My Mansion Fantasy

My Mansion Fantasy

My Mansion Fantasy

Hello everyone! I’m happy you are taking a look at The Green Swan today. I want to chat a little about one of my fantasies…my mansion fantasy. I’m sure you can relate as you may have a fantasy of your own. Whether your fantasy is for a mansion, luxury car(s), or an around the world vacation; you can find solace here. While having a mansion is a fantasy of mine, that is all it is. It isn’t an aspiration or a goal necessarily, it is just a fantasy. And I need to keep it that way because I realize that a mansion can be a blessing and a curse.

First, allow me to define fantasy per Google:

My Mansion Fantasy

So why do I have a mansion fantasy? I guess it is kind of hard to say. I think partly because I see them fairly often and they just look so gorgeous. It isn’t as though I search out the rich neighborhoods on my drive home or that I live close to some really nice houses or anything like that. Actually, I blame the Wall Street Journal Mansion section.

One of my favorite parts of the WSJ online is the Your Money section under the Markets tab. I visit this page frequently and near the bottom as you scroll there is a Real Estate section which is where they feature mansions for sale. You may also be familiar with the mansion section of the WSJ. But as I see those property listings, I can’t help but click and scroll through the pictures.

One day they may feature a mansion in the mountains in Australia, or a “Wild West” house in Colorado, a luxury apartment in Manhattan, or an all stone home on a lake. They are all so fascinating and luxurious. I begin to flip through the slideshow…

Grand kitchens, such high ceilings, huge windows, gorgeous landscape, an infinity pool, mahogany wood office, immaculate bathrooms, a view to die for, and on and on.

I can’t help but fantasize how great it would be to call that property home. By the end of the slideshow I am in complete awe and I begin to think how badly I want that home or a similar one.

After I flip through the slideshow I scroll down further and notice the price….$4.5 million, or $2.8 million, $3.5 million, and some as high as $10 million or more.

I begin to think what it would take to be able to afford a home like that. And not only affording the home, but the lifestyle that comes with it. Generally it would require another 5-10 years of working beyond what otherwise would be my retirement date as well as strong market returns for my investment portfolio to grow and cover the purchase price.

My Mansion Fantasy

I go into a whole Jekyll and Hyde conversation with myself. 5-10 years more of work, that may not be a bad trade off.

Than the other side talks reason. “Hi, I’m Earth, have we met?” Buying a mansion would be way over the top. I would never need a house that big or that many spare bedrooms. It would be super expensive to maintain including repairs, landscaping, etc. I’d have to buy furniture to fill the home and that would be costly. The real estate taxes would be through the roof. The list goes on and on.

So I come back to Earth. Instead of buying a multi-million dollar home, how about a $1 million home or just under $1 million? Those are still really nice homes! It is more reasonable. It wouldn’t take as long saving up to buy it.

The other side agrees, “yes, that is more reasonable, but it is still a slippery slope with a lot of other large expenses tied to expensive homes…and how much nicer would it be compared to your current home? How about just focusing on home repairs and spending money to upgrade my current home to become my perfect home?”

“Yeah that may be a better idea. There is nothing wrong with my current home. I can do a kitchen or bathroom remodel and do some nice landscaping out back by the patio. That may be the smarter approach, but those mansions sure do look nice!”

And around and around I go back in forth in my head. I’ve really developed a split personality! So I close down the WSJ Mansion page and forget about it for now.

Then again I pull it up the next day and the day after…boy, aren’t those mansions nice!

What a killer fantasy, huh? It may be a borderline fantasy and some days crossing over to an aspiration or goal, but I do my best to bring myself back down to reality…it’s just a fantasy…

How about you fine folks? Am I the only one battling with my inner-self like this? What are your fantasies? I need to commiserate with you!

Thanks for taking a look!

