Do You Dare Enter Any of These 10 Abandoned Homes for Sale?

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For those committed to the spooky spirit of Halloween, we’ve managed to scare up 10 abandoned homes currently for sale. We’re well aware that none of these homes are what most would call “beautiful”—in fact, many of us would only walk inside on a double-dog dare.

However, this is the time of year to embrace those goosebumps and little hairs raised on the back of your neck. Many of these forlorn homes are actually too dangerous even to enter, but the pictures alone will give even the toughest haunted house veteran a case of the willies.

It’s the little things left behind that make these places truly haunting. Baby stuff, old furniture, even the trash, hint at a time when these places were vibrant, bustling homes—until something went awry.

The upside to these eerie vibes? Many of these properties are bargain priced, and you can use all your powers to bring them back from the half-dead.

So break out the fun-sized candy, press play on your Halloween Spotify mix, and tour these abandoned residences for a monster good time.

33 Parker Rd, Sanford, NY

Price: $69,000
Remodel, interrupted: Built in 1970, this three-bedroom ranch home was well on its way to being turned into something special, when the owners abruptly changed their minds and split. Now overgrown weeds greet anyone brave enough to set foot on the property. But once you step inside, you’ll find a kitchen that’s nearly finished and hardwood floors in most rooms. A full bath has already been stripped down to the studs and is ready for an upgrade. The acre-plus lot sits at the base of mountains, making this a special little retreat with nearly limitless potential.

Exterior of abandoned home in Standford, NY
Stanford, NY

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4820 Indian Head Hwy, Indian Head, MD

Price: $105,100
Enter at your own risk: Built in 1942, this abandoned home overtaken by Mother Nature isn’t safe to enter. It sits on a half-acre lot, and another adjacent full acre is available for $60,000. The grassy lot is a lovely backdrop to the home, which has been ravaged by weather and the elements. The listing suggests that potential buyers consult an expert about the possibility of salvaging the home.

Abandoned home in Indian Head, MD
Indian Head, MD

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1393 Halo Dr, River Falls, WI

Price: $165,000
Tear-down farm: This abandoned over 23-acre farm has several buildings, all of which are in various states of disrepair. There’s even a car stuck in the midst of an overgrown field to add to the creepy frozen-in-time vibe.

abandoned farm in River Falls, WI
River Falls, WI

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5755 Roy Cooper Ln, Cedar Grove, NC

Price: $89,900
Termites, spiders, and trash—oh my!: What was once a family compound is now a home for all sorts of bugs and wildlife. The over 2-acre lot includes a block home, which the listing says is “loaded with termites, spiders, rotted out floors, trash, and debris,” and a double-wide trailer. Fix it up, scrap it all, or maybe just burn lots of sage—the choice is up to you.

Abandoned compound in Cedar Grove, NC
Cedar Grove, NC

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731 E F St, Newton, NC

Price: $10,000
Creep-tastic cottage: This two-bedroom bungalow was built in 1900, but is no longer safe to survey because of its collapsed floors and falling roof. There’s also a “walk-in partial crawl space” that’s probably not much safer. There are also piles of trash, including furniture, baby equipment, and old mattresses wrapped in overgrown vines, giving the whole property a decidedly haunted vibe.

Abandoned house in Newton, NC
Newton, NC

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1 Dido Ave, Lucerne Valley, CA

Price: $24,950
Abandoned cabin: This 400-square-foot abandoned cabin sits on 5 windswept desert acres. The current owner is willing to carry with only $10,000 down and negotiable terms, making it a bargain for anyone who doesn’t get a little freaked out by being stuck out in the middle of nowhere in an abandoned cabin.

abandoned cabin in Lucerne Valley Ca
Lucerne Valley, CA

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8260 Fairplay Rd, Somerset, CA

Price: $749,000
Condition unknown: This gorgeous 60-acre parcel sits in the Fair Play American Viticultural Area and has three ponds, meadows with walnut and oak trees, and views. The home on the property was built in 1888, and has been neglected for years. The listing adds that the current condition of the home is unknown, and that anyone who enters does so at their own risk.

abandoned home in Somerset, CA
Somerset, CA

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504/502 Jones St, Sumter, SC 

Price: $19,900
Bare bones: Don’t visit in the dark. This brick house with boarded-up windows is a stripped-down two-bedroom, 662-square-foot structure. The price also includes a vacant, unimproved adjacent lot. It’ll take a daring buyer.

