Homes: What you can buy for $50,000 or less

  • Photo courtesy of Zillow

    Fifty-thousand dollars can still buy you a decent fixer-upper, but it's really going to depend on where you look -- and how much sweat equity you want to put in.

    Some problems -- like broken fixtures, minor water damage or paint chipping -- can be fixed with a little extra cash and elbow grease. There are plenty of these homes on the market at low price points that could be great starter homes or investment properties for the right buyer.

    In Indianapolis, $50,000 will get you a three-bedroom ranch house with a deck and an updated kitchen. That same amount will buy a five-bedroom historic Detroit home with a mother-in-law suite. Older adults could head to San Diego's Leisureland community of prefabricated homes where $50,000 (and some pricey homeowners' fees) will buy two-bedrooms, a master bath and access to a swimming pool.

    But other problems are outside any homebuyers' control. A sub-par school district, heavy crime or limited transportation access could sink a property's value even more over time. If it comes down to a choice between making some repairs and taking a gamble on your neighborhood, the old adage "location, location, location" won't steer you wrong.

    Build a team of experts that are familiar with the local market before taking the plunge on a property. A good real estate attorney, agent or broker and especially a good home inspector can help make sure you don't get stuck with a less-than-ideal house, an underwater mortgage or a pile of legal concerns.

    Here are 10 homes you can buy for $50,000 or less.

    This is part of a series that looks at what type of house and amenities you can get at particular price points in various locations across the U.S. Be sure to check out a few of the other posts in the series:

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.