Finding the perfect home can be a bit more challenging if your top priorities are maximum square footage and keeping to your budget. But you can have the best of both worlds — especially if you expand your search beyond the big cities. From the bustling small city of Kalamazoo, MI, to the Lowcountry feel of Georgetown, SC, these properties are located in under-the-radar towns and suburbs. And they all come in at $400,000 or less.
Beauty with a back story: $125,000, 1301 South St., Lexington, MO 64067
Located just 45 minutes from Kansas City, MO, Lexington is one of those places where nearly everything has a historical connection. Proof? The courthouse still has a cannonball from the 1861 Battle of Lexington lodged in its exterior. This expansive nine-bedroom, seven-bathroom estate was built in 1840, less than two decades after the city was founded. But its stately exterior isn’t its most interesting feature. It was once the home of William Bradford Waddell, who founded the Pony Express. While it is a bit of a fixer-upper, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better price for a 9,000-square-foot piece of (beautiful) history. Bonus: It’s just blocks from Main Street’s cute shops and cafes.
Handsome home: $238,400, 203 W. Washington St., Shelbyville, IN 46176
Built in 1900, this colorful Edwardian home is definitely eye-catching. It sits within walking distance to Shelbyville’s historic downtown area and charming town square. (Walk to the farmers market on Saturdays!) But the 7,520-square foot, 17-room home is also filled with architectural details. Inside, handcrafted woodwork, stained glass, and 10-foot ceilings make a statement. Handsome turrets add character. And the third floor is a ballroom!
Rural retreat: $279,900, 930 County Road A, Wild Rose, WI 54984
The tiny village of Wild Rose is a haven for those who really want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Its population is less than 725 people. But its stunning natural scenery makes the village a destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. There’s an abundance of hiking trails, Class A trout streams, and snowmobiling routes. That only adds to the allure of this nearly 10,000-square-foot home on 2.5 acres. Once a bed-and-breakfast, the nine-bedroom, seven-and-a-half-bath property could be the place to carry out your Gilmore Girls inn-owning fantasies. Your guests could even learn about the village’s history at the Pioneer Museum, one block away.
Round house: $349,000, 9691 Walnut Dowler Road, Logan, OH 43138
Home to many incredible parks, hiking trails, caves, cliffs, and other natural wonders, Logan is perfect for adventuresome types. What could be better? Having your own land to explore. This unique 5,658-square-foot home sits on a beautiful 28-acre plot with a pasture, rolling hills, and gorgeous views. The 13-sided home takes full advantage, with 1,600 square feet of open living space on each floor. There’s a huge kitchen, five bedrooms, and a bonus media/study loft.
Gracious living: $350,000, 1009 Campbell Est, New Tazewell, TN 37825
Mountain views make a beautiful backdrop for New Tazewell. Here, you’ll get all the perks of small-town living, including privacy and plenty of space. That cheaper-than-city-living cost makes it easier to trade up to larger digs, like this elegant four-bedroom, six-bath all-brick home. Outside, you’ll find plenty of curb appeal and a professionally landscaped lawn on more than half an acre. Inside, spanning more than 5,000 square feet, extras include a rec room with a wet bar and a large kitchen with double ovens.
Views for days: $375,000, 386 Hanging Rock Drive, Altamont, TN 37301
Perched high on a plateau, this small town has a population just over 1,000. The main draw for living here? Fantastic vistas. This custom-built, 5,664-square-foot home frames them nicely. It sits on a hilly, 7-acre lot overlooking a bluff. It was designed to maximize those views. Drink in the scenery from the winding porch or any of the bedrooms, including two master suites. It’s perfect for an owner who loves to entertain: A chef’s kitchen boasts custom, colorful appliances. And if five bedrooms aren’t enough, there’s also a guesthouse on-site.
Contemporary cozy: $389,000, 5134 Foxcroft Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
This modern, custom-built 5,374-square-foot home occupies a half-acre lot. Inside, the spacious kitchen includes a desk, breakfast bar, and eating area. Walls of windows flood the home with natural light. The bedrooms are spread over two floors, with two roomy main-floor bedrooms and an upper-level master suite. Plus, the home is a short drive from the shopping, nightlife, and restaurants along South Westnedge Avenue and downtown Kalamazoo.
Southern belle: $399,000, 8011 Old State Road, Holly Hill, SC 29059
Built in the 1930s, this 6,000-square-foot home boasts six bedrooms and five baths. Half an hour from the Charleston, SC, suburb of Summerville, it sits on nearly 3 acres. (Just down the street from the local elementary school!) The home includes original details such as hardwood floors and pine walls in the study. But it has also been updated for more modern tastes, with a beautiful new kitchen, custom built-ins, and an enormous master suite.
Vintage home on the range: $399,000, 2023 S. Henderson Blvd., Kilgore, TX 75662
This home’s cantilevered design pays homage to Frank Lloyd Wright, and rightly so. An architect who studied with Wright built it in 1939! With a location just off Highway 259, it offers easy access to nearby Kilgore College. The 5,921-square-foot home offers four bedrooms on almost 6 acres, with a large back terrace overlooking a private pond. Inside, details include unusual tile work, built-ins, and modern updates.
Sportsman’s paradise: $399,500, 87 Pine Grove Lane, Georgetown, SC 29440
This home’s biggest draw is its pristine waterfront location, which makes it a haven for fishing, boating, and just plain enjoying life. The traditional-style home occupies a half-acre cul-de-sac lot and includes 5,400 square feet of living space. You could curl up in comfort in any of the four bedrooms (each with its own bath), but the best features might be outside. Head to the back porch for panoramic views or explore the Lowcountry right from your backyard. With its prime position on the Black River, this property has its own dock and bulkhead, making it a breeze to get onto the water.
Country escape: $399,900, 1916 W. Roderweis Road, Cabot, AR 72023
This Little Rock, AR, suburb has plenty of gorgeous scenery to go around. You can drink it all in at this 8-acre estate, which feels more like a resort. After all, there’s an in-ground pool, three stone fireplaces, and a wet bar. The 5,300-square-foot home’s design even caught the attention of Better Homes & Gardens, who once featured the property in its pages.
Magnificent manor: $399,900, 815 N. Webster Ave., Scranton, PA 18510
If you’ve ever wanted a Downton Abbey to call your own, get to Pennsylvania’s sixth-largest city. That’s where you can find a 7,840-square-foot property rightly nicknamed “The Castle.” Restored to its swoon-worthy Tudor Revival glory, this nine-bedroom, 10-bathroom home is palatial in every way. Exterior details include a charming cobblestone drive. Inside, there’s stunning molding and woodwork in nearly every room. Details such as stained glass and window seats add to the home’s charm. Additional luxuries include a billiards room, a gym, and a three-stall carriage house. But when you’re ready to venture out, you’re just a short drive to the shops, restaurants, and nightlife in downtown Scranton.