Abandoned home in Sumter SC
Sumter, SC

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43369 Mountain View Ln, Burns, OR

Price: $179,000
Spooky ranch: This fenced 217-acre parcel has never been occupied by its current owner. To amp up the fright factor, it includes a manufactured home of which the contents are unknown. The land could be used to build a dream home, hobby ranch, or even a haunted house and corn maze.

abandoned home in Burns or
Burns, OR

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1361 Mt Vernon Ave, Mays Landing, NJ

Price: $28,500
WARNING, unstable: This bungalow built in 1938 is a complete tear-down project, and buyers are warned in the listing that the home doesn’t have a stable foundation or or ceiling. The real value is in the land, a quarter-acre lot perfumed with clumps of wild lavender.

abandoned home in Mays Landing, NJ
Mays Landing, NJ

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The post Do You Dare Enter Any of These 10 Abandoned Homes for Sale? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Cheap Rentals Do Exist in L.A. and S.F.—If You’ll Sleep in a Bunk Bed and Give Up All Privacy

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Finding affordable housing in a decent neighborhood in the priciest cities these days on an entry-level or freelance salary seems like a joke. That’s probably why some folks are ponying up $1,000 to $1,350 a month for the privilege of sleeping in a bunk bed in a room full of strangers of both genders.

PodShare, a hostel/co-living space, caters to a combination of budget travelers and broke creative and startup types looking for accommodations for a night, week, month, or more in Los Angeles and for longer stays in San Francisco. Similar to hostels or dormitories, guests sleep in shared rooms and have access to communal kitchens, workspaces, TV rooms, and backyards or sun decks in some cases. It’s like MTV’s “The Real World,” without the cameras.

But while recent college grads may embrace the minimalist lifestyle, free snacks, and sharing a bedroom with strange men and women, it’s not ideal for those who prefer at least a modicum of privacy, have a lot of stuff—or simply want to sleep in a grown-up bed. Still, without the funds to afford those things, they may have no choice.

“A thousand dollars [a month] sounds absurd to the Midwest. But you won’t find [another] place in our neighborhoods for $1,000, including all amenities,” says PodShare founder Elvina Beck. “What you lose in privacy, you gain in a neighborhood with tons of opportunities for jobs and entertainment. [Plus,] it’s 50% cheaper than anything around us.”

Beck launched the co-living company in 2012. It’s since grown to five locations in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco with another on the way. There are plans to open another space in Santa Monica, CA.

Guests stay in “pods,” as they’re called, which are wooden bunk beds that come with flat-screen TVs, power outlets, and night lights. They pay about $50 a night, $280 a week, or $1,000 a month in Los Angeles, or $1,350 a month in San Francisco.

Bed linens, towels, and toiletries are provided along with Wi-Fi access. Guests can cook meals in the kitchen, use the communal bicycles and computers, and hang out in the study room, TV room, and other spaces. Some locations have backyards, others have sun decks. Belongings are stored in lockers, shared closets, or underneath the pods. Laundry facilities are available for $5 a load.

PodShare is popular with travelers and creative types who are new to the cities and on tight budgets, says Beck. It provides a built-in network of potential friends and plenty of opportunities to socialize. In addition, guests don’t have to worry about a security deposit and can pay by the day, week, or month. That may be why it’s appealing to older millennials.

“Today, housing is so expensive that people are not moving out,” says Beck. She has several folks who have been living in her locations for more than a year. “We give discounts for long-term stays, and we’re happy to take locals.”

The typical guest is between 27 and 35, split fairly evenly between men and women, according to the co-living company. About half of them stay at PodShare for over a month. These folks tend to be new to Los Angeles and San Francisco and on limited budgets, such as actors, musicians, and those hoping to found startups. They typically stay at PodShare until they save up for an apartment; sometimes their bunkmates become their future roommates.

“For [$1,000 to] $1,350 a month, you’re able to live in the most desirable neighborhood in one of the most expensive cities in the country. This is amazing for people who are either looking for built-in friends and built-in networks,” says Ali Wolf, an economist and  millennial expert at Meyers Research, a building consultancy. “And this is really cheap for San Francisco.”

But there are some big trade-offs.

