A Look Inside Austin’s Most Expensive Home
Buddhist inspirations, extensive price cuts, lavish grounds, and a huge chessboard – 20 facts about Austin’s most expensive listing.
An Inside Look at Austin’s Most Expensive Home
Would you rather be one of the weirdest people in Austin, or one of the richest? If you chose the latter, would you want to own the most expensive property Austin, Texas, has to offer?
If so, you’d be looking at Commanders Point Estate, a sprawling 37-acre estate that all together includes six bedrooms, six full bathrooms, three half bathrooms, and over 14,000 square feet of living space all for the price of $13.9 million.
But before you buy it — or, like us, just gawk at it — check out some of this unique home’s more interesting details.
You won’t find it hard to relax at Commanders Point.
A number of “hidden paths” surround Commanders Point, and they lead to places like streams, stone bridges, serenity gardens and koi ponds.
There are fountains, hiking trails, statues, vine-covered walls and all types of beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers to enjoy while your worries melt away.
While the buyer for this gargantuan property will probably make an all-cash offer, what if you bought it with a regular 30-year fixed mortgage at a 3.5 percent interest rate?
With 20 percent, $2.78 million down payment, you’ll be shelling out about $60,800 a month (which includes a whopping $10,860 in home insurance alone).
Over a 30-year period, the final sum comes to about $21.888 million.
It Has a Buddhist Theme
But before you worry about money, get into a Zen state of mind.
Adding to Commanders Point’s million-dollar earthly entrance to Nirvana are multiple Buddhist statues throughout the grounds.
A series of monk statues adorn one side of the driveway, and a set of Buddhist statues holding cups of gemstones flank the exterior entryway.
Those who take a stroll in the garden will also see at least one Buddhist-styled relief in a vine-covered wall. There paintings and statues inside the mansion as well.
Land With a Smile
Naturally this estate comes with a helipad — and while that’s not too surprising, it might make you smile. Especially if you’re coming in for a landing.
The landing pad appears to be a large, cleared area of lawn space manicured to look like a smile when you’re in the sky.
Maybe it also represents the Buddhist circle of life. Right? Anyone?
The Backyard Garden Is Beautiful
Sure, you can take a long walk anywhere along Commanders Point’s 37 acres of lush foliage to take in some nature, but if you’re feeling a bit more lazy, head over to the backyard.
You’ll find perfectly manicured hedges, lush grass, a statue surrounded by plants, trees, two pergolas and an impressive pool.
The leaping dolphins statue is just a bonus.
There’s a Huge Outdoor Chessboard
Adding to the incredible grounds is this huge chessboard with giant chess pieces carved from stone.
When the listing first went up for sale in 2016, some sites called the estate’s chessboard “Harry Potter” -like, intimating the pieces might be life-sized. F
rom this angle, they could be Easter Island replicas. So how big are they really?
But the Pieces Aren’t Gigantic
Turns out they’re not life-sized — not unless those benches are for giants — but they’re still pretty big. If we had to guess, they’re probably only one to two feet tall, yet could still throw your back out if you played with them for too long.
Also, they won’t come to life like in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Probably. Maybe only at night.
There’s an Outdoor Tiki Bar
One of the many paths on this property leads to a circular tiki bar supported by tree trunk posts and a thatched roof. Nearby there are two park benches if you don’t feel like sitting at the bar itself.
It’s a Long Way Down to the Dock
Without any assistance, the quickest way down to the lake would be jumping down from the rocky cliff behind the property.
Instead, you can either walk down what looks like four stories worth of long, industrial steel stairs or take a covered lift.
Once you’ve arrived, the dock has two 35-foot boat slips, waterski lifts and an upper deck for entertaining.
Bathe in Waterside Views
The ensuite master bathroom is another incredible place to relax. A spa, flanked by two Tuscan-style pillars, faces three big arched windows which provide a good portion of the property’s 270 degree views of the lake.
While your significant other bathes, you can light a fire and recline on the chase lounge sofa, reveling in opulence. Also included is a standing shower and powder area.
A Slice of Europe
The architect of the main mansion designed the house, which was built in 1996, with European and traditional French influences.
There are arched limestone doorways, mahogany cabinetry, travertine and wood flooring, beamed ceilings and expansive arched windows throughout the mansion.
The Guest House is a Century Old
Included with the lavish listing is a two-bedroom, 100-year-old guest house.
It has been gorgeously renovated, with natural woodwork railings and exposed beam ceilings, but the walls, which look like fieldstone, give the appearance of being perfectly preserved.
It’s $1,000 per step
The main home is listed at 9,642 square feet, but that doesn’t account for all the other property on the home. In total, Commanders Point has 14,221 square feet of living space, which comes to $977 per square foot.
This presumably includes the guest house and a living space above a garage. But price per square footage doesn’t include all that non-livable space like the 650 feet of waterfront, boat dock, various outdoor entertainment spaces and the majority of Commander Point’s 37 acres.
So when you think of it that way, it’s a steal if you’re a many multi-millionaire.
Want to Play a Game? Exercise? Third Floor, Please
At the third floor you’ll find a 988 square-foot game room with an adjacent 592 square-foot exercise space.
There’s room for lots of equipment in this area, although the current setup has a ping pong table, punching bag, card tables and a mounted television. B
ut if you’d like to do some more brainy activities, head on over to the room with the spiral staircase.
There’s an Amazing Study
When it’s time to do some research, work or reading, take a step down from the third floor to Commanders Point’s multilevel study.
It has a beautiful spiral staircase, catwalk, wall-length built-in desks and beamed hardwood ceilings.
Who Owns This Place?
The property is owned by Philip Berber and his wife, Donna, who purchased it in 2001.
Philip founded the then-Austin-based tech company CyBerCorp, Inc, one of the first online brokerages for day traders. He sold it to megabank and brokerage Charles Schwab for $488 million in 2000.
The Berbers are now mainly philanthropists and are looking to buy a smaller home elsewhere in Austin.
There are Two Full-Sized Sport Courts
This place has not just one, but two full-sized sports courts: one for tennis and one for basketball.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Berbers built the basketball court to host children from Camp Glimmer, their charity for underprivileged children.
It’s an Equestrian’s Dream
It wouldn’t be sprawling multimillion-dollar estate without some horses, would it? Commanders Point is a horse-lovers' dream.
To the west of the main mansion is a four-stall barn that includes has an office, kitchen and meeting room. Near the barn is a garage with an upstairs three-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment that is intended to host a property manager.
The equestrian arena is also lighted, for when you get that midnight itch to ride some horses.
It has Taken a Nearly $10 Million Price Cut
Commanders Point originally listed at $22.9 million around March 2016.
While it’s not unusual for huge, expensive estates to sit on the market for several years, the price gradually decreasing as time passes, it’s somewhat unusual for such a drastic price reduction.
Records show the 37-acre property was re-listed in May 2017 at $14.95 million, and reduced to its current $13.9 million price tag this past February.
They also added another option, for those who don’t want the whole shebang…
You Can Buy the Main Stuff for Less
If you don’t want to deal with a 37-acre estate, the sellers have added the option to purchase a portion of the property for $8.9 million.
This separate listing includes the mansion, boat dock, and seven acres which includes. It doesn’t seem to include the equestrian grounds and guest house.
Choosing this option, you’ll have to find another way to keep up with the Joneses.