One of the world’s richest people is known for not being like other billionaires. It’s not just that Warren Buffett has pledged to donate 99 percent of his fortune to charity or that he thinks the rich should be taxed more. It’s evident in his workplace as well.
Berkshire Hathaway’s Omaha world headquarters occupy just one floor of its office building, and Buffett’s personal office doesn’t have a computer, a calculator or even a stock ticker.
Buffett’s personal residential real estate policy is just as frugal. Here’s a look at his longtime home as well as a former vacation home.
By Colleen KanePosted 26 July 2012
Instead of owning a portfolio of homes, the “Oracle of Omaha” lives in just one. He paid $31,500 for his house in 1958, or about $250,000 in today’s dollars.
The house sits on a corner property in central Omaha, and the original 1921 stucco structure appears to have some additions. At 6,570 square feet, it’s no bungalow, butit’s also a few thousand square feet short of being a mansion, which is usually about 10,000 square feet.
The home’s value today, estimated on Realtor.com, is $652,619, whereas the Zillow “Zestimate” is $591,000. A neighboring five-bedroom, six-bath, 3,848 square-foot house is on the market for $450,000.
Trulia notes the average list price for Omaha homes comparable to Buffett’s house is $280,162, and the average sale amount for similar recently sold homes is $236,462.
It’s not even the home with the highest estimated value on the block. The house next door is slightly smaller and has a Zestimate of $794,500, and $826,870 on Realtor.com.
In the 2010 letter to his shareholders, Buffett called his house the third-best investment he’s ever made, after two wedding rings.
Why hasn’t the billionaire traded up to a more luxurious home over the years?
“I’m happy there. I’d move if I thought I’d be happier someplace else,” he told the BBC’s Evan Davis in “The World’s Greatest Moneymaker.” “How would I improve my life by having 10 houses around the globe? If I wanted to become a superintendent of housing … I could have as a profession, but I don’t want to manage 10 houses and I don’t want somebody else doing it for me and I don’t know why the hell I’d be happier. “
This house does just fine, he says. “I’m warm in the winter, I’m cool in the summer, it’s convenient for me,” he said in the interview. “I couldn’t imagine having a better house.”
In February, Buffett shared further nonmaterialistic sentiments with Charlie Rose. “I have every possession I want. I have a lot of friends who have a lot more possessions. But in some cases, I feel the possessions possess them, rather than the other way around.”
Buffett owned this vacation home in Laguna Beach, Calif., until 2005, when it sold for $5.45 million. It's been on and off the market for years, but it finally sold in the spring of 2012 for $4.3 million.
The house sits on the ocean side of the Pacific Coast Highway on a private cul-de-sac. It has four bedrooms, four baths, and 3,100 square feet. While pricey, it’s still quite modestly sized for a billionaire’s getaway. Click on to get a better sense of the size.
The living room has high ceilings and views of the beach. The home was built in 1955 but retains a fresh look, although the L-shaped brick fireplace gives away its midcentury origins.
By current standards, this is a modest-sized master suite, though it does have a balcony and plenty of natural light and ocean views.
For a home in this price range, this secondary bedroom could almost be described as cramped. There are two other bedrooms in the house, including one on the top floor with sloped ceilings, best suited for children.