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AOL Real Estate - Blog

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    open houseThere'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 delve into 24/7 Wall Street's list of the best-run states in America. Pretty houses are one thing, but if you're in it for the long haul, knowing how well your community can weather the financial storm could save you some major headaches down the line. Based on an assessment of government services, standard of living and financial health, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most well-oiled states in the union -- and we're taking you on a tour of the best homes they have have to offer.


    Open Houses for Dec. 3-4


    Virginia

    > Pct. without health insurance: 13.1% (20th lowest)
    > Pct. below poverty line: 10.7% (8th lowest)
    > Unemployment: 6.5% (10th lowest)

    Open house: Sat., Dec. 3
    Location: Richmond
    Price: $849,950
    Property details: This European-inspired brick includes 4 bedrooms, 5 baths and 4,472 square-feet of Southern decadence. Pricy as the home may be, sleep easy knowing that Virginia was the highest ranked Southern state in the Union. And if that doesn't do the trick, maybe a tour of the ultra-swank interior will soothe your wallet.

    See inside this property
    .

    See more Richmond homes for sale

    Vermont

    > Pct. without health insurance: 8% (3rd lowest)
    > Pct. below poverty line: 11.7% (13th lowest)
    > Unemployment: 5.8% (5th lowest)

    Open house: Sun., Dec. 4
    Location: Westford
    Price: $315,000
    Property details: For buyers looking for that Colonial-style finish without the costly renovation, this 3-bedroom home, built in 2000, is just the ticket. But the best feature may be in the back of the home -- a spacious patio space overlooking the family swimming pool.

    See inside this property.

    See more Westford homes for sale.

    Utah

    > Pct. without health insurance: 15.3% (20th highest)
    > Pct. below poverty line: 11.5% (12th lowest)
    > Unemployment: 7.4% (17th lowest)

    Open house: Contact agent
    Location: Salt Lake City
    Price: $2.9 million
    Property details: Cutting-edge modern design might not be the first thing that comes to mind with Utah, but after touring this 8,100-square-foot stunner, you might never see the Beehive State the same way again. To top it off, Utah has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation.

    See inside this property.

    See more Salt Lake City homes for sale.

    Iowa

    > Pct. without health insurance: 9.3% (6th lowest)
    > Pct. below poverty line: 11.9% (tied for 14th lowest)
    > Unemployment: 6% (8th lowest)

    Open house: Sun., Dec. 4
    Location: Des Moines
    Price: $209,900
    Property details: Dollar for the dollar, this 1.5 story brick home is one of the best deals on our list. Iowa boasts fantastic health-care and education rates, which should translate to healthier, better employed homeowners. And with choice options like this 4-bedroom home, what's not to love?

    See inside this property
    .

    See more Des Moines homes for sale.

    Minnesota

    > Pct. without health insurance: 9.1% (4th lowest)
    > Pct. below poverty line: 11% (10th lowest)
    > Unemployment: 6.9% (14th lowest)

    Open house: Sun., Dec. 4
    Location: Edina
    Price: $2.095 million
    Property description: Pity the homeowner that bought during the housing bubble burst of 2008-09. On the other hand, for house hunters with the means to buy in today's market, the world is their oyster. Take this 6,000-plus square-foot home in Edina, for instance. If you're going to plop down millions on your home, it might as well be in a state with some of the best health insurance coverage in the nation.

    See inside this property.

    See more Minneapolis homes for sale.


    North Dakota

    > Pct. without health insurance: 9.8% (9th lowest)
    > Pct. below poverty line: 12.3% (17th lowest)
    > Unemployment: 3.5% (the lowest)

    Open House: Sun., Dec. 4
    Location: Fargo
    Price: $223,900
    Property description: Coming in with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, the advantages to living in the Roughrider State are obvious. What may not be so apparent to out-of-towners is just how many great real estate deals there are to be had. This 4-bedroom slice of Americana includes a huge backyard patio, over 2,500 square feet with new hardwood floors, and even a white picket fence in front.

    See inside this property.

    See more Fargo homes for sale.

    Nebraska

    > Pct. without health insurance: 11.5% (14th lowest)
    > Pct. below poverty line: 11.9% (tied for 14th lowest)
    > Unemployment: 4.2% (2nd lowest)

    Open house: Sat., Dec. 3
    Location: Omaha
    Price: $149,900
    Property description: If your only frame of reference for Nebraska is Springsteen's downer record, rest assured, things have changed. It has the second lowest unemployment rate, and one of the lowest rates of foreclosure in the nation. But you don't see any folk crooners singing ballads about how great the state's doing lately, do ya? This charming 4-bedroom has a lot of character without the hassle of major repairs -- the owner did a major renovation last year, including a new roof, HVAC and baths.

    See inside this listing.

    See more Omaha homes for sale.

    Wyoming

    > Pct. without health insurance: 14.9% (21st highest)
    > Pct. below poverty line: 10.3% (7th lowest)
    > Unemployment: 5.8% (6th lowest)

    Open house: Contact agent
    Location: Cheyenne
    Price: $650,000
    Property description: And finally, the crème de la crème. Wyoming took 24/7 Wall Street's top spot this year for a number of reasons -- the highest rate of high school graduation, one of the lowest rates of violent crime, and a thriving job market. So how do they do it? Wyoming has the lowest population in the entire country. (No wonder we couldn't find an open house this weekend!) But fret not, interested buyers need only contact the agent to inquire about this 4-bedroom looker. Meanwhile, take a virtual tour of the home at the listing below.

    See inside this listing.

    See more Cheyenne 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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    open houses of the weekThere'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 tour through the most eye-catching listings in some of the most popular cities. Remember to click the listing details to see dozens of additional photos!



    Open Houses for Dec. 10-11


    Atlanta



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 11
    Location: Atlanta
    Price: $2.299 million
    Property details: This French chateau-style home includes 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and 8,225 square feet of European elegance. Designed by Bill Harrison, the house boasts oak hardwood floors and fireplaces across three finished levels. There's even a pool and spa flanked by a linear fire feature to keep you toasty warm while taking a dip during those Georgia cold snaps.

    See inside this property
    .

    See more Atlanta homes for sale

    Austin, Texas



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 11
    Location: Austin
    Price: $1.125 million
    Property details: If you're big on family gatherings, this may be the perfect home for you. A wide, spacious design, coupled with warm stone and stucco highlighting the home's unpretentious and simple aesthetic, make this property ideal for entertaining. If that doesn't get you, then the country hill views and luxe swimming pool surely will.

    See inside this property.

    See more Austin homes for sale.

    Los Angeles area



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 11
    Location: Malibu
    Price: $17 million
    Property details: The Pacific Coast Building Conference awarded MariSol the 2011 "House of the Year" award and it's no wonder. This strikingly modern blufftop estate is the epitome of California luxury: a trophy home in the middle of a restored native coastal garden that overlooks a popular surfing beach, with spectacular whitewater, island and mountain views.

    See inside this property.

    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.

