Do you know which medieval creation continues to excite investors from all over the world?
If you’re thinking of artistic activities such as music or painting, there is evidence of cultural entertainment dating back from the Roman and Greek empires in Europe. Cooking is not the right answer either; even though cuisine in the Middle Age was designed to be awe-inspiring for the lords and princes, you can find preserved recipes from Cleopatra’s era. If you’re wondering whether fashion would have made an early appearance as an investment strategy during the Middle Age, the answer is negative. The medieval times were not renowned for being a peaceful period of history. Deadly diseases decimated large parts of the population in Europe. And when the disease and the poor hygiene didn’t kill people, it was the many wars and battles destroying entire villages. In short, it’s difficult to imagine that something positive could have come out of this dark era of violence and bigotry. Nevertheless, it’s precisely those violent times that inspired today’s investors: They created fortified structures for the protection of the nobility. Indeed, castles were designed as a response to the medieval battles. And castles, as it happens, can make a profitable investment if you know what you’re doing. So, now’s the time to take one simple decision that can forever change your investment portfolio and your lifestyle. Do you have what it takes to adopt a chateau?
Going against the trend
The process of owning a castle puts you against the most significant property trend of the 21st century, namely minimalism. The idea of embracing a minimalist lifestyle is that you can strip your home down to the very minimum. There is no room for superficial extras. The trend was initiated by realtors and interior designers as a response to the increasing difficulties of the audience to deal with escalating living costs. The idea was almost immediately acclaimed by thrifty bloggers and financial recovery websites, so much in fact that articles claiming that life is happier in a small house are multiplying all over the Internet. There is no denying that depending on your situation and your requirements, going minimalist could indeed be the ideal solution.
However, when you want to become the proud owner of a chateau, you need to look past the minimalist enthusiasts to find a realtor who can understand your needs and help you. You are also likely to come across the same difficulties as you consider improvement works, landscaping – if your property comes with a large garden – and decoration projects. It’s essential that you understand that going against the trend can make it more challenging to find the right interlocutors. However, challenging doesn’t mean impossible!
There’s more to the investment than just the cost
Buying a castle is a different kind of property investment. Ultimately, most castles were built during the Middle Ages, meaning that you can come across buildings that are several-century-old. It’s fair to assume that the level of expert care and maintenance they require doesn’t compare to buying an old house. Unless you happen to buy an abandoned castle, you can expect the place to have gone through different periods of renovations and repairs. And that would be the very first reason why you need to monitor the air quality in the property. Indeed the presence of potential toxins that might come from ancient repair works can be devastating for your health — it’s the sick building syndrome and can cause nausea, dry cough, headaches and tiredness. Additionally, you will need to get the property inspected for risks of harmful insulation material or even lead plumbing. Indeed, castles are large buildings. Consequently, it’s entirely plausible for a previous owner to have added potentially dangerous substances during early structural repair works. Indeed, until the 1970s, lead was still a common ingredient of paint and many plumbing systems, so it would be safe to check to property. Additionally, you will also need to find professionals who are experienced in castle renovation and restoration works. Ultimately, the architecture of a chateau doesn’t compare to the one of a house. You have to trust someone who understands the complexity of historic buildings and who has both the craftsmanship and the technical know-how for this particular task.
How big is too big?
When you think castle, you probably imagine a vast palace surrounded by an even larger garden. Versailles or Buckingham palace are the kind of images that pop to mind. However, living in a castle can be a strenuous exercise. Warwick Castle in England is a brilliant example of a property that has gone too big. The earliest reference to the construction dates back from William the Conqueror, in 1068. But it’s only one century later than the castle was building stone. There is also tapestry work inside the castle that dates back from the very early 13th century. It’s only in 1978 that the castle finally went to an entertainment company that has now since undergone renovation and repair works to open it as a live museum for tourists. The 950-year-old castle expanded over time. But in the later years when it was still owned by the family of the Earl of Warwick, the castle drove most owners to debts. The reason for these financial difficulties was the high maintenance costs. In fact, it’s also why so many palaces have been abandoned over the years. In other words, while you may not want to embrace a minimalist approach, you have to be conscious of the responsibilities inherent to the maintenance of large buildings.
How can you compromise in size?
However, you’ll be pleased to know that you can perfectly compromise on the size of your castle. Indeed, French Chateaux, for instance, come in a variety of settings and size. You can find the perfect chateau in a manageable size and location with less than 10 bedrooms in the vicinity of a large city. You might want to get a feel for castles before you start your hunt for the perfect property. It can be helpful to discuss with experienced real estate agents to find out how previous buyers have managed their chateaux, especially if it’s your first investment in buildings of this kind.
Can you keep the place busy?
Most investors who choose to buy a castle tend to have a plan to keep the place alive. Indeed, you don’t want to risk abandoning rooms in the property, as this might accelerate potential damages. The only way to keep a castle standing is to use it — that’s how Warwick castle survived almost a millennium. To put it clearly, you need to purchase the property with a business plan to repurpose its structure. While you can transform your castle into a live attraction such as Warwick castle, you can also choose the hospitality sector as a business guide. Indeed, more and more luxury chateaux are turned into boutique hotels. This provides owners with the perfect opportunity to maximize the grand interior decor while monetizing the renovation and maintenance efforts. Boutique hotels and boutique bed and breakfast are especially popular. But you can also convince a chef to start a restaurant in your castle/hotel, especially if you want to attract new visitors.
Can you bring the place to the 21st century?
Last, but not least, your most important challenge will be to create an energy-efficient building. Castles, to be a profitable investment, need to be appealing to modern-day tourists.
In conclusion, la vie de chateau is an investment that needs to combine the savoir-faire of expert renovators, the strategic plan of the businessperson and of course, the emotional hook of the buyer. You only buy a castle because you’ve fallen in love with the idea of bringing it back to life! And you will need a lot of love to make this historic fairy tale work.