The Green Swan

Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach






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  1. I definitely spend time looking at fantasy mansions too! Although most of the time, I’m just saying to myself, how on earth do people afford these?! Sometimes I do think that house can become so big that it isn’t actually a home anymore, so some a little more ‘reasonable’ would be better. Cars are the main thing for me though, I definitely don’t struggle thinking about what my fantasy garage would look like and the load of cars I’d love to put in it!

  2. We have a similar sort of angst when watching HG shows like “Living Big Sky” where people are relocating to Montana. When they reveal their price range it’s typically $600-$800k and we’re like, sigh… Since we’re in the $250-$300k range. Then I see these large houses and just hear ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching when they are looking at 5000 sq ft properties, and I think, that’s going to cost a LOT to heat in the winter, and all the repair and maintenance especially since we spent close to $1k/mo last year replacing/maintaining stuff in our non-luxury run of the mill TX house. Granted, $7k was replacing an A/C unit, but the rest was nickel and dime things like garage door springs, door opener, shower door (had to replace, couldn’t repair), and little things like that that stilla dded up to $5k for the year.
    It’s also crazy seeing some of the homes theya re being offered when we’ve spent a lot of time on Zillow or other apps “house hunting” and know that you can get way better properties for $600k then the ones the people on the show are typically taken to. It is fun looking at other properties, but like you pointed out, all the costs associated with that, no way would I really want to live in one or be responsible for upkeep. I can only imagine what kind of upkeep a mansion would need. 🙂

    1. Yeah for sure. The maintenance and upkeep costs are the killer to my dreams. I just need to enjoy the window shopping and nothing more! Thanks for the comment.

  3. Love the looks of those mansions in the WSJ but when I think about cleaning, those dreams quickly fade away 🙂 Although who would have a mansion without having someone to clean it? My cousins were just here from Germany and started showing us castles near them. Maybe castles can be your next fantasy? Ours are beaches. We have a list started and dream about them everyday!

  4. No mansion fantasies that I can think of. I’ll take a little old beach house any day of the week. I’m really falling in love of the idea the smaller the better. Less overall stuff, less to clean, maintain, etc.

    1. I really like the idea of downsizing one day too, less money tied up in a house means more to spend elsewhere or to invest in retirement accounts. It’s a tug of war for me, but ultimately I don’t think I could ever convince myself to buy a huge house.

  5. My husband and I have a real estate obsession. We both LOVE to look at listings, compare properties, etc, though, I have to say, typically we don’t look at mansions – because I can barely keep up with maintenance on what we’ve got.

    My fantasy involves traveling way more. Like every other month!

    1. That’s an awesome fantasy! I hope to really increase my travel once I reach retirement. A trip every other month would be fantastic!

  6. I think watching shows such as House Hunters and Flip or Flop makes me desire mansions and beautiful homes. After watching Flip or Flop though I realized you can take a pretty run down place, gut it and fix whatever foundation needs to be fixed and customize it to your dreams for about a 40% discount than a turn key home, and you get exactly what you want! I definitely want to have a comfortable home that I live in with a nice yard as I love dogs and believe they need a place to run but I will not splurge even if I can afford. I want to travel the world so my money will be spent there 🙂

    1. That’s great Stefan, sounds like you know exactly what you’re looking for. Travel is another area where I fantasize over and will do much of, especially in retirement, so I can relate. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Having grown up in Miami, FL my version of a mansion is a mansion on the water, aka a yacht! You see multi-million dollar yachts down there all over the place. Not sure where all the money comes from, but they sure are nice to look at!

    I’ll never have a multi-million dollar yacht, but I’m hoping for a nice used 35-40 foot sailboat at some point in the future – after FI of course…

    1. Wow that sounds pretty luxurious! I don’t know the first thing about sailing, but beach time and going out on a boat cruising sounds fun to me. Thanks Jon!

  8. Man – I don’t think I could ever live in a house that big. I get overwhelmed by the work to do in our house now and it is only 1,400 sq ft! That being said, I would love to just go in and look at some of these places. I’m sure they are absolutely amazing inside!