    Miami area



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 4
    Location: Pinecrest
    Price: $1.95 million
    Property details: This isn't your run-of-the-mill Miami McMansion -- we're talking character to boot! Soaring 20-foot ceilings. Floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning ocean views. An outdoor oasis featuring flowing fountains and tropical landscaping. Plus, with five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a deep, covered brick patio, it's the perfect home for entertaining in luxury.

    See inside this property.

    See more Miami-area homes for sale.

    Denver



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 11
    Location: Denver
    Price: $515,000
    Property description: It's not just a pretty face: this stunning, three-bedroom, 2,283-square-foot contemporary boasts LEED certification, is solar-energy equipped and was designed with sustainability in mind... So, you can breathe easy while you're lounging around on your spacious deck, enjoying gorgeous panoramic views of downtown Denver.

    See inside this property.

    See more Denver homes for sale.


    St. Louis area



    Open House: Sun., Dec. 11
    Location: Town and Country
    Price: $1.25 million
    Property description: This 5,722-square-foot masterpiece is the perfect fusion of contemporary and classic. With an exceptional, winding three-story staircase and soaring ceilings, this Town and Country home is an homage to traditional American beauty. Yet you also get an in-house theater, billiard room, game room, bar and patio. What more could you ask for?

    See inside this property.

    See more St. Louis-area homes for sale.

    Paradise Valley, Ariz.



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 11
    Location: Paradise Valley
    Price: $1.5 million
    Property description: If you love the outdoors, then this one is for you: The elegant Spanish-style home boasts wondrous views of Camelback Mountain from every room and is flanked by stunning botanical landscaping. Step inside, and you can enjoy soft, Santa Fe architectural detailing that includes vaulted ceilings with peeled-pole beams and charming fireplaces. A true testament to natural Arizona beauty, sprawled across 4,181 square feet.

    See inside this property.

    See more Paradise Valley homes for sale.

    Edina, Minn.



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 11
    Location: Edina
    Price: $1.289 million
    Property description: If contemporary isn't your thing and you're yearning for a slice of classic Americana, then you'll love this handsome, five-bedroom home. This grand, 4,000-square-foot Tudor boasts beautiful woodwork throughout, polished hardwood floors, fireplaces and a year-round sun room featuring a generous bay window. Located on a charming, tree-lined street and boasting a sprawling lawn, this idyllic Edina home is perfect for families with children.

    See inside this property.

    See more Edina 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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    HAMPHere comes another black eye for the Fed's much-maligned mortgage modification program. Housingwire reporter Jon Prior has crunched the numbers and found that the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) is most effective when it actually reduces the principal owed on upside-down mortgages, not just extending borrowers' repayment plans.

    On the one hand, it shows that HAMP's initial strategy of helping underwater homeowners through short sales (HAFA) or deeds-in-lieu is not working as well as planned. On the other hand, it gives credence to the argument that the only way to help American homeowners out of debt is to trim some off the top.

    On average, Housingwire reports, the principal reduction process helped struggling homeowners go from being 58 percent underwater (that is, the amount in which the debt exceeds the home's value), down to just 15 percent underwater. In real dollars and cents, the data so far shows an average $65,000 principal reduction on initial modifications.

    Read the full story on HousingWire.

    Also see:
    FHA Loans: What 3.5% Down Can Buy in This Housing Market

    BofA Plans to Rent Foreclosed Homes to Former Owners

    %Gallery-139166%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find rentals in your area.
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.

     

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    open houses of the weekThere'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 holidays fast approaching, we take this opportunity to tour some of the most fantastic homes on the market before the winter doldrums set in. Click through the listings below to see dozens of additional photos.



    Open Houses for Dec. 16-17


    Denver



    Open house: Sat., Dec. 17 - Sun., Dec. 18
    Location: Denver
    Price: $1.75 million (foreclosure)
    Property details: This majestic, five-bedroom Colorado home oozes rustic elegance through and through. From its exposed wood trusses, classic window accents and turret entryways, to a sophisticated tumbled stone and stucco exterior and gorgeous native landscaping, the home exudes snowy Colorado charm. But it's not just a pretty face: The driveway and back patio have been equipped with snow melt systems, so you can retire the shovel and rest easy on those chilly Denver winter mornings.

    See inside this property.

    See more Denver homes for sale

    Ladue, Mo.



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 18
    Location: Ladue, Mo.
    Price: $1.499 million
    Property details: This beautiful, 6,099-square-foot Ladue home features five spacious bedrooms and eight bathrooms -- perfect for a large family. Boasting an exercise room, game room, billiard room and indoor driving range (yes, you read correctly), this stunning slice of classic Americana will offer kids (and kids at heart) hours of entertainment and years of fun-filled family memories.

    See inside this property.

    See more St. Louis-area homes for sale.

    Dallas



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 18
    Location: Dallas
    Price: $719,900
    Property details: A wistfully romantic, beautifully-redone, four-bedroom brick home on Lover's Lane that's perfect for lovers. Boasting two spacious balconies, glossy hardwood floors, antique chandeliers and cozy, rustic detailing throughout, this home is an homage to traditional American beauty.

    See inside this property.

    See more Dallas homes for sale.

    San Clemente, Calif.



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 17
    Location: San Clemente, Calif.
    Price: $799,000
    Property details: This isn't your run-of-the-mill California luxury townhouse. Though you get all the usual trimmings -- roof-deck with panoramic ocean view, access to world-class beaches, and a Hollywood-style barbecue area to host your lavish summer outdoor gatherings -- this home has character to boot. We're talking travertine and wood flooring, wood and iron staircase banister, crown moldings, 6-inch baseboards and Caesarstone on the kitchen countertops. The Joneses won't have anything on you.

    See inside this property.

    See more San Clemente homes for sale.

    Atlanta



    Open house: Sat., Dec. 17 - Sun., Dec. 18
    Location: Atlanta
    Price: $515,000
    Property description: You can live on cloud nine, quite literally, in a stunning three-bedroom condo within this 35-story highrise building on the Midtown Mile. The property boasts beautiful high-end finishes including Bosch stainless-steel appliances, deep double undermount sinks and sleek stained European-style cabinets. A huge balcony offers gorgeous city views (and the opportunity to watch the sun set every night, glass of wine in hand).

    See inside this property.

    See more Atlanta homes for sale.


    Washington



    Open House: Sun., Dec. 18
    Location: Washington
    Price: $3.49 million
    Property description: A chic Georgetown-style, top-to-bottom renovation in the prestigious area of Kalorama, Wash. A fusion of classic and contemporary design and custom built in 2011 within a grand 1905 Victorian structure, the beautiful home boasts modern solutions and state-of-the-art technological innovations that are perfect for urban living and entertaining. With four cozy fireplaces and a roof-deck offering panoramic views over Washington ... What more could you want?


    See inside this property.
    See more Washington homes for sale.

    Miami



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 18
    Location: Miami
    Price: $2.6 million
    Property description: Live in this large, lofty, light-flooded space, set amid an enchanting garden. This truly magical five-bedroom Miami property boasts a swimming pool and hot tub connected to a fountain-lined, 90-foot lap pool. Lovers of the great outdoors, you will appreciate living among incredible landscaping set on a sun-dappled canvas. Miami luxury, at its finest.

