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: Sat., May 26 Price: $265,000 Property details: A unique, 2,748-square-foot, two-bedroom home with character to boot -- particularly if you love the great outdoors! With balconies that overlook the breathtaking Sandia Mountains and a lush front yard that's been landscaped with native grass, it's a home that's perfect for nature lovers. Plus, it's in walking distance to parks, and in a great northeast location.
Open house: Sat.-Sun., May 26-27 Price: $339,000 Property details: A stunning four-bedroom, three-bathroom Mesa home that boasts spectacular city and desert mountain views. The 2,657-square-foot home offers exquisite detailing throughout, from its plank maple floors with custom molding, plantation shutters, travertine tiles and gorgeous fireplaces, it's a home that's both luxurious and easy on the eyes. Plus, with abundant outdoor entertaining spaces and covered patios (even a built-in barbecue island and in-ground heated pool!), it's perfect for entertaining. And at less than $400,000 -- the price is right, too! See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., May 27 Price: $899,000 Property details: Situated on an idyllic, quiet drive in Berryland Farm, this classic Colonial sits on over half an acre of lush greenery, abundant with mature trees and professional landscaping. Inside, you'll find four spacious bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and over 3,800 square feet of elegant living space. Perfect for entertaining with its huge backyard, deck, gazebo and in-ground pool.
Open house: Sun., May 27 Price: $2.299 million Property details: Truly a California beauty, and located in the heart of the action! This stunning five-bedroom, 4½-bathroom Mediterranean is conveniently located near the Los Angeles County art museums, The Grove shopping center, Beverly Center, Whole Foods Market and the trendy restaurants on Third Street. Inside, you'll find all the modern luxury features that you could dream of, from top-of-the-line appliances, a gourmet chef's kitchen, and fireplaces. Throw in a luxe backyard pool and spa and you have yourself the perfect L.A. dwelling. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., May 27 Price: $2.15 million Property details: This picturesque Colonial was built in 1905, yet boasts a wonderful balance of Old World charm and modern luxury. Inside, you'll find a huge, renovated gourmet kitchen, glossy hardwood floors, soaring ceilings, numerous fireplaces and airy, museum-like living spaces. We love the home's massive windows, lending views of flawless garden landscaping. The stunning home features six generous bedrooms and six full bathrooms.
Open house: Sat.-Sun., May 26-27 Price: $897,587 Property details: A beautiful and spacious luxury manor (built in 2012!) on an acre of rolling green land. Located in the coveted Duckett Farm community and close to Fort Meade, the elegant four-bedroom, four-bathroom home boasts both looks and location. With over 3,554 square feet of living space and generous front and back yards, the home is perfect for big (or growing!) families with pets.
Open house: Sun., May 27 Price: $650,000 Property details: This immaculate custom-built home is just minutes away from Knox Henderson and boasts the finest of luxury amenities. Surround sound in the game room, family room and even patio, a large outdoor bricked patio with a fireplace, and a "dreamy" chef's kitchen stocked with stainless steel appliances -- you'll want for nothing. Throw in oak hardwood floors and stairs, and exquisite crown moldings, and you'll have yourself your dream Texas home. 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.