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Oprah’s Promised Land

With the end of Oprah’s successful television series, we thought it would be fun to take a look at what years of revelations, heartache, laughter and tears bought this media mogul. More specifically, where has Stedman’s sugar mama been residing since the end of her TV series? Well, Oprah has a couple residences, but her California abode is beyond compare.

In fact, at a cost of $52 million in 2001, Oprah aptly refers to her Montecito California home as “The Promised Land”.

Here are the facts [1]:

chartOprah`s house

And since this site is about mortgages, we’re really going to go wild and calculate Oprah’s mortgage financing options using our trusty mortgage calculators.

So, let’s assume that Oprah puts in a down payment of at least 20%, because even the wildly wealthy want to avoid mortgage insurance.

Other liberties or assumptions we’ve taken for the purpose of this blog:

  • Oprah’s house is in Toronto, Canada (thereby adhering to all Canadian mortgage and housing regulations as well as current Ontario mortgage rates).
  • Oprah can’t afford to buy the house in full upfront (like she actually did). She has to take out a mortgage like most people.
  • Oprah loves dogs.

Down payment and mortgage insurance

With a down payment of 20% as opposed to the minimum 5%, Oprah does not have to pay mortgage insurance. Take a look at the screenshot and you will notice that this saves her an extra $ 1.4 million.

Mortgage type

If Oprah planned to pay her mortgage off over an amortization period of 25 years (which is the most popular period), at a 5-year variable rate of 2.05%, her total mortgage required would be $41,600,000. Her monthly mortgage payments would amount to $177,168.

Oprah`s mortgage calculation

Land transfer tax

It is also important to be aware of hidden costs such as land transfer tax because as you can see in the example above, this can result in a significant cost to the home buyer – in this case, a whopping $2 million dollars!

Amortization period and interest saved

Scenario 2: The total interest Oprah would have paid if she had opted for a 5-year fixed rate is $6.9 million over her term.


Scenario 4: The total interest paid with a 5-year variable rate of 2.05% is around $3.9 million over the term (Note that variable rates are subject to fluctuation with the prime rate).


This comparison demonstrates the significant impact a mortgage rate can have on the total amount of interest you pay. Even a few percentage points can add up to thousands of dollars, or millions in this case, that could be better spent elsewhere.

Money saved on mortgage insurance:   $1.4 million

Money saved on interest paid: $ 3 million ($6.9 million – $3.9 million)

Total money saved: $4.4 million

What would Oprah buy with her savings? Her ‘favourite things’, of course!

Perhaps she would like to buy 5000 dogs. Roll call!

Oprah`s future puppies

Or she could trade them all in and buy the world’s most expensive dog, a Tibetan mastiff, for approximately $1.5 million [2]. And she’d have money to burn!

Most expensive dog in the world

Other possible options:

Invest in Obama’s re-election campaign.

Obama and Oprah

Start up another school or two.

.Oprah`s school

Give away 275,000 copies of James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces”.

James Frey Book

Purchase another home to add to her collection.

Oprah`s Home

Start her “own” television network.

Oprah Winfrey Network