    See inside this property.
    See more Miami homes for sale.

    Honolulu



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 18
    Location: Honolulu
    Price: $3.48 million
    Property description: Hawaii's already an oasis, but this unique home will take your tropical fantasy to the next level. On the scenic and prestigious Kahala Avenue, right across the beach, this four-bedroom stunner boasts the finest luxury amenities that you can imagine. A natural stone waterfall, water features with remote control, a beautiful flagstone patio deck, Ipe wooden deck, a media room and exotic tropical landscaping -- you'll feel like you're on permanent vacation.

    See inside this property.
    See more Honolulu 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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    If this is what the housing bottom looks like, what's all the fuss about?

    One very cheeky real estate agent in Australia has posted a video house tour that rivals most cologne commercials in both production value and sheer irreverence. The scene is set in 92 Savoy Drive, an ultra-luxe property where, the glossy video suggests, beautiful people vacation in the buff regularly. But it's not the home's sleek amenities or other aspects -- ahem -- that the camera captures again and again.

    Over the course of the 2½-minute vignette, we're guided by our bare-bottomed host through a series of beautifully mundane activities. He bids adieu to his languorous and also nude partner; he lifts weights, naked, in his impeccable personal gym (watch out for staph!); and finally hands off the keys to the abode to our well-dressed real estate agent. The kicker, of course, is that the home affords unrivaled privacy -- but we didn't catch that until the second or third viewing.

    The video was filmed by production company PlatinumHD, which is no stranger to the axiom "sex sells."

    "With 80 percent of home purchases influenced by women, this is one for the girls," the company writes on the video's description. (Warning: The unedited version is probably not safe for work, unless you work in the designer fragrance industry.) To see our PG-13 edit of this literal-minded take on "house porn," watch the video below.




















    Also see:
    Real Estate Videos Go Hollywood
    Bawdy Brokerage Solicits One-Night-Stand Stories
    Watch: Do Naked 'Davids' Raise Property Value?


    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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    open house sign'Tis the season to be closing. With many sellers calling it quits right around the end of the year, now's the time for savvy buyers to snap up some great deals. Add to that the fact that 30-year mortgage rates now hover below 4 percent and you have the makings for a perfect winter storm of great buying conditions. This week, we take you cross-country in search of some of the most interesting open houses this holiday season and beyond. So throw on your tackiest holiday sweater and join us on our last cyber sleigh ride of the year!



    San Diego



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 8
    Location: San Diego
    Price: $4.459 million
    Property details: A magnificent, Spanish-style estate with unobstructed panoramas over the Big Bay, downtown, distant mountain ranges, and the stunning whitecaps of Coronado's oceanfront. This six-bedroom home was designed in the 1930s by one of San Diego's finest architects, Frank L. Hope Sr., and boasts hardwood floors, authentic wrought-iron railings, hand-stenciled wood-beamed ceilings and artisan-crafted mahogany woodwork. A home filled with character, history and elegance that could be perfect for you -- provided you have about $4.5 million lying around.

    See inside this property.

    See more San Diego homes for sale

    Santa Fe, N.M.



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 25
    Location: Santa Fe., N.M.
    Price: $1.125 million
    Property details: Rarely do you find a contemporary that's both stunning yet understated. This pueblo-contemporary-style home designed by Beverly Spears in 1999 is situated on a 10-acre lot in Santa Fe's beautiful La Tierra Nueva. Surrounded by the Jemez and the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and with breathtaking nature views from every angle, this sprawling, 3,700-square-foot property is perfect for those who want to live in the great outdoors without living in the great outdoors.

    See inside this property.

    See more Santa Fe homes for sale.

    Denver



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 8
    Location: Denver
    Price: $419,900
    Property details: A slice of classic Denver that's the perfect mix of old and new. Midcentury character marries contemporary updates and impeccably-landscaped grounds, making this cozy, two-bedroom Cherry Street dwelling suitable for all tastes. Situated in the desirable neighborhood of Park Hill, in a spacious corner lot, and boasting a generous yard, this home is perfect for families with children.

    See inside this property.

    See more Denver homes for sale.

    Los Angeles



    Open house: Sun., Dec. 25 (Merry Christmas!)
    Location: Los Angeles
    Price: $1.315 million
    Property details: This isn't your run-of-the-mill California luxury home. Built in 1921, this gorgeous home boasts barrelled ceilings and original moldings, a Batchelder fireplace, and glossy hardwood floors throughout. The unique three-bedroom home also boasts exceptional square footage -- 2,661 square feet, with a spacious living room, a guesthouse and a glistening swimming pool perfect for those lazy California summers.

    See inside this property
    .
    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.

    Princeton, N.J.



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 8
    Location: Plainsbore, N.J.
    Price: $371,000
    Property description: If you love huge, light-filled, museum-like spaces, then this house is perfect for you. The spacious home features soaring cathedral ceilings with generous skylights, allowing ample natural light to flood the simple yet beautiful home. The two-bedroom, three-bathroom home is situated on tree-lined Sayre Drive, on a quiet, private lot.

    See inside this property.

    See more Plainsboro homes for sale.


    Washington, D.C.



    Open House: Sun., Jan. 1
    Location: Washington, D.C.
    Price: $674,000
    Property description: Perfect for young couples and creatives, this artsy, stylish and spacious space at The Warehouses in Union Row is situated smack in the middle of all the action. Surrounded by restaurants, retail and theaters in the new U Street, the two-bedroom unit is perfect for those who love the nightlife. Location aside, the space is a dream: flooded with natural light, high-end Soho finishes, lofty ceilings, oversize windows, steel railings, maple floors, granite counters ... need we say more?

    See inside this property.
    See more Washington homes for sale.

    Miami



    Open house: Wed., Dec. 28
    Location: Miami
    Price: $389,000
    Property description: Not your typical Miami manse; instead, a 1,574-square-foot art deco gem that's fully renovated, with character to boot. The three-bedroom home in Miami Shores boasts volume ceilings, a bright floor plan and gorgeous white wood cabinetry. You can relax on your private covered patio while the kids play in the spacious backyard and the hubby plays golf at the nearby club.

    See inside this property.

    See more Miami homes for sale.

    Austin



    Open house: Fri., Dec. 23
    Location: Austin
    Price: $414,990
    Property description: A Texas dream featuring vaulted ceilings and a gorgeous rotunda central to the home. Cozy up by the corner fireplace in the family room, or work it out in your very own exercise room off the sprawling master bath. The house spreads beautifully over 3,058 square feet and is perfect for big families.

    See inside this property.

    See more Austin 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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    Where better to house the combined star power of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, than in their soon-to-be finished 22,000-square-foot monster mansion?

    Tom Brady Gisele BundchenWell, in this A-list couple's estimation, nowhere -- which is why they began construction on the Brentwood, Calif., home a year and a half ago. And now, the Boston Herald reports, their expansive estate is nearly finished.

