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Defining What A Mansion Really Is

When you hear the word “mansion” what do you imagine? Is it a sprawling residence with 3 floors, a grand ballroom, elevator and lush landscaping? Is it the home Ritchie Rich lived in with its own Burger King and roller coaster? A mansion could mean a lot of different things to most people, so let’s analyze the nitty gritty and explore what truly qualifies a property to be a mansion. 

If your definition is based on size, then there is no general rule of thumb. According to reference.com, a good rule of thumb is 5,000 square feet.

 

Charlie Cheever of quora.com writes, "Technically, realtors term mansions as houses that have at least 8,000 square feet of floor space." Merriam-Webster's dictionary definition is less definitive, simply stating that a mansion is "a large and impressive house: the large house of a wealthy person."

Luxury real estate expert Jade Mills, a leading agent with Coldwell Banker Previews International chimed in to help define this question. Mills understands this world more than most, after recently selling the Playboy mansion for $100 million. Today, she is a representative for the Warner estate which boasts an eight-bedroom, 11-bathroom, 12,254-square-foot manor house, listed for $40 million.

"'Mansion' is a very subjective word," Mills says. “I grew up in a house in Northern California that was about 900 square feet. One year, when we were driving down to Southern California to go to Disneyland, some friends told us they were staying in a mansion on Sunset Boulevard, and that we could come visit them. When we got there, I thought it was a mansion and more. But looking back, it was only about 5,000 square feet, and wouldn’t be considered a mansion by today’s standards.”

In the LA luxury market, most buyers don’t consider a house less than 20,000 square feet as being a “true mansion.”

More important than size is that of amenities. Most resources will agree that a true mansion will have a greater-than-average number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square feet, and a number of exciting features. These include entertainment facilities like movie theaters, extra leisure space like a library, and lavish grounds.

All in all, there is no actual definition for a mansion, but Mills said it best. 

"It's all about the homeowner's perspective. So if you want to call your charming three-bedroom a mansion, go for it.”

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