What It’s Like Living In An $18 Million Mega-Mansion

Ever wonder what it's like living in a multi-million dollar mega-mansion? Well, you're in luck! I got to stay for a week in a mega-mansion and it was a wonderful experience.

Dreaming is the best since it's fun and free to do. At least once a month, I dream that I can fly. The best is when you know you're dreaming. That's when things get really interesting.

Daydreaming as a young lad helped me achieve some goals, like getting a job in finance and starting a lifestyle business once I escaped it. Today, my biggest dream is to live long enough to see my son grow up happy and healthy.

Although dreams often don't come true, there's one dream that comes true for us every year. And that dream is living in an $18 million mega-mansion.

The Mega-Mansion Experience

The mega-mansion property is on acres of prime land with not a neighbor in sight.

In the morning I play tennis on the grounds behind the mango trees. In the afternoon, we take a dip in the pool before soaking in the outdoor hot tub to rest our achy muscles. After a nap, I'll work on an article for the upcoming week.

And here you were thinking creating content wasn't a lucrative occupation! Forget being a banker, venture capitalist, lawyer, or techie. It's very hard to get rich working for someone else.

Blogging and vlogging is where it's at! The recent 3,000 kid survey by LEGO and The Harris Poll is true.

What do you want to be when you grow up China, UK, America kids

OK, let me be frank. Financial Samurai is too small of a website to allow me to own such a luxurious property. My old friend owns it. He probably makes at least $35 million a year.

In this article, I thought it'd be fun to share with you what it's like to live in such a place. For the sake of privacy, I'm going to use pictures from other similar properties at a similar price point.

What It's Like To Live In An $18 Million Mega-Mansion

The details are exquisite.

The difference between an $18 million property and a median priced property lies in the custom details. For example, this property has 10 foot high double doors that are eight inches thick.

Everything from the lighting to the textured wall paper looks and feels amazing. You can tell that a designer came in and picked out all items of furniture and artwork.

What it's like to live in a mega mansion - master bedroom

It's all about the land.

You can only live in so much interior space before it feels like a big waste. What you begin to appreciate is the amount of land that surrounds your property.

You crave privacy at this price point, which is why having enough land and foliage around the borders is crucial for your happiness. There is something incredibly peaceful about walking the grounds, naked.

What it's like living in a mega mansion

Maintenance cost is astronomically high.

Properties of this magnitude require full-time caretakers. The property I vacation on every year has another house on the grounds inhabited by a husband and wife caretaker.

They live for free and probably earn close to $100,000 a year to handle all the random maintenance issues that come with owning a mega-mansion, e.g. gardening, pool cleaning, hot tub cleaning, driveway maintenance, etc.

I estimate the property we stay at costs around $500,000 a year to maintain ($100,000 salary, $230,000 property tax, $60,000 utilities, $110,000 maintenance). Here are some other problems with owning a beachfront property.

What it's like living in a mega mansion - bathroom

You get used to the amount of space.

I thought I'd find a massive house to be cold and wasteful. After all, my house in San Francisco is only about 3,200 square feet for the four of us. But we quickly got used to the 3,000 square foot living/dining room area, alone. Overall, the house is closer to 9,000 square feet. We were like goldfish, growing into our environment.

Then we thought we'd be disappointed when we got home to our 300 square foot living room area. But surprisingly, we quickly readapted to our smaller space as well.

When we got home, biggest thing we did miss was all the outdoor space and privacy. Once you have kids, having lots of land to run around and play on is amazing. Here's the ideal house size and layout for a family.

When you have neighbors, you're bound to hear remodeling work and vehicle noise on a daily basis if you work from home. There is likely no such thing in an $18 million mega-mansion.

What it's like living in a mega-mansion - nice driveway

A mansion makes you want to have a massive family.

Despite getting used to more space, you'll start wishing you had more kids to run around the grounds, play in the pool, lounge with you on the beach, and sit with you on the massive dining table during dinner.

You start daydreaming about playing hide and seek with your imaginary kids. You think about all the giggles that would come bubbling out of them. OK, maybe that's just me.

If you don't want more kids, then you'll certainly want close relatives and friends to enjoy the property as well. It gets a little sad and lonely walking by empty room after empty room to your grandmaster suite. Increasing the utilization of the house is like increasing your heart with love.

What it's like living in an $18 million mega-mansion

You can only live in one place at one time.

When we decided to return home, we felt bad leaving the mega-mansion. It wasn't so much because we were leaving an amazing place but because it would go uninhabited for months.

Between my friend's family, his relatives, and his guests, the property is left vacant for probably eight to nine months a year. He has other properties and is a member of a vacation property club.

