you're thinking "a private island… sure, maybe when I win the lottery,"
don't despair - buying a private island is a much more attainable goal
than you probably realize. There's no denying it, a few million bucks in
the bank will expand your options considerably, but the days when islands
were the exclusive status symbols of the rich and famous are long gone.
Today, if you can afford a reasonably priced cottage, you've got what it
takes to afford an island.
islands, as with all things, price is a function of demand. That tropical,
palm tree-laden island with the white sandy beaches we all dream of is
going to appeal to a lot more people than a similarly-sized island in North
Dakota - and you'll pay accordingly. Location is the most important factor
in determining an island's price. While islands in the Caribbean or South
Pacific typically cost US$ 1 million and up (exceptions exist, of course),
islands in more northern climes can be had for a fraction of that price.
is another factor to consider. Private islands for sale in tropical locales
are more rare, and consequently more expensive. Canada, with its million
lakes and thousands of kilometres of coastline, has more islands than any
abundance of choice is reflected in island prices. It's not unusual to
find a Canadian island selling for one third the price of its American
or one tenth the price of a similarly sized Caribbean property. When choosing
a private island, don't rule out islands which are located somewhat off
the beaten path - you'll spend a bit more in transportation costs to get
there, but you'll save a fortune in the long run.
to consider when purchasing an island is the degree of development. Are
you looking for an undeveloped island, left in its natural state, or are
you looking for a property with existing facilities? If you're planning
on building a home or cottage, bear in mind that construction costs on
islands are significantly higher than on the mainland - budget at least
1.5 times the price you'd normally expect to pay for construction. While
untouched islands tend to be cheapest, you may end up saving both time
and money by purchasing an island with an existing dwelling.
way to determine what type of property is best for you is to rent an island
for a while. Many island owners rent their properties for all or part of
the year, often at rates comparable to a typical hotel stay.
an island gives you the chance to "test drive" island ownership, and learn
exactly what you're looking for (or want to avoid) in an eventual island
purchase. Do you prefer something more isolated, or is an island in a well-trafficked
locale more to your taste? Does roughing it Robinson Crusoe-style live
up to your fantasies, or is it worth the added expense to find an island
with a pre-built home or cottage? Renting an island goes a long way towards
answering some of these questions, and let's face it: how often do you
get to combine "homework" with a unique vacation experience?
decided on the type of island you're interested in, the serious research
begins. Spend as much time as possible investigating what islands are available
on the market. The Internet is an invaluable tool for this. Contact the
island owners or their representative (as the case may be) and ask questions
- lots of questions. You'll probably want to know about the island's degree
of accessibility throughout the year, the ease and method of supplying
the island with food and other necessities, details on navigating the surrounding
waters, and a whole host of other issues unique to an island purchase.
step by step guide has been compiled to help you on your way too
making a successful Private Island Purchase:
sure island ownership is right for you.
of owning a private island, but that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare
if island ownership isn't right for you. Island owners are usually island
lovers, investors or those willing to pay a premium for privacy.
time on a private island may seem idyllic, but an island lifestyle requires
a certain kind of personality. Owners typically possess a strong sense
of independence and individualism. These traits are not exclusive to island
ownership, but if you plan to live on the island, self-sufficiency and
perseverance are important.
your reasons for owning a private island, do your research, know your limitations,
and educate yourself before you make a decision.
on type of island you want: undeveloped, turnkey or somewhere in between.
The type of
island you purchase depends a lot on its intended use. Do you plan to live
there full time with your family, or will you be visiting just for summer
holidays? Are you planning on building a resort or running a business on
Keep in mind
that undeveloped islands can be challenging, whether it means getting rid
of sand fleas or obtaining permission to build, and that it can take years
to realize your vision.
develop their own island are often disappointed when they put it back on
the market, as their personal investment seems disproportionate to the
island's market value.
On the other
hand, while a developed island may reflect too personally the taste and
needs of the previous owner, a resort or business can offer a great turnkey
Decide your budget.
An island continues
to cost its owner long after it’s been paid off. And while islands are
often less expensive than waterfront on the mainland, higher running costs
need to be part of your budget.
Buying a turnkey
island will save you money on development, but if you're not there all
the time you'll need to factor in the cost of caretakers and regular maintenance.
With an undeveloped island, you must take into consideration the extra
costs involved in building, as supplies and workers need to be brought
in from the mainland, often at twice the price. Water, electricity and
communication can also be costly.
your last dollar on a private island unless you're patient and can spread
the cost of development over a period of years.
how much time you will spend on your island.
of time you plan to spend on your island will help determine an appropriate
region. If you plan to pack it all in and live there full time, you’ll
probably prefer a locale with a mild climate all year round, like Florida
or the Bahamas. The same is true if you plan to spend a week here and there
on your island, regardless of the time of year.
looking for a summer retreat for the family – a place to sail and explore
in the warm months. In that case, your island environment need only be
temperate during the summer, as it is in Maine or Nova Scotia.
thinking about this part of island buying, be realistic about how much
time your schedule will allow you to spend at your hideaway. And don’t
forget to consider the time and effort it will take to get there.
down your regions.
your requirements based on the previous steps, it's time to narrow down
If you've decided
your budget is limited and you'll only be spending summers on your island,
Canada or the United States might be for you. If budget isn't a factor,
a turnkey Bahamas villa could be a fit. If you're going to live on your
island all year long but can't spend a large fortune, you may want to island
shop in the Philippines.
If you never
plan on leaving your island, it doesn't matter how remote it is. On the
other hand, if you're only spending a week here and there, you won't want
to travel across the world to get there.
of the world also have different flavours, so make sure the culture and
language of your favourite regions enrich your experience rather than becoming
compiling a list of potential islands.
researched the regions that interest you, you’re ready to start looking
at specific islands in these areas to determine whether they suit your
needs. Here are just a few things to consider at this stage:
Each island has
its own infrastructure or the possibility thereof. Ask yourself relevant
questions: Is cellular and Internet easily available? Is the local power
reliable? How safe is the area? Are necessary amenities like fuel and boat
If you travel
frequently, you’ll need access to a major airport.
If you have health
concerns, an island more than an hour away from a mainland hospital may
not suit you.
If you plan to
develop your island, you'll want easy access to materials and workers.
about your island.
At this point,
your search has been narrowed down considerably and you’re ready to direct
informed questions to an island's owner or broker. Each listing on Private
Islands Online is connected directly to the owner or broker of a particular
island. The brokers we work with are regional experts familiar with the
island in question and are the most knowledgeable and respected island
professionals in the business. They can provide detailed answers to your
enough about an island to become seriously interested, the next logical
step is organizing a visit. The island's contact person will be more than
happy to arrange this for you. When you visit, make sure you 'try before
you buy.' If you can't arrange more than a site inspection of your potential
island, rent an island in the area to make sure you're comfortable in your
new environment. Are the people friendly? Is the area everything you'd
imagined? Are amenities available and reliable?
If a certain
island has you smitten and you're ready to buy, obtain local legal counsel.
Different countries have vastly different laws for foreign investment.
Real estate practices in areas like the US and Australia are transparent,
but the same cannot be said for places like the Philippines or Central
a lawyer to seal the deal. Among other things, a lawyer will make sure
the title to your island is clear and that there are no other claims on
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