    The palatial property will include eight bedrooms, a six-car garage, a nursery, butler's quarters, and a covered bridge that will connect the two far-reaching wings of the estate. All told, The Boston Herald reports, the project cost an estimated $20 million to build -- and that doesn't include an additional $11 million for the 3.75 acres of pristine Brentwood land they had to purchase.

    Just to give readers a sense of scale here, homes in the pricey city of San Francisco average 1,475 square feet, according to real estate records company Property Shark. Brady-Bundchen's home could accommodate nearly 15 San Francisco dwellings, with room enough for a New York closet-apartment.

    For an aerial view of the custom-built colossus (the only way to really capture the scope), watch the video below.



    See other homes for sale in Brentwood, Calif., and other celebrity real estate on AOL Real Estate.

    Also see:
    Celebrity Homes in the Heights of Luxury (GALLERY)
    Alec Baldwin Sells Central Park West Apartment
    Iconic 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' Brownstone Hits the Market

    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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    You may recall the story of Vinia Hall, the 103-year-old Atlanta woman who faced eviction on her family home of 53 years in November. She was all but resigned to join the estimated 800,000 homeowners facing lender repossession by the year's end.

    But when sheriff's deputies arrived at the residence and found the centenarian living with her 84-year-old daughter, Kathelyn Cornelius, they refused to evict the pair, buying the family some much needed time.

    Now, just one month later, not only will the family be allowed to stay in the home, but a public outpouring of support from as far away as Afghanistan is reaching their doorstep, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    After attracting national media coverage and an online petition with over 33,000 signatures in support of the Halls, JPMorgan Chase, the mortgage holder, came to terms on a repayment plan that allows the family to stay in the home.

    (Story continues below)

    The family first got into trouble in 2002, when Hall's grandson, Ali Muhammad, took out a second mortgage on the home under his name, the Journal-Constitution reports. By 2009 the payments had become unmanageable, and the home fell into foreclosure.

    Even after news of the family's settlement with the lender emerged, well-wishers continued to show their support for the family. Just in time for the New Year, Houston-based mattress company, Mattress Firm, arrived at the residence with $6,000 in bedding and a $600 money order from company employees.

    "I appreciate it so much," Hall told the Journal Constitution. "I'm getting too much. I'm going to keep on living."

    A similar outcome was reached for Texana Hollis, a 101-year-old Detroit woman who lost her home, much like Hall did, after an imprudent mortgage was taken out by a relative. After a groundswell of support, she too was given her home back.

    But with more than 600,000 foreclosure filings in the third quarter of this year, these cases remain an exception to the rule. The foreclosure crisis has claimed the homes of an estimated 2.7 million homeowners between 2004 and 2008, while another 3.6 million are at serious risk of default.

    See also:
    Delaying Foreclosure, Some Owners Stay Put for Years
    2011 In Real Estate: The Top 11 News Stories

     

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    open houses of the weekThere'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.

    Kick off the new year with a bang, as we crisscross the country in search of some of the most interesting open houses around. From a modern marvel in Miami to a sprawling mansion near Minneapolis, we skim the cream of the crop in our first feature of the year. Come along for the ride!



    Open Houses for Jan. 7-8


    Ann Arbor, Mich.



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 8
    Location: Ann Arbor
    Price: $435,000
    Property details: Nestled among vibrant perennial gardens at the end of a scenic tree-lined lane, this delightfully quaint four-bedroom home is straight out of a classic storybook. The charming house has glossy hardwood floors, a spacious living room with wood-burning fireplace, a regal formal dining room, and a unique circular sun room with slate flooring and panoramic views of a landscaped backyard and its gorgeous mature trees.

    See inside this property.

    See more Ann Arbor homes for sale.

    Atlanta



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 8
    Location: Atlanta
    Price: $950,000
    Property details: You can enjoy the classic beauty of this traditional, "clean-lined" Americana architecture with all the contemporary trimmings in this picturesque Sagamore Hills home, located on a sprawling 1.3 acre lot. The open floor plan features five bedrooms and spacious living areas, including a stunning great room and a formal living room with fireplaces, a gourmet chef's kitchen, a wet bar and wine fridge, and generous children's suites.

    See inside this property.


    See more Atlanta homes for sale.

    Boston



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 8
    Location: Boston
    Price: $619,000
    Property details: A colorful, two-bedroom home filled with character in a renovated brownstone that's perfect for couples or small families. The upper level's spacious open layout has gleaming hardwood floors, and a state-of-the-art kitchen with granite countertops and a breakfast bar. On its lower level are marble floors and spacious bedrooms. There are plenty of places to relax, including a generous living room with wood-burning fireplace, a stunning private rear deck and sunken patio -- or in that lovely Jacuzzi tub. This wistfully romantic, beautifully-redone, four-bedroom brick home on Lover's Lane is perfect for twosomes; with its pair of balconies, antique chandeliers and cozy, rustic detailing throughout, this home is an homage to old New England beauty.

    See inside this property.


    See more Boston homes for sale.

    Des Moines, Iowa



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 8
    Location: Des Moines, Iowa
    Price: $260,000
    Property details: This two-story brick beauty in the idyllic Waterbury neighborhood is the epitome of classic, understated Des Moines style. Rolling green lawns, gardens and leafy shade trees offer delightful views from your porch, where you'll find yourself easily thinking that you're living in the picturesque countryside. The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home includes a stunning fireplace, elegant natural woodwork and solid hardwood floors throughout.

    See inside this property.


    See more Des Moines homes for sale.

    Edina, Minn.



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 8
    Location: Edina, Minn.
    Price: $1.975 million
    Property description: This sprawling mansion features timeless architectural craftsmanship on the outside, and luxurious, state-of-the-art 21st century amenities inside. Redefining the art of "row house" living, this custom-built home offers an English-style courtyard and the shops at 50th and France. Perfect for house hunters looking for move-in ready features with Old World charm.

    See inside this property.


    See more homes for sale near Edina.

    Miami



    Open House: Tues., Jan. 10
    Location: Miami
    Price: $5.495 million
    Property description: This award-winning, four-bedroom, waterfront contemporary offers wide, unobstructed bay views from almost every room. It's luxury manifested -- with floor-to-ceiling windows, a heated infinity pool, elevators to all three floors, rooftop terraces and a boat dock with a large boat slip and lift. Need we say more?


    See inside this property.


    See more Miami homes for sale.

    San Francisco



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 8
    Location: San Francisco
    Price: $3.3 million
    Property description: This beautifully-renovated corner home on Liberty Hill was designed to capture the eastern, southern and western lights. Make this stunning mansion your home and enjoy daily, unobstructed views of the bay, hills and valley from your south-facing view garden and deck (cocktail in hand, perhaps?). Cook up a storm in your high-end chef's kitchen decked out with Gaggenau appliances, catch a movie or two in your massive media room, or simply relax with a glass of wine by the fireplace. Yes, this home truly has something for everyone.

    See inside this property.

    See more San Francisco homes for sale.

    Oro Valley, Ariz.



