Almost everybody knows about Warren Buffett’s house in Omaha, Nebraska.
Warren Buffett bought that house – which he still lives in today – for $31,500 in 1958 (about $265,000 in 2017 dollars).
According to Realtor.com, Warren Buffett’s house is valued at $652,619 today… which isn’t even the most expensive house on the block! The house next door is actually valued at $826,870.
The house, which Warren Buffett has lived in for nearly 60 years now, is pretty modest with only 6,000 square-feet (the definition of a mansion is generally 10,000 square-feet) and no gate and no security guard. The house sits on a corner and was built in 1921 and does appear to have had some additions added over the past 60 years.
Why hasn’t Warren Buffett, with a net worth of $75 billion, traded up to a more luxurious house over the years? It’s simple:
“I’m happy there. I’d move if I thought I’d be happier someplace else,” Buffett said in The World’s Greatest Moneymaker, a documentary about Buffett’s investing strategy and lifestyle.
“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.
I’m warm in the winter, I’m cool in the summer, it’s convenient for me. I couldn’t imagine having a better house.”
Warren Buffett’s house is definitely convenient for him – his house is actually just a 5 minute drive from Berkshire’s office (it’s literally a straight shot down Omaha’s Dodge Street).
Plus there’s some history there too: in the 1950s, Buffett’s neighbor was Donald Keough – Buffett’s long-time friend who eventually became President of COO of Coca-Cola in the 1980s (Buffett started investing in Coke in the late ’80s and today Berkshire owns about 9% of the company… Buffett says that since he drinks 700 calories of Coke a day, he’s about one quarter Coca-Cola).
And of course, the house just fits in with Buffett’s frugal personality (one time when Buffett and his friend Bill Gates where visiting China, Buffett bought Gates a meal at McDonald’s… using coupons he had brought from home!). Recently, Buffett told 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.”
Warren Buffett’s Other House
So while Warren Buffett’s house in Omaha gets all the attention, Buffett actually does own one other house… a vacation house in Laguna Beach, California (Laguna Beach is in Orange County, about halfway between L.A. and San Diego).
Buffett bought the house in 1971 for $150,000 (about $900,000 in 2017 dollars), not as an investment, but because his first wife Susan liked it and wanted to use it as a vacation home.
According to Buffett, Laguna Beach “wasn’t fully developed” at the time, but since then the area “just took off.”
Warren Buffett’s Beach House in Laguna Beach, CA (hover for more)
Buffett used the property for years as a beach house for his family, spending summers and Christmases there. When the family gathered at the house for Christmas, Buffett said he often holed up in the master bedroom to write Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report. He also recalled making frequent trips to nearby Disneyland with his children and houseguests.
As the family grew, Buffett actually bought an adjacent house to accommodate overflow houseguests, connecting the two properties with a staircase. “That became kind of the annex. We could handle a lot of people out there.” Buffett sold the “annex” in 2005 for $5.5 million. Buffett also said he put a considerable amount of money into renovating and remodeling the house over the years.
Nevertheless, Warren Buffett’s house in Laguna Beach still isn’t flashy. The house is on the simpler side for Emerald Beach (the affluent gated community where the house is located) and has few of the pricey flourishes expected in the homes of billionaires. Much of the flooring is grey carpeting; the kitchen countertops are mostly white laminate. Buffett said he prefers not to be directly on the beach for privacy and quiet.
The three-level, six-bedroom house covers about 3,600 square-feet and is a short walk from the ocean. The family room has a large deck with ocean views.
Warren Buffett is now selling his beach house / former family retreat in Laguna Beach. The asking price is $11 million.
Buffett said he’s putting his house on the market because he hasn’t spend much time there since his first wife, Susan, died in 2004.
When asked if he’ll look for another vacation home, Buffett said: “If you want to know where I want to go for vacation, it’s the office.”
Through close examination of Warren Buffett’s life and career from his earliest days to now, Buffett and Clark shed light on his decision-making processes and reveal his strategies for keeping on track and maintaining focus. They examine Buffett’s inimitable leadership qualities and explain how Warren integrated what he learned over time into a winning management formula and became not only the manager whom other managers want to emulate but also the second richest man in the world.
Loomis has collected and updated the best Buffett articles Fortune published between 1966 and 2012, including thirteen cover stories and a dozen pieces authored by Buffett himself. Loomis has provided commentary about each major article that supplies context and her own informed point of view. Readers will gain fresh insights into Buffett’s investment strategies and his thinking on management, philanthropy, public policy, and even parenting.
by Warren E. Buffett, edited by Lawrence A. Cunningham
Buffett, the Bard of Omaha, is a genuine American folk hero, if folk heroes are allowed to build fortunes worth upward of $15 billion. He’s great at homespun metaphor, but behind those catchy phrases is a reservoir of financial acumen that’s generally considered the best of his generation.