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 27th city on the list — Charleston, South Carolina. This week, we look at Springfield, Missouri, and found three great homes — all for less than $350,000.

“Springfield is an inexpensive place to live: the median income is around $34,000, and rent can be less than $700 per month,” MoneyWise said. “Median home prices come in at just over $100,000.”

“You will see some snow in the winter and summers can be hot, but not extreme. The city has three hospitals, as well as extensive home care offerings.”

Want to see examples of what you can find in Springfield? Let’s jump! (more…)

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.

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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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The WoodlandsEditor’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 39th city on the list — Cape Coral, Florida. This week, we look at the first Texas spot on the list —  The Woodlands, and found you could find a great selection well within the $300,000 to just shy of $500,000 range.

Why The Woodlands?

“This community of approximately 100,000 is a well-kept secret for retirees,” said Moneywise. “The Woodlands offers excellent housing and a low cost of living. The median rent is $1,300, and median home prices are around $300,000.”

“This town has very low crime, and the weather is lovely and warm,” it adds. “The Woodlands’ proximity to Houston gives you access to quality health care just a short drive away.”

So what can you get for less than $500,000? Let’s take a look.

RENOVATED MEDITERRANEAN CLOSE TO AMENITIES

Price: $319,000

At the lowest end of our price point, this custom home in the coveted Grogans Mill neighborhood is also — bonus — in a golf course community. (more…)