How to Find a Retirement Home for under $50,000

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

March 23, 2015 — It is no secret that there are millions of baby boomers who are wondering how on earth they are ever going to have enough money to retire. From many comments made on this site we know that a lot of you have those worries, so we thought we would help with some examples of reasonable place to retire, along with why it makes sense to downsize.

First, how a cheaper place to live puts money in your pocket
Your home is almost always your biggest expense, usually about 30% of your income. Anything you can do to reduce that is going to help you have a more comfortable retirement. The first thing you need to do in this process is to complete a retirement budget. To do that you need to know how much income you can expect to live on from Social Security, savings, pension (if any), and work. You also have to understand what your current expenses are for housing, food, transportation, clothes, taxes, etc. If there is a shortage of income or a surplus of expenses, you have to do something about that equation – increase the former, reduce the latter, or do a little bit of both.

Lets just take a simple example to how you can make a big improvement in your financial situation. Assume for a moment your current home is worth $200,000, which is close to the median U.S. value. Taxes, maintenance, utilities, and insurance typically total around 3.25% of the value – $6500 in this case. If you sold that house and moved to one that cost $50,000 (not for everyone, but here as a feasible example), here is how that could help:
Add to Your Savings and Income
Difference in house prices $150,000
Cost of moving & closing -$25,000
Net extra savings $125,000
Extra annual Income @ 4% $5000

Cut Your Expenses
Current home expenses @3.25% $6500
New home expenses @3.25% $1625
Net Savings $4875

Total Income and Savings $9875/yr. more in your pocket by moving to a $50,000 house!

However if you do move, particularly to a new state, you should be aware that there are issues to be considered. This article from NextAvenue, “7 Hidden Costs of Moving in Retirement“, is quite good on that score.

What is a $50,000 home like?
There can be a surprising variety to what is available for $50,000 or less. You might get a small single family home, a manufactured home, a cabin, or a mobile home. Or more often you will find a condo, perhaps one or two bedrooms. There is a big range of what you might expect. It will rarely be a new home, but if it is it will be a manufactured home and smallish. Most homes at these kinds of prices will be manufactured homes, many of which, particularly newer ones, are built to high standards. Many of the single family homes will be in land lease communities where there is a substantial monthly rent to consider. Sometimes the condominium apartments might be surprisingly nice. Kitchens and bathrooms might be dated and appliances old – or you might be surprised. The homes might need work – but on the other hand with the money you save you might be able to fix it up to where you feel comfortable. Sometimes you can find a surprisingly nice home in an established community with a long list of amenities. And if gets you a nice place to live in good weather that you can afford, that’s the point isn’t it?

A random list of communities with homes for sale for less than $50,000
We used the Advanced Search at Topretirements to find communities with homes offered for sale for less than $50,0000. Please note that inventories and prices change on a real-time basis, so not all communities might have one available at these prices when you inquire. The point is, however, that this is just a small list of the many communities on Topretirements that have low priced homes for sale. If you are interested in a low cost home, use this site to help you find one. Here is the link to Multiple Pages of Results for “Houses under $50,000 You can also try searching for “homes under $25,000”, “$100,000 etc. The communities are there, particularly in Florida and Arizona, if you look!

7 Lakes

7 Lakes Golf & Tennis Community, Ft. Myers, FL. This long established, resident owned condominium association for active adults 55+ is on over 170 acres . The community boasts an 18-hole executive golf course, 6 heated swimming pools, an exercise room, crafts, woodworking, and the University of Seven Lakes. Homes from less than $50,000. Note that your editor’s parents lived here for 30 happy years – it is a lovely community. Most of the homes are condo apartments and are quite spacious.

Mas Verdes Estates, Lakeland, FL. This community is typical of hundreds like it in Central Florida. Not near the ocean, not fancy, but a basic place to retire that won’t break the bank. Mas Verde Mobile Home Estates is a 400 space lot lease 55+ retirement community. The affordable homes that includes a utility shed, carport, and an automatic sprinkler system. The 10,000-square foot clubhouse includes a fitness center, library, game room, billiards and kitchen, and is steps away from the heated pool and jacuzzi. Resales for less than $25,000.