    Open house: Fri.-Sat., Jan. 6-7
    Location: Oro Valley, Ariz.
    Price: $795,000
    Property description: Enjoy quiet privacy coupled with stunning panoramas of city lights and five mountain ranges from this captivating 3.97-acre retreat at the end of a remote cul-de-sac. This glamorous yet refreshingly intimate four-bedroom hilltop home features polished and scored concrete floors, a designer chef's kitchen with stainless steel commercial appliances, and a luxurious pool and hot tub that can be accessed from a lavish master suite.

    See inside this property.


    See more homes for sale in the Oro Valley area.


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    marijuana growers reche canyonIn a scene straight out of the stoner flick "Pineapple Express," firefighters in California's Riverside County discovered a massive pot-grow operation in a burning, vacant home on Friday.

    Located in the unincorporated area of Reche Canyon, the large rural home lit up soon after midnight and took firefighters three hours to extinguish, ABC News-Los Angeles reports. No one was found in the home and no injuries were reported.

    When the blaze finally was out, authorities entered the 4,000-square-foot home to discover that nearly three-quarters of the first floor was being used to grow the illicit plant. Most of the marijuana was destroyed by the flames.

    Police are still investigating the cause of the fire, but said that squatters may have had something to do with it, especially since the house has long sat vacant.



    The incident is the latest in what some experts call a budding trend: The vast inventory of foreclosures and otherwise vacant homes in states hit hard by the housing crisis are proving fertile ground for marijuana grow operations.

    Think we're blowing smoke? In Nevada, which suffered greatly from a run-up in speculative buying during the housing bubble, the discovery of pot-grow homes has risen dramatically. In 2005, when prices were still on a meteoric rise, there were 18 reported pot sites and 1,000 confiscated plants in the state, the Los Angeles Times reported. In 2010, there were 153 recorded grow operations and 13,000 plants found.

    With an enormous surge in foreclosures in states like Nevada, Florida and Arizona, vacant homes and urban blight are not far behind. When bank-owned homes fail to sell at foreclosure, vandals and squatters can run amok. As these foreclosures languish on the market, neighboring homes suffer from property value declines, exacerbating sellers' problems in an already stagnant market.

    As a proposed stopgap, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke uncharacteristically weighed in on the issue of vacant homes this week by suggestion that more foreclosures be converted into rental properties. That way, the thinking goes, at least lenders recoup some of their losses and prevent further damage to the properties by vandals and -- possibly -- illicit-drug farmers.

    Also see:
    Squatters Claim $2.7 Million Texas Mansion

    Vacant House Targeted by Squatters, Scammers and Thieves
    Realtors' Latest Challenge: A Surge of Squatters


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    open houses of the weekThere'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 have a little something for everyone. From million-dollar coastal getaways to affordable age-qualified communities, we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most diverse open houses in the nation. So wipe your feet at the door and walk right in.




    Open Houses for Jan. 13-15


    Miami



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 15
    Location: Miami
    Price: $10 million
    Property details: This tropical-modern mansion overlooking Biscayne Bay is Miami luxury at its finest. Filled with original keystone and mahogany details, the Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced design blends seamlessly into the home's lush, palm studded landscape. You can enjoy stunning waterfront panoramas from every vantage point thanks to generous windows, breezy patios and spacious outdoor entertaining areas. This five-bedroom, five-bathroom home also boasts a private dock, perfect for the anglers among you.

    See inside this property.

    See more Miami homes for sale.

    Portland



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 15
    Location: Portland
    Price: $875,000
    Property details: If you're looking for a home that's anything but traditional or cookie-cutter, then this rare four-bedroom residence on North Holloway Drive may be perfect for you. With soaring 10-foot ceilings, glossy hardwood floors, and beautiful wood detailing throughout, this home has character and craftsmanship to boot. Huge windows flood the entire home with light, but if you prefer direct sunlight you can always go outdoors and relax on your own private patio, nestled among fir trees.

    See inside this property.


    See more Portland homes for sale.

    Austin



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 15
    Location: Austin
    Price: $889,900
    Property details: This beautiful home right on Lake Austin is perfect for those who love the great outdoors. You get stunning views of lush Texan greenery no matter where you are in the house (even your backyard pool is nestled among towering trees), flawless landscaped gardens throughout the grounds, and stunning sunset views over Austin. If you're more of the indoors type, that's OK too -- with marble floors, dripping chandeliers, fireplaces, a state-of-the-art kitchen and five massive bedrooms sprawled over 4,100 square feet, there's no need to leave the house, anyway.

    See inside this property.


    See more Austin homes for sale.

    Denver



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 15
    Location: Denver
    Price: $1.495 million
    Property details: This Humboldt Island beauty exudes historic grandeur that simply cannot be found in newly-built Denver homes. The stately Denver Square has maintained all of its turn-of-the-century historic integrity, including a dumbwaiter (which is a fun and convenient way to bring the groceries up from the garage!), fireplaces and a great room that was originally part of the home's ballroom in 1916. Though it's been updated with modern touches -- new bathrooms, a new kitchen and new plumbing -- all its original hardware is still intact, including original stained glass windows and antique mirrors.

    See inside this property
    .


    See more Denver homes for sale.

    Sun City Center, Fla.



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 15
    Location: Sun City Center
    Price: $210,000
    Property description: This gorgeous three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the age-restricted Caloosa County Club Estates boasts a sprawling 2,069 square feet of air-conditioned living space. The home isn't just a pretty face, though, it comes with tough, cataclysm-proof features! Hurricane film covers all the windows, a sturdy Tradewinds-model roof, and screened, enclosed lanais that provide al fresco-like entertaining even in bad weather -- which, in Sun City, is next to never. And for retirees looking for more modest accommodations, the community has plenty of homes for less than $50,000.

    See inside this property.

    See more Sun City Center homes.

    Chicago



    Open House: Sun., Jan. 15
    Location: Chicago
    Price: $1.995 million
    Property description: This property is a far cry from all the generic, vanilla-colored condos cropping up all over Chicago these days. This home is filled with character and unique details like coffered ceilings, herringbone masonry, fireplaces and exquisite maple doors. The beautiful three-bedroom, two-bathroom home also boasts 12-foot-high vaulted ceilings, a sauna and wine cellar, a spacious roof deck and a huge, sunken family room.


    See inside this property.


    See more Chicago homes for sale.

    San Francisco



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 15
    Location: San Francisco
    Price: $599,000
    Property description: This is a California one-bedroom condo with a difference! Located in a premier Art Deco building on Powell Street, the property has 1,427 square feet of space that includes a formal dining room, a generous living room and wonderful period details. What we love most about this airy, light-filled condominium? Its location. It's a stone's throw from downtown, Union Square and the trendiest shops and restaurants in San Francisco.

    See inside this property.

    See more San Francisco homes for sale.

    Atlanta



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 15
    Location: Atlanta
    Price: $1.85 million
    Property description: This immaculate home stretches across two private acres and is perfect for entertaining. With a huge pool and spa, resurfaced tennis court with lights, huge level play area, garden, and even a patio with an outdoor kitchen, this stunning six-bedroom property is perfect for big, fun parties. If you'd prefer a quiet night in, that's fine too -- the home features a fireplace and a gorgeous great room with soaring, 24-foot ceilings.

