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    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.

    This week, we take a walk down millionaire's row -- eight markets with the highest volume of millionaires per capita, as reported by Kiplinger.com. With a mix of mega-mansions and surprisingly modest abodes provided by Realtor.com, we mine America's toniest gold coast neighborhoods for the best open houses of the week.

    Open Houses for Nov. 5-6


    Los Alamos, N.M.

    Concentration of millionaires: 11.7 percent

    Open house:
    Sunday, Nov. 6
    Location: 610 Los Pueblos
    Price: $405,000
    Property details: Los Alamos may have the highest concentration of millionaires in the nation, according to Kiplinger, but not all of them live in extravagant homes. This woodsy and spacious two-story cabin has a jaw-dropping view of the canyon rim below. See the listing below for a peek at the dazzling view -- inside and out.

    See inside this property.

    See more Los Alamos homes for sale.

    Naples, Fla.

    Concentration of millionaires: 9.1 percent

    Open house:
    Saturday, Nov. 5
    Location: 1802 Kingfish Road
    Price: $2,699,000
    Property details: While much of Florida flounders with underwater mortgages, the ultra-rich are still doing swimmingly. (The most expensive listing in our Naples database sells for $28 million.) This 4,000-plus-square-foot manse has direct access to the Gulf and is minutes away from the beach.

    See inside this property.

    See more Naples homes for sale.

    Bridgeport, Conn.

    Concentration of millionaires: 8.8 percent

    Open house:
    Sunday, Oct. 30
    Location: 3225 Old Town Road
    Price: $164,900
    Property details: Who'da thunk it. This 2-bedroom ranch-style Bridgeport home actually comes in below the national median price of $171,900. So while you may not upgrade to Corinthian columns in the near future, the next owner of this home can boast that they live in one of the most well-to-do 'hoods in the nation.


    See inside this property.

    See more Bridgeport homes for sale.

    Washington, D.C.

    Concentration of millionaires: 8.5 percent

    Open house:
    Sunday, Nov. 6
    Location: 4951 Rockwood Parkway N.W.
    Price: $3.997 million
    Property details: Those civil servants do pretty well for themselves. Take this whopping Colonial-style seven-bedroom in the well-heeled neighborhood of Spring Valley. And this is just the foyer! See more pics in the listing below.

    See inside this property.

    See more D.C. homes for sale.

    San Jose, Calif.

    Concentration of millionaires: 8.1 percent

    Open house:
    Sunday, Nov. 5
    Location: 1513 Dry Creek Road
    Price: $1,825,000
    Property description: The landscaping alone probably costs more than our cramped New York apartments. At 4,040 square feet, this highly customized home has to be seen to be believed. Check the pics for the combination pool/waterfall/Jacuzzi setup.


    See inside this property.

    See more San Jose homes for sale.


    Easton, Md.

    Concentration of millionaires: 7.9 percent

    Open House:
    Saturday, Nov. 5
    Location: 28605 Clubhouse Drive
    Price: $485,000
    Property description: Just came upon a huge lump of money, but hate to show it off? Then consider this modest (by millionaire standards) family home in the middle of a well-heeled golfing community. The three-bedroom home is just steps away from the fairway and has all the amenities a humble executive needs.

    See inside this property.

    See more Easton homes for sale.

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    Concentration of millionaires: 7.6 percent

    Open house:
    Sunday, Nov. 6
    Location: 4767 Kahala Ave.
    Price: $3.2 million
    Property description: If you have the dough, why not buy a massive contemporary four-bedroom home with a pool, spa, direct beach access, three-car garage and German-engineered lanai doors? Our sentiments exactly.

    See inside this listing.

    See more Honolulu homes for sale.

    San Francisco, Calif.

    Concentration of millionaires: 7.5 percent

    Open house:
    Saturday, Oct. 29
    Location: 2615 Pacific Ave
    Price: $2,498,000
    Property description: Now that's old money! This three-bedroom manor was built in 1902. (For those keeping track, it's seen more recessions than any of us are likely to experience.) But take a peek inside, however, and the classic facade gives way to a beautifully contemporary take on San Francisco luxury. Do yourself a favor and take a cyber-stroll through this handsome home's halls.

    See inside this listing.

    See more San Francisco homes for sale.


    More great AOL Real Estate galleries:
    Buy a Decent Home for Less Than $10,000

    Midcentury Modern Homes: The Cool That's Still Hot
    Million-Dollar Foreclosures

    %Gallery-138078%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    Finds homes for rent in your area.

     

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    WASHINGTON -- Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is set to introduce a resolution in Congress this week calling on the Obama administration and state attorneys general to ensure that any deal reached with the nation's biggest banks on foreclosure abuses includes full investigations into what happened, awards proper compensation to victims and provides no immunity for potential wrongdoing.

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the state AGs have been working with the nation's five largest mortgage firms -- Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo -- to settle disputes over potentially illegal foreclosure practices, such as the so-called robo-signing of foreclosure documents.

    Baldwin's resolution states that any settlement should follow three guidelines:

    1. Banks that engaged in fraudulent behavior "should not be granted criminal or civil immunity for potential wrongdoing related to illegal mortgage and foreclosure practices."
    2. The federal government and state AGs should "proceed with full investigations into claims of fraudulent behavior by mortgage servicers."
    3. Any monetary sum paid by the banks should "appropriately compensate for, and accurately reflect, the extent of harm to all victims."

    Read the full article on The Huffington Post.



    Also see:
    Watchdog: Fannie, Freddie Knew of Robo-Signing in 2003
    Is 'Occupy' Ready to Move Into Foreclosed Homes?

    Victims of Robo-Signing: Fight the Machine!


    %Gallery-137999%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find homes for sale in your area.
    Find foreclosures in your area.
    Find rentals in your area.

