A few caveats, though. Firstly is the issue of jobs. If you have to work to supplement your retirement income, jobs that pay a living wage in Alpena are VERY difficult to find. If there are any jobs to be found in the Alpena area, they will be mostly minimum wage jobs, and the compettion for these minimum wage jobs in the Alpena area is intense. I know that the biggest employer in town (Wal Mart, who else) starts people working there at Minimum Wage, and most associates working there earn close to Minimum wage, or at Minimum Wage.
A second caveat. If you purchase "all cash" for a house, do not expect the price of the property to rise substationally over the coming years. One of the reasons for this is that Alpena, and Northern Michigan in general's real estate market in the past was generally fed by buyers from downstate Michigan (Detroit, et. al) who would sell their homes in downstate Michigan and then would move up to Alpena and do the same thing that you are planning to do. The problem is that property prices in downstate Michigan have really taken a beating over the last 10 years due to the disappearance of high paying Union autoworker jobs, and in some areas of downstate Michigan, over the last 10 years property prices have dropped as much as 80 percent. So, due to this, many downstate Michiganders are just staying put, and not moving to Norhern Michigan to retire.
A third caveat. Like many small towns in America, Alpena does not have a lot of cultural offerings, and there are few things to do, except boating, fishing and hunting.One plus for the town is that the town does have a Community College (Alpena Community College, which by the way where I got my Associates degree), and to occupy your time you can take course there, and maybe work on getting your Associates degree . There is also a senor center in town also, but it is minimally staffed, but that is about it. If you want to look at world class cultural attractions, you will have to travel to Detroit which is 180 miles away.
But as you said before, real estate is cheap in Alpena, and you can buy a nice home with lots of land and a shop/polebarn in the price range of $ 100 k to $ 150 k, and you can even consider waterfromt for slightly more. This is something that you cannot do in the West Coast. Furhermore, property taxes are reasonable if you homestead on the property, and a big plus for Michigan overall, there is no State Income Tax on pensions from a company if that pension income is less than $ 43,000.00 a year.
I hope that I have filled you in on the plusses and minuses of Alpena overall. If you are already retired, consider a visit to Alpena for a month to work with a Realtor to search for your ideal home, and work on the closing which should be fairly quick if you have "all cash" offer. Hope for the best for you, and I do hope that you find your new Alpena home.
If you do want to contact me some more on any further questions that you have, E-Mail me at email@example.com. Thanks.
Henry G. Huestis