Buying A Lighthouse Station






The best advice we can give you: please save yourself stress and wasted money! Learn by some of our experiences (even the mistakes)!

^^ Corsewall Lighthouse Station ^^

£10,188 Pre-Purchase Due Diligence Cost

This could have been saved by ensuring the

Missives (Contracts) were concluded first.

In this case it was not possible.

The result? A lost sale/purchase!

If you are seriously looking at buying a lighthouse station, please do your due-diligence and homework thoroughly.

Both the buyer and Seller will save a lot of heartache if there is a pre-purchase contract in place first. Why? It guarantees a good deal for both parties. The Buyer can spend the appropriate time and money working out the official costs of renovating and maintaining several (often iconic buildings). The Seller benefits by achieving a decent sale as there will be NO unpleasant surprises to derail the sale at the 11th hour.

=> It took over ELEVEN YEARS to sell Corsewall Lighthouse Station. Source: 15-Jan-2008 here to: 10-December-2020 (here), There is a good reason for that. We shall cover this via a dedicated feature article in due course.

^^ Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel ^^

^^ Took 11 Years To Sell ^^

Not Good For Buyer or Seller.

We bid and agreed a price with the Seller’s of Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel. But alas, we had to walk away. As did earlier buyers who had agreed to buy the Corsewall Lighthouse buildings. Taking eleven years to sell is painful, however you look at it!

We now quote some of the avoidable costs we incurred. Had the desired contract been in place beforehand at Corsewall Lighthouse Station, things would likely have worked out differently. Please remember, in this article we are analysing these experiences so that you might avoid some of the mistakes and wasted costs that can be made along the sale/purchase journey.

Real money wasted, such as in legal costs:  £4,812 (click here) and a lot more: £600 (here). Plus £4,776 in total for: Architect + Quantity Surveying + Listed Building + Pre-Planning Consents + Building Warrant advisories.

Instead, had we been able to secure CONCLUDED MISSIVES is the term utilised in Scotland, or a pre-purchase CONTRACT in England & Wales BEFORE committing to the proper pre-purchase due-diligence then we would likely be writing this article at an internet-computer and desk here…

^^ Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel ^^

Another Lost Sale:

Caused By A Lack of Concluded Missives.

Please don’t make these mistakes. It is genuinely distressing when we see like-minded lighthouse folk miss out on their ideal home.

=> In simple term, if Buyer and Seller AGREE a PRE-PURCHASE contract in place FIRST then this helps both parties keep the sale/purchase on track to COMPLETION. Everybody wins.

=> Instead, at Corsewall, we ended up having to pay £10,188 in aborted Buyer costs and the Seller lost another sale.

By ensuring “Concluded Missives” (Agreed Contract) FIRST, this gives the Buyer the grace to work out their renovation and/or maintenance costs.

It should also give the Seller some confidence, knowing that the Buyer is sufficiently serious as to spend several thousand pounds on the lighthouse industry experts in the pre-purchase assessment of a SCHEDULE OF WORKS.

This, in turn, is the gold-standard in due-diligence. It makes the journey of reaching COMPLETION of the purchase much more likely. Why? Because the Buyer is getting the very best lighthouse professionals in to help pin down the renovation and/or annual maintenance numbers.

=> All lighthouse building need regular maintenance. Most will need a renovation from time to time.

^^ Ruination At Ailsa Craig Island Lighthouse ^^

This Broke Our Heart.

You can avoid this mess (and loss of money). Just read this page for starters. We will update the content of this page regularly.

As for the vital pre-purchase contract? Your solicitors will know what to do to provide “Concluded Missives” and/or the equivalent throughout the UK.

=> If needs be, you can have your solicitor call our website owner (click here). Here are our bona fides in respect to lighthouse purchase and sale (in addition to owning one of the top ranking lighthouse websites in Europe)…

For reassurance, we are onto the FIFTH lighthouse station in over a quarter of a century. Each station has several buildings…

=> This means the advice on this page is distilled from experience purchasing/renovating 27 separate lighthouse buildings.

This next photo has an interactive “slider” facility for you to use. You can see the “before” and “after” improvements of our buildings throughout this website. Here is our Noss Head Lighthouse Station after it was prepped and painted by Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) contractors…

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station in 2018 ^^

Owned By The Subscribers of This Website ^^

There Are 3 Golden Rules To Lighthouse Buying.

