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How Does Your Home Stack Up?


As they say, You can never be too rich or too thin.  Well, medical science is definitely disagreeing with that last part, but in this world, it seems that indeed, you simply cannot be too rich.  There is no end to the amount of possessions you can have, toys you can buy, upgrades you can get.

And when it comes to your private home, how much is too much?  Is there any end to the luxury and opulence that you can have for your own private home?

If you’re truly wondering about this question, it might interest you to find out about the most expensive homes in the U.S., and what it is that makes them worth such a hefty price tag.  Is it simply square footage, or the number of rooms?  Is it the size of the property itself?  Are there special, secret little gadgets and features to such homes that common folk have never heard about, much less experienced?

Forbes magazine compiles a list of expensive homes every year, and let’s us take a peek at where they are, who lives in them, and what are all those features that makes them worth their price tag.

Excess is best.

Would it surprise anyone to hear Donald Trump say, “Its just a fantastic piece of property.  The biggest site. The biggest oceanfront.  The best location in Palm Beach.  And Palm Beach is the richest community in the world,”?  Probably not.  Donald Trump is known for his excess, in his spending, his appearance, his wives, and especially his real estate.  So it should also come as no surprise that Trump’s Florida property, currently up for sale, was tops on the list of America’s most expensive homes.  The French Regency-style estate, which is undergoing the final stages of a massive renovation, includes 475 feet of waterfront, an 18-bedroom mansion, eight-car garage, conservatory, carriage house, guest house and pool house.  The most startling aspect of the place, however, is the $125 million price tag, the highest asking price ever for a private residence in the United States, and perhaps the world.

The palace, which once belonged to former health care mogul Abe Gosman, is $50 million more expensive than the next priciest home on the market.  Though The Donald shelled out a far lower $41.25 million for it at bankruptcy auction, he says he wont accept a penny under asking.

Why would you ever need to leave?

The triple oceanfront lot is only part of what makes the Portabello Estate in Corona del Mar, California, so pricey.  Built in 2002, the home has eight bedrooms and ten full baths in nearly 30,000 square feet of ultra-modern space.  The home also has its own water treatment system.  Oh, and a bowling alley, vintage movie theater, café, gymnasium, auto museum, wine cellar behind a bank-vault door and just under an acre of beachfront land.

The unique design resembles a nautilus shell, with a dramatic grotto surrounded by chambers.  The home is currently listed on the market at over $75 million.

“Its not surprising because (Orange County) is a world-class destination,” said Rick Goodwin, publisher of Ultimate Homes magazine, which documents the 1,000 most-expensive homes for sale.  Orange County, like Palm Beach and the Hamptons, is “where people with money want to be.”

For the avid golfer.

Three Ponds, which encompasses more than 60 acres of Hamptons farmland, is named for its lakes.  But the lavish estate also features its own USGA-rated Rees Jones golf course, 14 gardens, a 75-foot-long swimming pool and a guest house.  The main house, designed by architect Allan Greenberg, has a great room with a 28-foot-high domed ceiling.

Inside the 25,000 square-foot Italian villa lies an elegant dining room furnished with a solid Carrera marble table, climate-controlled wine cellar and a secluded master suite that offers breathtaking views of the entire estate.  Automated blinds, heated marble floors and a marble-surround spa tub make the master bedroom the perfect place to relax in luxury.  This place comes complete with a 75-foot reflecting pool, fully-furnished pool house, outdoor fireplace, cottage, tavern and well over 3,000 trees.  At $75 million, it’s also one of the most expensive homes in the U.S.

A home with a view.

In Belvedere, California, you can find a somewhat modest price of $65 million on a palace-like complex.  The six-bedroom, 10,000-square-foot home offers breathtaking views of San Francisco, Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay.  Among its other spectacular features are herringbone floors, marble baths and front gates designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan.

The home is flanked by 360° windows all around, giving you the view from virtually any room in the house.  And with views as grand as that, why would you ever build walls to keep them out?

They’re all beautiful to look at!

All of these high-end homes seem to have a few things in common – amazing views of the land they’re built on or the ocean in front of them, the finest in materials such as marble, granite, and so on, and of course endless space within.  Amenities of course are very important – why go out to the bowling alley if you can have one built right in your home?  And why wait around for a net when you can have your own private tennis court in the backyard?

But more than that, these homes are truly works of art by themselves.  No cookie-cutter development properties here, no corners cut to save the builders a few extra dollars.  Cheap imitations are taboo; lazy replicas of the home next door are also out.

What really makes a home high-end isn’t always about the zip code where it’s located or even the square footage of the house or the surrounding property; it’s the home’s uniqueness, it’s personality that counts most.  So while your own house may not be worth the asking price of sixty or seventy million, if you’ve taken the time to care for it properly and truly make it your own, then chances are, it’s priceless as is.


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