     

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    Jennifer Christine HarrisWith Facebook friends like these, who needs enemies?

    Police in Des Moines, Iowa, have arrested 30-year-old Jennifer Christine Harris (pictured left) for allegedly setting her neighbor's house on fire, according to the Des Moines Register. The suspected motive? Retribution for being "de-friended" on the popular social networking site.

    Nikki and Jim Rasmussen awoke to the sound of a loud "boom" around 1 a.m., officials said, and escaped the home just as the siding on their house began to melt.

    When asked who might have caused the fire, Jim Rasmussen named Harris as the prime suspect. She and Nikki Rasmussen had a falling out on Facebook, he told police, when a party invitation that his wife volunteered to create for Harris yielded a high number of "declines."


    After a large volume of text and Facebook messages, the dispute escalated to the point where Nikki Rasmussen "de-friended" Harris. She and Harris had been the best of friends before the dispute, according to The Associated Press.

    But don't be surprised that online spats can turn just as serious as arguments in-person, says psychology professor Kip Williams of Purdue University, who coined the term "cyber-ostracism" to describe a recent phenomenon of social exclusion online.

    "We don't really see a difference between face-to-face and online ostracism," Williams told AOL Real Estate. "They both hurt; they both threaten our fundamental sense of self-esteem."

    He would not, however, classify arson as a typical response to social exclusion -- online or otherwise.

    "Yes, people's feelings are hurt after de-friending and they may be angry," he said, "But I don't think we'd expect this sort of overt criminal behavior unless other actions were combined."

    For more on this story, watch the video above.

    See also:
    Home Sellers: Keep a Bad Neighbor From Derailing a Sale
    Watch: Ornery Neighbor Scaring Off Prospective Buyers

    Also see:
    5 Scary Neighbors From Hell

    Is Your Neighbor a Peeping Tom?
    Unreal Estate: 800-Year-Old Skeleton Lives in Swedish House


    %Gallery-128493%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find homes for sale in your area.
    Find foreclosures in your area.
    Find rentals in your area.

     

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    Sometimes picket fences and cupolas just won't do when it comes to making a statement with your house. If you're in the market for an off-the-wall custom home, consider drawing inspiration from architecture's greatest follies. Derived from the French word for "foolish," folly-inspired buildings defy logic and convention in the pursuit of a purely decorative aesthetic -- in other words, monuments to crazy.

    From upside-down churches (it keeps the demons at bay) to Scottish pineapples (can't explain that one), we run down The Huffington Post's list of the oddest "follies" in the world.




    See also:
    Unreal Estate: 800-Year-Old Skeleton Resides in Swedish Home
    Teenager Builds 130-Sq.-Ft. Home for College

    %Gallery-130385%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

     

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    A Detroit woman is offering what sounds like the deal of a lifetime. Trade her a car for her four-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot house. She advertised the deal on Craigslist because, she said, she is desperate for a car to drive her children around in. She bought this house at a tax foreclosure sale for $3,500 and says she doesn't have the money to fix it up -- although it looks pretty nice from the photos. She and her kids live elsewhere. Any takers?

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



    %Gallery-139176%
    See also:
    Vacant House Yields Late Owner's Stash of Cash
    Vacant Home Targeted By Squatters, Scammers and Thieves

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    bee attackA woman in Miami uncovered a nightmarish scene recently -- finding her father dead in his home, surrounded by a swarm of some 60,000 bees.

    The man was in the middle of renovating the home for his daughter, neighbors told local TV station WPLG. The family had reportedly owned the 1920s-era home for decades. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

    A local bee eradication expert posited that the man was trying to eliminate the bees himself, but may have been overwhelmed by the swarm.



    In another extraordinary case of infestation, AOL Real Estate reported earlier this year about a home in Idaho crawling with thousands of garter snakes. Two homebuyers already have abandoned the home and, as of our last update, Chase bank is still looking for a buyer. The previous owner, Ben Sessions, claims to have killed 42 snakes in one day.

    Both episodes should remind homebuyers of the importance of thorough home inspections and Realtor disclosures before signing on the dotted line. In most states, deaths on the premises must be disclosed if they occurred in the recent past, and sellers often must be even more transparent about violent or unusual deaths. It always pays for a prospective buyer to perform their due diligence, especially in older homes where building violations are more likely to be encountered.

    See also:
    Real Estate Disclosure: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
    3 Contingencies Ever Home Contract Needs
    Snakes on the Plain: Infested Home Still Seeks Buyer
    Old Haunts, New Buyers: How to Handle Stigmatized Properties

    %Gallery-123614%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    zombie preparednessPredictions of the Rapture came and went with nary a plague -- not even locusts! -- but that doesn't mean homeowners should lower their guard just yet. This Halloween, the wise would do well to safeguard their homes from that constant threat to suburban bliss, that scourge of middle America -- zombie home invasion.

    From George A. Romero's flat-footed lurchers to the terrifyingly agile runners of "28 Days Later," there's a slew of potential undead visitors that cautious homeowners can protect against this All Hallow's Eve. Get a crash course on zombie-proofing your home in the gallery below from This Old House. Come hell or high water, this guide may be your best source for the impending zombie apocalypse. Don't believe us? Just ask the Centers for Disease Control.

    %Gallery-136998%Also see:
    AOL Real Estate's Totally Unscientific Trick-or-Treat Guide
    5 Ways to Nab Autumn Buyers Before They Hibernate

    Newest Squatters in Empty Homes: Rats and Coyotes


    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.

    %Gallery-114173%

     

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    The refinancing market is hot right now. Last week, applications were up by more than 10 percent.

    But even if you can get approved by a lender--which is no easy task these days--that doesn't mean you should take whatever deal the bank offers you.

