Personal Finance 

How Much House Can $10,000 Buy?

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Bankrate recently looked at what $400,000 can buy today in the real estate market. I poked around, checking out a 3 bedroom, 2/5 bath 1,730 sq. ft. home in San Diego, CA, that seemed to be directly on top of the home next door, and a monster of a brand-spanking new home in Houston, TX that had nearly 2,500 square feet.

But I didn’t think that was realistic. Doesn’t Bankrate know we’re in a recession!? I wanted to know what $10,000 can get you.

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore $5000 HomeBaltimore, home of one of my favorite shows, The Wire, has plenty of homes available for a cool $5,000. Located on idyllic Miles Ave, this two bedroom, one bath gem sits on a 0.02 acre lot. Built in 1912, this rowhome located in the Hampden subdivision of Baltimore City has an estimated property tax of sixty-eight bones. If you want to view it, you must sign and return a waiver prior to showing, which occurs at your own risk. For five thousand bucks, this baby is yours (you may want to install windows and doors though so you’ll probably want to have some extra cash saved).

Trenton, NJ

Trenton $5000 HomeIf you fancy living in the Wilbur area of Mercer County, New Jersey, have $7,000 (plus closing costs), then you have yourself a three bedroom, one bath room built in 1934. The style is your classic DoubleWide (not a trailer, it’s a double, where two units share one physical building) and only one side is for sale. The honest listing says it’s a “gut rehab project” with the owner looking for an investor willing to foot the estimated $35,000 it would take give this baby its groove back.

Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas $10000 HomeVegas baby, Vegas! If you want to live in the Sin City and have ten grand, you can see your dreams come true. Three bedrooms, one bath and 1,160 square feet to stretch out and call it home. The lot itself is a sizable 0.18 acres. If you aren’t a fan of mowing the lawn, no worries, based on the pictures you will have to mow exactly five square feet of the 7800. It’s a single story unit with central air conditioning, so you can get a cool respite from the hot Nevada sun. Located in Clark, this single family property is a steal at twice the price!

Miami, FL

Las Vegas $9900 Home My first reaction to this home was to laugh, this house looks like they filmed a movie here and had meant to blow the whole thing up… but they didn’t. It’s corporate owned and sold only for its land value, which isn’t surprising if you click through and look at the pictures. I could tell you that it was built in 1935, that it has three bedrooms, two full baths, and beautiful hardwood floors… but the the dang thing is burned out. This listing is absolutely hilarious to read. Oh, and parking features… wait for it… Street.

Detroit, MI

Detroit $9000 Home Last but not least, I turned to Detroit, MI to see what $10,000 could get you in a city decimated by the recession. With four listings in jest, I went to Detroit because I had heard stories about people buying homes for a pittance because the economy is so battered there (unemployment is around 20%). What I found was a $9,000 home that is walk-in livable right now. Three bedrooms, one bath, a 818 sq. ft. home that is a story and a half. This is 100% livable right now, from how it’s described, and it’s not any different than a lot of searches of the Detroit region. I’m not saying it’s the perfect home, or even a good to great home, but it’s a fair home for less than ten thousand bucks.

So there you have it, the anti-Bankrate listing of homes you can get for under $10,000 in five different markets. (here’s a post at Suburban Dollar listing what $10k can get in various areas of TN!)

What can $10,000 buy in your neighborhood?

{ 50 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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50 Responses to “How Much House Can $10,000 Buy?”

  1. mapgirl says:

    I heard you on the radio this weekend. Nice job!

    BTW, that place in Baltimore in Hampden probably needs some lead paint removal as well as a complete interior. If it’s not gutted already by the scrap metal scavengers, it will probably need at least $30-50K in rehab work.

    I know this because several friends of mine own places in Hampden. I don’t know what places are like now, but they used to be a real mess 15 years ago then shot up like crazy. If you can get it fixed up and rented it shouldn’t be too bad, HON! 😀

    • Kate says:

      I’d venture to guess that rowhouse in “Hampden” isn’t actually in Hampden- probably more like Remington. I wouldn’t want to buy a house there, but for those who do, it’s a great thing to do! The more people who buy in those neighborhoods that are just beginning to turn around, the better the more likely the neighborhoods are to revitalize. Pride of ownership is so important. It’s just another way the Power of Small makes itself known. And as a Charm City native, I would love to see it happen in every single neighborhood!

