Like many people at the start of Covid, YouTube creator Carter Sharer spent a lot of time scrolling through real estate sites.
The 27-year-old searched for something specific and extravagant: a hub for his YouTube group, Team RAR or "Rare and Ridiculous," to live and work. He found a 15,000 square-foot rental property in Los Angeles' Bel Air neighborhood, available to rent for a cool $39,700 per month.
"The house was just stunning," Sharer tells CNBC Make It, detailing its seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, pool, tennis court and two-acre backyard. "I could only dream of the content we were going to be able to film here."
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By the time Sharer signed the yearlong lease in April 2020, the rent was $39,700 per month and has since risen to $43,700. The upfront costs, like first month's rent plus a security deposit, were $118,500, he recalls.
Sharer owns the 21-person Team RAR Inc., which includes five other creators, a handful of recurring players and a technical crew that helps produce and film the videos. The team's videos typically involve stunts and challenges that take place at the house, like creating "the world's tallest trampoline tower" in the yard or building a functional Chick-Fil-A in one of the rooms.
Two of the creators, including Sharer, live in the house full-time. It's open to the rest of Team RAR for any work-related projects.
"Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think that I'd be paying this amount of money for just living in a house," Sharer says. "All the crazy stuff we do back here, surprisingly, feels very normal."
Paying for a mansion on a YouTuber's income
A YouTuber's paycheck can vary from month to month, depending on how many videos they publish and how many people watch them. "Each view will generate a portion — like a fraction of a cent — of revenue," Sharer says. "So, as you can imagine, we need like millions and millions [of views]."
Each member of Team RAR has their own individual YouTube channel, meaning each contributes to the team's revenue in varying degrees. Sharer's channel has 8.48 million subscribers. His teammates Lizzy Capri and Ryan Prunty have roughly 6 million and 1.5 million, respectively.
"Those fractions of cents start to add up, which boiled down to us being able to pay all the bills each month," Sharer says.
The house's monthly rent equals what many people spend on a down payment to purchase a house. Team RAR also pays extra monthly fees including $3,600 for utilities, $1,800 for cleaning, $2,500 for landscaping and $200 for pool maintenance.
In total, the group pays roughly $51,800 per month on the house. Over the course of the full year, they'll likely pay around $621,600.
Sharer sees it all as a temporary investment.
"Needless to say, this house is extremely expensive," he says. "I do think that just renting it for a short period, even though I'm paying a lot, is a better way to go about it."
Outfitting the house with YouTube essentials
The house needs to be more than just a co-working space or place to live, because it serves as the backdrop for the group's videos. That's why the décor is relatively sparse: It's an adaptable blank slate.
Sharer's bedroom on the second floor is a 2,000 square-foot suite with two walk-in closets, two bathrooms, an office and view of the backyard. The backyard is "the pride and joy of everything," Sharer says. When they moved in, he says, they installed the Team RAR logo on the bottom of the pool.
The house has other outlandish features that you'll probably only find in a YouTube team house, like arcade games in the kitchen and a life-sized "LEGO City" on the tennis courts. One of Sharer's bedroom closet has a hidden pantry full of candy.
It also has a practical amenity that's particularly valuable in Los Angeles, Sharer says: a place to park his Lamborghini.
"It sounds like the silliest thing in the world, but I'm paying huge money for a very average-sized driveway in my mind," he says. "It's amazing that we can park cars in the driveway off the street."
Sharer is already plotting his next move: In September, he announced his purchase of a $10 million home on the East Coast. He says he plans to split his time between the two houses.
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