For less than $100K—with a little hunting around, plenty of due diligence, and a willingness to renovate—one could score a historic American home. Now we don't want to endorse the purchase of a money pit, but the resurrection of a run-down potential landmark is a worthy cause, so we've found five contenders. Up first is this Italianate brick mansion in Elkhart, Ind. dating from 1865. While the front facade looks plenty tidy, a quick peek around back reveals crumbling brick and a shoddy garage in need of demolition. The property is currently owned by the non-profit Indiana Landmarks, which has "removed a large addition, installed a new roof, restored the original front porch and windows, and completed masonry repair" prior to putting the house up for sale again. The fruits of those labors and original details like the oak staircase can be had for just $85K.
? This 1830 Italianate blank slate can't decide if it's on the market or not. One site has the place listed for $80K, while Trulia hosts the photos but accompanied an "unknown" status. Old-style outbuildings remain, including a separate kitchen hut—presumably to reduce the chance of a devastating fire—and a stone carriage house. The 3,600-square-foot main house is accompanied by gardens designed by noted landscape architect Charles Gillette. Or at least it was. Sketches of his work are available with the sale.
? Known as "one of the handsomest homes" in Forsyth, Ga., the Kyte House is currently part way through a renovation. The house, currently listed for $40K, was recently saved from demolition by Walmart, which occupies a site next door. Not the quaint neighbor one might hope for, but at this price, it's tough to complain. The 3,000-square-foot house was built in 1914 and is eligible for restoration tax breaks.
? Certain upstate New York hamlets can fetch high prices for their real estate. Dolgeville, N.Y. is not one of them. Named for a pioneering industrialist, the town has fallen on hard times since the local shoe factory closed in 1999. Perhaps that's why a preserved five-bedroom Victorian close to downtown is asking just under $100K. Highlights include the wood-paneled staircase and broad columned porch.
? The smallest structure on our list at just 860 square feet, this former schoolhouse is also the cheapest, listed for $30K. Built in 1874, the one-room building was used as a schoolhouse for almost a century before it was abandoned in 1964. Sited on a half-acre lot in Olivet, Mich. with views of Duck Lake, the school will need to be outfitted with running water and hooked up to the sewer before serving as a viable home.
· 214 Division Street [Indiana Landmarks]
· Petersburg, Virginia [Historic Properties]
· 116 Liberty Street [Trulia]
· Kyte House [Historic for Sale]
· Dolgeville, New York [Historic Properties]
· Olivet, Michigan [Historic Properties]