7 lighthouse homes that really shine

  • Photo courtesy of Zillow

    For hundreds of years, lighthouses have guided sailors safely around hazards and into harbors. Although many became obsolete with the arrival of the GPS and other navigational tools, some lighthouses have found new life as private homes.

    Conveniently enough, traditional lighthouses already have living quarters attached. That's because in the days before electric lightbulbs, people known as "light keepers" had to light the beacons at night and make sure the flames stayed lit during storms.

    Looking for a lighthouse of your own? Some of the homes featured here are for sale. Others are available through the U.S. government.

    As the U.S. Coast Guard decommissions more lighthouses, some are auctioned off to private buyers. They're sold as-is and many need a lot of TLC, but an ambitious buyer with a knack for renovations could turn one into a vacation home or, as some buyers have, into a waterfront bed and breakfast.

    Because many are located on state or federal land, buyers may need to negotiate a lease agreement with the government for the land beneath and around a new lighthouse as well.

    The Minneapolis Shoal Light, located in Lake Michigan off the coast of Escanaba, Michigan, is the only active lighthouse auction on the General Service Administration's site right now. The minimum bid is set at $15,000 for the 82-foot light tower, which was built in 1934 to mark a reef and is still an active aid to navigation, according to local news reports.

    Need inspiration for your lighthouse makeover? Click ahead to see seven homes in working or decommissioned lighthouses.

  • Ilyce Glink On Twitter»

    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.