The Real Estate Behind The Richest Men And Women In The World Part 3: Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is the third-richest person on earth with a net worth of $65.3B, and his modest tastes and refrain from the excessive make him a bit of an anomaly among billionaires. While the Oracle of Omaha holds numerous investments in real estate, his own home hardly stands out from the others on the block.
Buffett bought his home in 1958 for $31.5k, which is about $250k in today's dollars, and he's lived there ever since. The home rests on a corner property in Omaha, NE, and while it's not the first house you may imagine a billionaire to live in, it's not overly humble either—the original 1921 structure has enjoyed multiple additions over the years and measures 6.5k SF.
What's It Worth?
According to Realtor.com the world's third-richest man lives in a house worth $652k, while Zillow isn't as generous, rounding its value off at $591k. That is quite a bit higher than comparable homes in Omaha, which list at an average $280k, according to Trulia, but it's not even the most valuable home on the block—Buffett's neighbor lives in a house worth about $800k.
Buffett bought this 400-acre farm in Tekamah, NE, for $280k in 1986 right after a bubble in Midwest farm prices burst. He knew little about operating a farm at the time, but was able to learn from his son how much corn and soybeans he could produce on the land, Buffett confessed in a letter he wrote to shareholders.
Buffett figured the farm would produce a normalized return of roughly 10%. He's only been to the property twice, according to that same letter, but it continues to produce expected returns.
Greenwich Village Strip
In 1993 Buffett bought a strip of retail property adjacent to New York University with Larry Silverstein right after a commercial real estate bubble burst. According to Business Insider, Silverstein told him about the deal and Buffett saw the property was undermanaged, with the largest tenant paying only $5 per SF. That bargain lease expired nine years later and annual distributions now exceed 35% of his initial investment. The best part? Buffett has never even seen the property.
The Vacation House
Not all of Buffett's properties are purely investments—the billionaire splurged on a 3.1k SF Laguna Beach vacation home in 1996. As far as we know, he actually visited this property more than twice, but in the end he preferred Nebraska. Buffett sold the home in 2005 for $5.45M, and being the real estate mogul he is, knew just when to sell—the current owners have been trying to get rid of it since 2009.