There's nothing quite like the lure of an open house sign. Granted, you might not be in the neighborhood (or tax bracket) for many of these outstanding properties, but there's still plenty to admire -- even from the comfort of your swivel chair.
From coast to coast, and everything in-between, we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most enticing open houses in the nation.
Open house: Sun., May 20 Price: $3.698 million Property details: This 3,960-square-foot residence is located on one of Ross's finest streets and boasts four bedrooms and four baths. Sitting on over 2 acres, it offers powerful views of Mt. Tam and the San Francisco Bay, as well as a sweeping yard with a pool and wooden deck. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., May 20 Price: $895,000 Property details: Situated high against monumental Pusch Ridge, this 6,094-square-foot hilltop estate offers four beds and four baths. Located in a gated community, the home features glass-etched double-entry doors which open into a grand foyer, a gourmet kitchen with granite fixtures, and a great room with copper fireplace and 24-foot ceilings. There are also two master suites and a library loft. Outside is a Pebble-Tec pool surrounded by accented boulders, as well as a putting green and a 3½-car garage.
Open house: Sun., May 20 Price: $1.745 million Property details: This California contemporary home was designed to integrate the natural beauty of its surroundings with its interior, which includes five bedrooms and 5½ baths. The house sits on a private, professionally landscaped lot of more than 2 acres and boasts a three-tiered deck, multiple patios, and an in-ground swimming pool with a waterfall. Other features include a recreation room, game room, exercise room, and bar with custom cabinetry. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., May 20 Price: $2.2 million Property details: This 5,495-square-foot country estate features walls of windows and a sophisticated, angular architectural style. With four bedrooms and five baths, the home has a versatile floorplan that can accommodate intimate evenings as well as large-scale gatherings. Nearby is a neighborhood equestrian park.
See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., May 20 Price: $1.695 million Property details: This stunning modern home was designed by architect David Wolfberg as his personal residence and is located in Devonwood, a deluxe community of 77 residences with private police protection. A series of terraces offers spectacular views of lush tropic scenery. With 6,101 square feet -- and five bedrooms and five baths -- the house features plenty of flexible space. Outside, amid the verdant vegetation, is a beautiful pool. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., May 20 Price: $3.4 million Property details: This lush Spanish Revival home is located on Lakeside Golf Course and offers four beds and five baths. With 5,132 square feet, there's more than enough room for fabulous features like a gourmet kitchen (with Viking Pro appliances, granite counters and large, walnut center-island) and spacious master suite (with dual walk-in closets, breathtaking views, and a copper bathtub). Amenities include fireplaces, fountains and a wine closet, and there are high ceilings, mahogany windows and doors, and distressed wood floors throughout. Its private yard includes a loggia, barbecue, and a pool with a spa.
Open house: Sun., May 20 Price: $598,500 Property details: This 2,430-square-foot waterfront home is situated on the banks of the placid Hood Canal, and at the foot of Mt. Ranier and the Olympic Mountains. It includes three bedrooms and three baths. The main living areas and upper master suite offer sweeping marine views, while a wide, covered deck for dining features a firepit, gardens and surrounding hardscape. A freestanding garage includes a loft with workspace. See inside this property.
Spring buying season is here, and it may not have come at a better time for Americans thinking about taking the real estate plunge. Call us sanguine, but market bellwethers seem to suggest that housing's five-year descent has finally come to an end.
With home affordability scraping record heights, now may be the best time to buy in decades, with one caveat: You should look at a home purchase the old-fashioned way -- as an investment in a living space, not a high-performing stock. Home prices are not going to rocket upward, as in the "steroid years."
To celebrate the warm weather (and uptick in home construction and sales that usually accompany it), AOL Real Estate brings you homes on the market with some of the most mouth-watering outdoor entertaining spaces. Click through our galleries to see outdoor features of every stripe, ranging from free-form terraced pools to zen gardens.
Location: Old Greenwich, Conn.
Price: $14.5 million
Sq. Ft.: 8,100
This waterfront mansion in woodsy Greenwich, Conn., is set on the much-coveted Long Island Sound waterfront. Behind its mogul-worthy exterior awaits some stunning outdoor space.
This elegant villa sits behind gargoyle-lined walls, mixing "classic mediterranean architecture with Moorish flair." Amenities include a gourmet kitchen, media room, two-story office and exquisite murals.
The columned, curtain-draped cabana is "second to none," the listing says. It presides over a waterfall, spa, water slide, lounging area and the next logical conclusion for such lavish space: a stage for live entertainment.
Florida has more that its share of luxurious "outdoor rooms" and spaces, and this 8,100-square-foot, palm-guarded mansion is among the best. For the deep-pocketed buyer, it also doesn't hurt that home prices, on average, have fallen 50 percent from their housing-boom peak.
A classic stone and brick home in the historic town of Chattanooga. Great for a large family, it has a master suite featuring a private sitting room, three large bedrooms that share a room with a fireplace and bathroom, and a guest room on each floor.
What sets this entertaining space apart is its nuanced approach to landscaping, which strikes the perfect balance between laissez faire and hands-on. Well-kept garden plots are set against a backdrop of bushy trees. The rich expanse is anchored by a minimalist pool. The home also features a wrap-around patio, fireplace and hot tub.
The home's tiled terrace features a lushly landscaped path, and overlooks a mix of California plant life. A "shade sail" adds some flair to the area, while providing refuge from the blazing San Diego sun.
Shade sails are trending in the world of outdoor decor, architecture and home design website Houzz says. In addition to providing, er, shade, the furnishings "lend a strong, artful, sculptural look," shade designer Tres Jones tells Houzz. We couldn't put it better!
This Texas mansion features exquisite landscaping and an outdoor pool that is surrounded by fragrant Asian plants, including a Chinese fringe tree, olive shrubs, and white star jasmine. Ivy weaves its way through the home's columned pergola.