Extreme Real Estate: Live in a Lighthouse


Each week MainStreet takes a look at what we call Extreme Real Estate. This week we bring you: Living La Vida Lighthouse.

While some people dream of living in a lavish mansion or pine for a pad on the prairie, there are those with a strong sense of adventure, a love of the sea and a flair for the funky who long to live in a lighthouse.

About 120 miles north of London sits the coastal resort town of Hunstanton (or Sunny Hunny in local parlance) known for its striped cliffs, sandy beaches and being the only seaside resort on the east coast of England where you can watch the sun set in the west. It’s also home to the historic Hunstanton Lighthouse, currently for sale with an asking price of £499,950 or about $700,000 US at today’s rates.

Sitting high on a bluff, the lighthouse tower was originally built in 1844 and the attached, fully functional residence was added in the 1920s. In addition to the fully renovated residence’s four bedrooms, there are two bathrooms, a large eat-in kitchen on the ground floor, a living room on the second floor and a spiral stone staircase that winds to the top of the lighthouse with spectacular views in all directions.

Contact Martins Estate Agents (01485 535535) for more information.

Lighthouse aficionado Sue Clark, who maintains the Lighthouse News web site, is not aware of any privately owned lighthouses currently available in the United States. However, the General Services Administration, an independent agency of the U.S. government that oversees government-owned properties, auctions a number of lighthouse properties each year. In 2008, the administration released 12 lighthouses for auction. The list for 2009 has not been released yet, but will be posted on the National Park Service web site.

Although purchasing a lighthouse from the government can be relatively inexpensive—they're often in difficult to access locations and sometimes lack services such as plumbing—converting a lighthouse for private use is not. In addition to cost, lighthouse lovers should be aware that owning and renovating a lighthouse comes with a number of inescapable rules and regulations. According to Sue Clark, “If you buy a lighthouse from the GSA, the Coast Guard maintains unfettered access to the light for maintenance and repairs and, as a historic property, all renovations or alterations must have the approval the state historical properties office of the state where the lighthouse is located.”

However, for those willing to take on the extra effort, the payoff is owning an extraordinary and unique piece of maritime history, not to mention some prime waterfront real estate.



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