Like, Follow, Share and Post! Whether you’re in your teens, 30s or even your 80s, chances are you’ve heard of and even joined Facebook just to see what social networking is all about. And, while you’re busy liking your friend’s status update, posting a selfie or sharing a funny cat photo, you’re certainly making Mark Zuckerberg’s life a little easier as the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Facebook who is worth a whopping $54.5 billion.
Much like fellow billionaire Bill Gates of Microsoft, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard University after he and a few friends launched Facebook from their dorm room in 2004. Introducing the site to other campuses over the next few years, Facebook grew exponentially to one billion users by 2012, making Zuckerberg a billionaire by the age of 28. By then, the New York native had already put down roots in Palo Alto, California with his wife Priscilla Chan but that didn’t stop him from adding to his real estate portfolio. After all, what’s six more homes when you’re a billionaire?
Spending the majority of his time in Palo Alto near the Facebook headquarters, Zuckerberg lives in a 5,000 square-foot home nestled in a wealthy historic neighborhood near the Stanford University campus. But, believe it or not, he still manages to live below his means. Already showing off his frugal ways after designing his wife’s wedding ring as a small ruby nestled between two diamonds, Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto house matches his practical lifestyle and is far from the standard gilded furnishings, marble statues and ornate chandeliers seen in other billionaires’ homes. So what exactly does it look like?
Nestled in the trees for extra privacy and set back from the road, the house is wood veneer and brick with a casual living area featuring broad windows, French doors and white wood paneling to enhance the California sunlight. The country-style kitchen is decorated in sage green with the bathrooms featuring marble countertops, white tiled floor, powder blue walls and a freestanding bathtub. All in all, the home is nothing extraordinary other than being light, airy and livable in true California style.
With four other homes spread across Palo Alto (which we’ll get to in a moment,) the now 32-year-old programmer and entrepreneur also owns another home in San Francisco near Dolores Park and the Mission District. Considered prime real estate and valued at $10 million, Zuckerberg’s home is adjacent to the hip Mission District that offers dozens of sidewalk cafes, cupcake shops, clothing boutiques and more. But, if that seems a little outside of Zuckerberg’s usual laid-back style, then brace yourselves for his next stunning retreat.
In true billionaire fashion, Zuckerberg purchased his own private getaway in Hawaii in 2014 when he dropped $100 million on 750 sprawling acres on the north shore of Kauai only to later purchase the adjoining 400-acre patch of beach. And, while no one knows exactly where the Zuckerberg family sleeps after a long day playing in the sand and the surf, native Hawaiians have their own opinions of the billionaire’s investment. In fact, with the growing homeless population and the property’s ability to accommodate up to 80 homes, many locals grimace at the thought that Zuckerberg will likely build a single grand mansion for his little family of three.
Many Hawaiians who were born and raised in the area have more than enough reason to throw a fit after the billionaire recently began construction on a six-foot stone wall to shelter his land from prying eyes. But, who could blame him? After all, what’s more exciting than getting a sneak peek into the lifestyles of the rich and famous? On the other hand, the towering wall is not only a formidable eyesore, it also completely obstructs the breathtaking views of Hawaii’s iconic oceanfront property. See? Even we can see both sides of this real estate squabble!
Of course, this isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has been involved with a neighborhood feud. After purchasing his San Francisco home in Dolores Park, Zuckerberg and his wife wanted to add a few modern touches to the 1920s home. For two years, construction on a media room, office, wet bar, wine cellar, laundry room and dozens of other updates dragged on as the noise and mess created havoc in the otherwise quiet neighborhood. To make matters worse, the construction workers and delivery trucks took up all the parking spaces, which sent neighbors fuming over their inability to park in front of their homes.
Now that we’re back to California, let’s put aside Zuckerberg’s run-in with his neighbors to take a look at his four additional houses in Palo Alto. Soon after he purchased his first home, he discovered a developer’s plan to purchase the neighboring home and market it using his famous name. As a result, Zuckerberg immediately bought the house and all of the surrounding properties at an inflated price totaling $30 million. To add to the atrocity, one home was only 2,500 square feet but cost twice as much as his first home which, after spending $3 million each year on security alone, was nothing for the young billionaire.
Seemingly owning the entire block (or at least one side of it), Zuckerberg has plans to bulldoze the dwellings and start over with newer and much smaller homes. So what does he intend to do with those houses? After neighbors heard that one of the homes was designed with steel doors and a metal roof, rumors ran wild that he was building a compound complete with a bunker for his family. As to whether or not the rumors are true, only time will tell as Zuckerberg is certainly keeping his lips sealed on his latest real estate plans.
Obviously continuing to live below their means aside from paying top dollar to ensure their privacy and driving the neighbors crazy, the Zuckerbergs seem like a fairly ordinary family. And, now that they’ve purchased seven homes and continue to build their billionaire status, Mark and Priscilla have taken their philanthropy a step further by pledging to give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares over their lifetime, which is a status update we definitely "Like!"