What is the common goal for supervillains? Usually, they just want to rule the world. Being more realistic, it usually comes down to money, lots and lots of money. With a vast fortune, there are many things you can do. With enough money, you could even influence the world to your liking. But that's not how villains operate.
In the planning stages of the evil schemes for world domination, the supervillain needs a place to operate out of. There might be one or two that has a private home or possibly is working out of their parents basement. In order to fully be successful, the villain needs a proper base or secret hideout.
Maintaining an elaborate secret headquarter isn't an easy task. There is a lot of different factors that the supervillain needs to consider. The question is, how can a supervillain afford and operate their secret hideout?== TEASER ==
Cost is a big factor. If the villains goal is to earn or steal money, that gives the impression they don't have a lot of it to begin with. The elaborate secret base would have a tremendous overhead in keeping it running. The electric bill alone would be murder. Just as many opt to get a roommate to pay the bills, an up and coming villain could try to collaborate with other villains. The Legion of Doom had a pretty fancy secret base hidden in the swamps. Going this route would require the villain to share their headquarters and most likely partake in evil schemes that others have cooked up rather than focus on their own plans.
Because villains are so evil and untrustworthy, teaming up with other villains rarely works. There's bound to be disagreements over whose arch-nemesis to take on this week or what bank to rob. There's also the fact that they have to place their trust in others. All it would take is one careless villain to lead the heroes or authorities to their secret lair.
Other elaborate bases often include underwater locations. The oceans are vast and the heroes don't seem to patrol the underwater areas (besides Aquaman and Namor). They would run into the same maintenance issues but even more so when underwater. The villain would need to make sure they have electrical wiring or some sort of power generator to keep the place running. What do they do about repairs? Over time, the facilities would require some upkeep. What happens if a window starts cracking? Or what if they accidentally lock themselves out? I can't imagine many locksmiths would be willing to travel underwater for a client.
If a villain wanted to go the cheaper route, there's always a warehouse they could use. Comic book universes seem to be overrun with them. The villains would just have to be aware of any zoning ordinances. Is there a specific set or hours they can operate during? Villains often build enormous machinery and they would have to make sure there's no hassles when getting deliveries. Zoning laws could be another issue. Some buildings are meant for commercial purposes and might not allow a person to reside on the property.
What about security? Villains always have an insane amount of security cameras and monitors. Again, this requires a lot of money as well as the high amount of electricity it will take to run them. If a hero was scanning for television frequencies and detected a large amount in what's supposed to be an abandoned factory, it wouldn't take long for them to investigate.
There's also the deadly traps for the heroes once they are lured to the hidden lair. This is the worst idea a supervillain could have. Besides the cost of constructing a trap that could do away with the hero, by inviting them to their hideout, the villain is just going to have to find a new place later. Villains never succeed in doing away with their nemesis. The hero always breaks free and hauls the villain off the prison. Once they break out or are released for good behavior, that secret hideout is now compromised.
A secret hideout should be the last thing a supervillain worries about. Having a proper base costs too much and will eventually be discovered. A villain should put their efforts into creating the perfect plan rather than worry about setting up a posh headquarter.
Operating out a residential home could be tricky due to nosey neighbors and the limits when trying to build a gigantic doomsday device in your basement or backyard. The villain needs to figure out how not to get caught. If they are interested in wealth, paying for a secret hideout is a waste of money. Unless they are given a place or discover a hidden abandoned one, designing a fancy hideout should not be their top concerns. If they can afford an elaborate secret lair then they should rethink their evil plans of robbing banks.