There are some nice homes out there. You’ve likely seen lavish properties dripping with luxurious amenities, whether it’s down the street or on TV. But, while these homes are glamorous, are they technically mansions? What exactly is considered a mansion
What is considered a mansion?
A mansion is generally a house that is only elevated to mansion status when the home meets certain criteria like quality, square-footage and more. To start, sheer size can qualify a home as a mansion.
Of course, square footage isn’t the only factor, especially if you take into account real estate in locations like New York City where space is at a premium. To be considered a mansion, the home needs to be luxurious and impressive. This means an excess amount of bedrooms and bathrooms and additional rooms built specifically for a singular purpose.
While older mansions may more likely resemble the Clue game board with a billiard room, lounge, ballroom, and live-in quarters designated for staff, cooks, and butlers, newer mansions boast more modern features. For example, a mansion can include game rooms, theater rooms, gyms, pool rooms, spa facilities, and more.
Another distinguishing feature of a true mansion is the quality of the building materials. Mansions are built of premium materials such as high-grade wood, superior stonework, customized fabrics and furnishings, marble countertops, ornate granite mantelpieces, and top-of-the-line appliances. Most modern mansions will also use sustainable materials and include smart and energy-efficient technologies
Additionally, mansions will employ exquisite architectural design using either one style or an eloquent combination of classical-style, colonial-style, or Victorian-style. Mansion architecture exudes a sense of grandeur with tall ceilings, large windows, and a beautiful facade.
A mansion will also typically be built on a large property which contains other luxurious amenities like a pool, tennis courts, extensive gardens, walking paths, water features, and additional garages.
What is a McMansion?
In drastic contrast to a genuine mansion is the McMansion. You’ve likely seen these homes that try to come across as a luxurious mansion, but instead seem a bit off. The main difference between an authentic mansion and a McMansion are the quality of building materials — or rather, the lack of quality.
McMansions look to the bottom line. Instead of creating a sense of splendor, McMansions come across as cookie-cutter and a poor facsimile of a mansion. McMansions use cheap building materials and often don’t pay attention to architectural design — think ostentatious.
You’ll be able to spot a McMansion if the home has a high-pitched roof with lower cross gables, has a tall, nearly two-story arched entryway, and an inexplicable excess use of dormers. These types of faux mansions also will showcase multiple materials, brick, and stonework seemingly wallpapered to the exterior. McMansion windows will typically also differ in styles, sizes, and shapes, and the overall structure of the home will be asymmetrical.
While you’ll usually be able to spot a McMansion from an authentic mansion, sometimes mansions can border on McMansion territory. One other criteria to tell a mansion from a McMansion is the property the home sits on. Generally, McMansions are built on small plots of land, stretching out to the very edges of the property line. True mansions, on the other hand, usually include sprawling grounds equipped with a variety of amenities.
What’s the difference between mansions and estates?
While both a mansion and estate feature impressive, opulent homes, the major difference between the two is the extent of the land they’re built on. Historically, an estate sits on a vast parcel of land that includes outbuildings, farms, pastures, and even villages or towns. In the past, the products produced from the estate’s farms and land would financially support the main house.
However, nowadays an estate is defined as a grand and large home that sits on acres of land. And while estates may still comprise farmland or pastures, these days, the farms aren’t usually big enough or designed to fully support the estate. Most families who own estates now created their fortune elsewhere.
Navigating Mansions Real Estate Listings
Knowing the difference between a mansion, McMansion, and an estate will help you as you head into your home search or when you decide to put your home on the market. When searching for a home, if the house is listed as a mansion, you’ll now be able to discern if the home is a true mansion or if the listing is trying to pass off a McMansion or just a relatively sizable home as a mansion.
For instance, if you notice the listing says the home is 4,800 square feet, it technically doesn’t qualify as a mansion. Or, if the listing says the home has the right square footage (above 5,000 square feet), but the actual plot of land it’s on is small in comparison, you’re likely looking at a McMansion.
When listing your home, you also want to be thoughtful about using the term “mansion” in your listing description. You want to properly manage buyer expectations. If you decide to list your home as a mansion, but it doesn’t quite fit the criteria, buyers could lose trust and be less likely to want to work with you or buy your home. Also note, because the definition of a mansion is subjective, Realtors tend to avoid using the term unless it’s an iconic part of the home’s name.
Of course, one of the best ways to market your home is to work with an experienced real estate agent. A skilled Realtor can help you effectively market your home to attract the right type of buyer. They will help distinguish if your home is a true mansion, or if it’s better to market your home as a luxury property or estate.
And if you’re in the market to buy a mansion, partnering with a top real estate agent will help you weed through listings to find a genuine mansion. A Realtor will save you time and energy, helping you to avoid McMansions. UpNest, which is owned by parent company Realtor.com, makes it easy to find the best, local real estate agents who know your market and area well, who can help you either sell your luxury home or help you find your perfect mansio