Low-priced houses can be found almost everywhere, but they’re not for everyone. For the adventurous buyers, many of these houses will need TLC, an owner with DIY skills (not to mention HGTV) and in some cases, judicious use of a sledgehammer, backhoe and rental Dumpster.
When searching the clearance rack of houses, keep in mind that you will encounter some fake wood paneling, many cheap veneer countertops, and unfortunate paint color choices. But you’ll also see original windows and doors, screened porches, mighty old wooden beams that will outlast every McMansion of today, and pink bathrooms (an outmoded midcentury trend that some people now aim to preserve). Click ahead to see a collection of houses, counting down from most “expensive” to the rock-bottom cheapest deal, in a variety of styles from across the country, as provided by Trulia.com and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Real Estate site. (While the selections included here from the latter site are distressed or in need of significant restoration, the site features properties ranging up to the current topper, author Zane Gray's former property on Catalina island in California for $11,800,000.)
Posted May 5, 2011
2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths
Square feet: 2,912
Location: 1640 N. Street, Ord, Nebraska, 68862
Area industries and occupations: Professional services, skilled trades, renewable energy, agriculture, manufacturing, retail
Round House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is actually an octagon. From 1901 – 1914 it was a Unitarian church, then it served as a Grand Army of the Republic Hall. It was converted to a residential house in 1970, and features an open staircase, original woodwork, multi-pane windows, and nearly 3,000 square feet of space. The second floor is open and could function as a studio space. Deer and turkey hunting and river and reservoir fishing are nearby. As of publication time, sale was pending on this property.
2 bedrooms, 1 bath
Square feet: 708
Location: 3739 Washburn Avenue N, Minneapolis MN 55412 Area industries and occupations: Commerce, finance, rail and trucking services, health care, and industry
This gabled cottage is located in the Cleveland neighborhood in northwest Minneapolis, close to Crystal Lake and Highway 81. The house, which dates to 1914, has a screened porch, a basement, a one-car detached garage, and the yard has room for expanding the house. There are numerous other homes in this price range in Minneapolis.
2 bedrooms, 1 bath
Square feet: 4,840
Area industries and occupations: Management, professional, sales, office occupations, production, transportation, and material moving occupations
This updated circa-1952 shingled ranch home stands one story and has a basement. The tenant-occupied house sits on a fenced-in corner property in the Harper Woods area of the east side of suburban Detroit. The Detroit area has many houses on the market in this price range and below.
3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths
Location: 2819 Bergman Street, Pittsburgh PA 15204
Area industries and occupations: Health care, education, technology and financial services, robotics
This Colonial-style two-story brick home in the Esplen neighborhood of western Pittsburgh dates to 1938. It features an impressive front porch, arched doorways, hardwood floors, a brick fireplace, new carpeting in the bedrooms, and a large deck overlooking a fenced-in yard.
2 bedrooms, 1 bath
Square feet: 1,404
Location: 1516 West Taylor Street, Kokomo IN 46901
Area industries and occupations: Health care, automotive, Coca-Cola bottling
This Bedford stone ranch, built in 1947, features a large open living space with a brick fireplace, a huge picture window, nice-sized bedrooms, hardwood floors, and a basement. The house is being sold as-is and needs to be restored to its original beauty.
3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths
Square feet: 1,804
Location: 4504 Kathland Avenue, Baltimore MD 21207
Area industries and occupations: Financial, business, and health care
This 3-level single-family Forest Park home is located very close to Hillsdale Park and golf course in northwest Baltimore. It has wood floors, a lovely staircase, a basement, a freestanding single car garage—and some issues. This property has potential, but is in need of a renovation and is being sold “strictly as-is, cash or rehab loan only.”
11 rooms, 2 baths
Square feet: 4,652
Location: Walhalla, South Carolina 29691
Area industries and occupations: Production, transportation, and material moving occupations, sales and office occupations, management, and professional occupations
This huge historic Italianate home from 1888, the Biemann-Hughs House, is up for sale in “distressed” condition, which is to say: disassembled. The pieces are labeled, and maps and a video tour of the home will be provided to the brave purchaser for reassembly. Once the antique heart pine components are put together, it will have a two-story veranda in front and a porch in the back. Included are original fixtures like toilets, bathtubs, windows, mantles, and doors.
Location: Catlett, Virginia, but owner determines final location
This circa 1800 cabin is another “assembly required” historic residential bargain. But for a buyer willing to play life-size Lincoln Logs, the two-story log cabin with pine flooring and pine bead board partitions, and batten interior doors will only cost in the range of $10 - $45 Gs.
Location: The Park, Glenview, Illinois, 60025
Area industries and occupations: Educational, health and social services, professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services, manufacturing
In this case, the purchaser is only buying the house itself for $1. As part of the deal, he or she must agree to buy a different lot in The Park, in this northern suburb of Chicago (originally a planned community for members of the New Church) and move the house to the new lot (two on the market cost $400K and $600K), then renovate the house, preserving its historic integrity. If not sold, the house will be demolished. Kind of a hard bargain—but it is still technically a 4+ house for $1. The house, which dates to 1892, features traditional woodwork, stained glass windows, turrets, and fireplaces.