Last week, when we looked around the 100-year-old church turned townhouses for sale right across the street from Dolores Park, we were surprised to find that one of the over 5,000-square-foot units was listed for rent on Craigslist, for a whopping $28,000 a month. Surely anyone with that kind of money to throw around can afford to just buy?
But five days later the ad is gone, so they may have found a tenant. That got us thinking: What are the options for a renter who wants to spend that much money on housing per month but does not want a mortgage?
↑ For starters, you can rent an entire Los Altos estate. That’s an acre of land and an 11,000-square-foot home on Ascension Drive, with six bedrooms, a 15 seat movie theater, a 1,000 bottle wine cellar, marble floors, a sauna, a library, an elevator, and a mudroom.
There’s an 800-square-foot pool and a social hall that serves 100 guests. The landlord pays for gardening and pool maintenance, which with a property like this are presumably necessities. The place was built in 2006, designed by Stotler Design Group, and the Craigslist ad bills it as "warm everyday living for [a] large extended family." Presumably, every relation you have.
↑ If the South Bay isn’t your thing, cast your eyes northward, where for just $25,000 a month you can rent a castle in San Rafael. Well, they call it a castle, but really it’s an 8,000-square-foot house with castle-like design elements, including rubble masonry walls, a decorative suit of armor in the entryway, and battlements on the deck, in case you have to fend off solicitors the hard way.
It’s a three-acre property, 23 rooms in all, with parking for more than 30 cars. And if you can afford this, you are likely the type of tenant who owns 30 cars. There are four spiral staircases, four floor-to-ceiling fireplaces, the showers in the seven bathrooms are made of granite, and there’s a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Reading the list of features, it does start to sound like something of a bargain.
↑ If you prefer the heart of the city over South Bay and North Bay views, $25,000 a month gets you an entire building in SoMa. That’s the price to become master tenant of a three-story, 12-unit, completely vacant and recently remodeled (permits were issued last year to replace the windows, bathrooms, and kitchens, and to seismically retrofit the soft-story building) building at 120 10th Street, between Mission and Minna.
The $25,000 rents you the whole thing, 4,500 square feet in all, but of course the idea is that you turn that around and sublease to 11 other people. The ad recommends turning it into "corporate housing, a boutique hotel, or student housing." Or you could just keep it empty and have the craziest Airbnb ad of all time.
What kind of tenant has this sort of money but doesn’t just buy a house of their own? Sidney Yee, the real estate agent handling the Los Altos estate, says that most of the interest comes from people who move to the Bay Area with the intention of buying or building but who know that finding the right place will take a while and want to live in style in the meantime.
Ultra high-end rentals are also an opportunity for people who are rich, but not as rich as they’d like to be. If you’re spending $28,000 a month, you’re not hungry, but building 11,000 square feet in Los Altos may yet be beyond your means. So while you may not have it all, renting it all is almost as good.