What it's like to live in a mega-mansion

My friend feels bad he doesn't use his mansion more. He has lamented to me his family doesn't use it enough. As a result, it makes him feel great that his friends can use the property instead.

You will realize how truly rich some people are.

The standard advice is to spend no more than 3X – 5X your annual gross income on the cost of a primary residence. Therefore, if you want to own a $18 million primary residence, you need to make at least $3.6 million a year.

For a vacation property, don't spend more than 10% of your net worth on the home due to the ongoing cost and lack of use. My vacation property buying rule states to limit the value of a vacation property to 10% of your net worth or less.

In other words, to own a $18 million vacation property, you need to have a net worth of around $180 million or more. That, or you're making millions of dollars a year with great certainty for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, your mansion vacation property will feel like a heavy burden.

It's funny, but after several trips up to the mega-mansion and our 90 percent cheaper vacation property condo, my kids actually prefer the vacation condo! Although the mansion is huge, it's still not as vast as the resort where our vacation property is located.

What it's like living an a luxurious beach front home

You Just Want To Get Away From It All

The number one benefit of living in a mega-mansion is the privacy. If you're hustling to make a living every day, you want to come home to a property where the only people who can disturb you are your loved ones. Even then, it's nice to be able to have your private space to be alone once in a while.

You don't want to be chilling on your deck where your neighbors can see you sunbathing in your undies. You don't want to hear the annoying sound of a saw as a neighbor remodels their house. Instead, you want to walk out of your mansion in the buff and jump in the pool without fear of prying eyes!

Having the mega-mansion vacation property for privacy is one of the main reasons why it's better to own than a resort vacation property. However, obviously, not everybody can own a mega-mansion.

You will get used to the 20 foot high ceilings, fancy washlet toilets, 8-inch thick doors, and massive amounts of living space. What you will absolutely miss is the utter peace and quiet.

Having a place to get away from it all is amazing. You don't realize how on top of each other we are until you experience mega-mansion living.

The One Downside Of Living In A Mega-Mansion

Besides the cost of ownership, there is only one other downside that is hard to shake about living in a mega-mansion. A disastrous home invasion.

When I drive back to my friend's home after dinner off the estate, I sometimes imagine what I'd do if there was an ax murderer standing in the middle of the private winding road?

There are two private electronic gates to get to the compound where I've got to stop, buzz down the window, and punch in a code. What if the ax murderer popped out from behind the tree and hacked off my hand? Ahhh!

Seriously, the place is so secluded that I could easily get diced up and nobody would know or find me for days! Because the house is so big, I started getting paranoid sometimes. Someone could be outside secretly looking in.

As any horror flick aficionado knows, residents can't see outside intruders when the interior lights are on at night. Spooky.

What it's like living in an $18 million mega mansion

Don't Buy A Mega-Mansion If You Are Easily Spooked

If you have an active imagination and like to think, What was that?, living in a mega-mansion might not be for you. There's something to be said for being conveniently being able to walk over to a neighbor's house and ask for some jam.

But for the rest of you who don't think about the risks of isolation, it will be absolutely wonderful to live in a mega-mansion for at least one week a year. It's a luxury you will truly appreciate, especially if you don't have to maintain the property.

Living In A Mega-Mansion Is Nice

For those who are fortunate enough to afford an $18 million dollar mega-mansion, there's also one more downside I forgot to mention.

After several years of ownership, you will start looking at $30 – $50 million dollar mega-mansions to buy. In other words, the desire for more is never ending until you somehow make it stop.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far. It's time for me to get back to work because dreaming won't pay the bills!

Real Estate Investing Recommendations

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My other favorite real estate crowdfunding platform is CrowdStreet. CrowdStreet focuses on individual properties in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are cheaper, faster growing, and have higher net rental yields than 24-hour cities. It's also free to sign up an explore.

Personally, I've invested $953,000 in real estate crowdfunding so far to arbitrage lower valuations across the country. It's nice to earn income 100% passively rather than deal with tenants and maintenance issues.

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Related mega-mansion posts:

Buy Utility, Rent Luxury: The Real Estate Investing Rule To Follow

Don't Let Ego Make You Buy A Bigger House Than You Need

The Only Time You Should Ever Consider Buying A Vacation Property

Mortgage Refinance Strategies To Get The Best Rate

Finally Bought My Beachfront Dream Home! Here's How It Went Down

Readers, have you ever vacationed in a mega-mansion before? If so, what was the background of the owner and how was the experience? If you own a mega-mansion and would like me to take care of your property, please let me know. 

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28 thoughts on “What It’s Like Living In An $18 Million Mega-Mansion”

  1. I came upon your website after googling for a similar topic, and now I’ve read a lot of other articles. Your writing is down to earth and funny, and I enjoy it a lot.

