12/03/18 2:11pm

When you get to a certain stage in life, there is really only one thing left to gift your family: a place where the entire clan can enjoy layers of generations under one roof, basking in the tranquility of nature.

In other words, a home on the range where memories can be created between generations, and then passed down to future generations.

For many North Texans, that dream is a ranch, one perhaps offering equestrian experiences and certainly, if in neighboring Colorado, relief from the Texas summer heat as well as a full ski season.

However, let’s face it: real life on a ranch is never anything but hard work. As you hike or ride, you notice the fence that needs repairing, the barn that was bashed during the October storms, and oh yes, the horses that need constant tending. Add that to the rest of the inevitable days’ worth of sun-up to sun-down chores, and despite the romantic allure, you begin to wonder, ‘is Ranch ownership a realistic option for our family?’

Pondering this very question inspired our recent visit west to Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club, located in picturesque, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which we knew for awesome skiing.

But ranch life?

We’d heard that this property was different, that it was the perfect solution to mountain ranch ownership: a beautiful mountain property in the northwest corner of the state, acres of breathtaking forest and soaring mountain views that lower your blood pressure every time you open your eyes. There is horseback riding, fly-fishing, golf, ski-in/ski-out mountain access to fresh powder, fresh water swims, critters and cattle, and the best gift of all: a luxurious home on the range without the maintenance.

In other words, you own this ranch: it doesn’t own you.

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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.
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11/30/18 9:00am

Honolulu’s Gold Coast is a scant half-mile stretch of oceanfront high-rises at the foot of Diamond Head. You may think that Hawaii has the same unending tonnage of oceanfront high-rises seen around Florida, not true. Within Honolulu, there are just 18 oceanfront residential high-rises. Seventeen are on the Gold Coast, and one in Waikiki. None are newer than 1970, with most dating to the 1950s and 1960s. Typical condos sell between $1,500-to-$2,200-plus per square foot.

Built in 1958, the 12-story Tropic Seas isn’t the toniest building on the street, but that’s where bargains reside. Unit 203 is just such a bargain. The one-bedroom unit has 618 square feet with an additional 121-square-foot lanai. You know there’s a renovation needed when the first listing photo showing the interior is the 13th of 19 photos. But at $499,000, that’s $675 a square foot.

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11/29/18 9:00am

Nicholas Kjos of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty has listed 418 Bentley Manor in San Antonio for $1,725,000.

This exquisite beauty caught our eye when its property video made an appearance in our social media feeds this week. Of course, we just had to investigate! Presented as a “grand and timeless estate,” 418 Bentley Manor is an absolute stunner. It celebrates indoor-outdoor living with a resort style paradise to knock your socks off, coupled by a sprawling 7,935 square feet, and is currently listed by Nicholas Kjos of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty for $1.725 million. Plus, the six bedroom, five-full-and-two-half-bathroom family home was built by none other than Robert Weiss in 2002 – a building contractor who specializes in green construction, home building, wine cellar design, and custom home construction. And the pool? Yep, its a Keith Zars! Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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11/27/18 9:00am

Executive Editor Joanna England, Founder and Publisher Candace Evans, and Columnist Jon Anderson

When searching for a ranch property as a second home, there’s often a laundry list of “must haves” that buyers prioritize. While they may rank in different order, they usually include luxury amenities, nearby recreation, and incredible views. As attendees at the recent SecondShelters.com preview of Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club found out, this fantastic development in Colorado has everything — and then some!

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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.

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11/24/18 9:00am
Torrance

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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 38th city on the list — The Woodlands, Texas. This week, we look at Torrance, California, and found you could find a great selection well within the mid-$300,000 range to just slightly more than the median price of $600,000.

So why is Torrance on the list? In short, it’s close to Los Angeles, but provides that smaller community feel that some might desire, the publication said.

“If you like the idea of living near Los Angeles but would prefer living in a smaller community, Torrance could be just the place you’re looking for!” MoneyWise said. “This town is home to California’s famous sunny weather and promises easy access to nearby beaches.”

“It’s a little pricier than some of the communities we have listed so far, with a median home value of $600,000,” the piece continued. “Median household income is just below $80,000. With 15 healthcare centers, Torrance is a good place for medical care.”

While we can’t get you amazing views or ocean sightings in this price range (that’s going to cost you a bit more), we do have three options.

LOCK-AND-LEAVE, BUDGET-FRIENDLY CONDO

Price: $369,000

At $369,000, this fully-remodeled condo may be cozy, but it’s also a great lock-and-leave option for snowbirds who prefer the West Coast to Florida or the Gulf Coast.  

A new shower, new hardwood floors, paint, and brand-new stainless steel appliances make this nearly turnkey. Higher ceilings and an open floor plan make great use of the smaller space, and the two bedrooms are generously sized for the square footage. (more…)