Parkside Village, Cheektowaga, NY. Parkside Village over 55 community bills itself as a well-maintained neighborhood 55+ community featuring a hometown atmosphere, friendly neighbors, and lovely manufactured homes. Bordered by the beautiful 308-acre Stiglmeier Park, this fantastic retirement community is ideally located in the Town of Cheektowaga, a suburb of the City of Buffalo.

Sun Valley, Apache Junction, AZ. The 55+ manufactured home community includes three community centers with activities, amenities, and scenic desert beauty. Nearby Lost Dutchman State Park offers hiking trails, and picnic areas. New homes start under $50,000.

Magnolia Village, Edgewater, FL. A 55+ retirement community of 196 manufactured homes in Edgewater, which is a very nice town. Home price start under $50,000. Amenities include pool, horseshoes, shuffleboard, library, RV storage and more. Monthly lot rent $547.

Myrtle Beach Resort, Myrtle Beach, SC. This is a resort community in Myrtle Beach made up of condos prices start in the $40,’s. It is very large and right on the ocean.

Mariners Cove. Millsboro, DE. This one is nice because they have boat docks. Delaware is very popular as a retirement state because of its tax situation and nearby ocean beaches.

Kloshe Illahee, Seattle area, Washington. Once you get over the name, this community is nice and has a Top Listing. It is an Equity Lifestyle Community.

Cypress Greens, Lake Alfred, FL. When Sandy and Roger wrote up their visits to Florida few years back this is what they said about Cypress Greens: “Stayed here – GREAT, senior golf community and mobile homes, best maintained of all the mobile home parks we visited.”

Cherokee Village, Arkansas. A very affordable 15,000 acre resort and retirement community located in the natural beauty of the Arkansas Ozark forest. Amenities include two 18-hole golf courses, 6 swimming pools, a private beach, tennis courts, recreation centers, fitness center, senior center, horseshoe pits, two nature trails, and seven lakes

Crossroads by Jensens Communities, Aiken, SC. One of the Top listings at Topretirements, Crossroads has new and previously owned homes for sale in a very well maintained community. Each quarter acre treed home site has individually metered city water, off street parking, and underground utilities.

Pantera Lago, Tacoma, Washington. A manufactured home community for active adults 55+ with a robust resident’s association. The club house is often bustling with activity and planned events including dinners, games and get togethers. Residents also enjoy a swimming pool and picnic area to gather with friends and neighbors. Other amenities include on-site RV and boat storage.

This is the link to our Advanced Search for homes under $50,000. It produced several pages of results!
Multiple Pages of Results for “Houses under $50,000

For further reading
Is a Money Pit Going to Ruin Your Retirement
Using Your Home to Pay for Retirement
Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront (2 Part series)
The Affordable and More Best Places to Retire

Comments? How do you feel about moving to a $50,000 home? Would that be a big adjustment for you? Would you be willing to do it if it meant a comfortable retirement? Do you have recommendations on communities where it is possible to find such bargains. Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on March 23rd, 2015

39 Comments »

  1. I am a new subscriber of Top retirement.com and I already learned a lot about retirement which it surely help for my plan to retire soon. Thank you,

    by william — March 25, 2015

  2. Our friends owned/lived in a manufactured home for about a year, but the array of annoyances became too much and they sold it and moved to a townhouse which they enjoyed.
    If you’ve never experienced a heavy rainstorm while inside a manufactured home then you definitely need to hold off on signing the bottom line to buy one because you’ll probably be very disappointed–the noise is deafening with the rain drops pounding on the metal roof.

    by Denny — March 25, 2015

  3. Denny, metal roofs went out decades ago!

    by Dick — March 25, 2015

  4. Not all metal roofs are noisy, much to our surprise as well. The cabin we are renting now, while we shop for our retirement dream, has a metal roof and we have experienced a variety of weather. We haven’t heard any rain on the roof, but we do hear the wind on the vinal vertical siding.

    by Caps — March 25, 2015

  5. Seek and ye shall find! Maybe you can find a house-sitting deal too good to be believed. Maybe someone will like you and offer you a low -rent deal so good it is incredible. Keep looking, keep asking , and keep offering. You can get better than market rates if you keep looking and asking and being very nice to people.

    by Mark Terry — March 25, 2015

  6. I am a retired teacher who was “put out to pasture” too soon-to make room for cheaper hires; my pension is a joke, and my SS (retired earlier than 66, is below subsistence level.. I live in the Mid-West, in a small house (under 800ft) that i have finally paid off. Of course,, now tat I have sunk all my money in it, everything seems to be falling apart! When I bought it-1999-it was listed at 32K, but by now I probably paid over 45 K with the high mortgage, and twice refi.