Guests aren’t allowed to cover the front of their pods, ensuring zero privacy—and meaning there’s no way to shield themselves from, say, the prying eyes of the guest in the bunk a few feet away. The company found that keeping everything in the open was a deterrent to illegal or inappropriate behavior.

Visitors aren’t allowed without a purchased pass, and sleepovers are prohibited, so goodbye dating life. And no drugs, excessive inebriation, or public nudity are allowed. Problematic guests are asked to leave.

Quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. are strictly enforced, so no loud music or even late-night conversations are permitted. But that doesn’t mean it’s complete silence.

“For the lower nightly cost, you are giving up implicit personal and property safety, privacy, and could become victim to your roommates’ alarm clocks,” says Wolf. “If you’re a sensitive sleeper and you like the lights off and you don’t like noise and the person in the bunk above you wants to go on a run at 5:30 [a.m.], that’s really inconvenient.”

The post Cheap Rentals Do Exist in L.A. and S.F.—If You’ll Sleep in a Bunk Bed and Give Up All Privacy appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

4 Ways to Cozy Up Your Kitchen for Fall

The season has changed, and so follows your home decor. Decorating for the chillier fall months means incorporating warm and inviting colors and textures into your home’s interior design, specifically in the kitchen.

Try these four tips to create a cozier kitchen for fall.

Weave in dark textiles

Fall means decorating with gorgeously textured throws, pillows and table linens. Introduce your kitchen to an autumnal palette using dark, natural window coverings and similar table linens for a cozy effect. This look juxtaposes raw texture with soft details like fresh fruit, warm place mats and smooth surfaces.

Bank on butcher block

Found most often in farmhouse-style or rustic homes, butcher block is great for countertops and tables because it’s durable and looks better the longer you have it.

If you’re thinking about switching out your countertop, consider butcher block for a warm, inviting feel. If you don’t want to commit to a full countertop, try a large cutting board or table to add earthiness to your kitchen.

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Photo from Zillow listing.

Add pops of color

If your kitchen has a blank space or accent wall, consider painting it for an inviting scene. For the fall season, you can choose to use warmer, darker colors like a deep red, warm orange, or olive or brown tone.

Don’t want to paint an entire wall? Select a piece of art or two featuring deep and rich colors to create a cozy ambiance. You could even paint your cabinets or counters.

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Photo from Zillow listing.

Nurture indoor plants

Houseplants are always good go-to decorations because they require little upkeep and add a touch of freshness to any space. They are particularly useful in the fall because they can double as herb gardens or unique decor.

Install a small indoor garden on your window sill or on a shelf near a window to have easy access to fresh rosemary, sage, and basil, even when the weather might not call for gardening.

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While these suggestions may seem small, they are great touch-ups to boost your festive theme this fall season. Add one or two, or mix all of the design tips for a home-sweet-home feel.

Related:

Originally published October 2015.

7 Perfect Kitchen Upgrades for a New Look Without Remodeling

Kitchen renovations require time and money, often taking several months to complete and costing tens of thousands of dollars. If you don’t have the financial resources for a full-on renovation, there are a variety of ways you can give your kitchen a new look for a lot less. From refacing cabinets to replacing lighting, a few cosmetic tweaks can give you the kitchen you’ve always wanted.

Cabinets

Many homeowners are turning to kitchen refacing as an easy way to update their cabinets. Refacing involves replacing the doors, drawers and hardware and covering the entire exterior of the cabinets in a brand-new veneer. If you’re happy with the layout and function of your kitchen, but aren’t so keen on the aesthetic feel, consider cabinet refacing.

“It’s for people who have kitchens from the ’70s and ’80s that have solid wood cabinets,” says interior designer Anna León, who has a background in kitchen refacing with Home Depot. “They can take off the original doors and put on modern doors.”

The cost, which typically starts at around $6,000, depends on the size of the kitchen and the materials used. With an array of options available – such as woodgrains, painted wood and pressure-fused laminate doors like Thermofoil – you can transform a kitchen’s facade easily. Contemporary Thermofoil doors also come in a variety of fun looks, including glossy, matte and woodgrain.

While a full kitchen gut and renovation may take several months to complete, cabinet resurfacing typically takes three to five days.

Painting cabinets is more affordable than refacing, costing around $3,000 to $5,000 for a professional to do the job, according to León.

