There's something about that "Open House" sign that acts like a magnet. Whether you're looking for a new place to live, keeping tabs on real estate in your neighborhood, or just angling for a sneak peek at someone else's private domain, the lure of an open door is strong indeed.
From a sumptuous mansion in the proper South, to a ridiculously affordable bungalow in the City of Angels, we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most interesting open houses in the nation. So wipe your feet at the door and scroll right on through.
Open Houses for Jan. 27-29
Open house: Sun., Jan. 29 Location: Atlanta Price: $1.125 million Property details: Take a stroll through the garden of this sultry Southern estate's 2.5 lush acres. Inside, this six-bedroom, five-bath home features a completely renovated kitchen, a massive master bedroom and spa bath, and a stately two-story family room. The home may have been built in the 1970s, but you won't find any disco kitsch in this gorgeous 7,000-square foot mansion. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 29 Location: Madison, Wis. Price: $799,900 Property details: If you have this kind of scratch lying around, why waste it on a closet apartment in a crowded, overpriced metro when you can score a massive home in Madison? This four-bedroom, 4,715-square-foot family home sits on an expansive five-acre wooded parcel, perfect for raising a growing family -- or cattle, for all we care (just get that cleared with the city first). The home even includes a barn that can be converted into a quaint bed and breakfast or office space.
See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 29 Location: Dallas, Texas Price: $1.295 million Property details: It's not every homeowner's dream to raise children, livestock or crops -- that's where this contemporary (and contemplative) stunner comes in. At nearly 4,000 square feet, this artist's haven includes a secluded master bedroom in a separate wing of the home, a fully-loaded gourmet kitchen, walk-in closets, an easily convertible multipurpose room (for your painter's easel or drum kit), and a second-story balcony for morning yoga. All this in addition to the fact that award-winning architect Susan Appleton built the place.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 29 Location: Naples, Fla. Price: $1.305 million Property details: Floor-to-ceiling windows, dramatic 22-foot ceilings, a gourmet kitchen and access to a multimillion dollar members-only clubhouse -- do we have your attention yet? Built in 2004, this five-bedroom Mediterranean-style home gets you full access to lifestyles of the rich and famous -- 3 pools, a hot tub, gym access, dance studios, massages; and that's just at the clubhouse. See the listing for a look inside the home.
See inside this property.
Open house: Sat., Jan. 28 and Sun., Jan. 29 Location: Plymouth, Minn. Price: $799,900 Property description: This hearty slice of Americana comes equipped with six bedrooms, 5 baths and nearly 5,000 square feet of rollicking family space. Built in 2011, this brand new home is completely move-in ready, and -- for the supernaturally inclined among us -- totally poltergeist free.
Open House: Sun., Jan. 29 Location: Baltimore Price: $784,500 Property description: Feast your eyes on this six bedroom, New Traditional-style family home from 1928. Enjoy the best Baltimore has to offer without sacrificing the attractions that nearby Washington, D.C., has to offer. Located on a quiet cul-de-sac in suburban Baltimore, this home has everything an aspiring lawmaker could ask for -- without the hustle and bustle of big city life.
Open house: Sat., Jan. 28 Location: New York, N.Y. Price: $1,798,000 Property description: If you're keen on living in the big city, nevermind the crowded streets and tiny apartments. Take it from your hardened New Yorker editors -- Queens is the place to be. Located just a short drive from the bright lights of Manhattan, Queens offers a semblance of suburban bliss in the middle of the concrete jungle. Take this brand-new brick home, for instance. Steep as the price may seem to out-of-towners, just try to find a comparable four-bedroom home in Manhattan for less. We dare you.
Open house: Sun., Jan. 29 Location: Los Angeles Price: $99,000 Property description: Speakingofdeals in the big city, this bohemian bungalow in Los Angeles is riotously cheaper than anything you're likely to stumble upon in the near future. Curbed tells us that the house was recently flipped, and the outrageous price is a way to drum up interest in the listing. And not only is the home going to be on display this Sunday, the listing agent has even said that a "taco dude" will be on hand, to dispense some West Coast hospitality to interested looky-loos. Can't go wrong there. And if you think we're joking about how cheap this property is, peek at comparable Los Angeles properties below.
The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan area’s greatest strength for those without an automobile is the prevalence of dense, easily manageable communities. This makes it exceptionally easy for residents to reach amenities such as groceries, restaurants, shopping and schools. The metropolitan area’s primary city, Boston, has the third-highest walk score in the country. The area’s public transit also has a relatively high service frequency rate, making its use that much more convenient for the city’s residents.
> Transit coverage: 96 percent (second highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 6.2 (second lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 25.6 percent (69th highest)
> Walk score: 65.9 (14th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.87 percent (14th highest)
Los Angeles is the second largest city by population in the United States, and its metropolitan area is fairly spread out. Due to its extensive public transit system the area has avoided a complete automobile-based culture. The metro area’s 19 transit systems have more than 500 bus routes. As a result, 96 percent of neighborhoods are within 0.75 miles to a transit stop -- the second highest rate in the country. Better still, commuters can catch a form of public transportation from their nearest stop every 6.2 minutes.