    However, I STILL do not think tat a trailer/mobile home is a “deal” at over 50 K !! And NO, I could have never afforded your “average” home for 200 K+, at my meager teacher salary anyway!
    Having lived in “tornado-alley” for over 20 years, I am not about to “invest” in a “tornado magnet”, overpriced piece of junk !!
    Laramie, WY is beautiful-although last time I visited I caught the mother of all storms while driving through the mountains, and I felt lucky to reach town in one piece, sooo…off it went from my list!
    I am still looking, but, for now, I see no financial reason to move, much as I would love to!!

    by Mariana Marinescu — March 25, 2015

  7. THAT..sorry for the typo!

    by Mariana Marinescu — March 25, 2015

  8. Mariana, I am thinking about northern Texas (Denton, etc.) are they affected by Tornado Alley weather?

    by Veloris — March 25, 2015

  9. Just remember that in most mobile home cpmmunities you rent the land. I’ve seen plenty in FL where rent is $550-650 a month. Sounds reasonable until you start to figure: 600 a month is $7200 a year. Do I want to pay that in rent, or would I rather pay a mortgage in that amount in a regularr home, or at least a mobile home where I own the land?

    All things being equal; your home is worth a lot more if it comes with land. I figured it out once anx on properties we looked at the mobile home wuth land, though more expensive to start, became a better deal after 4-5 years.

    Of course, you get services with the rent such as taxes, mowing and water. If that’s important to you, renting the land may be the way to go.

    by Tom Gariepy — March 25, 2015

  10. There are also some older 55+ retirement communities where you can find a deal, if you hunt. My parent ended up in the huge Top of the World community in Clearwater, for example, where you can still find a 1 BR apartment style home for under $50K, and 2 BR-2Bath ones in that $65K-$100K range. I’m not sure what the current HOA fees are, but it included a huge pool, golf, and other amenities. My parent was very happy there. Very weird entrance drive with odd kitzy sculptures and the buildings are cutely named after countries with small architectural details reminiscent of those countries, but it still seems like a deal to me.

    by Kate — March 26, 2015

  11. After nearly 8 months we finally sold our Connecticut House. We are traveling to the Fort Myers area of Florida to find a place to live or rent. Any suggestions? Any communities where you can find a $50,000 house that is not a 55+?

    We already made two trips to the Grand Strand (South Carolina) and the wife refuses to move there.

    Thanks for your help.

    You can email me at batwing333@yahoo.com

    by MarkG — March 26, 2015

  12. MarkG – we also looked at the Grand Strand, SC – why is/was ur wife so opposed to it?

    by Robert — March 27, 2015

  13. 1. I like the sound of rain on a metal roof. Florida has lots of rain; the Souhtwest, little.
    2. Any home that is part of an incorporated association (co-op, condo, mobile home, RV park, homeowners, land lease…) will have fees and or assessments for which you accepted responsibility when you closed the real estate transaction. Read the documents: the fees can easily exceed $500 a month, depending on amenities, taxes, utilities.
    For example: are the athletic facilities – golf course, tennis/pickleball courts, pools – financed by users or by everyone? Is cable TV included? (usually, yes). Do due diligence.
    3. Florida and Texas (mentioned above) have no state income tax (good), but high insurance costs (hurricanes; tornadoes) and real estate taxes. Again, check out the total financial picture. If state income taxes, is social security taxed? out-of-state pensions, public and/or private?
    4. Think about health provider and Medicare Advantage Plans. If you have employer retiree secondary coverage, does the plan extend to your dream locale? Nearest VA hospital?
    And so on.