Ignore these at your peril.

The priorities for a happy BUYER and SELLER with the mutually desired SALE are:-

A]. To get a BESPOKE PURCHASE CONTRACT in place before you start the buying process. The virtue of this is the Seller is showing the Buyer confidence. The result? The Buyer will pay for expensive mobilisation/demobilisation of the best of the best: the actual team contractor that work for the official lighthouse boards. As can be seen from some of the official receipts as linked to, in the accountancy/invoice detail earlier in this article. If a Buyer is doing their job properly, they can spend around £10,000 on the due-diligence process first. We are a cash buyer and we do walk away from project when we cannot have the lighthouse board guys assess the buildings and prepare a properly costed SCHEDULE OF WORKS.

B]. To secure the DIRECT SERVICES of the VASTLY EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS (Concluded Missive) for your buildings. This helps the Buyer have confidence they are not wasting another £10,188!

A crucial cost is mobilisation/demobilisation of the best lighthouse experts. Those work directly or indirectly (on contract) for the main lighthouse triumvirate of the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB: here); and the Trinity House Lighthouse Authority (TH: here); plus the Commissioners of the Irish Lights (CIL: here).

Why RISK making expensive, possibly ruinous mistakes yourself, when for a very competitive fee, you can have the Rolls-Royce professionals of the lighthouse industry help you bring your lighthouse buildings to top form?

C]. Locate the OFFICIAL LIGHTHOUSE BUILDING MATERIAL suppliers. For example, there is a specially developed paint system that withstands all weathers and lasts a lot longer than DIY store cans of cheap-and-cheerful paint. Ironically, a proper trade account will get you similar paint to that which is going onto the Forth Rail Bridge and destined to last a long time (Click Here).

This is the actual paint that the Northern Lighthouse Board use.

^^ Special Lighthouse Board Formula Paint ^^

Only available through a trade account (here) but well worth it.

=> This special lighthouse formula paint lasts a long time. It withstands the very exposed and dramatic weather to which lighthouses are prone.

We were supported in our application for a trade account by the Northern Lighthouse Board Contractors at the Noss Head Lighthouse Station where the NLB industry professionals were living during the TOWER renovation.

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station ^^

Former Keeper’s Home: Occupied by NLB Crew.

Our helping the Northern Lighthouse Board

resulted in help for us and we would like

to pay that forward by helping you.

It’s not just about specialist paint. The lighthouse team, most of whom have been at the majority of lighthouses in the country will spend around 80% of the “painting job” time actually “prepping” the masonry or wooden surfaces.

This is necessary so as to get from this “tired” looking elevation…

^^ First & Second Keepers’ Homes ^^

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station ^^

To this quality and long-lasting lighthouse paint finish…

^^ First & Second Keepers’ Homes ^^

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station ^^

Completed Renovation.

Now it is just a case of regular maintenance.

Our privately owned buildings ~ the typical keepers cottages that you are able to buy all over the UK, are kept in the best condition we can manage.

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station ^^

Being prepped by

A Northern Lighthouse Board Contractor.

We thoroughly recommend private lighthouse building owners seek out the service of the actual Northern Lighthouse Board guys. This is the result…

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station ^^

After Painting by

A Northern Lighthouse Board Contractor.

What happened at Noss Lighthouse Station was a pure accident. The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) project manager asked to use our (privately owned) land. This progressed to us providing temporary living accommodation for the NLB work team in the former keepers’ houses that the Northern Lighthouse Board had sold off.

These guys were also “Rope Access Technicians”. That means they do scary things like dangle off the ends of rope to paint very tall lighthouse towers. Many of these towers are still owned by the Northern Lighthouse Board…

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station ^^

Don’t Look Down!

Ooops, too late.

It is very high up atop the lighthouse tower…

^^ First & Second Keepers’ Homes ^^

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station ^^

^^ First & Second Keepers’ Homes ^^

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Tower ^^

Just stepping off of the

lighthouse tower balcony can be terrifying.

^^ Conversely Looking Up Can Hurt Your Neck ^^

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Tower ^^

The Northern Lighthouse Board senior project manager was incredibly helpful at Noss Head Lighthouse Station. We hope we managed to reciprocate.

Whatever else, it is quite rare to have BOTH the TOWER and the PRIVATELY OWNED former lighthouse keepers’ houses ALL painted at the same time.