    "Today Show" real estate expert Barbara Corcoran has some strong advice, particularly when it comes to avoiding extra charges at closing time.

    In the video below, she explains the importance of the good faith estimate, whether it's worth using a mortgage broker and how to research potential lenders.

    But the best thing you can do to protect yourself against unpleasant surprises, she says, is "bring a pushy friend with you who's going to ask the important questions that you yourself might not ask."

    To which we say, Hey Barbara, want to come with us to meet our lender next Tuesday?

    Also see:
    Barbara Corcoran: Queen of NYC Real Estate Tells All

    More great videos from AOL Real Estate:
    Understanding Home Mortgages
    Negotiating Strategies for Home Buyers

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find homes for sale in your area.
    Find foreclosures in your area.
    Get property tax help from our experts.

     

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    turkey, texasWith Thanksgiving just around the corner, PETA couldn't help but run a-fowl of the town of Turkey, Texas.

    As a gesture of goodwill toward the Thanksgiving bird, the animal activist group asked the small town of under 500 to change its name to "Tofurkey" -- the vegan equivalent of the holiday's traditional main course.

    Needless to say, the townsfolk, whose forefathers named the town in honor of the wild birds they found roosting there, were not amused.

    "I think it's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," said one ruffled resident.

    "We're insulted," said another. "We love turkey, and we're proud of being Turkey."

    To their credit, PETA said that in exchange for the name change, they would prepare a Thanksgiving banquet for the whole town -- a vegan banquet, that is.



    This isn't the first time PETA has used the holidays as an occasion to promote its cause. As we reported last year, PETA was interested in renting the notorious "Amityville Horror" house in Long Island, N.Y., to stage a Halloween-inspired art exhibit: "The Amityville Slaughterhouse of Horrors."

    The installation would have included animatronic chickens with a soundtrack of whirring blades and animal screams, according to PETA Vice President Tracy Reiman.

    See also:
    New Amityville Horror: Yuppie Tourists
    The Best Cities to Spend Thanksgiving

    %Gallery-138487%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find homes for sale in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

     

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    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.

    In honor of Halloween, we'll explore some of the nicest digs in the most haunted cities in America, as named by Realtor.com. Take a break from the real horrors that might be lurking around the corner (double-dip recession, anyone?) and find out why you'd actually want to buy in one of these spooky burgs.
    Open Houses for Oct. 29-30


    Savannah, Ga.

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 20
    Location: 11104 Rimes Ave.
    Price: $224,000
    Property details: The South has a rich history of hauntings and paranormal activity and Savannah is no exception. In fact, it was named "America's Most Haunted City" back in 2002 by the American Institute of Parapsychology. We can't promise a close encounter in this 3-bedroom looker, but we're confident you'll make contact with the luxurious bamboo flooring inside.

    See inside this property.

    See more Savannah homes for sale.

    Los Angeles, Calif.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 30
    Location: 9353 Nightingale Drive
    Price: $12,780,000
    Property details: You've got a ghost of a chance making it in this town. The Hollywood sign has for years been a hotbed of supernatural activity -- it is after all, the site of a thousand broken dreams. But for those who can hack it in Tinsel Town, architectural stunners like this 7,000-square-foot mansion await.

    See inside this property.

    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.

    Boston, Mass.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 30
    Location: 30 Rutland Square
    Price: $924,500
    Property details: Most people associate Salem with the witch hunts, but a fair share of the most notorious trials took place in the heart of Boston. Get a taste of old New England with this duplex apartment built in 1875.


    See inside this property.

    See more Boston homes for sale.

    Santa Fe, N.M.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 30
    Location: 751 Canada Ancha
    Price: $1,195,000
    Property details: Pueblo-style homes might not be the first thing that comes to mind on Halloween, but there are a total of 12 -- you read that right, 12 -- ghost towns around the city of Santa Fe. After exploring America's spooky Southwest, retire to your gated-community home with custom built-ins and cherry cabinetry.

    See inside this property.

    See more Santa Fe homes for sale.

    Philadelphia, Pa.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 30
    Location: 202 210 W. Rittenhouse Sq #1001
    Price: $849,900
    Property description: Did you know that the City of Brotherly Love was actually the site of the very first witch trial in America? Couple that with the city's central role in the Revolutionary War and you've got yourself some interesting coffee talk. Sit back and spin some yarns in this contemporary apartment in Philly.


    See inside this property.

    See more Philadelphia homes for sale.


    Chicago, Ill.

    Open House: Sunday, Oct. 30
    Location: 4230 N. Marine Drive
    Price: $2,475,000
    Property description: October nights can give you chills in the Windy City, but snatch up this gorgeous Georgian-style home and you'll never have to fear the things that go bump in the night. Built in 1930, this four-bedroom stunner has a contemporary has a one-of-a-kind view of Lake Michigan. Take a look inside in the listing.

    See inside this property.

    See more Chicago homes for sale.

    San Antonio, Texas

    Open house: Saturday, Oct. 29
    Location: 531 Bosque Vista
    Price: $259,723
    Property description: Remember the Alamo! San Antonio is rife with ghost stories of wandering soldiers and restless spirits -- but its housing situation is much rosier. Take for instance this four-bedroom home in the well-heeled neighborhood of Stone Oak. Plus, the community's gated to keep the ghouls at bay.

    See inside this listing.

    See more San Antonio homes for sale.

    New Orleans, La.

    Open house: Saturday, Oct. 29
    Location: 8010 Hickory St.
    Price: $375,000
    Property description: Is there anywhere else in America with more supernatural baggage than New Orleans? From voodoo ceremonies to ancient graveyards, this Creole entrepot has everything the modern ghost hunter could want -- including great housing.

    See inside this listing.

    See more New Orleans homes for sale.