Or, you can always DIY, which is the most affordable option, but it’s laborious and takes a great deal of time.

“Painting cabinets is great, but it’s all about the prep work,” says Richmond, VA-based interior decorator Lesley Glotzl. “You have to prep and paint them perfectly or they’re going to chip or peel. You can’t cut any corners.”

Photo from Zillow listing.

Backsplash

Creating a new backsplash is an easy way to freshen up your kitchen. Be sure to choose a timeless material that will complement your cabinetry, and avoid mixing styles and periods. For instance, if you have ’70s-era cabinetry, you won’t want to pair that with something trendy like subway tile.

If you’re a confident DIYer, tile your backsplash. Or for $20, you can paint it in a bold high-gloss paint that you can easily wipe down after cooking.

In Glotzl’s home, she installed a beadboard backsplash and painted it in a high-gloss blue.

Shiplap is an affordable and durable option as well, and it’s not difficult to DIY. Glotzl also recommends using vinyl wallpapers from companies like Osborne & Little as a backsplash, as they come in an array of fun textures, colors and patterns.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Countertops

For countertops, head to your local stone yard and choose a granite at the lower end of the price range. Formica – a more affordable option than natural stone – has a lot of cool countertop options in patterns like Greek key or textures like barn wood or grasscloth.

If you’re short on counter space and aren’t looking to add more cabinetry, consider buying a premade island or bar-height table that you can float in the center of your kitchen.

Or, if you have a more contemporary kitchen, consider purchasing a stainless-steel food prep table from a restaurant supply company. Just make sure you have at least 36 inches between the cabinets and island on all sides for easy traffic flow, advises Glotzl.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Shelving

If your cabinets don’t have lip molding on the interior, remove cabinet doors to create open shelving and show off your beautiful serving dishes.

Or, if you have an empty wall, create your own shelving system with floating shelves from a retailer such as Pottery Barn or IKEA. Just be sure you install brackets underneath the shelves if you plan on loading them up with dishes and cooking wares. Glotzl recommends Van Dyke’s Restorers for shelving support.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Lighting

Lighting can dramatically change the look and feel of any room. Tear out harsh fluorescent lighting and replace it with can lights.

Make food prep easier by having an electrician install under-cabinet halogen fixtures or ambient Light Tape. Over the kitchen sink is the perfect place for a statement piece like a sculptural pendant light.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Pulls and knobs

If you’re going the cabinet-refacing route, you’ll have plenty of new pulls and knobs to ponder. You can find them at online retailers or local shops.

If you’re painting your cabinets – or even if you’re not – new pulls and knobs can go a long way toward creating a new look in your kitchen. This simple solution is one that works particularly well for renters.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Appliances and plumbing

Dated appliances paired with updated cabinetry will make your kitchen feel incomplete. New stainless-steel appliances are the finishing touch. For less than $500, you can get a new stainless-steel electric range; for less than $700, a brand-new top-freezer refrigerator.

“Compared to everything else you have to do, it ends up feeling like pocket change,” says León.

You can easily update your faucet for under $100 (although, of course, you could spend a lot more). And a new farmhouse sink could be yours for less than $400.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Related:

Originally published January 2018.

Income Inequality Is Growing Faster in Some Cities Than Others—Here’s Why

Loren Elliott/Getty Images

Big cities equal big time income inequality, according to a new look at the places where American income inequality is most pronounced.

Houston, New York, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area are some of the places where the gulf between the highest earners and the lowest earners is widest, Federal Reserve Bank of New York researchers said Monday.

Researchers used 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data which showed:

• In Houston, earners in the top 90th percentile made 7.10 times the amount of those in the 10th percentile.

• In the New York and San Francisco areas, the top earners made seven times the amount of the lowest-percentile. In Los Angeles, it was a 6.9 wage ratio.

• In the San Jose-Santa Clara area, just to the south of San Francisco, the highest earners make 7.9 times the amount of those at the bottom rung of the earnings ladder.

Wage inequality is lowest in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, Fed researchers noted. Those are states including Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are sometimes dubbed the “Rust Belt.”

• For example, Detroit’s top earners made 5.5 times the amount of its lowest earners, while the wage ratio in Cleveland 5.2.

Gaps between the haves and have-nots are deepening across the country, but there’s a reason some places are seeing it more than others.

