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 24th city on the list — Las Cruces, New Mexico. This week, we look at Thousand Oaks, California, and found in California “frugal” is relative, but still found three great homes — all for less than $500,000.

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NeutraWhen shipbuilder John Rados purchased a large, hillside lot overlooking the Port of Los Angeles in the 50s, he turned to a fellow Austro-Hungarian to create a home that would put those views to best use — Richard Neutra.

Rados fled the Austro-Hungarian Empire with his family 50 years prior to the purchase of that land, and by then his family had built the Harbor Boat Building Company into one of the country’s most prolific shipbuilding firms.

Neutra was a wise choice for the Rancho Palos Verdes, California, land, as he was known for his unfussy post-war design that showcased the phenomenal views available in Southern California.

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time capsuleWe’ve all seen the homes that time forgot, and we’ve all seen the vintage homes that have been updated. But have you ever seen a Midcentury Modern that was an intentional time capsule?

As we’ve said before, sometimes what we find in the Wednesday WTF is a WTF because there are whips and chains in the basement. And sometimes, like this week, the WTF is in the fact that someone has done an impeccable job of preserving and restoring a listing that you’re hard pressed to see where the vintage parts of the home end and the restored elements begin.

I showed this week’s WTF pick in Palm Springs to the CandysDirt.com staff yesterday, and everyone fell in love pretty much immediately.

“OH MY GOD I LOVE IT,” Jo England said.

Karen Eubank, our resident taste doyenne, summed up her feelings in one word: “Perfection.”

Want to see what we’re talking about? Jump with me, won’t you? (more…)

gold rushAlways a hotel, this week’s gold-rush era historical shelter in California also has its place in history as the location for an office and stage stop for an express company that ran mail across the country.

The site of the current Hotel Sutter, located in Sutter Creek, California, was first home to the American House Hotel, built in 1851. It served as a stop for Adams & Co., later Adams Express Company, which pre-dated Wells Fargo.

Sutter Creek is named after a local creek, which in turn got its name from a local prospector, John Sutter, who discovered gold nearby in 1848, triggering the California Gold Rush.  Sutter owned a sawmill where the mother lode was found, and after fortune hunters began trampling his land, he decided to prospect, too, moving to Sutter Creek to begin his own mining operation, using his servants to mine, something that drew the disapproval of the miners also working to find gold. Eventually, he returned to Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento and never mined again. (more…)

Our Steal: 7432 Deerwood Avenue, Oakland, California, listed by Mark Lederer and Derrick Tyler of The Lederer Team, Red Oak Realty for $589,000.

Real estate can surprise you in unexpected ways. Such is the case in Oakland, California. Movers and shakers in the industry are suddenly seeing the Oakland housing market transform. Prices keep going up, demand continues to surge, and a nice crop of wonderfully updated older homes and new construction beauties are changing the face of Oakland as we know it. So this week, we zeroed in on two fantastic Oakland offerings for our latest Splurge vs. Steal. Why Oakland you ask? We say, why not?

Take your pick on SecondShelters.com.

 

“Government forcing citizens to purchase products that cost more than $15,000, offer no safety benefits and paybacks not usually realized for a decade or more is hardly cause for celebration. In California, lobbyists for the solar industry succeeded where their innovation and marketing efforts failed.”

That’s what Phil Crone, Executive Officer of the Dallas Builders Association had to say about the new law passed last week to require solar power installations on all new homes (including townhome) builds in sunny California. It’s a real headscratcher that, in a state where housing is already the highest in the nation, lawmakers would add on yet more cost that will, obviously, be ultimately covered by the consumer.

 “New homes built in the last 20 years account for less than one percent of green house gas emissions,” says Phil. “Homes built today are 30 percent more energy efficient than those built ten years ago. Hundreds of new products have contributed to these milestones. Picking one prevents others from emerging.”

The measure solar mandate will apply to all homes, condos, and apartment buildings up to three stories high as of January 1, 2020, with exceptions for structures built in the shade (how will they define this one?) and offsets available for other energy-saving measures, such as installing batteries, such as the Tesla Powerwall. 

What Elon Musk is losing on his cars, he might be gaining on his solar roofs.

Only 15 to 20% of new single-family homes in California include solar installations currently. The mandate is expected to add $25,000 to $30,000 more to the cost of a new home than those built to the current 2006 code. Experts insist that extra cost, which accounts for both solar installation and improved insulation, would be recouped over the life of the home in savings on energy bills.

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2373 N 3rd Ave, Napa, California, is listed for $7.85 million by Cyd Greer of Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley – St. Helena.

This week has us dreaming of a wine country getaway, so what better way to appease those cabernet-colored dreams than a Splurge vs. Steal Resort Edition in Napa Valley! From hiking and biking, to boutique shops, restaurants and a flourishing arts scene, Napa is filled with things to do, including owning and operating your own vineyard. For this week’s Splurge vs. Steal I narrowed down Napa’s incredible offerings based on location, acreage, and ability to produce quality fruit. What I found may surprise you.

See them both and then choose your favorite on SecondShelters.com now!

 California midcentury modern with views for days, tucked into an 11-acre property studded with pine, in the heart of a newly-designated AVA (American Viticultural area) designated area sounds like an amazing second shelter — especially when you see all the room it has for entertaining.

Check it out on SecondShelters.com.