    More great AOL Real Estate galleries:
    Buy a Decent Home for Less Than $10,000

    Midcentury Modern Homes: The Cool That's Still Hot
    Million-Dollar Foreclosures

    %Gallery-136559%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    Finds homes for rent in your area.

     

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    The economic downturn has caused pain for countless American homeowners and wreaked havoc on businesses small and large. But there's one segment of the population that just continues to do better and better: real estate investors. For proof, look no further than the latest real-estate reality programming, "Flip Men," in which two tough guys buy foreclosed properties at auction, sight unseen, in the hope of finding a gem among the crystal (crystal meth, that is).

    But you don't have to be a TV star to pick up property for pennies on the dollar. Consider Tuesday's tax foreclosure auction in Ann Arbor, Mich. According to Washtenaw County Treasurer Catherine McClary, as little as $350 -- the minimum opening bid -- could land you a choice parcel worth about $1 million. "I don't know where you can buy acres and acres of land for single family homes for $350," McClary told Ann Arbor.com. (That's one of the 21 available parcels pictured above.)

    While bidders in Michigan have to show up in person if they want to take advantage of the "last chance" prices, most municipal foreclosure auctions have moved off the courthouse steps and onto the Web. Last year, foreclosure-plagued Florida, for instance, became the first state to to turn to cyber-auctions to process distressed property sales, making it possible for potential buyers anywhere to get a piece of the action. That may be one reason why foreign buyers accounted for 31 percent of all Florida home sales through March of this year, according to a Fox Business report.

    McClary's auction is for properties foreclosed on for back taxes, but with so many homeowners in distress, property auctions of all kinds are enjoying a spike in popularity these days. Take a gander at these luxury homes, for instance, all upward of $1 million (in some cases way upwards) and all soon to be or recently on the block:

    %Gallery-134664%
    Also see:
    5 Foreclosure Flip Tips From the 'Flip Men'

    Luxury Homes on Auction Block in Bid to Buy Some Buzz
    Tempted to Invest in Real Estate? Read This First


    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

     

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    Will and Kate are moving, fueling speculation that the future queen is pregnant with their first child. Mind you, they aren't moving far -- just to the other side of the palace. They are already well-ensconced in Prince William's boyhood home, Kensington Palace, but are now moving to Apt. 1A, a four-story, 20-room affair deemed suitable for the royal couple.

    While the apartment is being remodeled (and asbestos removed) and won't be ready until mid-2013, plans are already underway for Prince William's brother, Harry, to take over the couple's old pad.



    Click on the images below to see other celebrity real estate recently on the market:



    See more celebrity real estate on AOL Real Estate.

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    Find rentals in your area.

     

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    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 undeniable.

    With Halloween around the corner, this week we look at homes in the best cities for trick or treating, as named by Zillow. It may sound glib, but finding the safest places for your little ghouls and goblins to roam this Hallow's Eve may actually help you make a more informed decision when it comes time to buy. The list takes into account median home value, walkability, population density and crime -- all of which play a role in the buying decision on any day of the year. So sit back, relax, and enjoy our haunted hay ride through 10 of the best cities for trick or treating.


    Open Houses for Oct. 22-23


    10. Portland, Ore.

    Open house: Saturday, Oct. 22
    Location: 2510 Northeast Alameda St.
    Price: $749,000
    Property details: Michael Myers, eat your heart out. While this 3,000-plus-square-foot home may look spooky at night, it's a different story in the daytime, when light pours through every spacious room in the home. See the photos in the listing below.

    See inside this property.

    See all open houses in Portland, Ore.

    9. Philadelphia, Pa.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 23
    Location: 6700 Wissahickon Ave
    Price: $1,285,000
    Property details: Once upon a midnight dreary, Edgar Allen Poe walked the fields surrounding this seven-bedroom Colonial home. In fact, he was so enchanted with the place that it became the inspiration for his work "Morning on the Wissahickon." Peep at the listing to see what Poe was raving about.

    See inside this property.

    See more open houses in Philadelphia, Pa.

    8. Los Angeles, Calif.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 23
    Location: 15433 Brownwood Place
    Price: $8,395,000
    Property details: Where better than the capital of monster movie magic to take the kids for a late-night romp? Take a peek inside this garden of good and evil.


    See inside this property.

    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.

    7. Washington, D.C.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 23
    Location: 4951 Rockwood Parkway NW
    Price: $5,000,000
    Property details: This Georgian-style mansion has everything an excitable 'tween could dream of. A fairytale entertaining area, seven elegant bedrooms and a boudoir straight out of the "Witch and the Wardrobe."

    See inside this property.

    See more Washington, D.C., open houses.

    6. San Jose, Calif.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 23
    Location: 7220 Glenview Drive
    Price: $2,368,000
    Property description: Halloween pool party, anyone? If you're in the neighborhood come Hallow's Eve, make sure to visit this posh spot -- and bring your sweet tooth. Because, with a home this nice, you're bound to walk away with quite a haul.

    See inside this property.

    See more San Jose homes for sale.


    5. Chicago, Ill.

    Open House: Sunday, Oct. 23
    Location: 1729 W. Wolfram
    Price: $2,795,000
    Property description: October nights can get spooky in the Windy City, but snatch up this gorgeous brick home and you may never have to fear the things that go bump in the night. Built in 2004, this five-bedroom stunner has a contemporary yet timeless interior. Take a look inside in the listing.

    See inside this property.

    See more Chicago, Ill., open houses.

    4. Seattle, Wash.

    Open house: Thursday, Oct. 20
    Location: 3254 Portage Bay Place East
    Price: $1,075,000
    Property description: Forget white picket fences. For our money, there's nothing like a two-story tall window overlooking the bay to make a guy feel at home. Click the listing to see the upbeat interior and stunning views.

