In the early ‘80s, Sarah Michelle Gellar found her footing as a young actress in Hollywood, appearing in a number of films and off-Broadway shows. After scoring the lead role of Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997, the talented star was able to do something huge in her personal life — purchase her first home!

At just 20 years old, Sarah, now 46, bought a stunning house with her hefty Hollywood paycheck. She was thrilled to be able to do it all on her own.

“Initially, it’s just the excitement,” the All My Children alum told People in an interview on Tuesday, October 10, of buying her first home. “The idea that I have a home that is mine and that when you close those doors, that’s your sanctuary, that’s your peace away from everything.”

While Sarah loved feeling a sense of independence and serenity, she admitted that becoming a homeowner came with its own set of challenges.

“The realities hit you, especially at 20 years old, of what you’re responsible for with a house,” she shared.

At the time of her big purchase, the New York native was filming Scream 2 with Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Neve Campbell. Juggling her bustling career and her new responsibilities as a homeowner definitely wasn’t easy.

“Being responsible for a house — especially for me, who grew up in an apartment building that had a maintenance person — you don’t realize how overwhelming it really is,” Sarah continued. “It’s crazy because I was the first person in my family to ever own an apartment, a house, anything.”

Sarah Michelle Gellar wearing a black swimsuit while submerged in pool
Courtesy of Sarah Michelle Gellar/Instagram

Decades later, Sarah’s life looks a little different, as she is now living in a gorgeous Los Angeles mansion with her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., and their kids, Charlotte and Rocky. Their home is full of colorful design accents and an incredible display built for Sarah’s massive book collection.

“Collecting first-edition books started for me when I was on Buffy once I first started, you know, earning paychecks where I could really spend it on something that was a passion, not just a necessity for myself,” she told Apartment Therapy in July 2022 of her affinity for reading. “A lot of our cast got new cars, and for me, it was like, books.”

Sarah’s library with a color-coordinated bookshelf has easily become one of her favorite rooms in her house, all thanks to the mom of one of her kids’ friends.

“Every time we’d be on Zoom, she would look at my books and she’s like, ‘I can’t look at that mess behind you anymore. I’m coming over and I’m organizing your library,’” she recalled. “One day, sure enough, she showed up at my doorstep and redid my entire library.”