=> This helps avoid half the place looking tatty and unpainted whilst the other half looks brand new.

Crucially, the longevity of this NLB paint means the likes of our very first lighthouse building on Davaar Island would not have needed painting TWICE a year for the first THREE years of it’s restoration….


^^ Davaar Island Lihthouse Station ^^

Ancillary Building: Multiple Paint Required.

Due To Inferior Quality Paint.

This brings us onto the next part for this article…




It is a good idea BEFORE you even go and inspect the lighthouse buildings, let alone spend £4,000 here and £5,000 there on getting dedicated lighthouse professionals at the top of their industry onsite to assess the costs and work involved.

A useful pointer is the…


After 27 of our own lighthouse building purchases and another 68 shops + hotels + factories since 1997, we have grown accustomed to the RICS (Royal Chartered Institute of Surveyors ) report terminology. They are useful, but like their counterpart, the HOME REPORT, each is full of warnings such as: “our surveryor as unable to tell if the house was insulated”.

This is not rocket science. There are several ways to detect whether the walls have this vital ingredient in the interstitial gap…

^^ In These Times Of High Heating Costs ^^

It is very important to know

what is behind the plasterboard!

^^ Our Lighthouse Professionals Can Tell ^^

^^ If A Property Is Fully Insulated To A High Specification ^^

Various techniques, from plug socket camera probes to specialist radar or thermal detection equipment coupled with external heat-loss thermal cameras can indicate what insulation, if any, is installed.

This is very important as of 2023 due to the horrendously high heating costs.

Although, there is a simpler way.

Just check out the…

Homebuyer’s Report

If the EPC assessment is “E”, “F”, or “G” STOP (click here) and please get an experienced professional in to survey PROPERLY and THOROUGHLY (without damaging the existing property).

IMPORTANT: The purchase/offer contract is best designed to allow you to bring in actual lighthouse personnel to assist with (a) Renovation Costings and (b) Annual Maintenance Costs.

Fair minded sellers of lighthouse buildings will allow you a grace period to assess these two crucial cost elements that YOU will have to PAY. If not, then you may need to walk away from the deal. Why? Well we were prepared to spend the £184,000 it cost to renovate our fourth lighthouse station. Add that to the £200,000 purchase price and the total came to £384,000. Would you expect your eventual costs to double? It happens when folk buy high-maintenance buildings which, by definition, are often in places where lighthouses can occasionally be hammered by spectacularly bad weather.

^^ La Jument Lighthouse: Click Here ^^

Jean Guichard’s 1989 dramatic storm photo. 

Not all lighthouses are this “lively”. 

But maintenance and renovation can turn a

£200,000 purchase price

into a final £384,000 asset cost!

Please think about that and

reflect if this page can help you?

Pretty much any lighthouse building you buy will have good and bad weather. Sublime places to live when the sun is out and the sea is flat calm. Dramatic when the sea a boiling cauldron.

^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station ^^

This is our fourth. You can escape the storm

by being 200 feet up a cliff!

What must always be remembered, is these precious buildings require an extra measure of maintenance. You will hopefully gather some helpful information here, today, on this page.

We really must emphasise this to avoid huge financial disasters and distress…

If the EPC rating is poor condition “D” or “E” or “F” (click here) this means you are exposed to spending as much on renovating as you are in buying the lighthouse station buildings.

We have the answer to this: The actual General Lighthouse Authorities (click here and here) are not able to help directly, but their contractors can help you. They have worked on many of our 27 separate lighthouse buildings. Here are two of our friends who contract to repair our lighthouses…

Here is Andy doing what he does well when working on contract for the Northern Lighthouse Board… 

^^ Actual Lighthouse Contractors Are ^^

^^ The Rolls-Royce of Renovation Experts^^ 

^^ To Assess Restoration Needs ^^




We trust this initial article has offered you some guidance on buying a lighthouse.

Eventually we intent to publish this in the form of a comprehensive online guide.

However, such are the pressures of work just now, that we are making this a series of articles to start with. These will be polished and fine tuned. Then collated into a finished and ideally helpful guide that ensures fewer and fewer lighthouse buildings deteriorate to the condition of poor old Ails Craig Island Lighthouse.

If you have any questions…

Please feel free to get in touch