    See inside this listing.

    See more Seattle, Wash., homes for sale.

    3. Honolulu, Hawaii

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 23
    Location: 4470 Kahala Ave.
    Price: $3,395,000
    Property description: Halloween in Hawaii? You know you would if you could. This moonlit looker just hit the market, according to our listing, though it was built in 1936. You wouldn't know it from the interior though, as this Kama`aina estate has been lavishly updated throughout.

    See inside this listing.

    See more Honolulu, Hawaii, homes for sale.

    2. Boston, Mass.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 20
    Location: 175 Northampton St.
    Price: $1,395,000
    Property description: Salem it is not, but Boston has a spooky old-time charm all its own. Spend a witching hour or three in this posh, six-bedroom Victorian, built in 1880.

    See inside this listing.

    See more Boston, Mass., homes for sale.

    1. San Francisco, Calif.

    Open house: Sunday, Oct. 23
    Location: 2530 Vallejo St.
    Price: $3,800,000
    Property description: It's not that this home is particularly creepy, unnerving or macabre -- but when Nov. 1 comes around, you'll be glad you're living here.

    See inside this listing.

    See more San Francisco homes for sale.

    More great AOL Real Estate galleries:
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    Midcentury Modern Homes: The Cool That's Still Hot
    Million-Dollar Foreclosures

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    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.

    This week we explore homes in some of the best cities in the nation for retirement, as rated by Kiplinger.com. Using a wide range of considerations, including affordability, access to health care and tax perks, Kiplinger identified the best cities for retirees to call home. Below are just a few of the hot properties on display this weekend.

    Open Houses for Nov. 19-20


    Birmingham, Ala.


    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 20
    Location: 246 Big Springs Drive
    Price: $375,000
    Property details: At over 2,400 square feet, this one-story brick home isn't for empty nesters looking to downsize. But who says all retirees want smaller? And with taxes per capita at $700 below the national average, you can afford the extra space. Did we mention that older homeowners aren't required to pay property taxes in Birmingham?

    See inside this property.

    See more Birmingham open houses

    Tucson, Ariz.


    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 20
    Location: Not listed
    Price: $1,795,000
    Property details: Yes, Tucson fully exempts Social Security benefits, and yes, it also has a huge inventory of affordable housing -- but we couldn't help but show off this pricey desert stunner. This over 5,000-square-foot home has breathtaking views of the desert landscape and amenities to rival anything in the big coastal cities. But if it's not your cup of tea, browse any number of other Tucson homes for sale below.

    See inside this property.

    See more Tucson homes for sale.

    Winston-Salem, N.C.


    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 20
    Location: 115 Konnoak Village Circle
    Price: $98,400
    Property details: See past the more popular city of Charlotte and give "The City of the Arts" a chance. Winston-Salem boasts a rich history of arts and entertainment and offers it up for a fraction of big city prices. Take this brand new three-bedroom home for under $100,000, for instance.


    See inside this property.

    See more Winston-Salem homes for sale.

    Manchester, N.H.

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 20
    Location: 107 Dallaire St.
    Price: $229,900
    Property details: Without sales, income, estate and inheritance taxes, Manchester is an ideal location for retired homebuyers. While there are certainly cheaper housing markets to be found, good luck finding a community with as many attractions -- and in such close proximity to New York and Boston -- as Manchester. Pictured left is a charming 1950s-era two-bedroom with cathedral-style ceilings and brand new roofing. Click through the photos to see the rest of the home's hidden gems.

    See inside this property.

    See more Manchester homes for sale.

    Spokane, Wash.

    Open house: Saturday, Nov. 19
    Location: 23 W. 36th
    Price: $225,000
    Property description: With gorgeous weather, beautiful landscapes and no state income tax to speak of, Spokane should rank high on any homebuyer's list -- especially those on a fixed income. This three-bedroom home includes refinished oak floors, arched doorways, coved ceilings, two fireplaces, and attractive built-ins throughout the home. Take the full tour in the listing below.


    See inside this property.

    See more Spokane homes for sale.


    Knoxville, Tenn.

    Open House: Saturday, Nov. 19
    Location: 101 Stone Bluff Court
    Price: $234,900
    Property description: For outdoorsy home buyer, Knoxville is just little more than an hour's drive to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Mountains. And feel free to splurge at the gas station mini-mart -- Knoxville's living costs are among the lowest on the list. This recently built four-bedroom home puts you right in the center of the great wide open without breaking the bank.


    See inside this property.

    See more Knoxville homes for sale.

    Palm Bay, Fla.

    Open house: Friday, Nov. 18
    Location: 268 Abello Road S.E.
    Price: $81,000
    Property description: Of course you were expecting a Florida entry on the list, but did you expect the less assuming city of Palm Bay? In the absence of a state income tax, the senior population has grown to more than 20 percent, according to Kiplinger. Seafarers take note: Palm Bay also has the second-busiest cruise port in the world, so setting sail to far off destinations is never out of the cards. Best of all, housing in Florida remains dirt cheap due to the lingering effects of the housing bubble. This three-bedroom home can be yours for just $81,000.

    See inside this listing.

    See more Palm Bay homes for sale.

    St. Louis, Mo.

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 20
    Location: 2 Graybridge Lane
    Price: $999,000
    Property description: What retirement list would be complete without some love for the Midwest? Starting in 2012, Mound City will cover 100 percent of income tax exemptions for Social Security benefits, according to Kiplinger. Combine that with a low cost of living and plenty of attractions, and you have one of the best all-around retirement cities in the nation. But that doesn't mean you can't find big-sticker real estate in this popular burg. Coming in just shy of a million, this four-bedroom looker might be more than many retirees are looking for, but once you see the interior you'll understand its inclusion.

    See inside this listing.