    See inside this property.


    See more Atlanta homes for sale.


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    Finds homes for rent in your area

     

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    open housesThere'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 gorgeous Tudor just minutes from Manhattan, to a "Fantasy Island"-inspired Mediterranean overlooking the bay, 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. 13-15


    Coral Gables, Fla.



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 22
    Location: Coral Gables, Fla.
    Price: $13.475 million
    Property details: This majestic waterfront estate situated on Biscayne Bay is nothing short of a Mediterranean masterpiece. Boasting over 15,000 square feet, the seven-bedroom property features soaring ceilings, a gorgeous porte-cochere entrance and a foyer with incredible ocean views. Plus, with a private elevator, spacious bedrooms and living areas, a sauna and a whirlpool, this is Florida luxury at its finest.

    See inside this property.

    See more Miami-area homes for sale.

    New York



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 22
    Location: New York
    Price: $1.98 million
    Property details: If shiny, flashy contemporary homes aren't your thing and you prefer something classically beautiful, this could be the perfect home for you. This wonderfully traditional four-bedroom Tudor home, nestled in the prestigious Bayside Gables community in Queens, boasts hard-to-find antiquarian features such as fully-functional stone fireplaces, hardwood detailing and cathedral ceilings. If you fancy yourself a bit of a Nigella Lawson, you'll be pleased to know that the home boasts a traditional double oven set in a gorgeous brick arched wall. A rare find.

    See inside this property.


    See more New York City homes for sale.

    Los Angeles



    Open house: Tues., Jan. 24
    Location: Los Angeles
    Price: $7.95 million
    Property details: This spectacular Spanish contemporary overlooking downtown L.A. and the entire Los Angeles Basin is for those who prefer unabashed luxury. We're talking unashamed opulence, here: an infinity pool equipped with waterfalls and a water slide, and featuring stunning Pacific Ocean views, floor-to-ceiling windows, soaring beamed ceilings throughout and French doors leading to a large back patio. For those who won't accept any less than an A-list lifestyle.

    See inside this property.


    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.

    Stamford, Conn.



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 22
    Location: Stamford, Conn.
    Price: $1.305 million
    Property details: This sprawling, five-bedroom Colonial home in prestigious North Stamford boasts stately elegance. The stunning traditional American gem features four functional fireplaces, glossy hardwood floors and an ideal location among the trees. Plus, the home is also wheelchair-friendly, with a an elevator from the driveway, to handicap-friendly bedroom suites.

    See inside this property
    .


    See more Stamford homes for sale.

    Portland, Ore.



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 22
    Location: Portland, Ore.
    Price: $729,500
    Property description: Located in prestigious Irvington, highlights of this three-bedroom, two-story home include stunning craftsmanship, a broad front porch, a brand-new furnace, and refinished hardwood floors on both levels. Featuring a kitchen deck and a huge side yard, the home is perfect for families who love to entertain.

    See inside this property.

    See more Portland homes.

    Charlotte, N.C.



    Open House: Sun., Jan. 22
    Location: Charlotte, N.C.
    Price: $1.305 million
    Property description: This gorgeous Myers Park home may be beautifully renovated but it still retains the charm and character of the 1930s. With a majestic grand staircase, traditional wood-burning fireplaces, bay windows and bookshelves galore, you can enjoy modern luxury without sacrificing the feel of a classic home. Nine-foot-high ceilings finish off this rare five-bedroom beauty.


    See inside this property.

    See more Charlotte homes for sale.

    Richmond, Va.



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 22
    Location: Richmond, Va.
    Price: $650,000
    Property description: Located on a half-acre lot in the swimming and tennis community of Foxhall, this four-bedroom, four-bathroom gem is perfect for those with an eye for the finer details. With glossy hardwood floors, 9-foot-high ceilings, detailed moldings, arched doorways and brick and hardiplank detailing, this home is simply exquisite.

    See inside this property.

    See more Richmond homes for sale.

    Austin, Texas



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 22
    Location: Austin, Texas
    Price: $610,000
    Property description: Located on the 14th hole of the University of Texas Golf Club and overlooking the hills of west Austin, this beautiful four-bedroom home has authentic Texas flavor. Durango front doors open to a two-story entry that flows into the rest of the open home, with endlessly tall ceilings. The home showcases incredible walnut and Travertine flooring, and stunning built-in bookshelves in the main level study.

    See inside this property.


    See more Austin homes for sale.


    More great AOL Real Estate galleries:
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    %Gallery-138078%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
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    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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    open housesThere'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


    Atlanta



    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.

    See more Atlanta homes for sale.

    Madison, Wis.



    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.


    See more Madison homes for sale.

    Dallas



    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.

    See inside this property.

    See more Dallas homes for sale.

    Naples, Fla.



    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
    .


    See more Naples homes for sale.

    Plymouth, Minn.



    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.

    See inside this property.

    See more Plymouth, Minn., homes for sale

    Baltimore



    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.

    See inside this property.

    See more Baltimore homes for sale.

    Whitestone, N.Y.



    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.

    See inside this property.

    See more homes in New York City's Queens borough for sale.

    Los Angeles



    Open house: Sun., Jan. 29
    Location: Los Angeles
    Price: $99,000
    Property description: Speaking of deals 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.

    Read more about the listing at Curbed.

    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.


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    freddie macFreddie Mac, the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant, has placed multibillion-dollar bets that pay off if homeowners stay trapped in expensive mortgages with interest rates well above current rates.

    Freddie began increasing these bets dramatically in late 2010, the same time that the company was making it harder for homeowners to get out of such high-interest mortgages.

    Read the full story by ProPublica and NPR here.

    Also see:
    Freddie Mac Paid Gingrich Group $25,000 a Month
    States Mull $25 Billion Mortgage Settlement With Big Banks

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    Tracy Morgan foreclosure Tracy Morgan is no stranger to controversy, but it's not often that a comedian can count his mother among his biggest critics.

    The "30 Rock" funnyman is being accused of not helping to save his mother from foreclosure on her Ohio home, the New York Daily News reports.

    Morgan's mother, Alicia Warden, told the Daily News that she owes approximately $25,000 on her home. After an apparent spat with Warden, in which Morgan accused his mother of speaking with the media behind his back, she claims that he reneged on his offer to help with the mortgage. Instead, he is currently offering a $2,000 "one-shot deal," Warden told the paper.

    If Warden does not make a minimum payment toward the mortgage by Feb. 23, the lender will initiate foreclosure proceedings.

    "He's never been a nice person," Morgan's younger sister, Asia, told the Daily News. She described her brother as a "d--- bag," who has gotten worse with fame and fortune. Morgan is worth an estimated $18 million.

    Of course, Morgan's off-screen behavior is regular grist for the gossip mill, so much so that it's melded with that of his Tracy Jordan character on "30 Rock." Less than two weeks ago, Morgan passed out at a Sundance Festival awards ceremony shortly after giving what some called an incoherent acceptance speech, reported TMZ.

