, there’s a current version of a trading post established when the town began, The Santa Claus House, where you can visit reindeer; see a  42-foot-tall, 900-pound Santa Claus statue; and well, get your Christmas on.

(more…)

12/15/18 9:00am

MesaEditor’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 35th city on the list — Metairie, Louisiana. This week, we look at Mesa, Arizona, and found three great homes — all for less than $300,000.

“Mesa offers modest living, with a median rent below $900 and homes selling at around $150,000,” MoneyWise said. “This is suburban living in a dry climate, and having a swimming pool nearby is a must.”

“The city is known for being well-organized, with its grid of streets that are easy to understand and navigate,” this week’s entry added. “Nightlife is robust and healthcare resources are excellent. The Arizona Medical Training Institute is located in Mesa.”

TOWNHOME CLOSE TO EVERYTHING IN A GREAT COMMUNITY

Price: $182,000

For less than $200,000, this downsizer-friendly two-bedroom, two-bath townhome packs a lot of punch. It’s the beneficiary of an open floor plan and strategic placement of a large glass door that makes the whole great room feel huge. (more…)

12/09/18 9:00am

Miami ShoresWhen we look for historical shelters every week, we always find some beautiful homes with interesting stories — and that’s true this week as well, with the Simmons Estate in Miami Shores, Florida.

It’s always fun to go back and look at 1920s architecture — the era embraced luxury in a way that was potentially over the top, but so well crafted that to this day newer construction often attempts to emulate the grandeur.

And that’s true with 257 NE 91 St., a gorgeous Mediterranean built in 1925 and designed by the nationally-acclaimed architects Kiehnel and Elliot, whose work includes the Coconut Grove Playhouse, the Carlyle Hotel in Miami Beach, and the downtown Miami Post Office. (more…)

12/08/18 10:00am

MetairieEditor’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 36th city on the list — Augusta, Georgia. This week, we look at Metairie, Louisiana, and found some great options from anywhere around $50,000 all the way to $549,000.

“Despite having less than 150,000 residents, Metairie is a very diverse place,” MoneyWise said. “This town offers a robust nightlife and a very low cost of living. The median household income is around $52,000. Locals consider this town to be a good compromise between big-city and suburban living.”

“Metairie is located just a 15-minute drive from New Orleans, so you can get a taste of the city any time you want,” the entry adds. “There is one healthcare center in Metairie, but access to New Orleans gives you a wide variety of healthcare providers.”

SPACIOUS CONDO WITH SURPRISING PRICE

Price: $50,000

Our first example of what you can find in Metairie if you’re really, really wanting to be frugal. And surprisingly, we found that being on a budget doesn’t have to mean borderline livable. (more…)

12/02/18 9:00am

schoolIn our quest to find the most interesting historical shelters, we fully admit to being suckers for a good school house conversion, and this example in the historic mining village of Hillsboro, New Mexico, does not disappoint.

The school was built in the 1800s, listing agent Crystal Lay with Steinborn & Associates Real Estate said, and it taught generations of elementary school students in the mining town.

More recently, it’s been beautifully renovated, and the sellers took pains to incorporate wonderful details into that renovation.

“The amazing original details including the interior tin roof tiles, the chalkboards, and the windows have been preserved and keep the authenticity of the school that is incorporated into the ample living space,” Lay said. (more…)

12/01/18 4:00am

AugustaEditor’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 37th city on the list — Torrance, California. This week, we look at Augusta, Georgia, and found some great options for — get this — less than $300,000.

“Augusta is a gem of Southern living. It is an inexpensive city, with a median household income of about $38,000,” Moneywise said. “Augusta’s crime rate is low and the town is rich in Southern history, and offers a wide variety of shopping and nightlife options.”

“With its warm weather and two medical centers that focus exclusively on women’s healthcare, Augusta sets a high standard for retirement living on this list,” the article added.
(more…)

11/25/18 9:00am

PhiladelphiaWhen Philadelphia lawyer Joseph Hopkinson and his wife Emily settled into their home on Spruce Street in 1794, the country was still in its infancy. Construction on the home itself had been completed just three years prior, by cabinet maker Jesse Williams.

Hopkinson saw the country grow from a collection of colonies that banded together for independence from England to a country, watching his father, Francis, sign the Declaration of Independence. Francis Hopkinson was also credited with designing the first Stars and Stripes during the Revolutionary War and later served as governor of Pennsylvania.

But the junior Hopkinson would forge his own place in U.S. history, penning the lyrics to “Hail, Columbia,” the first national anthem — a song that would remain so until the 1890s — at his home in 1798, using a melody written by Philip Phile 10 years prior.

They would raise their 14 children in the home, which also has its place in the Library of Congress, where one can read about the composition and use of “Hail, Columbia,” and also see photos of the home from decades ago.

Nowadays, the song is still in use as the official anthem for the Vice President, but before that, it was the anthem for the President, before it was replaced by “Hail to the Chief” officially during the Truman administration.

And now, 227 years later, the home is for sale, ready for its next family of history lovers to come in and continue to maintain and love the home.

The 4,100-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-bath home has been so well maintained (and its history honored), that you can fairly envision Hopkinson putting quill to paper.Three stories high, plus a dormer fourth floor, the home immediately signals its history with a historical marker just to the left of the blue front door.

A 30-foot long hallway leads to two sitting rooms with wood-burning fireplaces surrounded by floor-to-ceiling moldings. That hallway ends with what Williams called “the piazza,” back in 1791.

(more…)