    Certainly I think I’d like to experience the mega mansion once, but I don’t think I’d like it, since I live alone (no plans to change that in the near future) and do get easily spooked .

  2. Nice work on this post Sam! It shows your elegance in writing and ability to paint a picture with the written word!

  3. Well location location location and weather. It’s 2 am first time reader.
    I think 4290 sqft is perfect. If I get lost in a home it’s not fun . I don’t want help staying in my guest house . We don’t use the tennis court . Ok so I’m so California native . Lived in 3300 sqft on 3/4 acre . After 14 yrs if that I have this home with city views from front yard , ocean and island views . Never lower than 43 degrees or more than 83. One an acre . Yes 20 foot ceilings and 5 bedrooms 7 baths . We do real estate part time. No bosses or employees . No mortgages . We do the pool and lawn . All the neighbors have Tesla’s , we never see them . THis is really living the perfect life . Not too much or too little . Homes we here 3-4 m if we where up hill in hotter weather 15 miles away sane home 5-7 m. THeres always a trade off . I want to have my outside space and do. I have a completely seoerate hallway for kids area and my okdest has other side of house entrance , all kids have their own bathrooms . I can’t inagine more . If I want I can get a pool guy I guess . I grew up poor and yes most homes are 2 car garages abd streets littered with cars . We have virtually no one parking on the street and perfect lawns . A small airport close and the ocean and the back road 2 miles away is farming . I don’t think I can ask for more . Then the second home is in Dixon’s near sedona . It’s snallee 2100 sqft on small street , quiet and safe as I can go once every few months and it’s safe and undistiebed .
    Near a popular tourist and spiritual town . I had a Hines Bear he beach all crammed involved in , no thanks . I don’t want tons of rooms unused . The ranch style is a must . ALso mortgage free is a must. My life’s odd . Everyone thinks I’m super successful but I’m ok . I live lean because I grew up poor. I’m simple . I’m becoming more a loner and like it . As we age we see enough liars and users. I’d rather not waste time on people who have bad motives. I help and mentor a lot of minds here and there.
    Obviously near los a angekes ir investor 45 mikes yet in the suburbs . Native . I think of moving , where would I go . It’s been on my mind as crime has picked up, but I don’t want a slow uneducated area . I’m hyper and like the fast paced life that’s semi slow , yes that phase in life . I’m always starting new projects , odd things , creative and having fun making money with ease .
    Ready for round 2 of the Great Recession , maybe I’ll get something on the sand , waves are my weakness .
    Have just enough, land and a little of everything . Most of all safe area .
    Bed time 2 am

  4. Financial Freedom Countdown

    Sam, I was enjoying living vicariously through your pics and experience until you brought up the axe murderer. I used to watch scary movies when I rented a one bedroom. Ever since I bought my 3/2 house I no longer watch slasher flicks or ghost movies. Guess the empty spaces freak me out more

  5. I love this article!

    My husband and I are onsite caretakers for a large property in the Napa Valley and have had a unique view into this world, we also worked on private yachts for 8 years previous to our current positions. All in all we’ve spent 20 years serving UHNWI and have lived, worked, maintained and enjoyed many yachts and residences around the world!

    I would say your observations are pretty spot on. As the value of the mansions increase so do the operating costs, we live onsite a $30-50M property and our compensation package is closer to $250k plus all living costs, maintenance is definitely way higher and the cost of hosting guests is pretty high too…our account at our local supermarket typically runs $8-10k a month!

    The biggest downside I see are of owners not being able to spend enough time at their properties…ultimately time is their scarcest commodity, it doesn’t matter how wealthy they are they never have enough time. I’ve also seen a lot of complacency rather than enjoyment the longer they own the place, over time they fail to appreciate what they have and find fault rather than enjoyment with the property.

    I’m a big fan of yours and always look forward to reading your articles.

    Enjoy the rest of summer!

  6. When I was in my 20’s I worked in the construction industry. When Rock Hudson died, director John Landis bought his house. It had 20 bedrooms and 23 1/2 baths. The kitchen looked like more of a restaurant kitchen than one in a home. I worked in that house for what seemed like months. I can’t say I would ever want to live in anything that took a crew to run. I like my 2300 sq ft home just fine.

    I am absolutely amazed at the percentage of people in your chart saying they would like to enter teaching. I’m a teacher and I counsel anyone thinking about it to run screaming with their hair on fire, and do something less stressful like underwater welding.

  7. I always liked the estate where the original Magnum series was filmed.

    Unfortunately, I’m told the neighborhood it was in was somewhat dangerous and the house itself, after considerable decay, was recently knocked down.