    Neither drugs nor alcohol were found in Morgan's system, and a spokesman for him claimed that it was high altitude and fatigue that caused the spell, the San Francisco Chronicle said.

    Last summer, Morgan was asked to apologize by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, when he said during a standup routine that he would stab his son to death if he was gay. Morgan issued the apology, and the topic was lampooned in a recent episode of "30 Rock."

    When, if ever, this episode in Morgan's real-life family drama becomes sitcom fodder remains to be seen.

    Also see:
    Songwriter Denise Rich Lists New York's Most Expensive Co-op

    Chef Gordon Ramsay Bites on $6.75 Million Bel-Air Home

    Joe Montana Drops Home Price by $14 Million

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    Super Bowl open houseIt may be Super Bowl weekend, but for diehard real estate hounds, it's also prime open house season. As the temperatures drop and some sellers call it quits, committed house hunters have first dibs on the homes still on the market -- and there are some real beauties out there.

    From a breathtaking Mediterranean with a saltwater pool, to a tropical oasis in the middle of suburbia, 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 Feb. 4-5


    Los Angeles



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 5
    Location: Los Angeles
    Price: $2.95 million
    Property details: Who needs football when there are stunning homes like this to tour on game day? This Mediterranean-style five-bedroom looker was featured on the cover of "Secret Gardens of Hollywood and Private Oases in Los Angeles," and boasts such elegant features as a saltwater pool, architectural iron work and French doors throughout its brilliantly lit interior. Click the listing below to see what all the fuss is about.

    See inside this property.

    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.

    Austin, Texas



    Open house: Sat., Feb. 4
    Location: Austin, Texas
    Price: $550,000
    Property details: The Lone Star State does everything bigger, and Super Bowl parties are no exception. That's why this behemoth 4,000-plus square-foot home is going to be open to the public the day before the big game. That way, a year from now, when you're hosting your own Super Bowl party from this five-bedroom stunner, you can brag to guests (from the built-in wet bar, of course) about how you snagged your dream house on Super Bowl weekend but didn't miss a minute of the action.

    See inside this property.


    See more Austin homes for sale.

    Fort Myers, Fla.



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 5
    Location: Fort Myers, Fla.
    Price: $1.245 million
    Property details: You can enjoy spectacular lake views from this estate home located in the private gated community of Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club. The stunning residence boasts 4,891 square feet of living space with formal dining and living rooms, two master bedroom suites, two guest bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths, and a family room with full service bar and dual fireplace. Plus, you get an expansive lanai area with a custom heated pool and spa with waterfall. Talk about luxury!

    See inside this property.

    See more Fort Myers homes for sale.

    Short Hills, N.J.



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 5
    Location: Short Hills, N.J.
    Price: $669,000
    Property details: New Jersey football fans have a lot at stake this Super Bowl Sunday. The Giants' helmets might say "New York," but just about everything else about the team is Garden State, through and through. Which is precisely why hosting an open house in this rustic three-bedroom on Super Bowl Sunday is such a gutsy move. But when your house has charm to spare, why not go for the Hail Mary play? Besides, the tour runs from noon to 4 p.m., giving Big Blue fans plenty of time to make it home by kickoff.

    See inside this property.


    See more Short Hills homes for sale.

    Wellesley, Mass.



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 5
    Location: Wellesley, Mass
    Price: $2.285 million
    Property description: This exquisite Tudor home in Wellesley Farms is the fusion of traditional aesthetics with contemporary comfort. Boasting a generous, skylit family room with gas fireplace, a natural wood library and a wonderfully bright chef's kitchen filled with state-of-the-art appliances, this home seamlessly blends the classic with the modern.

    See inside this property.

    See more Wellesley homes for sale

    Washington, D.C.



    Open House: Sat.-Sun., Feb. 4-5
    Location: Washington
    Price: $3.190 million
    Property description: This chic, Georgetown-style apartment is located in the prestigious community of Kalorama. Though it boasts a grand 1905 Victorian structure and gorgeous classic fireplaces, the five-bedroom, five bathroom home features all the latest luxury amenities -- including a private elevator! Our favorite feature? A custom spiral stairway leading to a fabulous roof deck, framed with tempered glass, and affording 360-degree views of D.C.

    See inside this property.

    See more Washington homes for sale


    Mechanicsville, Pa.



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 5
    Location: Mechanicsville, Pa.
    Price: $1.599 million
    Property description: This beautiful Pennsylvania home is located in the prestigious Stoneymead Enclave of estate homes. The unique five-bedroom, seven-bathroom residence boast a two-story family room with stone fireplaces, coffered ceilings and a wall of windows. A curved staircase flanks the living room, spacious dining room and gorgeous sun-filled morning room.

    See inside this property.

    See more Mechanicsville homes for sale.

    Honolulu

    honolulu real estate

    Open house: Sun., Feb. 5
    Location: Honolulu
    Price: $3.395 million
    Property description: This classic Kama'aina estate boasts modern contemporary spirit and flair with its new chef's kitchen, soaring ceilings and gracious open floor plan. The home also boasts lush tropical gardens, and a poolside cabana (with wet bar!), creating a truly magical oasis for relaxed island entertaining. Best of all? Beach access close by.

    See inside this property.

    See more Honolulu homes for sale.


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    On the eve of the Nevada primary, in which housing policy will weigh heavily on residents of the foreclosure-ridden state, PBS' "Need to Know" takes a closer look at what the housing crisis looks and feels like for locals. In the video special below, which airs in full at 8:30 p.m. EST tonight, the "Need to Know" team explores the pitfalls of trying to attain a mortgage modification. Claims about lenders who require borrowers to become delinquent before they can help them are legion, and "Need to Know" speaks with a Nevada woman whose story echoes the frustration of thousands of underwater homeowners. Watch a clip from the show below.


     

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    Rumors of Arthur Livingston's demise have been greatly exaggerated -- and they're taking a toll on the South Carolina man's credit rating.

    Bank of America, Livingston's bank of choice for the past 14 years, mistakenly declared him dead to the three major credit bureaus in May 2009, TV station WIS in Columbia, S.C., reports. As a result, Livingston has been stonewalled by lenders -- who refuse to loan money to the deceased -- and his dream of building a new home stymied by a 2½-year-old error.

    Livingston said Bank of America promised to resolve the issue within 30 days of his complaint. It's been more than three months now and the problem has yet to be resolved, he told WIS.

    "I spend every free minute I have either sending a message, calling, faxing or just, you know, wondering if it is going to be resolved today," he told the station.

    While Livingston's case is an extreme example, credit report errors are a very common -- and costly -- problem for Americans looking for a line of credit.

    According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, one in four reports can have an error serious enough to hurt one's chances of getting new credit. This is especially troublesome for prospective homebuyers today as mortgage lenders have, since the housing bubble burst, drastically raised the bar on qualifying for a loan.

    Tips to Avoid a Costly Credit Report Error

    The most basic step to protecting your credit score is regularly checking in with the three major credit bureaus. And contrary to a slew of popular commercials claiming to provide free credit reports, the only federally endorsed credit reporting site out there is annualcreditreport.com.

