Here at Waypoint Real Estate Group in Celebration, FL, a town born from the infamously magical minds of the Walt Disney legacy, we have a very familiar understanding of the phrase, “a man’s home is his castle.” Have you ever wondered what it would be like to call “home” a sprawling 1860’s Scottish castle, complete with 29 bedrooms and 30 bathrooms?
The Dobson family from Leicester, England turned wondering into reality when an investment opportunity arose in early 2003. Three generations of the Dobson family including ten adults and seven children, decided to uproot their lives and move north to the Duncraig Castle in Plockton, Scotland.
The castle boasts dramatic views, situated at the edge of Loch Carron and includes two and a half kilometers of coastline, a couple of islands, a cottage in Duncraig square, a train station and even its own chapel. In a 2004 BBC article, Alan Dobson, head of the family, recalls his previous job as a sandwich maker with wonder, “I never thought I would end up living in a castle at the top of Scotland and picking mussels on my own beach. It’s like a dream.” Megan Dobson (one of the children), equally charmed by the property, claimed that highlights of her new life included “curly-whirly stairs and playing inside the house with tricycles.”
In order to take ownership of the Duncraig Castle, the Dobson’s paid just $805,000.00 for this amazing piece of real estate with ambitions to renovate the property and open a coveted Bed and Breakfast.
Research and careful planning of an investment of this nature is key to a successful ending. Unfortunately, the Dobson’s did little research or planning before investing in this castle. As reality began to set in, the Dobson’s great ambitions were overcome with great struggles. Those struggles began to cloud the excitement and outweigh the positives of the investment as the heavy financial burden of this undertaking became clear. Unknowingly, the Dobson’s were in for long, cold and sloppy journey.
Did I mention that there were 30 bathrooms? Did I also mention that none of those were in working order? The castle had no central heating system and access to running water was limited. The roof leaked, the sewage system was a pipe leading to the loch (ewww), the paint was peeling and the plaster was cracked. The nearest supermarket? Over 100 miles away. The climate was also a struggle. The Scottish Highlands hosting the castle are farther north than Moscow and known for damp, cold days. In the winter the sunlight shrank to only 6.5 hours and clothing struggled to dry. A New York Times article in 2008 reports that the Dobson’s had simply “gotten used to” wearing damp clothes and sleeping in soggy bed sheets, even in the cold of the winter.
With so much work to be done, and little knowledge of how to go about the process, the family began bickering and the opportunity fell. In 2004, desperate for some profit, the family sold their castle story to a TV production company for a mere $49,000. A six part reality TV series was released based on their first year in the residence, “The Dobsons of Duncraig.”
In 2009 the Dobson’s accepted defeat and the castle was sold to a marketing executive who funded the completion of the renovations. The castle is now indeed what the Dobson’s had dreamed it would be, a luxurious bed and breakfast. If you wish to stay at the retreat you can do so from April 1st – October 1st (the heating must still be rough),
So, you may be wondering why we shared this story with you. If you are looking at investment property (castle or not), you need professional advice! Waypoint Real Estate Group can provide you with just that. We have the knowledge, experience and professional network to ensure that your real estate investments are sound and solid, and won’t lead you into a long, cold, sloppy journey with a less than desirable result.
Call us today to learn more about how we can help you invest successfully in real estate.