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.

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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.” (more…)

school In 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.

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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.

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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. (more…)

Torrance

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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.”

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Diamond Head

3165 Diamond Head Road (Unit C highlighted)

Back in 1982, two oceanfront thirds of an acre caught the eye of a developer who created a four-unit community behind private gates. Called Ku’u Makana it’s located in Honolulu at the foot of Diamond Head crater on the island of Oahu.  Each of the four units are identical 3,536 square feet indoors and another 674 square feet of lanai space.

In the photo above, the demarcation of the units is obvious with the center fireplace chimneys.  No, it doesn’t get cold enough to need a fireplace and you’d likely need the air-conditioning cranked if you used it, but there you go. There are left-right and up-down units.

Currently the two upper units are for sale – one in need of an overhaul and the other already renovated. Unlike a recent gut job I toured in Dallas, with $1,023,000 separating the units, the renovation is more than priced into the deal.

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VirginiaWhen you begin looking for houses of historical significance, especially on the week of Thanksgiving, you often turn to the places where the country was born. For this week’s historical shelter, we found a Virginia home owned by a Revolutionary War soldier turned inn owner, with ties to a founding father and future president.

The Green Hill House, located in Salem, Virginia, was built in 1776. But the land it sits on was granted to William Walton in 1774, by none other than the Governor of Virginia — Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson granted 1,200 acres along the Roanoke River in what would eventually be Salem to Walton, who built the brick home we’re featuring this week. About 10 years later, Walton obtained a license to open an inn, and became a popular stopover for people heading to what would become the Louisiana Territories. (more…)