With Facebook shares set to begin trading, well, right around now, it only makes sense to take a look around Silicon Valley, where Facebook's IPO is set to ignite the real estate market. According to recent reports, sellers in the Palo Alto area have been anxiously anticipating the flood of newly minted millionaires and speculators have already driven prices up by 10 percent. For all the conjecture, only now will we find out if these Facebook kids have a taste for luxury real estate. To make things a little easier on them, we've picked out five of Silicon Valley's finest—or at least most expensive—properties, starting with this, the Buck Estate. Built in 1934 for a wealthy San Francisco industrialist as a summer retreat, the English country-style residence lies less than eight miles from Facebook headquarters and features the sort of old world finishes that are hard to come by, even for the super wealthy. Currently listed for almost $11M, the 16,900-square-foot, six-bedroom mansion could use some (presumably expensive) TLC on the inside, but otherwise looks fit for a king, as well it should, because the Buck Estate was modeled after "Hampton Court in Middlesex, England, a 16th century royal family residence."
? For even more seclusion, we head to the hills of Portola Valley, Calif., where the Villa Lauriston has been languishing on the market, awaiting just this sort of flood of cash. Currently listed for $15.95M, a discount of more than $4M off its 2010 asking price, the villa was built for San Francisco businessman and noted perfectionist Herbert Edward Law and once home to William Randolph Hearst's attorney, who is thought to have burned the "Rosebud" papers in the basement furnace. The 1926 stone structure, with seven bedrooms and ten baths, sits on 28 private acres of hillside.
? For something much more modern, befitting a social networking exec, this Swatt Miers-designed contemporary mansion, listed for $19.8M and set on a hilltop in Atherton, checks all the boxes. Known as the Oz Residence, the house sits on 2.6 treed acres and utilized the finest materials in its construction, like Honduran mahogany and African walnut. Partly inspired by the Museum of Modern Art, these sleek accommodations include five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and 9,300 square feet of living space.
? Though designed and built in 2008, this Atherton estate doesn't skew quite as modern as the last one, but still carries the sky-high listing price of $15.8M. Built from stone with Post and Beam influences, the 8,100-square-foot main house includes five bedrooms and 4.5 baths, while the grounds are complemented by a broad stone patio with swimming pool and dense plantings that ensure privacy. Luxury finishes abound, with French limestone lining the fireplaces, mahogany windows and doors, and 10-inch-wide plank floors of white oak. The one-acre lot is also home to a one-bedroom guest house and an in-law apartment.
? For the thrifty member of the nouveau riche looking to score a deal on their next mansion, this Woodside spread might be just the thing. The 13,000-square-foot French-style estate was built in 1929 and recently listed for as much as $21M, with seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms on roughtly five acres of land, nine miles from Facebook HQ. Le Soleil, as the property is known, is set to be auctioned off to the highest bidder on June 14, which makes this a good fit for a Facebooker, provided one of his or her colleagues doesn't swoop in and pay the "buy it now" price of $12.95M.
· Facebook's Market Debut [NYT]
· Facebook Effect: Palo Alto Home Prices Up, Inventory Down [AOL Real Estate]
· 125 Northgate Street [Zillow]
· 5050 Alpine Road [Christie's]
· 92 Sutherland Drive [Gullixson]
· 390 Stevick Drive [Gullixson]
· 320 Harcross Road [Concierge Auctions]