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How Can I Buy a Private Island?

Frozen islands are also for sale, but less popular than warm ones.
Southeast Asia contains many island that can be purchased at relatively affordable prices.
There's great desire for people to buy a private island with white sandy beaches.
Research is the first step toward buying a private island.
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  • Written By: Wanda Albano
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 August 2014
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For most people, the idea that one can actually buy a private island is as real as the tooth fairy. Buy a private island, you say? Are you crazy? Everybody knows that real estate of that sort is the sole province of the very rich and the very famous. Only those jetsetter types with their private planes and Swiss bank accounts could ever afford something so indulgent. After all, it's common knowledge that private islands are the bastions of luxury, affluence, and wealth.

That's the thing about common knowledge, though. It's so rarely verified, that it's often hard to distinguish hearsay from truth. Private islands aren't cheap, but neither are they as expensive as most people think, especially if you broaden your options. Remember, this amazing planet is covered with uninhabited parcels of land, most of which go through their existence unnoticed. With that kind of mindset, the desire to buy a private island isn't quite as ludicrous as it sounds.

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Basically, the process involved in the quest to buy a private island is not that different from buying any other piece of land. It involves titles, deeds, a little bit of haggling on the purchase price, and a good amount of money. The exact amount of money, of course, depends on a few factors, the first being supply and demand. Predictably, there's a bigger desire to buy a private island with white-sand beaches and dancing palm trees than an iceberg in Northern Alaska, so sanctuaries in the tropics are always more expensive.

Then again, there are still a lot of relatively affordable private chunks of paradise in the more far-flung ares of the globe, some of which cost just as much as the average second home in the US. Southeast Asia, for instance, is riddled with fairly affordable islands for sale, each one more stunning than the one before.

The first step in the quest to buy a private island is research. This cannot be stressed enough - you must do your research well.

Begin by assessing your needs and set a realistic budget. Contact property agents and look at websites. Believe it or not, there are a number of websites that cater to people who want to buy a private island, and it really is just a matter of making an informed choice. Scroll through the choices to get a sense of what you can afford.

Once you find a desirable private island within your price range, take a look at the location. Is it so far-flung that you may not have the time or resources to travel there regularly? Is it so near a national border that you might have problems with the neighboring government in the future? Are there any contradicting territorial claims on the land as well as the surrounding waters?

After that, look at the accessibility. How accessible is the private island to the outside world and how accessible is the outside world to the private island? Is it too isolated? Is there a nearby airport? A hospital? Some kind of Coast Guard? What is your mode of transportation going to be like? Are the waters around your island safe for travel at all times? Remember that the sea in some parts of the world can be rather unpredictable. Calm waters on one day may become virtual whirlpools the next. Find a way to ask the locals what the waters are like throughout the year.

And finally, look at the degree of development. Aside from evaluating the quality of the structures, if any, that are on the island, also look at what modern necessities have already been installed. The biggest problem with private islands is that due to their size and lack of inhabitants, most governments have not seen the need to fit these islands with electricity, irrigation, or telephony. Because of this, you will most likely have to look into this yourself. Ask your property agent whether it has a generator or some form of communications device.

Once you have all these things addressed, there is only one more step to take: to take the plunge! To buy a private island is not for everyone, but given the right circumstances, it can the best investment you'll ever make.

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Discuss this Article

Drentel
Post 3

Just because you can find islands priced at reasonable prices doesn't mean you can afford them. Buying an island is not like buying a house where everything is set up and ready to go.

First of all, there is going to be a lot of legal matters and red tape to actually purchase the land. How much paperwork will depend on where the island is located. Once you purchase the island you have to build a place to live, assuming there are no buildings on it. You have to have a sewer system.

Unless you plan on going primitive, you will need to set up a electrical system, and you have to think about how expensive it will be getting what you need to the island. There are a lot of things to consider. Owning an island doesn't necessarily mean you will be living in paradise.

Feryll
Post 2

@Animandel - You can find ads for private islands for sale in the same way you can find ads for cars for sale and houses for sale. I have seen some islands priced for as low as $30,000 U.S. This is probably less than you paid for your last new car. I know this sounds ridiculously low, but you can do the research and find them for yourself.

Most people are not aware they could have their dream location at such an affordable price.

Animandel
Post 1

I have to admit that I was in the category of people who thought private islands were for the rich and way beyond any amount of money I could ever afford to pay. It is exciting think that my husband and I might be able to buy our own island and retire there one day. I think I'm going to start visiting online sites to see how good of a deal we could get on a really small private island getaway.

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