    by OldNassau — March 27, 2015

  14. @markG: I don’t think you’re going to find a house for $50,000 in the Fort Myers area that you’d be willing to live in. Good luck. Maybe something in Leheigh Acres, but again, $50,000 is really low.

    by Linda — March 28, 2015

  15. A house, maybe not. But a condo, probably not too much trouble to find. Ft. Myers median home price in late 2014 was just over $100,00.

    by Admin — March 28, 2015

  16. I found condos and a few houses a little over $50K in the Ft. Myers area recently when I was looking there. I still have not decided where I will move.

    by Nancy — March 28, 2015

  17. These $50,000 and under communities are of great interest to me, and I’ve been looking into them for a few days. I certainly don’t like the idea of a lot/land lease, though! In retirement I want my housing to be paid up, and a land lease is like a small mortgage or a rental fee.

    by Gayla Baker — March 28, 2015

  18. Robert,

    My wife did not see any community that she would want to live in. She said there were no neighborhoods plus I think there was some culture shock.

    I am now trying to convince her that maybe the Charleston would be a good choice again we have been there twice for short visits. Thinking of the towns of Ladson, Summerville and Goose Creek. I have a friend that lives in West Ashley but neither of us liked the area.

    by MarkG — March 28, 2015

  19. Finding the ideal place.

    One way to find out what an area is like is to read the local paper on line and watch the local news on line. A lot of TV stations stream their local news,

    WMBF in Myrtle Beach streams along with WINK in Ft Myers.

    by MarkG — March 28, 2015

  20. Having once lived in Ft Meyers = IMO to Stay away from Leheigh Acres.

    by Robert — March 29, 2015

  21. Having looked now (for over a year) at different areas such as Del, ( N.E)TN, NC, SC, GA and finally FL. We have decided to move back to Central Fl. As Seniors on a limited budget TAXES are a major concern and really are the determining factor in our move out of Pa. For us its really not a matter so much as where we want to move its really determined where we can afford to live our the rest of our lives. Unless I hit the lottery it looks like Fl is where we will wind up once our home here in Pa is sold – hopefully soon. Worse financial mistake I ever made was moving back to Pa for mostly “family” reasons and the fact that I did not DO MY PROPER HOMEWORK. My unsolicited advice to all who read this site BE SURE TO INVESTIGATE ALL AVENUES BEFORE MOVING TO ANOTHER STATE – unless finances are of no concern in ur selection. Buon Fortuna, Robert

    by Robert — March 29, 2015

  22. There are many mobile home parks in Florida. However, there has been much in the newspaper lately regarding the sale of these parks. As the economy improved the land has become way too valuable and developers have been swooping in to buy and redevelop. This is particularly true if the park is on the water. So be very careful before you consider moving to a park. The law here is such that if a developer can buy up a certain percentage of a condo or trailer park development, they can essentially force the rest of the people out.

    by Lynn — March 29, 2015

  23. Lynn, thanks for the info on MH parks. Although they are not on my radar right now, I will know to be especially careful if I re-evaluate. FL is one of the few states where I am aware of nice MH parks. I am sure there are some other states, but nothing that I saw in my travels.

    by elaine — March 30, 2015

  24. http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/realestate/developers-moving-in-on-florida-mobile-home-parks/2222856 this recent article from the Tampa Bay Times might get some interest here. Seems they are getting rid of many of the cheaper living opportunities

    by Dave — March 31, 2015

  25. I’m a big believer in the saying “You get what you pay for”. I believe these 50k places generally fit that adage. Good for you if you can find one and be satisfied.

    by John H — April 2, 2015

  26. I am so glad I found this. I’ve been looking for a retirement home for my dad, and it’s a lot harder than I would have thought. The biggest thing he’s concerned about is the price. Finding something for under $50,000 would be amazing. I really appreciate the list of places you shared. I’ll have to take a closer look at some of those!

    by Megan — June 19, 2015

  27. I cannot find 55+ active communities within 50 miles of Phikadelphia PA except for old trailers in old parks under $50,000.00.
    I was excited to think I could live in a decent community in New Jersey, Delaware or areas surrounding Philadelphia with a low crime rate. I want to live where you need a car and looking to move October, 2015.
    Any ideas or suggestions?

