You’ve always wanted to own an island. You’ve dreamed for years of the emotional rush of taking possession of an idyllic piece of isolated real estate that is yours and yours alone.
Now you’re thinking the time is right to make that dream come true. It’s so close you can almost taste this delicious new reality.
But wait, just for a moment. What do you need to know? What unexpected obstacles could emerge from nowhere and turn that dream into a nightmare?
There are several factors you need to take into account before joining the ranks of private island owners.
1/ Make sure you can afford it
It’s wise to do an incredibly large amount of research before spending your cash or hard-earned savings on a private island.
The cost of buying your own island varies enormously depending on where in the world you would like to carve out your own slice of paradise.
Of course, you can spend millions of pounds on the most exclusive and luxurious islands available. At the same time, there is a wide choice of islands to be purchased at a fraction of that price. Some islands will cost as little as £150,000.
There are plenty of websites that specialise in this particularly exclusive niche market. Become familiar with them and the variations of prices to be found.
We suggest you also have a protracted conversation with your financial adviser to make sure this is an investment that works for you. Not least because our second piece of advice is…
2/ Beware of hidden extra costs
However large the island you buy is, the cost of purchasing it is merely the first page of the bill.
The history of private island ownership is littered with regretful examples of people who splashed out on an island but were unable to enjoy it because they were ambushed by mushrooming costs.
Depending on where the island is, you may face a hefty annual maintenance fee, which will include security to protect your land from unwanted visitors.
If you have invested in an unspoiled island, you will have to fund the construction of living space, not to mention a jetty and infrastructure so you can make your way around.
You should consider how are you going to get power, electricity and internet connectivity to your new destination? All those installations will add to the financial burden of creating an attractive place to spend your time.
3/ Check out local legal restrictions
If only the creation of your island paradise was a simple matter. Unfortunately, most countries have a host of rules and regulations that are in place to monitor closely how their islands are developed.
In the Philippines, for instance, a percentage of the ownership has to stay in local hands. Planning regulations governing building on Greek islands, meanwhile, are legendarily strict.
There are territories where the local government takes a less severe approach, but the key is to carry out your research before making the investment.
4/ Consider the environmental impact
It is likely that your island will be part of a delicately balanced local ecosystem and any radical change could earn you an unwanted reputation as an eco-hooligan.
Quite apart from your impact on the environment, however, you should consider the environment’s impact on you. Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson’s hideaway in the British Virgin Islands, has suffered substantial hurricane damage twice in the last ten years.
We’re pretty confident Sir Richard can absorb the cost of a complete rebuild of the facilities there. Could you?
The Private Island Podcast is designed to give you the full picture on what ownership entails, including first-person stories from existing owners. We’ll give you the insight you need on the challenges you face when you join their ranks.