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Getting a Mortgage on a Castle

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: June 29, 2022

With programmes such as Escape to the Chateau gracing our screens, the prospect of living happily ever after in a fairytale castle is no longer seen as an unattainable fantasy, for some at least. This recent Channel 4 series follows one British couple on a mission to buy and restore an abandoned French castle to create their dream home.

It’s no wonder that the prospect has aroused many Brits, especially when you consider the ever-increasing cost of living in many parts of the UK. But is this a practical venture for you? What costs and implications are there? And is it really possible to get a mortgage on a castle?

This article will tell you what you need to know if you’re thinking about buying a castle in the UK or other parts of Europe.

Why get a mortgage on a castle?

Or rather, why wouldn’t you want to get a mortgage on a castle rather than a regular home? Many people only dream of owning a castle, so why not turn that dream into reality?

Provided you have the time and patience, you can renovate even the most derelict of historic castle into a comfortable, livable (not to mention majestic) environment. Some of the most common reasons people look to do up a castle include:

Restoration project

Castles are filled with history, steeped in political intrigue and battles of the ages. For many castle owners, the renovation process is part of the fun, and many people aim to restore their properties with as much historical accuracy as possible.

When you’ve finished the project, there’s undoubtedly something immensely satisfying at being able to sit back and take in your surroundings knowing that you’ve helped create your dream home.

Business investment

Owning a castle presents you with many investment opportunities. There’s the option to restore it to its former glory and charge entry to history buffs and tourists. Or perhaps you could develop it into a hotel or bed and breakfast, or rent it out as a venue for special events such as weddings and birthdays.

Buying a castle in the UK

There are lots of beautiful castles dotted around the UK, and it’s easy to understand the appeal to buy one. From the beautifully preserved Pembroke Castle in Wales, the infamous Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, the lavish Cabra Castle in Ireland (now a four star hotel), to the UK’s largest occupied one, Windsor Castle, located just outside England’s capital, these majestic buildings really help you appreciate Britain in its full glory.

However, buying a castle in the UK can set you back megabucks, with the average asking price for those on sale ranging from £600k to a whopping £6 million. Which is one of the reasons some people choose to look slightly further afield…

Buying a castle in Europe

As illustrated in Escape to the Chateau, buying a castle abroad could be a more cost-efficient way of creating your dream home – provided you’re willing to invest the time and effort. In certain areas of Europe, such as Belgium, eastern Germany and specifically France, buying a castle or a palace can be unbelievably cheap in comparison to the cost of property in the UK.

The main reason for this is that many of these bargain buys are located in rural areas, abandoned and in need of a major repair. Supply and demand also plays a role; France, for example, is twice the size of the UK, but has a similar sized population meaning that land and property is less sought-after.

If a quiet life and an exciting restoration project is what you’re after, then buying a castle in France, Germany or other areas of Europe could be the ideal option for you. Bear in mind though, that renovating is likely to be very costly.

The advisors we work with may be able to arrange mortgages for castles in…

  • Scotland
  • England
  • Wales
  • Ireland
  • Germany
  • France
  • Other parts of Europe

Make an enquiry to speak with a specialist castle mortgage broker for more information and access the best lender, based on your needs and circumstances.

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How do non-standard constructions impact castle mortgage eligibility?

non-standard construction is any property that does not fall within the definition of a standard construction of “a property with either stone or brick walls, and a tile or slate roof”, and this can certainly be true of castles.

Mortgage providers are generally less keen to invest in unique property types, which potentially means less competitive rates for you.

Every lender has a different stance on what they will or won’t accept. Some providers refuse to lend to any type of non-standard home, whereas others will base their decision on the level of risk the property poses. The primary focus for lenders is that your home can act as a reliable form of security.

Factors to consider when buying a listed property

Castles are classified as listed buildings, as are all properties built before 1840 which survive in anything like their original condition. There are different levels of listed buildings, each of which have different implications on mortgage approval. Grade l refers to “buildings of exceptional interest”, which many castles fall under. A lot of providers refuse to lend on Grade I builds due to the potential risk they pose, surrounding either ageing structure, habitability and / or future saleability. However, there are still a select few lenders out there who are happy to consider you.

How to finance a castle restoration project

If you’re looking to take out a very large mortgage, which could well be the case if you’re looking to buy a castle in the UK, you may be able to use a secured loan as collateral to borrow a greater sum.

However, if you are in the position to do so bridging finance could provide you with the initial funds you need to purchase a castle site in need of redevelopment. Remember that you will need to provide your lender with evidence of a clear exit strategy plan in this situation, which would usually be a remortgage based on the property’s post-development value, unless you’re fixing the castle up to sell it.

Development finance

As covered, the majority of castle purchases are made with renovation projects in mind. Development finance is a term used to describe loans taken out for this very purpose. Development loans are usually offered on a short term, interest-only basis and share many similarities to bridging finance.

With development loans however, the capital is released in stages as the project progresses. Lenders will carry out site inspections on a regular basis before issuing each instalment, once they have confirmed that the works are progressing as planned.

High net worth mortgages

Even if you do have the funds available to make a hefty purchase outright, you may look at the possibility of taking out a large mortgage so as not to tie up all your finances in one investment.

As a high net worth customer, you’ll need to speak to a broker specialising in this type of mortgage product. Many high street lenders have a cap on how much they will lend, and often won’t have the required expertise. Make an enquiry and we’ll refer you to a specialist high net worth mortgage advisor.

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If you like what you’re reading or require more information, call Online Mortgage Advisor on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry online.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances. We don’t charge a fee, and there’s no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

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About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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