> Transit coverage: 89 percent (eighth highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.5 (11th lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 58.9 percent (2nd highest)
> Walk score: 57.6 (29th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.78 percent (17th highest)
Utah’s population is expected to grow from 2010’s approximately 3 million to 4.4 million in 2030. Salt Lake County accounts for more than one-third of the state’s population. To accommodate this growth, the Utah Transit Authority has plans to add four more lines to its light rail system, TRAX, up from its current three lines. This investment is meant to improve transportation for the suburban and exurban population to the city. In the winter, the UTA runs ski transit lines in addition to its rail and bus services.
> Transit coverage: 83.7 percent (12th highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.1 (10th lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 47.5 percent (10th highest)
> Walk score: 60.4 (23rd highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.79 percent (16th highest)
Denver has bus service, light rail lines and an airport shuttle service. The city is currently undergoing a multibillion dollar expansion of its transit system, called the FasTracks Expansion. This plan is meant to increase light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid-transit lines. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2019, currently faces a $2 billion shortfall.
> Transit coverage: 95.6 percent (third highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 6.9 (fifth lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 58.4 percent (third highest)
> Walk score: 54.5 (34th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 1.56 percent (seventh highest)
The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area’s public transportation is overseen by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Like Los Angeles, the area relies heavily on buses, running about 100 routes. Public transit covers 95.6 percent of neighborhoods, the third greatest in the country. Public vehicles also run under seven minutes apart, the fifth smallest frequency. The metro area also has the seventh highest rate of commuters who travel to work by bicycle.
> Transit coverage: 85.3 percent (11th highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.8 (15th lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 33.4 percent (35th highest)
> Walk score: 73.6 (sixth highest)
> Commuters who bike: 1.07 percent (ninth highest)
Seattle’s public transportation system not only includes bus and rail transit, but a monorail in the city center, as well as ferries. The city also has the sixth highest walk score in the country, due to its high number of easily accessible amenities. According to Bicycling magazine, Seattle is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country and “has a 10-year, $240-million bike master plan that seeks to triple the number of journeys made by bike and add 450 miles of bike paths.”
> Transit coverage: 97 percent (the highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 9 (18th highest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 59.8 percent (the highest)
> Walk score: 63 (19th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.95 percent (12th highest)
Honolulu currently does not have an urban rail system, but its bus system helps cover 97 percent of neighborhoods — the highest rate in the country. Additionally, almost 60 percent of jobs are accessible within 90 minutes to those who live in neighborhoods covered by transit. This is also the highest rate in the country. Nevertheless, the city is planning a $5.5 billion rail project called the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. This will include 20 miles of track, connecting East Kapolei with the Honolulu International Airport and downtown Honolulu and will end at Ala Moana Center.
> Transit coverage: 89.6 percent (seventh highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 4.5 (the highest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 36.6 percent (25th highest)
> Walk score: 85.3 (the highest)
> Commuters who bike: 0.52 percent (32nd highest)
New York City and its surroundings rank first in the nation for total number of passenger trips and government spending per capita on public transit, according to U.S. News. It also has the highest rate of service frequency. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2010 operating budget was $13.4 billion. The average weekday ridership for the city is estimated to be over 8.4 million trips. The city also has the highest walk score on this list, thanks to the ability of city dwellers to reach just about any amenity on foot.
> Transit coverage: 83.5 percent (13th highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 7.4 (eighth lowest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 39.9 percent (16th highest)
> Walk score: 66.3 (13th highest)
> Commuters who bike: 2.23 percent (second highest)
Portland is such a good place for people to live without a car due to both its public transit system and the ease of walking and biking around the city. The metropolitan area is served by TriMet, which in addition to other services offers a Free Rail Zone — a region that includes most of downtown Portland and where light rail and streetcar rides are always free. The city has a number of benefits for bike riders, including designated bike-only areas at traffic signals and free bike lights. It has the second highest rate of commuters who ride bikes to work in the country.
> Transit coverage: 91.7 percent (fifth highest)
> Service frequency (minutes): 8.5 (12th highest)
> Jobs reachable in 90 minutes: 34.8 (30th highest)
> Walk score: 84.9 (second highest)
> Commuters who bike: 1.65 percent (sixth highest)
San Francisco is held in high regard for its many successful transit systems, including the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority and the Bay Area Rapid Transit district. These systems cover nearly 92 percent of neighborhoods -- the fifth highest rate in the country. San Francisco also has the second highest walk score and is excellent for bicyclists. Commuter rails within the city allow bicyclists to mount with their bicycles, and there is a bike shuttle across the Bay Bridge to help cyclists during rush hour.