Companies need skilled workers to cope with changing markets, technological advances and globalization, the research noted. To find and keep that skilled staff, companies need to pay well.

“San Francisco has seen a burgeoning tech sector in recent decades, resulting in strong demand and vigorous wage growth for highly skilled workers, especially those at the very top of the wage distribution,” said the authors, led by Jaison Abel, an assistant vice president in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

The same pattern applies for a place like New York City, where the finance industry needs skilled workers, they noted.

A highly skilled industry clustered in one area can boost worker pay even more. When workers and entrepreneurs are close to each other, other research shows that can spread knowledge and intensify productivity — at least for the people in that line of work.

Elsewhere, globalization is leading to “lackluster wage growth across the board.”

“The least unequal places, on the other hand, tend to have relatively sluggish economies that deliver slower wage growth for high, middle, and lower wage earners alike,” researchers said.

Michigan is one place where wage inequality is less pronounced, the research noted. There, the auto industry “has eliminated thousands of jobs — cuts brought about both by automation and by auto plant closures, some of which have been tied to increased global competition.”

Big earnings gaps weren’t always in major cities. In Bridgeport, Conn., near wealthy Greenwich, the highest earners made 8.7 times the amount of the 10th percentile. Lawrence, Kan. had an 8.20 wage ratio. It’s home to the University of Kansas; college students can sometimes skew income data.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York research comes weeks after new U.S. Census Bureau data showed income inequality reaching its highest point since the agency started tracking the divide.

Like the Fed findings, the Census data showed fast-climbing rates year over year in places like California and New York. But the data from last month showed income inequality also grew in places like Louisiana and Puerto Rico, which aren’t known for fast-growing tech or finance sectors.

Other research says America’s richest residents haven’t held this much of the country’s wealth since 1929, right before the Great Depression.

In the coming weeks, Federal Reserve Bank of New York researchers will also release findings on the ways income inequality influences career advance, student loans debts, healthcare costs and house values.

The post Income Inequality Is Growing Faster in Some Cities Than Others—Here’s Why appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

America’s 10 Best Places to Raise a Family—Without Going Broke

Family-friendly metros

Saklakova/iStock

Here’s what Mom and Dad never told you: Parenthood involves a staggering, surreal, and often stressful amount of change—all at once! Late-night feedings carve into your beauty rest. Happy hours at the craft cocktail bar morph into play dates at the playground. Strange objects like the Diaper Genie (look it up) and Lego Death Star kit litter your living spaces. Work schedules become dictated by baby watching and, later, taekwondo classes. Wild parties? Now they often center around hired clowns and end at 3 p.m., not 3 a.m. Crazy!

Perhaps the biggest change of all is location: You need to figure out where to raise your little bundle(s) of joy. Your growing family will need more space, and of course you’d like to find somewhere where your kids are poised to succeed.

The thing is, the places with Blue Ribbon schools, low crime rates, and tons of stuff to do that will keep your kids entertained and you from pulling your hair out also tend to be the most expensive. That’s because good schools + amenities = higher home prices. So what’s a budget-conscious parent to do?

The realtor.com data team set out to uncover the places where young parents truly can have it all—the Venn diagram of affordable, family-friendly spots where you can still grab Sunday brunch and the occasional pomegranate kombucha mimosa. We looked at metropolitan areas, which include the main city and surrounding communities, so you have your choice of urban or suburban lifestyles. Then we factored in educational quality, safety, cultural activities—and, of course, affordability.

“It’s really about the search for quality lifestyle and affordability,” says Senior Economist George Ratiu of realtor.com®. “Families are looking for cities with a diversified economy, strong employment, and a lot of family-friendly amenities like art museums, zoos, botanical gardens and playgrounds—and housing they can afford.”

To find these places, we looked at the following data*:

  • Median home prices
  • High school graduation rates
  • Percentage of local residents under 18
  • Percentage of teachers, child care workers, and other professionals who work with children
  • Low rates of violent crime
  • Percentage of adults with college degrees (as an indicator of education’s value in the community)
  • Percentage of toy stores

To make sure these places truly were affordable, we capped the median home price at $350,000. (Nationally, it’s $305,000 as of Sept. 1.) We also limited our list to just one metro per state to ensure some geographic diversity.

