How to Buy a Castle for Less Than $1 Million
Money + Markets

How to Buy a Castle for Less Than $1 Million

Owning a castle is not reserved for just Prince William and Kate Middleton and the handful of royals across the globe. Even ordinary folks can live like a king or queen -- as long as they have the cash.

Slideshow: 14 Castles (or Chateaus) for Sale for $1 Million or Less

Castles across Europe dating back to medieval times, along with other impressive historic buildings like chateaus and palaces, are available for those who have deep enough pockets to scoop them up. The Italian government even put a fortress and the historic 18th-century palace Villa Mirabello up for sale to pay off government debt.

Those on the sales block range from vast estates with moats, churches, gardens and sometimes dungeons to smaller properties in disrepair with maybe a turreted tower and outbuildings. Their price tags are similarly disparate, from tens of millions of dollars to just a few hundred thousand.

However, owners have other costs to consider like property taxes. In Italy, taxes on historic buildings were relatively low to offset the higher maintenance typically required of these medieval buildings. But in 2011, as the country struggled with the financial crisis, property taxes on historic buildings jumped 20 to 30 times depending on the location under then-Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Other costs depend on each country’s specific laws regarding historic properties. Owners may be required to maintain properties to a certain standard by law. For those who want to do expansive renovations, there may be numerous hoops to leap through to approve modern upgrades. Some countries may require owners of specific, historically-significant castles to be open to the public.

Related: 29 Islands You Can Buy for Less Than the Price of a House

To recoup some of those costs and burdens, castle owners can consider opening a hotel or bed and breakfast, renting a guest house or outbuilding or offer the location for big events like weddings.

Another upside, too, is that these properties have a better chance of retaining their value because only a limited number exist and each one is unique.