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How the 1% lives: unique, over-the-top home features

Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance

There is no such thing as over the top when it comes to "suping-up" the homes of the super-rich.

When your clients are some of the wealthiest people in the world, you are not selling them real estate. You are selling them a status symbol or a lifestyle or a property with unique features. In New York City especially, it's not just the square footage buyers are looking for, but what’s in the apartment that attracts wealthy buyers.

The stock market got you in a tizzy, well, you can always retreat to your Panic Room. Want to watch the Super Bowl while taking a bubble bath? You can certainly enjoy the game when the TV is built in the bottom of the bath tub.

The British real-estate brokerage Knight Frank publishes a document annually called “The Wealth Report.” It says there are nearly 168,000 individuals in the world who are “ultra high net worth,” with real estate as their most favored way of spending their money.

And New York City offers a wealth of options. Ryan Serhant, the star of Bravo’s "Million Dollar Listing" and a broker with Nest Seekers International told Yahoo Finance about his listing on the West side of Manhattan. “It has a car elevator that takes your car to your apartment. And it has a vault in the middle of the apartment, encased in glass that opens and closes with the push of a button on your phone to reveal a stairwell.”

Serhant put together a marketing video for the penthouse featuring a diamond necklace, a helicopter and a Ferrari before ending with footage of the property itself. You get the idea.

Or how about the townhouse for sale listed at $18 million. For that price you get a garage, meticulous finishes and a TriBeCa address- one of the hot zip codes in the city right now. If that's not enough, it’s also got a floating office that uses metal mesh to suspend the office like it's floating in space over the interior while providing stunning views of the exterior.

NYC real estate website The Real Deal says the newer the building the fancier the finishing touches buyers expects. And it doesn’t hurt if the condo building comes attached to the premium services of a luxury hotel such as the Mandarin Oriental or the Ritz-Carlton.

But are buyers really willing to pay extra for the fancy gadgets and features? Serhant says sellers need to think carefully before they trick out their homes with expensive, specialized features. In Manhattan, where parking is at a premium, a personal parking spot next to your apartment adds some serious value. However, TVs in the bathtub merely offer bragging rights. The right feature will certainly add value to the home - Serhant estimates anywhere from 20 to 30% over market value.

Though it is pretty cool to be able to watch your soaps while taking a bubble bath.

Milanee Kapadia is a freelance contributer to Yahoo. You can follow her on Twitter @MilaneeKapadia.

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