Don't be surprised if these sweet homes make you want to move.
You may think a starter home is “just” a starter home—but it doesn’t have to be. There’s no rule that says your first house should be some tiny box you can hardly tell apart from the neighbors. These homes under $200,000 not only have more than your typical starter-home square footage, but they’ve got those extra details that make a home feel special—vaulted ceilings, French doors, transoms, white picket fences, interesting roof lines, and even some fun, funky colors.
If you’re looking for a great deal on a home, Cleveland is the place to be. With a median sales price of $90,000, a budget of $200,000 or less is a lot to work with. A great place to start looking is Kamm’s Corner, a neighborhood full of homes as sweet as its name. It’s not only a safe neighborhood that neighbors describe as close-knit, but it’s also full of fun things to do and places to go. You’ll find several international restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops, and even a place called Peace, Love, and Little Donuts.
This four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is almost as cute as those tiny donuts. Inside, you’ll find historic touches, like beautiful built-ins and a sweet fireplace, but also a modern, updated kitchen. Plus, there’s a finished basement and a brick patio for all your relaxation needs.
At the edge of the Woodstone neighborhood is the 96-acre Commanche Lookout Park. First used by the Apaches, and then the Comanche Indians, the “lookout” became a landmark for travelers. Today, the park is owned by the City of San Antonio and is a great place to picnic, walk, play and learn at the outdoor classroom. Even outside the park, there’s lots to do in this family-friendly neighborhood, just 15 miles from Downtown San Antonio, with restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques to spare.
This 1,611-square-foot, three-bedroom house has plenty of room inside with lots of light, and a mix of tile, dark hardwood floors, and plush carpeting. Plus, there’s a fenced-in yard. It goes well with this bustling neighborhood where lots of kids play outside.
Furniture City. River City. Those nicknames don’t tell the full story on Grand Rapids, which also has lots of public art, more than 100 live music venues, and a craft brewery scene (home to the nationally-known Founders brews, among others). Garfield Park is a great, diverse neighborhood with an urban feel, just four miles from Downtown. It’s a place where people hang out on their porches and wave to passersby.
Not many starter homes are this charming. This three-bedroom, 2,100-square-foot brick Tudor suggests romance with its gleaming wood floors, wood-burning fireplace, and cozy bedrooms set under the eaves. And it all sits on a nice-sized lot of more than 6,000 square feet.
Full of New England charm, Hamden, a suburb of New Haven, has in recent years made many of the “best places to live” lists. Affordable houses, quiet neighborhoods, a 20-minute commute to New Haven, and a busy downtown of its own, Hamden is a great place to call home. Plus, it’s the locale of Quinnipiac University and, nearby, Yale University—which means there are plenty of cultural events, shops, and restaurants. And when you need quiet time, there’s Sleeping Giant State Park with 32 miles of trails, rugged cliffs, and beautiful views.
This classic, three-bedroom Dutch Colonial ticks all the boxes for modern living with its front porch (for napping) and rear deck (for grilling), large open living room, eat-in kitchen, hardwood floors, and a fireplace. There’s a basement big enough for your own workshop—or home brewing, perhaps?
Things are looking up in Sacramento. Once a sleepy town, California’s capital is dotted with tech companies like Intel, Apple, and Hewlett Packard. There’s an art and culture scene, and with lots of local agriculture, it has a burgeoning farm-to-table culture. The Madison Villa Estates neighborhood is a tidy little place, thanks to a great homeowner’s association. It’s an ideal place for first-time home buyers, as the median sales price in the area is nearly $100,000 cheaper than Sacramento’s of $325,000.
This cute, two-bedroom, one-bathroom, home looks and functions like a single-family house, but is actually a condo attached to a larger home. It’s a perfect setup for new homeowners getting their start, with new laminate floors, plenty of light, and very close to a neighborhood pool.
Almost 25 years ago, Harris Rosen, a local Orlando hotelier, funneled money and countless volunteer hours into the Tangelo Park neighborhood, bringing it back to life: crime is low; kids are prepared for kindergarten; high school graduation is up, and most children are headed to college. Not far from Universal Orlando Resort and the other theme parks, Tangelo has a friendly neighborhood vibe where people look out for one another.
There’s lots of potential in this 1,325-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bathroom, single-story home. With its cute side patio and deep yard, it’s a great place for kids. And you’ll definitely never lose track of which house on the block is yours with that sunny, light-teal exterior.
This story was originally published October 25, 2018; updated November 7, 2018.