How to Buy a Mansion

Sure, it's quite lovely...but is it right for you?
Sure, it's quite lovely...but is it right for you? (Image:

Buying a mansion can be an exciting time in a person's life, as it ypically signifies wealth, success and the feeling of having finally "arrived." Along with that celebratory attitude, however, also comes a great deal of stress in the form of mortgage payments, homeowners associations and sizable down payments. So think long and hard about if a mansion is the right real estate move for you and, if so, what type property you're on the market for.

Things You'll Need

  • Wealth
  • Experienced real estate broker
  • Knowledge of your desired communities
  • Stable income and/or bank account

Visit a financial planner or adviser to determine your price range, including how much you're able to put down, how much a 30-year mortgage would amount to and how much you can expect to pay in property taxes.

Find a real estate broker who specializes in luxury properties and upscale communities. These brokers can be easy to find because they are usually the top brokers or star players within their given company. Another way to find an experienced broker is to talk to residents of the community you are interested in.

Determine why you want to buy a mansion. Do you need a lot of space? Do you yearn for privacy? Do you have a lot of people under one roof? These questions will help you determine what neighborhoods to browse, what type of property to buy and if, in fact, a mansion will really meet your needs.

Set up appointments with your broker to visit some suitable mansions. Ask many questions based on your housing criteria (which will hopefully be established once the above-mentioned questions are fleshed out).

Ask the listing agent or homeowner about any custom or upscale amenities the property may contain. This will both help you realize the property's value (or lack thereof) and determine if the home is likely to have many costly repairs. You should research the types of weather, acts of God and insurance that are common in those parts, which will also help you determine what incidental expenses you may incur.

Bring your family to view any properties that have met all of your criteria. Take them on an outing after viewing homes in different areas to get a sense of the community, what the neighbors are like, what they do for fun and how they behave to determine if that neighborhood would fit with your family's lifestyle.

Hire a professional appraiser and handyman to do a walk-through of the house before determining whether it is a good investment. Remember, the property may appear to be everything you want at first glance, but a professional will be able to assess whether major, costly repairs will be necessary in the near future.

Place a bid on the mansion you decide on and play the waiting game with your broker. From here, it is up to you whether you want to enter in any counter offers should you be outbid.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are not in the position to buy a mansion, there are other properties that provide some of the same luxuries and amenities that may have led you to desire a mansion in the first place. If you need more space, consider upgrading your property in terms of size by downgrading your neighborhood or amenities. These costs should somewhat offset each other and will result in a bigger property. If you want the "posh" factor that comes with mansion-filled neighborhoods, think about moving to a smaller space in a nicer neighborhood. If you simply have too much stuff for your current home, consider renting a storage unit or office space. If you feel that your home is too cramped for the amount of people it holds, evaluate whether it may be time for children to leave the nest or brother-in-laws to leave the couch. If you want that upscale feel of a mansion, consider moving into a high-end apartment building. Many high-rises and beachfront properties provide a lot of luxurious amenities that are similar to those of a mansion, such as a steam room, sauna, semiprivate workout facility, beauty salon, tanning deck, etc.
  • Keep in mind the mortgage crisis, economic downturn and housing bubble burst that America is experiencing. Though housing prices have dipped recently, foreclosures still abound. Remember that many of these mansions, which typically reside in the tightest, most desirable housing markets in the country, are empty due to foreclosure. The past owner may have hit hard times and been unable to afford the mortgage and/or property taxes, so think about whether you could weather such turmoil.

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