But property developers in the north-east are being given just that opportunity by Aberdeenshire Council, with a former local school up for sale following its closure.
Cairnorrie School, which closed in 2005, is available for sale with the council inviting all offers in the hope of shifting the property, which has been empty for seven years.
The school’s fate has been shared dozens of times over by former schoolhouses across the shire, with many lying derelict or having been turned into family homes, such as Braeside near Auchnagatt, which served the area around Drumwhindle. Many date their closure from the exodus of rural families to urban areas over the course of the 20th century, while others - including Cairnorrie - date more recently, in line with declining rural pupil numbers and shrinking education budgets.
Among those still used as an educational setting is Esslemont School, which closed to pupils in 1997 but has remained in community use, as a base for Ellon’s ‘Rainbow Rogues’ toddler group for children with disabilities.
A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council told the Times that surplus properties are disposed of by the council in exactly the same way as other commercial sellers would.