    See more St. Louis homes for sale.


    More great AOL Real Estate galleries:
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    Midcentury Modern Homes: The Cool That's Still Hot
    Million-Dollar Foreclosures

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    builder confidenceFinally, a bit good news in the housing market. October's NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, released today, is up four points -- the biggest jump in a year and a half.

    The index, which measures homebuilders' confidence in the health of the single-family home market, is an indication that, in some places at least, the residential real estate market is showing signs of recovery, however fragile. Current sales, expectations for sales over the next six months and activity of prospective buyers were all up, particularly in Western states.

    Lest anybody get too excited, the NAHB sounded a note of caution. "While some builders have shifted their assessment of market conditions from 'poor' to 'fair,' relatively few have shifted their assessments from 'fair' to 'good,' " chief economist David Crowe said in a statement. The organization's chairman, a builder in Reno, Nev., blamed the low level of confidence on "overly restrictive lending policies that are discouraging prospective buyers, problems with new-home appraisals and widespread uncertainty regarding federal support for homeownership."

    An index number of 50 or greater means more homebuilders are positive than negative about the state of the market. Even though this month's four-point rise is notable, it still only brings the index to up to a still-pessimistic 18.

    For more on home prices and related topics see these AOL Real Estate guides:

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    Proving once again that Chicago is still the "Winfrey City," Oprah is making headlines for leasing her massive 4,607 square-foot Streeterville co-op for $15,000 a month, according to the Chicago Tribune.

    Since ending her 25-season run on the wildly popular, Chicago-based "Oprah Winfrey Show," the media mogul has spent most of her time split between homes in California and Hawaii. And even while her eponymous talk show was in full swing, she never actually lived in the massive apartment. Instead, she spent her days in a super-size duplex condo a few blocks away, the Tribune reports.

    %Gallery-139896%
    Oprah bought the three-bedroom co-op back in 2006 for $5.6 million. (Note to readers: Housing bubbles don't much matter if you can purchase your dream home in cash.) But with or without Oprah's celebrity cachet attached to the property, the apartment's lavish amenities speak for themselves. The sixth-floor unit includes eight rooms, three full baths, 10-foot ceilings, two fireplaces, a library, a solarium, a formal dining room, a wine room and a custom kitchen, among other billionaire perks.

    But it's not the first high-end property that the queen of daytime television has listed for rent -- nor is it the most expensive. Earlier this year, Oprah's company, Overground Railroad LLC, listed a 10,000-square-foot, six-bedroom Georgian-style mansion in Greenwich, Conn., for $24,500 a month. The previous tenant of the sprawling New England mansion was none other than Oprah's BFF, Gayle King.

    Click on the images below to see other celebrity real estate recently on the market.



    See more celebrity real estate and other homes in Chicago on AOL Real Estate.

    Also see:
    Rent Oprah's Greenwich Mansion for $24,500/Month
    Michael Jackson's Final Home -- and Belongings -- Up for Sale

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    If you liked the "Transformer" apartment, you're going to love this place. New Yorker Eric Schneider's 450-square-foot "origami" studio features a central cabinet that unfolds to create four--count 'em--distinct living spaces: bedroom, office, guest bedroom and living room.

    Schneider, a third-grade teacher, bought the place in 2005 for $235,000. He turned to architects Michael Chen and Kari Anderson of Normal Projects, who proposed "a strategy of extreme density," designing the single piece of furniture that could be "packed with all of the functional components of a larger apartment including a bed, a nightstand, a closet, a home office, a library, kitchen storage, and most of the lighting for the room."

    Don't believe us? Watch the video below and let Schneider show you himself. The renovation, which also included a new bathroom, cost $70,000 in total. A tip of the hat to Curbed for bringing it to our attention.




    See also:
    Artist Makes Luxury Home in a Dumpster
    Tour the 258-Sq-Ft Transformer Apartment
    Woman Lives in 90-Sq-Ft New York Apartment



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    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.

    In honor of Veterans Day, this week we explore the best places to buy for our troops. With many of our service members contemplating retirement in their late 30s and 40s, it's important to find communities that understand and appreciate their skill sets and needs. Drawing on a study of 379 cities, Military.com and the USAA identified the best cities for retiring vets. (To see all 14 criteria used to determine the best cities, see the report here.) In turn, we did some of our own recon and came up with some of the finest open houses these troop-friendly cities have to offer.

    Open Houses for Nov. 12-13


    Oklahoma City, Okla.


    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 13
    Location: 12501 Arthur Ave
    Price: $338,000
    Property details: Built in 2008, this 3-bedroom custom home has curb appeal down to a science -- plenty of fresh landscaping, new window treatments, and a gas line in the back for killer cookouts. And for the lifelong soldier, there's comfort in knowing that OK City has four nearby military bases and a VA medical center.

    See inside this property.

    See more OK City homes for sale.

    Norfolk, Va.


    Open house: Saturday, Nov. 12
    Location: 2040 Kersey Ave
    Price: $194,900
    Property details: Virginia has a long history of supporting the troops, and with homes like this 4-bedroom family home, it's easy to put down new roots. And for those looking to transition into a new career, Norfolk is known for its large volume of defense contract awards.


    See inside this property.

    See more Norfolk homes for sale.

    Richmond, Va.


    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 13
    Location: 11324 Lady Slipper Lane
    Price: $175,000
    Property details: What's more American than a beautifully restored Colonial-style home? This two-story, 4-bedroom home is selling for $20,000 less than the median home price in Richmond. Plus, the sellers are offering up to $2,500 in closing cost assistance. Check the listing to see inside.


    See inside this property.

    See more Richmond homes for sale.