    1. Yeah the house in the pic is the Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC. If you’ve never heard of it you should Google it, it’s amazing. We toured it a few years ago and it’s ridiculous. While that would be great to live in, I’d be ok with something a little more modest as well :).

  9. Great post and thanks for permitting a bit of daydreaming! I definitely have similar thoughts. Exploring Zillow is addicting, and I find myself looking at massive homes that I never should buy (even if I could afford).

    And you know, the way I see it, if you REALLY want to experience something like that for a few days, jump on AirBnB! You can enjoy the mansion lifestyle for a weekend and then return to your reasonable home without breaking the bank. Sure, it’s not as brag-worthy (but then again, being able to retire early is probably more impressive).

    Thanks again for sharing and I look forward to seeing more!

    1. That’s a great point, maybe renting one would give me all the taste I need. I’ll be sure to check back in with an update when I do that :). Thanks Rob!

  10. I got the same feeling when we were out on a fancy MN lake recently, lots of awesome homes that easily go into the 10 mil range with a bunch of boats sitting by the dock.

    Nice to dream – then realize a super small cabin with 1 boat and a grill would work for me

  11. And the real estate taxes on one of those $5-10 million puppies…? Oh boy!!

    We have our own little mountain mansion that is considerably less dollars and perfect size for us to relocate to once we hit FIRE.

    I am also a sucker for real estate brochures and love to pick them up on our travels just to flick through.

    If I had a bottomless pit of money, a log home with view of the Teton range in WY would be our #1 choice.

    1. That sounds like a nice retirement spot you folks have! Would there be much more maintenance or repair necessary OB a mountain house?

      Ah I wouldn’t complain about a house with a view of Teton range 🙂

  12. I used to do the same thing, but worse, I gushed over the mansions in person. Before relocating to our current home, my wife and I lived in a townhome which was adjacent to a lavish neighborhood where many Chicago Bears players lived. You can probably guess where I chose to go for my daily afternoon run.

    Many of the houses I saw had 2000 SF patios in the backyard complete with multiple levels. Some of them came with astonishing property taxes in the neighborhood of $50,000 per year.

    Now, I like to look at dream vehicles online. I’m happy with our current vehicles, but it is fun to imagine what it would be like to drive any one of my fantasy cars.

  13. I have a private island fantasy. Every so often, I look through listings for private islands. Some are lower in cost than I would imagine! 500,000 to 1 million. It’s so cool to me, having your own island.

    Although I couldn’t imagine the costs it would be too upkeep with one. Fantasy dashed! haha.

    1. Nice fantasy! My own island would be nice…I wonder if you’d be able to rename it?

      Yeah that may get expensive shipping in your food and groceries etc. And access to healthcare might be a challenge. Oh well, that is a nice fantasy though and it would be awesome to have my own island.

      Thanks for sharing Colin.

  14. The struggle is real! I find it fun to visit historic mansions and just imagine how people might have lived. Although I don’t fantasize about owning a mansion, I do imagine one day owning a beautiful home. We have a perfectly functional bilevel but it’s not the most aesthetic set-up. We don’t have any plans to move though so it’s definitely just a fantasy.

    1. I hear ya, no plans on moving here either. Instead I think in the next year or two we will do a renovation to our master bath and other minor improvements. Thanks Kalie.

  15. I don’t gawk at large mansions much (who wants a depressing house full of empty rooms?), but I do love browsing Redfin for multimillion-dollar penthouse condos in my favorite cities. Nothing too absurd, of course — just full-floor units with marble tile, multiple private balconies, and 360 degree views of the city. Maybe a full-time concierge, too, just in case I need anything.

    That might be fun if that kind of money were pocket change, but I’d rather have the annual investment income financing our travels!

    1. Very nice!

      Travel is a great alternative for sure. And having a large expensive house might make you feel trapped… No reason for it if you’d instead be traveling a bunch.