    by Marilyn — August 18, 2015

  28. That’s really neat to have it broken down for you what it would save you to move into a cheaper home. Would a lot of these condos be single story apartments? That would be a lot easier for my grandparents to live with. Stairs get harder to navigate when you’re older.

    by Anita Mas — October 12, 2015

  29. This article intrigued me! I went to Tulia and put in a maximum price of 50K. I put in different cities across America. It is possible to find a condo, cottage, small home/trailer under 50K. Some of them were specified for 55+ communities. I would suggest Buyer Beware, as a lot of them were considered fixer uppers, and TLC. This could cost you more in the long run.

    by DeyErmand — October 13, 2015

  30. It might be worth looking into factory built mobile homes. They will work with you and there are homes styles to fit every budget. I get a news letter from one place quite often and the sales are good. Plus, you can add upgrades to certain homes at a higher expense. They offer all sizes from single wide to double wide. Maybe even larger. They offer a package for you to fly to one of their factories to tour it to see how the homes are built. I don’t know much about it but I imagine if you buy a home your expenses would be reimbursed. They might be able to help find locations to buy and build on too. I would prefer to buy a piece of land. A septic system and well would be needed if no city sewer or city water was in the area. Also, from what I have heard, you only pay real estate taxes on these homes if you put them on a permanent foundation. A non permanent installation makes the home considered a ‘vehicle’ and you would only pay vehicle taxes which would go down each year due to the value going down as cars do. That is also another thing to discuss with the Mobile Home Factory people. The homes I have seen (on the computer only) are quite beautiful. Some have pantries, laundry rooms, fireplaces, garden tubs, kitchen islands. They are not the ‘trailers’ of yesteryear.

    by Louise — October 14, 2015

  31. Any ideas about affordable places to live along the area of the Washington DC metro lines? Love the Smithsonian museums and the DC area but am limited to my social security benefits for my little dog and me. Would appreciate recommendations/suggestions. Thanks!

    by Karen — October 27, 2015

  32. Karen, I personally do not know of any inexpensive places. I would suggest that you also look for places along the VRE. It goes a bit further out, but the places tend to be less expensive. Fredericksburg may be an option. since there is a university there you may fins something less expensive in housing, but not necessarily in the think of college activities. You will likely be car dependent. http://www.vre.org/service/systmmp.htm You may also do the same for the metro http://dctransitguide.com/m/Metro/

    At least you can then explore some of the areas close to the stops. in general VA will be less expensive than MD.

    by elaine — October 29, 2015

  33. That’s a good idea to calculate your retirement budget. My parents are thinking about where they want to live after my dad retires. I wonder if they would like one of those cheaper housing options. It wouldn’t hurt to suggest it to them. Having a close community would probably appeal to them.

    by Anita Mas — November 6, 2015

  34. I didn’t know that you could find a retirement home for this price. We’re trying to find one for my parents but haven’t had much luck. These are some things that we’ll keep in mind now!

    by Samantha Dantley — November 9, 2015

  35. What kind of housing do you get for $50K?

    by Hilary Star — November 10, 2015

  36. A good way to see what’s on the market in the $50,000 price range is at realtor.com. Put in the zip code of the area you’re interested in and set the price range for $40-60,000. There are several other criteria you can set, too. For example, put in Zip Code 33484 (a retirement area in Delray Beach, FL) and set the criteria to condos. You’ll find a number of condos in the $35-75,000 range with 1-2 bedrooms and 1-2 baths, some in communities with many amenities and activities. Hope this helps.

    by Clyde — November 11, 2015

  37. Here’s a into a NewYork Times article from a couple of years ago about inexpensive Florida condos. Pretty interesting.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/us/at-florida-condos-too-young-to-retire-but-not-to-grab-a-deal.html

    by Clyde — November 12, 2015

  38. Does anyone have comments on Sequin Washington for summer home & possible year round?

    by J J Green — November 17, 2015

  39. Any comments about Fayetteville, AR? A friend says it’s really reasonable and very pretty. An concerned it’s sort of’isolated?’

    by Karen — November 18, 2015

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