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.
Coconut Grove, Fla.
Open house: Sun., May 6 Price: $4.5 million Property details: Whether you've got a growing family or are swinging solo, this sprawling and private Mediterranean estate could be perfect for you! Nestled on over an acre of lush grounds in the heart of Florida's idyllic Coconut Grove, the stunning 6,307-square-foot home was built in 1910 for the town's founder, John Peacock. So the finest attention to detail was paid. From the Honduran mahogany impact windows and doors, original Florida cherrywood floors, soaring ceilings and even a 1,500 bottle, temperature-controlled wine cellar, the home has predicted your every need. Got kids? They'll love the colossal backyard pool, tennis courts and generous recreational rooms, while adults can wind down on the patio, nursing a drink from their outdoor wet bar. Heavenly. See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., May 6 Price: $4.199 million Property details: A stunning desert contemporary for those who love the great outdoors and their creature comforts. The 5,338-square-foot home boasts incredible mountain and city views from every angle, accentuated by the home's earthy-chic details and decor. Italian grained-walnut millwork cabinets and drawers complement limestone floors and natural agate counters. Metallic-leather door-fronts beckon you inside to enjoy breathtaking natural vistas from the observation deck. We love the resort-style backyard, featuring hand-carved Cantera planters and flawless landscaping. A desert dream, through-and-through.
Open house: Sat.-Sun., May 5-6 Price: $1.779 million Property details: A truly beautiful Austin home on a 1.07-acre lot that features seemingly endless space and stunning details throughout. The five-bedroom, Tuscan style beauty boasts brilliant Turkish travertine and hickory hand-scraped wood finished all over, vaulted ceilings, hand-trowled walls and a flowing floor plan. We love the dramatic, vintage-style chandeliers hanging in every room and those exquisite stone fireplaces. Massive windows offering staggering views of Austin's hinterlands don't hurt either! See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., May 6 Price: $3.8 million Property details: This extraordinary stone-and-brick manor is a stunning example of Old World craftsmanship fused with state-of-the-art technology. The sprawling six-bedroom New Traditional beauty offers soaring ceilings, custom millwork and high-end finishes throughout its four levels. We love that fabulous chef's kitchen, perfect for the budding Gordon Ramsays of the world, and that handsome ground-floor cherry library, complete with wood-burning fireplace. A gem in the beautiful village of Hinsdale.
Open House: Sun., May 6 Price: $4.5 million Property details: A sweet Maryland home that's the perfect blend of old and new. Built in 1986, the charming Colonial retains its classic beauty with some incorporated modern touches by the original builder (like an elevator, for example!). The stunning seven-bedroom home boasts soaring, cathedral-style ceilings, wood paneling, and brand-new doors and windows. Outside, you get sprawling green lawns (perfect for pets), a gazebo, and even a pool with cabana! Perfect Potomac luxury.
See inside this property.
Open house: Sun., May 6 Price: $2.495 million Property details: Perfect for families, this gorgeous 6,500-square-foot brick mansion boasts rolling green lawns, a massive yard and over 2 private, wooded acres perfect for summer picnics and fun outdoor activities. Inside, adults will appreciate flawless detailing, from the polished mahogany paneling, coffered ceilings, intricate wrought-iron railings and French limestone floors. The six-bedroom, seven-bathroom home also offers a very open floor plan that includes a dramatic entry foyer and a spectacular master suite (that has a fireplace and luxurious bath!). Plus, there are plenty of recreation spaces inside and guest rooms to boot.
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.