    You can still see it on Google Maps at 21°19’28.2″N 157°40’49.2″W

  8. I stayed in a mega-mansion for a week in Aspen, Colorado many years ago. I was friends with the cleaning woman and she let me and about 5 other friends hang out there while she did her work. The place was beyond beautiful and spacious. Celebrities rented it out. But I found it to be a waste of space and lonely even with 6 people there. It was huge and you could wander around and not see anyone for awhile. I like having family and friends within shouting distance inside a home. With that experience under my belt, I now know I would never want to live in such a space no matter how rich I am.

  9. Sooooooo is your friend a Youtuber/vlogger with an 18m mansion?

    Apart from the maintenance, taxes, etc. an expense I’d add if I had a mega-mansion would be the cost of parties. If I owned one, I would have to budget family and friend get-togethers often. Like you said it would get sad and lonely quick in a huge place with a small family.

  10. Wow, just the yearly running costs would make my head spin. There are truly so many different planes of wealth in the world. That is wonderful that your friend gets enjoyment from other people utilizing the property when he can’t.

    I will say that I have a lot of the perks of the large property, beautiful scenery, etc for a fraction of the cost where I live. My house is 3150 Sq feet though so definitely not a mansion.

    I too enjoy it when other people visit and see their reactions etc when they first see the waterfalls. It is something I have taken for granted and I certainly don’t go down to the base of the falls as much as I should but having friends over let’s me do just that and I enjoy it all over again.

    1. I live in a small 1K sqft trac home on a main road.

      I had a waterfall once too. Otherwise known as my roommate not realizing the toilet feed valve exploded. :P

  11. Wow!! Absolutely awesome house! It’s crazy how much money is actually out there in the world.

    Enjoyed the post, especially the “ax murderer” part — had me legit LOL’ing at work..



  12. The most interesting thing to me about this article, is daydreaming how much revenue you’ll generate from a post about daydreaming about living in a mega-mansion. Follow up post!

  13. I’ve had a couple of billionaire friends, one no longer living. They had things like private islands, their own jets and many houses that stayed vacant when they weren’t staying there. But they were genuinely nice people and I never felt that their lives were much different than mine. The same problems and same joys. I always wondered how they viewed their personal security. They had no bodyguards or excessive security even though they were worth billions. They both had four or five kids each, I wondered if they ever worried about their safety when they were off at college. There never was an incident of any kind but it did seem to me that having a parent that rich might just pose a risk for the kids.

  14. No desire for the attention that goes with such a place or the property tax. I will note if you like the seclusion there’s cheaper ways to get it. Buy something that backs a nature preserve or other low traffic wildlife area. My property actually backs a mansion (I don’t live in one). I can’t see his house from mine. I can see and hear my other neighbors though.

  15. Wow, what an amazing home. I don’t see any downside to it. Security? You can always hire a security guard. I guess lifestyle inflation would be an issue, but that’s only if you can’t control it. Anyway, this person probably can turn $180 million into $500 million in a few years. Live it up and spend some money. Spread it around the local economy instead of hoarding it.
    What a nice friend to have.

  16. I have a large family and would love to stay here for a week if your friend wouldn’t mind since it sits vacant so often.

  17. Did I miss the location in the post? I’m guessing Hawaii? Just came back from Maui and looks just like there.

  18. “After several years of ownership, you will start looking at $30 – $50 million dollar mega-mansions to buy. ”

    That, in a nutshell, is the lesson I always remind myself of when I feel lifestyle inflation creeping in. It’s easy to get used to any level of “better”, and it quickly becomes the new normal. Easy to see it happening to others but hard to stay disciplined yourself though.

  19. How fun! What a dream to be able to relax and vacation at a property like that! And not have to worry about all the upkeep that goes into it. It’s no wonder people at that level of wealth have a whole team and an onsite property manager to handle the maintenance to keep properties like that spick and span.

    Really fun pictures and descriptions. I can see how it would be a little bit scary and lonely though having so many empty rooms though. Having a big family or lots of friends to invite over would definitely make it feel more homey and fun.

    1. Only if such properties could help the fill the void inside. If a man is given a mountain of gold, he would wish to have another moutain. When will we learn that these things will bring only temporary joy, like the high of a drug. W will always return to our baselines. One is truely rich if she/ he enjoys the company of themselves. Perfectly tranquil and content in company of their thoughts and rumination. Independent of material things for validation.

    1. WannabeTrophyHubster

      Pretty pics indeed but what Sam show’s here is an amalgam. “For the sake of privacy, I’m going to use pictures from other similar properties at a similar price point”.

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