For most people, the goals in life boil down to a functional car, a stable job, some savings in the bank and a small home, whether apartment, house or whatever else, to call their own. Depending on where you live and what you’re into, these may be difficult or nearly unattainable.
Stable jobs that pay well are rare but “good salary” is a subjective phrase, and as many financial experts will tell you: it’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep when it comes to money. The functional car is pretty much up to the owner of the vehicle, and savings in the bank, well that’s up to one’s diligence and smart money management. The house is where many people get out of hand. Years ago, banks in the U.S. were giving housing loans to everyone (regardless of job status and other important variables) and when the economy went to the crapper, partially because of this phenomenon, banking regulations were tightened up. With all that said, real estate is still pretty affordable throughout most of the United States, while in Canada, the prices are somewhat ridiculous. Whether you want to buy for yourself or to rent and earn some income, one must be prepared to drop a lot of cash.
But speaking of houses, most people settle. By settle, I mean accept that their dream house is financially unattainable and just take a decently built shack that will house themselves, the kids and the in-laws every now and again. Making a mind-blowing amount of money can solve this however, and allow a person more freedom. Here are ten houses for which owners certainly did not settle.
10. The Manor – California
Designed for television legend Aaron Spelling back in the late 1980’s, this mansion is the biggest in Los Angeles. The French-style home features more than 120 rooms, including a bowling alley, a library, and of course a kitchen that can cook for nearly 1,000 people. Of course there are also several bars and a full size quarters for the entire staff. When Spelling died back in 2006, the house sat on the market for two years before being purchased by Petra Stunt, the daughter of Bernie Ecclestone, the man in charge of Formula One racing.
9. The Promised Land – California
Nickname me Captain Obvious for this statement, but Oprah Winfrey has a beautiful home. She named it “The Promised Land” to honour the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, who once spoke of a “promised land” the day before his death. Situated in Montecito, California, it was built on some of the most beautiful natural land in the United States. Oprah apparently paid about $52 million for it, and while she owns multiple houses, she calls it her home.
Obviously there is a guesthouse, a pool and tennis courts, but the house is also dotted with fourteen bathrooms, just in case she wants one, plus a backup for each day of the week. The property also has two theaters and a man-made lake.
8. Maison De L’Amitie – Palm Beach
This beautiful property was owned by Donald Trump until 2008, when he sold it to Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev. Rybolovlev is worth roughly $9 billion, having made much of his fortune in potash mining.
If you want extravagant, just look for anything Trump has ever put his name on. The house features plenty of gold and diamond fixtures throughout (because of Trump) and also a massive garage that has been said to be able to hold fifty cars with room to spare. If you’re not jealous yet, there are also pools and fountains everywhere. It is also situated on the ocean. Rybolovlev bought it for just under $100 million back in 2008.
7. Xanadu 2.0 – Seattle
If the richest man in the world didn’t have a spot on this list, it wouldn’t be much of a list now would it? Xanadu 2.0 is Bill Gates’ estate just outside of Seattle, Washington. The house is built into the landscape which helps regulate its temperature. Impressed yet? Well if not, he has a separate building for the pool, which has its own underwater sound system, six kitchens, 24 bathrooms and a library. He reportedly paid over $120 million for the house, and his guests can automatically control the temperature of each room as they enter.
6. Ellison Estate – California
The home of Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corporation, another of the world’s most massive tech companies, owns a stunning property in Woodside, California. The ten buildings are of Japanese style, and the landscape features a man-made lake and a koi pond. It costs around $200 million to construct, which really isn’t too much of a problem for a man worth about $50 billion.
He also spent just over $100 million on a beautiful lakefront property on Lake Tahoe. He also bought a pair of equestrian properties near Woodside for a total of $23 million, and later sold for a $4 million loss, at which he did not shed a tear.
5. Four Fairfield Pond – New York
This estate is owned by Ira Rennert, the New York based investor and industrial leader whose personal wealth is estimated at around $6 billion. His neighbors were infuriated by the building of this property, but he pretty much just shook it off. The home itself is among the largest in the United States, and features 39 bathrooms and 29 bedrooms. There is also a basketball court, tennis courts, squash courts and of course a bowling alley. Given that he is in his 80’s now, it is hard to say whether Rennert can still dunk, however. The home has an estimated worth of around $200 million.
4. Villa Leopolda – Cote D’Azur
This incredible property in southern France was built in the late 1920’s on land that was once owned by King Leopold of Belgium. It has had a few owners over the past century, but is currently in the possession of Lily Safra, a woman worth just over $1 billion who inherited the property from her husband, the late banker Edmond Safra.
The villa is listed among the most expensive houses in the world. There are eleven bedrooms and more bathrooms, along with balconies everywhere and beautiful pools, if the Mediterranean Sea isn’t good enough for you. A Russian businessman, Mikhail Prokhorov, tried to buy the estate but bailed during the 2008 recession, giving up his $39,000,000 deposit, which Safra donated to various charities.
3. Hearst Mansion – California
American newspaper entrepreneur William Randolph Hearst, had a castle built in San Simeon, California, that is now a historical landmark in the state. It is worth a look if you are in the area and want to see how an absurdly rich man lived decades ago. The mansion and castle are two different properties however, and Hearst himself moved to the mansion in his old age.
It is currently on the market for about $135 million. There are over 20 bedrooms and 30 bathrooms, and if you want a really great view for yourself, it is the house from the movie The Godfather.
2. Updown Court – England
Widely considered to be the most expensive home in the United Kingdom, Updown Court is a truly magnificent place live. There are two indoor pools, including one that is modeled after a Roman style bathhouse. The house has also been updated internally and has a temperature/lighting control similar to Bill Gates’ home. A massive garage is complimented by a heated marble driveway, and it has a helipad, along with several guest houses and a man-made lake. There are two dozen bedrooms, and a master suite that has its own pool. The house was for sale for six years between 2005 and 2011, after businessman Leslie Allen-Vercoe defaulted on the loan. To this day, it is unknown exactly who bought the property back in 2011, but it is known that he is an Indian businessman, and that he paid just 35 million pounds, about half its estimated value.
1. Antilla – Mumbai
Mukesh Ambani is the owner of Antilla, the most amazing home on the face of the Earth. He is the head of Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s most valuable company. Designed by an American firm and built by an Australian company, Antilla is estimated to be worth about $1 billion. It was completed in 2010, and has 27 floors. Much of the decorating is influenced by India, and much of the labor used in construction was Indian, but the family has received plenty of bad press for having build such an opulent home in a country known for having some of the most impoverished people on the planet.
None of the floors are alike and many feature vastly different designs and even materials, as the family wanted to such variation. There are many gardens on Antilla’s floors and a health level with a pool, spa and yoga studio, another floor with a movie theater and of course several floors for entertaining.
Anyone upset or confused by the fact that Buckingham Palace isn’t on this list, well, the homes on this list are private residences and belong to people who have earned their money. Buckingham Palace is technically a government building and the current members of the Windsor Family were merely born. So a “golf clap” for them, but there’s no reason for them to be here among people who contribute.
This feature originally appeared in The Richest.