    Austin, Texas

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 13
    Location: 2012 Laurel Ridge Cv
    Price: $895,000
    Property details: For the military retiree who enjoys the finer things in life, dive into this luxury listing in the Lone Star state's most troop-friendly city. This 5-bedroom home includes a game room, media room, outdoor kitchen, sitting room with fireplace, and of course, this resort-style pool. And what better way to kick off retirement than with a trip to the nearby golf club.

    See inside this property.

    See more Austin homes for sale.

    San Antonio, Texas

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 13
    Location: 18002 Bullis Hl
    Price: $462,000
    Property description: One part Mediterranean-style pool house, one-part custom bungalow, this 3-bedroom home has everything a young retiree is looking for -- an outdoor pool/hot tub combination, detached garage for unlimited man-cave possibilities, and a "xero-scaped" lawn (i.e.: little water required) for no-hassle Sundays.


    See inside this property.

    See more San Antonio homes for sale.


    Madison, Wis.

    Open House: Saturday, Nov. 13
    Location: 1173 Farwell Dr
    Price: $950,000
    Property description: Built in 1917, this stunning historical home could have been transplanted from the heart of Georgia. Spend a lazy afternoon on the back patio and watch the sunset over the Lake Mendota shoreline. With just a 5.8 percent unemployment rate, Madison also offers young retirees plenty of job prospect in their next career.



    See inside this property.

    See more Madison homes for sale.

    Philadelphia, Pa.

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 13
    Location: 224 Delancey St
    Price: $1,395,000
    Property description: The City of Brotherly Love has always been kind to the armed forces. In fact, Pennsylvania has a zero percent state tax on military retirement pay. As one of the larger cities on the list, it also includes some tonier listings -- like this 3,000-square-foot town home. Peek inside at this ultra-deluxe gourmet kitchen.


    See inside this listing.

    See more Philadelphia homes for sale.

    Raleigh, N.C.

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 13
    Location: 323 Marlowe Road
    Price: $949,900
    Property description: Home builder, we salute you. This more than 5,000 square foot custom brick home is stunning, inside and out. With cherry hardwood floors, 10-foot high ceilings and a top-notch chef's kitchen, this understated 5-bedroom home is the epitome of early retirement.


    See inside this listing.

    See more Raleigh homes for sale.


    More great AOL Real Estate galleries:
    Buy a Decent Home for Less Than $10,000

    Midcentury Modern Homes: The Cool That's Still Hot
    Million-Dollar Foreclosures

    %Gallery-138078%
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    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.

    With the holiday season in full gear, this week we look at some of the best homes for entertaining. For sellers, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas may be their last chance to wow house shoppers before the winter doldrums. For buyers, the discounts are plentiful and the housing stock is top-notch. So whether you're looking for some late season staging ideas or are just plain fond of beautiful homes, take a stroll through our open houses of the week.

    Open Houses for Nov. 26-27


    Paradise Valley, Ariz.

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 27
    Location: Contact agent
    Price: $2,750,000
    Property details: Imagine shooting the breeze with friends and family in this enormous desert stunner. This 6,176-square-foot home includes four bedrooms, five baths and breathtaking views of the stark Arizona landscape. From the exterior, the home appears to be hewn from the craggy hills. If ever you needed to host a holiday dinner for a dozen or so James Bond super villains, this would be the place.

    See inside this property.

    See more Paradise Valley homes for sale

    Los Angeles


    Open house: Saturday, Nov. 26
    Location: 1841 Outpost Drive
    Price: $2,149,000
    Property details: Clean lines and a contemporary finish give this five-bedroom Mediterranean-style home's kitchen a modern flavor. Entertain guests in this, the chromed-out heart of the home, while preparing hard-to-pronounce aperitivos.



    See inside this property.

    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.

    San Mateo, Calif.


    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 27
    Location: 1556 Parrott Drive
    Price: $1,295,000
    Property details: But if you're fixing a more traditional holiday feast, consider entertaining in this cozy, earth-tone living room, complete with stone fireplace. This two-story, 2,620-square-foot home includes five bedrooms and three baths. See the listing for the rustic patio and pool/spa combination.


    See inside this property.

    See more San Mateo homes for sale.

    Miami

    Open house: Sunday, Dec. 4
    Location: 3013 Kirk St.
    Price: $1,230,000
    Property details: Not every holiday season has to end with chestnuts on an open fire. For the tropically inclined, consider this four-bedroom Mediterranean with an ample backyard and pool. Even if you won't be taking a dip, consider using the poolside area for deep frying next year's holiday bird.

    See inside this property.

    See more Miami homes for sale.

    Seven Hills, Ohio

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 27
    Location: 5655 W. Long Ridge Drive
    Price: $283,490
    Property description: Dollar for dollar, this three-bedroom family home is the nicest on our list. And aspiring home stagers, take note: Neutral tones, uncluttered space and classic furnishings -- all the elements required to make your home listing look like a million bucks. See the listing for some more great staging ideas.

    See inside this property.

    See more Seven Hills homes for sale.


    St. Louis

    Open House: Sunday, Nov. 27
    Location: 12568 Jenifer Lane
    Price: $1,250,000
    Property description: When your mother-in-law blathers on and on about her daughter's new whatever, direct her attention to your living room's centerpiece: the 1.5 story wall of windows, with unobstructed views of beautiful Town & Country, Mo. And with over 5,700 square feet of space, five bedroom and 10 baths, you may never even have to see the in-laws to begin with.

    See inside this property.

    See more St. Louis homes for sale.

    Baltimore

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 27
    Location: 7821 Chelsea St.
    Price: $945,000
    Property description: It's not Thanksgiving till you've thrown around the pigskin, and what better place to burn off those holiday calories than in your spacious backyard. This Colonial-style home, located in the heart of Ruxton, has everthing you'll need for a successful Turkey Day, inside and out.

    See inside this listing.

