The Most For Your Money

In the previous pages, we've shown you what goes into a multimillion-dollar home. Here, we take it down a notch, examining what you get for a mere million, half-million or quarter-million.

Whether you're in the market for a $2 million house or a $200,000 house, the search can plague even the calmest soul with anxiety. Can you find the house you want in the neighborhood you desire for the price you can afford?

It's all about compromise. For the same price, you can get a huge home on a large lot in Richfield, a skyline view and private beach in Cleveland or a home with lake views and a dock in Lakewood. How do you choose?

Enter the Realtor. "Listening is key," says Karen Clawson of Re/Max Real Estate Group in Strongsville. "I need to be around them, find out what their needs are."

Clawson says there are many things to take into consideration when trying to find the perfect home for her clients: the commute to and from work, a good neighborhood, a good school system and a place in which they can feel comfortable.

"The goal is to find a home that gives homeowners the most bang for their buck." Clawson observes.

To help you do exactly that, we offer the following look at homes on the market.

What You Get for Your Million

Price: $999,000
City: Cleveland
Square feet: 3,768
Year built: 1988
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3 full
Listed by: Ali McAdams of Lake Realty in Rocky River

What you get: The panoramic view of downtown Cleveland from this Edgewater Drive home may be the first thing to catch the eye, but the five fireplaces, private beach and master bedroom with a sleeping porch also make this brick home worth looking at. It also includes a two-story great room and finished basement.

Price: $995,000
City: Lakewood
Square feet: 4,584
Land: 0.06 acres
Year built: 1972
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3 full, 1 half
Listed by: Lou Barbee of RE/MAX Real Estate Group in Rocky River

What you get: Waterfront property with views of Lake Erie and a dock big enough for two yachts. Located on a cul-de-sac for privacy, the home boasts a Jacuzzi and sauna. A spiral staircase, three fireplaces and wet bar add to the architectural appeal.

Price: $995,900
City: Richfield
Square feet: 5,665
Land: 2.10 acres
Year built: 2001
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 4 full, 1 half
Listed by: Lois Georgeadis of Smythe, Cramer Co. in Brecksville

What you get: Custom cherry, oak and wormy-chestnut accents and a lodge-style fireplace give this colonial a rustic feel. The master bedroom includes a sitting room and access to a three-tier deck. The basement is home to game room, media center and bar.

What You Get For Your $500,000

Price: $499,900
City: North Royalton
Square feet: 5,347
Land: 0.55 acres
Year built: 1998
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 3 full, 1 half
Listed by: Karen Clawson of RE/MAX Real Estate Group in Strongsville

What you get: A first-floor in-law suite includes a kitchen-living room combination. A room above the garage has a separate entrance and is perfect for a home office. The custom fireplace and 650-square-foot deck add to this brick colonial.

Price: $495,000
City: Lorain
Square feet: 5,760
Land: 1.76 acres
Year built: 1969
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 3 full, 2 half
Listed by: Bonnie G. Muniga for Realty One Real Living in Amherst

What you get: This all-brick colonial includes a gazebo set in a parklike back yard. It features a first-floor den, guest bedroom and master bedroom. The kitchen boasts double ovens and a Sub-Zero refrigerator. The family room doubles as a game room and is perfect for poker.

Price: $499,000
City: Kirtland
Square feet: 2,958
Land: 6.5 acres
Year built: 1830
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2 full, 1 half
Listed by: Emily J. McLaughlin for Smythe, Cramer Co. in Gate Mills

What you get: This historic Western Reserve farmhouse has been completely restored, featuring new windows and a custom bay window. Other improvements include a brick patio and maple and oak flooring. The heated barn has four stables and an upstairs apartment.

What You Get For Your $250,000

Price: $249,900
City: Parma
Square feet: 1,689
Land: 0.75 acres
Year built: 1994
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2 full, 1 half
Listed by: Jack Baker of Century 21 in Parma

What you get: In addition to the master suite with bath, the home offers a finished rec room with bar and a two-tiered deck off the kitchen. There is abundant closet space.

Price: $249,900
City: Cleveland Heights
Square feet: 1,706
Land: 0.24 acres
Year built: 1945
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1 full, 1 half
Listed by: Carol Abbott and Martie McKown of Realty One Real Living in Solon

What you get: There are renovations throughout, including an open kitchen with built-in pantry and dinette. Every room has a wood or ceramic floor. The rec room boasts a second fireplace.

Price: $249,900
City: Olmsted Falls
Square feet: 1,423
Land: 0.45 acres
Year built: 2000
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2 full, 1 half
Listed by: Jeanne E. Garcia for Smythe, Cramer Co. in Strongsville

What you get: A balcony overlooks a great room with fireplace. The master bath features a double sink and garden tub. There's also a first-floor laundry room.

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