      Thanks for the comment, Matt.

  16. My dream home would be a “smaller home”, 1500-200 sq ft would be more than enough. However it would be directly on the lake with not a neighbors in site. It would have to have a decent outdoor living space as this is where my wife and I like to spend the majority of our time.

    1. That is a nice dream home! You’re right, with a nice outdoor space and the lake you wouldn’t need a big home. My parents have a house like that on a lake and it’s so great to go visit (especially for my little one).

  17. This is a fun post JW. Took me out of reality for a few minutes 🙂 I often fantasize about having multiple cars in a 30 or 40 car garage (with an elevator). Haha, I know I’d never even consider putting it into action, but the thought of having a different car for any different occasion makes me laugh a little.

    1. Thanks Brian! That sounds like Jay Leno’s garage! 🙂

      If money was no problem, that garage would be awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh nice! I’ve never looked into the particulars of owning real estate in a foreign country before. Do you have dual citizenship or why Thailand?

  18. Hey,

    There are 2 things that really bring me back from having a HUGE house.

    1. The cost of it (to build/buy, the Govt taxes, to heat & cool etc) would be huge and I’m not sure I could ever justify that, over spending that money on fantastic holidays regularly instead.
    2. Cleaning it. Even just large homes take way more effort to clean – I don’t want to do that, neither does my wife.

    However, we do have an ultimate dream to buy/build a decent sized home with ocean views, within our city’s railmetro area. In 20 years or so, this may happen (hopefully).


    1. Yes those are two big hurdles to owning a fancy home. But it is great too dream of what could be and having a bit of luxury in your life. Hopefully you find your dream home, that sounds like a nice spot.

  19. I like visiting mansions but that’s about it. I think of the big houses that music stars and moguls built and went bust before they even lived in it. The Biltmore is one place I like to visit, it’s like a trip to Europe, without the 8-hour trip.
    So I’ll stick with my current house and use the money to travel instead.

  20. I think it would be awesome to have a mansion, although I think it would be even better to have a sweet yet modest vacation home in a great location. Having a place to get away to for a few weeks during the year whether it’s in the mountains or on the beach would be nice! For now, I’m going to keep my head down and continue to work hard. Maybe someday I’ll be able to buy a mansion or better yet, that vacation home!

    1. I often think about getting a vacation home. One of the things I weigh that against though is the cost of the second home vs renting or staying in a hotel instead. It is nice having your own place though. Thanks Chris.

  21. My inlaws like to take us to the local Parade of Homes every October, and they like to tour the biggest, priciest, fanciest houses.

    Most of them have closets bigger than my bedroom and kitchens bigger than my house.

    I definitely fell into the “my house is pitiful, I want an HGTV-worthy house too” funk for a couple of days. And then I realized that I can barely keep up with the housework in my little house. (I still wouldn’t mind a little oceanfront cottage, but it’s far smarter to rent one for a week or two at a time and let someone else take the risk.)

  22. I’m guilty of the Redfin fancy house shopping, too. This is one of my favorites: Only $2.3 million! That’s doable! Well, maybe. I might need to rent out the guest houses for additional income. The other fun thing I like doing is finding beachfront parcels of land that haven’t been developed yet, especially along the Oregon/Washington coast, and imagine building my dream home there. The boyfriend isn’t totally on board yet, but I’m working on it.

    1. Hi Yetisaurus, thanks for stopping by! That looks like some pretty nice ocean front property, I wouldn’t mind renting out the guest house! 🙂

  23. Hi JW, Interesting post. Whenever I get this fantasy, I imagine the occupants in that mansion as still rich and unhappy. If that doesn’t help, I get practical – imagine searching for lost keys or cell phone in that mansion! Whatever it takes to snap out of it. I posted about how I overcame temptation to buy in the ‘invincible’ DC region. Check it out for kicks.

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