    See more Baltimore homes for sale.

    Atlanta

    Open house: Sunday, Nov. 27
    Location: 620 Winding Creek Court
    Price: $599,900
    Property description: There ain't nothin' like home cookin' in the South -- and with this fully-stocked gourmet kitchen, you'll have every tool imaginable for crafting the perfect holiday dinner. As for serving up some world-famous Southern hospitality, tour the rest of the home to see every charming room.

    See inside this listing.

    See more Atlanta homes for sale.


    More great AOL Real Estate galleries:
    Buy a Decent Home for Less Than $10,000

    Midcentury Modern Homes: The Cool That's Still Hot
    Million-Dollar Foreclosures

    %Gallery-138078%
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    So we listened hard to the Republican presidential candidates' debate last night, and we didn't hear any meaningful solutions to the housing crisis. That's no surprise, considering that housing has so far been a ghost issue in the campaign. So if we can't bring you news about the GOP hopefuls' housing policies, we can at least tell you about their houses.

    From Romney's waterfront mansions (one on the ocean, one on a lake) to Bachmann's golf-course home and 1,000-acre farm, the candidates own no shortage of properties. Here's a rundown of some of their prime real estate.

    MITT ROMNEY

    Romney's primary residence is in Belmont, Mass. According to the Boston Globe, the $895,000 townhouse is 2,115 square feet, has two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and a cook's kitchen. That's significantly more modest than the candidate's previous house in Belmont, which he sold for $3.5 million in 2009. He also owns a $10 million vacation house on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H., and a $12 million home in La Jolla, Calif.

    The latter property (pictured above) made news not long ago when the San Diego Union-Tribute reported that the Republican primary contender had applied for permission to demolish the $12 million, 3,009-square-foot beachfront mansion. A campaign spokesperson said the home was "inadequate" for the needs of Romney and his wife because it could not accommodate his five married sons and 16 grandchildren. The "adequate" size? Just over 11,000 square feet.

    Until plans for the expansion of his La Jolla beach house came to light, Romney seemed to have been purposefully downsizing his real estate portfolio. Since his primary run in 2008, he sold two of his houses, according to The Washington Post, swapping his large Colonial in Belmont for the more modest townhouse and selling off his off his 9,500-square-foot ski home in Park City for $5.25 million.

    On Tuesday, Romney offered his solution to the housing crisis: "Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course, and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy up homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up, and let it turn around and come back up."


    RICK PERRY

    The sitting governor of Texas, Rick Perry resides in a five-bedroom rental mansion on the outskirts of Austin. According to the Associated Press, Perry has spent almost $600,000 in public money to live in the home, which costs more than $10,000 a month in rent, utilities and upkeep. He is living in the rental while renovations of the governor's mansion are completed. Some critics have taken shots at Perry for living in such an upscale residence on taxpayers' tab.

    Property linked to Perry also stirred some controversy recently when The Washington Post revealed that a family hunting camp leased by his father for years had a racist nickname. Perry said the rock bearing the name was painted over and overturned shortly after his father leased the property.

    Perry has also raised eyebrows for some past real estate deals of his own. The Dallas Morning News reported that "a series of professional courtesies and favors helped Perry buy a lot at Tony Peninsula at Horseshoe Bay, the 'Pebble Beach' of Texas, for $139,000 below market value and sell it for $350,000 above market value." Perry bought the lot (pictured above) for around $300,000 in 2000 from an associate and sold it for $1.5 million in 2007.

    MICHELE BACHMANN

    A vocal critic of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Bachmann isn't above taking advantage of them when it suits her purposes. According to a report in the Washington Post, in 2008 Bachmann took out a home loan that offered favorable rates through one of the federally subsidized programs. The $417,000 loan--the maximum amount available at the time--was used to purchase a $760,000 home in Minnesota's Stillwater community, the Post reported. Mortgage experts hired by the Post determined that Bachmann and her husband put down $93,001, or 12 percent.

    The 5,200-square-foot golf-course home, where Bachmann still lives, has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a panelled library, spa and wine cellar and was custom built for former NFL player Ross Verba in 2005.

    Bachmann also owns, through a family partnership, a share of a 949-acre farm in Wisconsin (pictured above). A recent report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune examined how the farm has benefitted from federal subsidies, which Bachmann also opposes.

    RON PAUL

    The maverick Texas congressman thinks the federal government needs to exit the housing business and let the free market decide what home prices should be. Whether you like that idea or not, Paul -- a medical doctor who delivered more than 4,000 babies before he entered politics in 1976 -- has been the only GOP candidate to offer a housing plan (assuming that "stop propping up the housing market" counts as a plan.)

    Paul also aims to prove that President Obama isn't the only guy who gets the value of social media. In April, he used Facebook to announce the sale of his 5,500-square-foot Lake Jackson, Tex., house for $325,000. He also has a house website called BuyRonPaulsHouse.com.

    He's owned the four-bedroom home (pictured above) for 42 years. And where are the Pauls going? If you ask him, he'd likely say the White House.

    HERMAN CAIN

    Despite his father working three jobs to be able to buy his family a house, the multimillionaire candidate -- who earned his fortunes convincing Burger King employees to smile and making Godfather's Pizza into a profitable chain -- hasn't made housing one of his top issues. Actually, if his website is an indicator, housing isn't even on his list of issues.

    Cain and his wife own and live in a 3,100-square-foot home with three bedrooms in the Atlanta suburb of Stockbridge.

    Reporting by AOL Real Estate Staff and La Jolla Patch editor Michelle Mowad.

    Also see:
    Viewpoint: Housing Is Ghost Issue in Presidential Race

    Republican Presidential Candidates: Which One Is Best for Your Wallet?
    Viewpoint: Hey Mr. President, How About Housing?

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