      • MLR says:

        Thirded — calling that place Hampden is questionable.

        But, lots of good fixer-uppers here 🙂

      • mapgirl says:

        It always surprises me that some Hopkins alum hasn’t bought up all those places in Remington and redone them like Charles Village. I would, but I spent all my money paying back my student loans and buying the place I have now! LOL

  2. I don’t think $10,000 could buy anything in my city. I can’t believe it’s even possible in other cities. Even recession ravaged ones.

  3. mapgirl says:

    LOL I just double checked the map. Calling that place Hampden is optimistic… 36th St is the ‘The Avenue’ in Hampden.

  4. Lynnae says:

    You can’t get anything for $10,000 in the county where I live. The closest I found was a 1975 doublewide in a 55+ park in an industrial area for $23,500.

  5. Candice says:

    housing prices definitely depend on your location. $10k doesn’t get you far in CA. Here in Los Angeles, even for a condo, you’re looking at minimum $100k-$150k (last place I lived, which wasn’t swanky or anything, condos were *starting* at $280k). $10k to buy property here is pretty much unthinkable. $10k/year in rent would be a bargain!

  6. Lucy says:

    $10k in New York City can’t get you anything. Unfortunately, $10k probably can’t even cover 3 months of rent for a 2-bedroom apartment here in Manhattan.

    I just went on a condo listing site, the cheapest condo available starts at around $469k. 🙁

  7. kijiky says:

    There are all kinds of places here in Jefferson County – Louisville,Ky to buy that are $10,000 and under. But they are in bad shape and you would need to put about 30 thousand dollars in to make them livable. But then its a great investment. Also if you go thru the city and take their class first time buyers can get up to 12 thousand dollars for the down payment and not have to pay it back.

    • Hubble says:

      12 grand from the city, how does that even work? I live in Louisville, so hay if it can help buy a house.. I’m willing to try anything.

      • kijiky says:

        call the city or write me a PM and I will get ahold of you I am in Louisville also.

        • Policysup says:

          I am looking in Louisville KY myself.

          What do you mean write a PM or call the city?

          • Lillian says:


            What are the tems to qualify for a first time buyer to be granted 12k towards downpayment? (I am a service member and in Alaska but looking for my 1st home once I get out of the army). Do you have to be a resident for a period of time first? Any links would be appreciated. Thank you.

  8. I don’t think 10K would buy you anything here either. Poor Detroit. The Las Vegas one surprised me.

  9. Laurie says:

    You can’t even buy a parking spot for $10K in the NY/NJ area.

  10. nickel says:

    That Miami house is sweet. I think I might buy it.

  11. In my neighborhood, $10,000 would probably get you the privilege to glance since the average house in our immediate are is over one million.

  12. Interesting post. You can even buy houses for as low as $1 in Baltimore just to build them up. All of those houses would require a decent amount of money to get them in to a condition you could actually live in. They also aren’t in the greatest of neighborhoods.

  13. William says:

    Nice post. I live in Tokyo (Japan) and went shopping for a house to buy because I was tired of paying almost $2,000 a month in rent. My goal was to save money, not buy a dream home. I limited myself to $50,000. Every friend and agent I talked to told me I was crazy, that there was nothing under $200,000. I actually got into heated arguements with coworkers who doubted my intellegence for thinking this way. Well, I found a great home in central Tokyo for $49,000 (2 stories, rooftop garden, hardwood floors and shoji). I have to give periodic tours to my friends and coworkers because they still refuse to believe. It took me about a year and a lot of perusing the internet, but it was worth it. My point (sorry, long-winded) is that even with a modest amount of money you can buy a home in any market. The secret is to get out there and find it.

