Of course we’ve all wondered how someone actually gets from zero to a billion dollars in net worth. Are they smarter? Was it connections? Luck? Or maybe just a good idea of what works in the money making business? If you’re speaking about Russian billionaire venture capitalist Yuri Milner, the answer is simple: invest in social media and internet startups. He has made big money investing in businesses like Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and Groupon. And he has money to burn, which he seems to be doing since he paid $100 million for a house that’s just been valued by the tax assessor for only $50 million.
The highest price ever paid for a single residence in the United States was the $100 million Milner spent for his California mansion. No easy feat, especially in the land where houses compete to outsize one another. His purchase in exclusive Los Altos Hills in Silicon Valley triggered shockwaves around the country for its sheer size. Los Altos Hills is only about eight square miles and is home to plenty of millionaires, with the average listing price of homes for sale at just over $2.4 million.
Restrictions require all lots to be at least an acre and contain only one primary dwelling, effectively eliminating apartments or multifamily housing. Milner’s house is just down the road a bit from Steve Jobs of Apple and Jerry Yang of Yahoo. Before this sale, the biggest sale in the county was just under $30 million, but even with that aside, Milner’s French style chateau stands out from the rest.
Perched on a 17 acre hilltop in an area where 17 acre plots are virtually nonexistent, the main house is over 25,000 square feet with a 5500 square foot guest house. With five bedrooms, 14 baths, a ballroom, a wine cellar and a spa, no luxury seems to have been overlooked. Meals are served in one of two dining rooms, and a personal car wash is onsite to wash all the cars housed in both of the three car garages. A perfect pool sits adjacent to the tennis court which has its own tennis pavilion with showers, a sauna and a lounging area. Oh, and a vineyard.
The huge sale price has been the buzz of Silicon Valley since it happened, and now just when things started to calm down, the tax assessor has come along with some news. It appears the house is only worth $50 million, or half of what Milner paid. That’s quite a hit. Of course this is all good news for Milner, who doesn’t even live in the house. It was apparently an investment, much like art or jewelry and it will appreciate. Meanwhile his taxes on the property will only be about $300,000, half of what they could have been. We like this concept of stashing an extra $50 million away for the future.