Ready to discover the best family-friendly metros? Figure out how to install those kid seats (we’ll wait), and let’s take a tour!

Best places to raise your kids, affordably

Claire Widman

1. Des Moines, IA

Median home sales price: $212,000**

Urban garden in Des Moines, IA

JoeChristensen/iStock

Iowa and its caucuses are on many Americans’ minds right now as we wait to see which Democratic candidate will win the hearts and minds of voters in the 2020 presidential race. But the state’s capital—home to nearly 60 corporate headquarters—has already won over families.

That’s because Des Moines and its surrounding burbs boast many parks, interconnected bike trails, top-notch restaurants, and plenty of great schools surrounding a recently revitalized downtown.

“Even though it’s a big metro area, it still feels like a small town,” says Shane Torres, a local real estate broker at Re/Max Concepts. “Most places have rush hour—we have rush minutes.”

Full of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks, the Waveland Park neighborhood attracts families and young professionals who want to own a single-family home in the center of it all. The area has decent public schools and a plethora of affordable homes, including this three-bedroom ranch for $199,900 and this three-bedroom Cape Codder for $250,000.

And about 20 minutes southwest of Des Moines—just a 10-minute drive from Blank Park Zoo—the suburb of Norwalk has also seen an influx of young parents, due to its even lower price points and higher-performing schools. The walkable town offers first-time buyers a chance to get into brand-new construction, like this three-bedroom house, for just shy of $200,000.

2. Cincinnati, OH

Median home sales price: $200,000

Findlay Market in Cincinnati, OH

aceshot/iStock

Cincinnati is home to 30 Fortune 500 companies, four professional sports teams, a diverse population—and its very own chili (hey, what’s with the spaghetti?). Those family-friendly features, along with the affordable home prices, are drawing a host of out-of-town buyers.

“Here you can get a lot more for the money,” says local real estate agent Robert Smith of Coldwell Banker West Shell.

Just a five-minute drive from Eden Park and the Cincinnati Art Museum, the East Walnut Hills neighborhood is home to turn-of-the-century million-dollar mansions, plus walkable bars, cafes, and shops. It’s a nice mix of urban and suburban, attracting young professionals and families who appreciate the good schools.

And even those who can’t throw down seven figures on a set of walls can still get into the desirable area. The tony ZIP code offers options under the median home price, like this two-bedroom brick home for $238,000 or this large two-bedroom condo for $225,000 right next to those fancy abodes.

Of course, like with many metropolitan areas, families who want more space often go a bit farther afield. Many have been gravitating to Wyoming, a historic town 20 minutes north of downtown with one of the top 30 high schools in the United States, along with parks, mom and pop restaurants, as well as a swim club, golf course, and tennis courts.

3. Lexington, KY

Median home sales price: $195,500

Three-bedroom home in Lexington, KY

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A short drive from Cincinnati, Lexington is that rare university town that is affordable and boasts a thriving art scene, which includes an outpost of the very hip 21C Art Museum Hotel and historic museums. Plus, Lexington has a 100-acre botanical garden, multiple horse farms, and plenty of family-friendly places to eat and drink. Oh, and it’s home to multiple Fortune 500 companies.

Parents have a range of affordable options circling downtown Lexington, from neighborhoods like Danby Corners with its A-rated elementary schools, and the Hamburg area, which boasts the largest shopping and dining area in Central Kentucky. In these communities, you can find homes like this large three-bedroom for $231,900. Then there are subdivisions such as Beaumont—which is full of office buildings, hotels, banks, doctors’ offices, and more—where residents can work, play, exercise, and socialize without leaving the neighborhood.

“Cities like Lexington are the poster cities for what I’ve termed ‘the renaissance of suburbs,’” says realtor.com’s Ratiu. “Developers are building higher-density projects that marry living with shopping and playing in a very dynamic atmosphere.”

4. Fayetteville, AR

Median home sales price: $208,000

Three-bedroom bungalow in Fayetteville, AR

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Fayetteville and its surrounding Northwest Arkansas metropolitan-area cities have been growing at a rapid clip. The area has seen nearly an 18% population increase in the past nine years.

“It’s a very progressive area,” says Lance Ellington, a Realtor® with Re/Max Real Estate Results’ Annette Gore Team. “And just about anywhere around Fayetteville is nice and family-friendly.”