    • Jon says:

      Wow, great job. I dream of living in Tokyo for a while someday. In the mean time, I’d love to find a place in Boston for about the same price.

    • David in Sydney says:

      Hi William,

      We lived in Tokyo for 5 years in the early 90s, in a large western style house in Naruse (Denentoshi line, western Tokyo – there are cows there!).

      I thought it was impossible for gaijin to buy property in Japan – I guess you’re married to a Japanese woman? I’m curious, whereabouts is the apartment? $49,000 is very cheap for Tokyo. Congratulations on making a smart purchase.

    • Emily T. says:

      Kudos, William!

    • m says:

      Your full of shit and a liar- why would you lie about something like that? There is nothing i n Tokyo under $200,000 and that is for what they call non-rebuildable where you can only reform the old building that is there. Unless you are talking about Tokyo -to and not the city. Like New York state. I live in Suginami. Hardwood floors? really are you sure they are not composite wood? You’re full of crap. Prices in Tokyo are really cheap compared to most world cities for property but nothing and I mean nothing, not even a parking space will cost you $49,000. Add a zero then I will believe you. tell us the exact address please including chome , ku etc.

  14. jessica says:

    What was your method for searching? I’m in Seattle, and we haven’t been hit as hard, but I’d like to search to see if there’s anything out there.


  15. thomas says:

    If I wasn’t completely scared, I’d move to Detroit.

    I wonder what the most recent idea of bulldozing cities might do for homeowners.

  16. Well a 1,600 square foot place in my neighborhood in Silicon Valley is about 1,000,000. So I’d say that 10,000 could buy about 16 sq. feet.

    I imagine a cup would be your bathroom. Maybe a candle can be your stove and an ice cube your fridge.

    Fortunately renting is a lot better than buying and the income opportunities are great as well.

  17. Ha ha! Let’s laugh at places with different economic engines; if houses are cheap and in bad shape, it’s funny! Nothing quite like looking at other people’s lives, and the lower level of homes they might have to buy, and laughing at them because we have more money and we don’t have to settle. Yes, people that have less money than us deserve to be laughed at!


    • Jim says:

      Almost everyone home I listed was cheap for one reason – the structure was in shambles, either burned out or otherwise significantly damaged. I laughed at things like a listing that included hardwood floors as a perk, when the wood itself was destroyed. In the case of Detroit, if you read my comments, it wasn’t making fun of it at all.

    • nickel says:

      Wow. Seriously?

  18. Jeff says:

    My parking spot in Chicago cost $10K. Does that count? It is a smooth slab of concrete, has quiet neighbors (another car on one side and a wall on the other), and two cool yellow lines to keep me in place. It’s beautfiul!

  19. Our annual property taxes are close to $10,000, so I don’t think you’ll find anything near that in my area. Foreclosures are rare, and even those are not much of a bargain.

  20. Kyle says:

    2 bedrooms, 1366 sq feet, $2,900.00!

    Richmond, IN

  21. Rob O. says:

    I’d love to know more about your method for these searches too! Say, if I’d like to see what $150-200k would currently buy in the Carlsbad/Oceanside areas north of San Diego…

  22. In CT, $10,000 will buy you a quarter of a postage stamp of land. I did a reach on and you could buy between .09 and .2 acres of land in land in Hartford, CT for that price. You’d have to pony-up $29,000 to get something with a house on it, but you’d probably just have to tear it down.

    Property taxes on my home are almost $5,000 a year so $10,000 isn’t going to buy you much in Connecticut.

  23. jim says:

    I’d have to wonder how safe the neighborhoods are.

  24. Jim – interestingly, that row house in Baltimore actually appears in Season 3 – Episode 1 of the Wire, just over 35 minutes in. I have it at 35:50.

    I thought that was a pretty neat coincidence.

  25. Susan says:

    The sad part is that most of us in Michigan can’t afford to snap up these amazing house deals for $10,000 or less because we just don’t have $10,000:-(

    I have been looking at houses in this price range also as I am writing a financial literacy curriculum for teens. Springfield, Ohio seems hard hit too.

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