    Once an error is identified, be prepared to maneuver through an entirely different bureaucracy. "Thousands of [dispute] letters get thrown out," Glamis Haro, a lending manager at a New York credit union, told AOL Real Estate.

    To ensure that your complaint isn't lost to the void, Haro suggests sending any correspondence with the credit bureaus by certified mail with a return receipt request.

    Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the bureaus are required to respond to your complaint within 30 days of receipt.

    In Livingston's case, however, because Bank of America has yet to correct the error on their end, his options remain limited. Bank of America told WIS that the issue is under investigation, but resolution has yet to be reached.

    See also:
    How to Dispute Credit Report Errors
    Bank of America Plaza to Sell at Foreclosure Auction

    80 Cent 'Typo' Almost Cost Man Home


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    Open housesWith Valentine's Day just around the corner, what better way to get in the mood than with some completely gratuitous house porn? You might not be in the neighborhood (or tax bracket) for many of these open houses, but there's plenty to love in these big, beautiful homes -- even from the comfort of your swivel chair.

    From a regal Tudor-style mansion in Tinseltown, to a Greek-inspired palace fit for a demigod, we lay down the welcome mat at some of the most enticing open houses in the nation. So wipe your feet at the door and scroll right on through.


    Open Houses for Feb. 10-12


    Los Angeles



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 12
    Location: Los Angeles
    Price: $7.750 million
    Property details: Just like your true love, this spectacular property is one of a kind. We're talking unobstructed views over the legendary Wilshire Country Club and golf course, multiple outdoor terraces and patios, serene fountains and gardens. It also features six spacious bedrooms, six full bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen and a roomy wine cellar that would make any oenophile proud. This resort-style residence is so luxuriously romantic with its breathtaking panoramas and graceful, wood-carved fireplaces that you and your sweetheart will feel like it's Valentine's Day every day.

    See inside this property.

    See more Los Angeles homes for sale.

    Lago Vista, Texas



    Open house: Sat., Feb. 11 - Sun., Feb. 12
    Location: Lago Vista, Texas
    Price: $3.350 million
    Property details: This stunning home is for the romantic in all of us -- just look at the view from that stunning infinity pool. No doubt, with incredible panoramic views over Lake Travis, its prime location by a deep-water cove and its beautiful koi pond, this home will make you feel like you're on a lover's getaway every day. The 9,240 square foot beauty also features five spacious bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a media room and a wet bar. Though we suspect you and your sweetheart will spend most of your time snuggling by the wood-burning fireplace.


    See inside this property.

    See more homes near Lago Vista for sale.

    Coral Gables, Fla.



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 12
    Location: Coral Gables, Fla.
    Price: $8.495 million
    Property details: With fireplaces, a wine cellar and stunning views, this home is Valentine's Day-ready all year-round. This beautiful, seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom home boasts over $1 million in electronics, including surround sound, security cameras, and Creston lighting. Not a tech fiend? No worries. The sprawling, 8,735-square-foot home also boasts double-volume ceilings, marble and wood floors, stunning chandeliers throughout and a spectacular pool and patio area, where you can soak up some of that blissful Florida sun.

    See inside this property.

    See more Coral Gables homes for sale.

    Greenwood, Minn.



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 12
    Location: Greenwood, Minn.
    Price: $1.849 million
    Property details: We love this fairy-tale cottage in Greenwood, perfect for beach picnics, romantic boat rides and seashore snuggles. The charming, two-story cottage-style love nest boasts 280-plus-feet of remarkable sandy-beach shoreline overlooking St. Alban's Bay, in addition to an incredible boathouse. If you're more of an indoor person, that's OK, too -- the 4,477-square-foot, four-bedroom home has gorgeous views over the water from almost every angle.

    See inside this property.


    See more Greenwood homes for sale.

    Atlanta



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 12
    Location: Atlanta
    Price: $1.250 million
    Property description: This stately home is right out of a romance novel. With classic antique decor, beautiful hanging chandeliers, stunning wooden staircases and fireplaces, it's truly something special. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom home is also located on a quiet, leafy cul-de-sac for the utmost privacy.

    See inside this property.

    See more Atlanta homes for sale

    Los Angeles



    Open House: Sun., Feb. 12
    Location: Los Angeles
    Price: $10.75 million
    Property description: This photogenic home in the West Hollywood Hills is for all the Brangelinas and the Tomkats out there. Set high on its own secluded promontory with panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills, canyons, city, and also the San Fernando Valley, this 13,100-square-foot home -- named Castillo del Angels (or "Castle for Angels") is strictly for the A-List's lovers. The home features eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and a stunning swimming pool.

    See inside this property.

    See more Los Angeles homes for sale


    Little Neck, N.Y.



    Open house: Sun., Feb. 12
    Location: Little Neck, N.Y.
    Price: $999,000
    Property description:
    This beautiful Colonial-style home on wonderfully leafy 57th Avenue has love written all over it. From its cozy fireplaces to its stunning tree-fringed views and spas, it's a two-story lover's paradise. It's also a spacious 5,368 square feet, featuring four bedrooms, three bathrooms and generous living areas. A perfect home for entertaining many -- or just two. Whatever tickles your fancy.

    See inside this property.

    See more Little Neck homes for sale.

    Boise, Idaho



    Open house: Sat., Feb. 11
    Location:
    Boise
    Price: $989,000
    Property description:
    This beautiful Boise corner apartment is perfect for impressing that special someone. With stunning foothill views and a spacious, east-facing balcony (perfect for enjoying an al fresco, home-cooked meal) you're sure to win over that special lady (or man!). Inside, you can enjoy radiant floor heating, and nearby is a beautiful park and cafe. No doubt, this cozy two-bedroom, two-bathroom beauty makes the perfect love nest.

    See inside this property.

    See more Boise homes for sale.


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    shit real estate agents sayAfter the breakout success of "Sh*t Girls Say" on YouTube, just about every group under the sun has been skewered in the popular fill-in-the-blank series. But with over a million registered Realtors in the U.S., where's the self-deprecating sendup for real estate agents? Well, thanks to agents Brian Copeland and Maura Neill there's finally a comprehensive place to find all your favorite Realtor cliches. From "It's a great market for sellers" to "It's not dated, it's retro," the duo run down some of the most cringe-worthy quotes.

    Highlight of the video: Brian gushing over an ad-lib inspired listing that squeezes "appointed," "discerning" and "laminate" in the same sentence. (A tip of the hat to our friends at Curbed for finding this gem.)





    Just don't laugh too hard at the pair's convincingly manic performance -- real estate agents are hurting from the housing slump, too. The median income for Realtors fell to $34,100 in 2010, down from $35,700 in 2009, according to the latest National Association of Realtors member survey. Three-quarters of its members also reported receiving no benefits from their firm. Something to keep in mind the next time your agent gives you the hard sales pitch.

    See also:
    First Time Buyers: How to Choose a Realtor
    Don't Be Surprised by Costs of Homeownership

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