The region has become a mountain biking hub with 100 miles of trails stretching from Fayetteville—past a number of smaller towns and municipalities that each have its own distinctive downtown—north to the city of Bella Vista. Throughout this stretch buyers can find nice homes under $300,000 within a mile of shops and cafes.

In Fayetteville proper, one of the most desirable hoods is Wilson Park, situated near the University of Arkansas. Although they’re a bit pricier than in other parts of town, affordable abodes do exist, including this adorable three-bedroom bungalow for $349,000.

A 30-minute drive north to Bentonville can get your kids into one of the top 100 high schools in the country. Home to the corporate headquarters of Walmart and world-class museums such as the contemporary Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and interactive, kid-focused Scott Family Amazeum, the city consistently ranks as one of the best places to raise a family in the state.

Parents and kids can spread out without going broke in nice-size homes such as this 2,500-square-foot, four-bedroom house for $290,000.

5. Hartford, CT

Median home sales price: $237,500

Hartford, CT

DenisTangneyJr/iStock

Wait, the self-proclaimed “Insurance Capital of the World” is actually a good place to raise kids? Yes, indeed. Aside from the plentiful gigs for the ‘rents—not just all of those actuarial tables, but also tech startups, Fortune 500 firms, and even the headquarters of ESPN in nearby Bristol—there are lovely parks and great museums here. It’s no wonder the number of young families is rising fast.

Near the University of Hartford, in Asylum Hill, parents can find sprawling Victorians, including this four-bedroom house, close to highly rated magnet schools such as the University High School of Science and Engineering and Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School.

The city boasts some world-class amenities, including the lovely 102-acre Elizabeth Park, with the nation’s oldest municipal rose garden, and the Mark Twain House, now a museum honoring the “Huckleberry Finn” scribe. Many of the surrounding suburbs consistently rank as top places to live in the state.

To the north, the town of Simsbury, CT, is one of those places. The area has highly rated public schools, a historic downtown with lots of shops and restaurants, as well as tons of character with mature trees and charming homes. There, families can find some personal space in traditional-style homes that meet and beat the median home price for the metro—including this split-level, three-bedroom home for $239,900.

6. Omaha, NE

Median home sales price: $212,000

Old Market farmers market in Omaha, NE

Mark Lucey/iStock

Omaha might be best known for being home to Berkshire Hathaway and its billionaire founder, Warren Buffett, who still lives in the same modest house in Dundee that he paid $31,500 for in 1958. But this town boasts nearly 1,000 other companies, too, including 10 on the Fortune 500.

It’s not just jobs and proximity to the third-richest man in the world that has people loving Omaha—the city also has a near-endless flow of activities to wear the little ones out. Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is home to the world’s largest indoor desert and glazed geodesic dome as well as North America’s largest indoor rainforest. Plus, there’s even a thriving indie rock scene here, led by Bright EyesConor Oberst!

“They used to call Omaha the 20-minute city,” says Carl Christian, a Realtor with NP Dodge Real Estate, of the close proximity to all of Omaha’s family-friendly activities. But, he notes, “it’s grown a bit so it takes a bit more than 20 minutes to get around these days.”

It now takes about 25 minutes to get from downtown Omaha to Hillsborough, a neighborhood that’s been attracting young families for its magnet schools and big homes with mature trees and expansive yards. Prices start in the mid-$200,000s for homes such as this remodeled three-bedroom for $269,950.

7. McAllen, TX

Median home sales price: $161,200

Three-bedroom home in McAllen, TX

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An hour’s drive from the beautiful beaches of South Padre Island and just 5 miles from the Mexico border, McAllen is a haven for food lovers, offering a wide array of casual seafood spots and all kinds of Mexican restaurants. At family-friendly places like Costa Messa, kids jam out to live music while parents nosh on enchiladas and sip margaritas. Sweet!

It should come as no surprise that McAllen boasts dozens of restaurants that cater to families. Nearly 30% of the city’s population is under the age of 18. To keep said demographic entertained, the metro offers a wide range of activities, including a sprawling amusement park, International Museum of Art & Science, and the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Hiking and biking trails can be found throughout the metro, too.

With a top-rated primary school (Gonzalez Elementary School), North McAllen is popular with parents of young kids. For just a bit over $150,000, buyers can find newer townhomes, including this $169,900 three-bedroom, and older single-family homes, including this three-bedroom ranch for $169,000.

