Is A Castle A Good Investment? 4 things to consider before buying a castle

When we think of castles and chateaus, the first thing that pops into our minds is the royal family. However, duchesses and dukes are not the only ones who can own castles. There are many castles for sale all over the world, from five-story fortresses to old monasteries.

In other words, owning a mystical fairy tale-like castle or chateau doesn’t have to be a fantasy. Here is a short guide that will help you learn the basics about owning a castle or chateau and how to renovate the property to create a home.

stone chateau outside angouleme in south charente region of france

This stone chateau in the south Charente region of western France has been completely renovated but still retains much of its original character. (Groupe Mercure)

Is a castle a good investment?

Buying a castle or chateau property can be a great investment, but like any real estate venture, it requires some consideration. If you plan to purchase a castle that needs repairs, set a larger budget. There have been cases where buyers purchased a castle for $65,000, only to spend another $800,000 on repairs and upgrades.

Even though the process can be time-consuming and costly, it is a thousand times more rewarding than the typical house renovation.

sand colored castle in auvergne rhone alpes region of france

This sand-colored stone castle in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, listed for about US $2 million, has been owned by the same family since it was originally built in the 17th century. (Groupe Mercure)

Here are some benefits of purchasing and renovating a historic castle:

  • Living in your very own castle ! Having a personal and historic property is an immense source of pride, especially for homeowners with an interest in architecture, art and history.
  • Preserving a culturally relevant site. Storied castles and chateaus are a part of history. Many castles are over 600 years old and have been renovated through the years by different owners. That’s a fantastic opportunity and another reason they are so charming.
  • Return on investment. After renovating, the castle’s price will significantly increase, especially if this prestige property was severely damaged when you bought it.
  • Learning specific skills. Owning a castle property requires intimate knowledge and understanding of architectural and past building practices. Tips and tricks learned along the way can help in the purchase of other properties as well as the preservation of magnificent historical structures.

A 16th-century chateau near the village of Gimont in southwestern France

Listed for about US $3.58 million, this medieval chateau in the town of Périgueux features three interconnected structures dating from the 12th through the 18th centuries. (Groupe Mercure)

Where to start when buying a castle?

The first thing you need to do is find the perfect castle for you and your family. Start by contacting reputable companies that specialize in castle real estate. Groupe Mercure in France and FGP Swiss & Alps in Switzerland are two companies that specialize in the buying and selling of historical properties (including castles) in their respective territories. A reputable company will also help in identifying inventory in locations you prefer.

Whether French chateaus or Tudor homes, each country has unique rules and regulations for renovating historical sites. You want these regulations to match your goals and vision. It’s also recommended that you find out whether the locals will approve your purchase, as you won’t want to live in a hostile environment.

Next, find local construction companies, architects, designers, and historians that specialize in castles. Choosing a construction company from the same area is crucial since they will know more about local materials and building codes. A reputable real estate company such as Groupe Mercure and FGP Swiss & Alps will often have suggestions for companies as well as knowledge about local materials and building codes.

18th century brick chateau near belgium border

This 18th-century chateau near the Belgium border in Valenciennes previously underwent a five-year renovation. (Groupe Mercure)

The essentials of owning a castle

Keep in mind that you are renovating the castle to create a home. Besides focusing on aesthetics, try to find ways you can improve comfort and energy efficiency. Many castles, especially older ones, may need to be adapted to work with local infrastructure.

Depending on the castle’s condition, you probably won’t have access to basic utilities during the renovation. You can either stay in a cold room in the castle and look at the experience as an adventure or simply book a room somewhere nearby until the castle has proper access to light, heating, and water.

brejoeira palace in portugal spain

The privately owned Brejoeira Palace, a national monument just south of Monção, Portugal, is for sale at $28 million. (Immobiliaria Rimontgo)

The right design

As mentioned, most castles are a mixture of various styles from different eras and owners. As a castle owner, you will have the privilege to be part of history. Embrace this exciting new role, and don’t be afraid to add a personal touch. Many castle owners have successfully combined unique and modern features with their castle’s original look.

Don’t forget that castle-owners have a duty to preserve history and culture. That’s why you should always follow local rules and regulations and try to maintain the original look as much as possible. This is where architects, historians, and designers come in. They will help you find the perfect balance between old and new, allowing you to add some personal touches to your new castle.