8. Madison, WI

Median home sales price: $280,000

Downtown Madison, WI

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There’s a lot more to this Wisconsin city than brats, cheese curds, and great beer—though, there sure is plenty of all that to go around. The esteemed university town has great restaurants, farmers markets, and outdoor activities that range from hiking, kayaking, and building sandcastles on the beach to biking along miles upon miles of urban greenways. On weekends, families come together for a wide range of events around the Wisconsin state Capitol.

“It’s still a very small town,” says Kinsey Schulz, an agent with Great Rock Realty.

In the Midvale Heights neighborhood, a 20-minute drive or 30-minute bike ride will take you to all of the restaurants and bars near the Capitol. Plus, families can walk to the library, ice cream shops, and local golf course, or ride their bikes along the trails. Buyers can pick up nice homes with large yards, including this three-bedroom Cape Codder, starting in the high $200,000s.

9. Huntington, WV

Median home sales price: $130,000

Home in Huntington, WV

realtor.com

“It’s hard to narrow down all the things to do here,”says Lorre Wilson, a broker at eXp Realty.

Huntington has its own symphony orchestra, which performs outdoor concerts during the summer; a kid-friendly museum of art; and the recently developed Pullman Square, a downtown park that hosts events—from hot dog fests to 5K runs—nearly every weekend.

In desirable Southeast Hills, you can get classic brick two-story homes and split-levels starting at as low as $30,000. (Yes, you read that right.) Or you can pick up this four-bedroom home for just $144,900.

10. Raleigh, NC

Median home sales price: $295,000

Bungalow homes in Raleigh, NC

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As an anchor on the Research Triangle and surrounded by universities, Raleigh offers a wide range of well-paying medical, information technology, and textile jobs. Those gigs—and the affordable home prices—have been attracting folks from costlier states like California and New York; in fact, since 2010, the city’s population has grown by 16.1%.

There’s no dearth of kid-friendly activities in Raleigh, either. The downtown area has museums, including the beloved Marbles Kids Museum, which is right across the street from 1792 Moore Square. The public gathering space is one of Raleigh’s two surviving original parks and was recently revamped with a water park and burger stand.

Families have been gravitating toward suburban-feeling areas like North Hills, which is known for its proximity to the greenway and good schools. It’s one of the fastest-growing parts of the city, but it’s not the cheapest. A four-bedroom ranch in the area will set you back just under $400,000.

Buyers who want more space for less money head to suburbs such as Apex, NC. Less than 20 minutes from downtown, the small city has a cute business district with breweries, quaint restaurants—and a range of homes that ring in at $300,000 and less. For instance, you could snatch up this brand-new, three-bedroom Craftsman bungalow for just $229,900.

“We get a lot of young families looking to grow,” says Angie Cole, a broker and owner of A Cole Realty.


* Data are from realtor.com and the U.S. Census Bureau.

** Sale prices as of July 1

The post America’s 10 Best Places to Raise a Family—Without Going Broke appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Enter If You Dare: Inside a Real-Life Haunted House

With no city lights for miles, The Pillars Estate stands alone in the darkest of nights.

Inside, guests are greeted by dim candlelight, a windy staircase and a gentleman from Scotland.

Tony McMurtrie purchased the Civil War-era estate in Albion, NY when it was ready to be torn down. Restoring it to its former glory over the past decade, he’s carefully curated every detail – from the grandfather clocks to the silver.

“I don’t know where it comes from,” he explains. “I just like that time and that era.”

His love of antiques and a refined way of life hasn’t gone unnoticed. Cora Goyette moved to Albion from England and bonded with McMurtrie over their shared appreciation of European culture.

Today, she takes care of the 13,286-square-foot house as if it were her own, hosting tea parties and events in the grand ballroom.

But unlike McMurtrie, Goyette won’t stay at The Pillars alone. In fact, most of McMurtrie’s friends refuse to spend the night.

“A spirit really is within the house,” Goyette says without blinking an eye. “It’s quite serious.”

From mysterious footsteps to children’s voices and a piano that plays itself, strange happenings have been reported since McMurtrie started restoring the house.

Some believe he’s unlocked a haunted past, while others remain skeptical.

Originally published October 2015.

Video and photos by Awen Films.

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