How To Buy Your Own Private Island

By Tim Parker | May 16, 2012 AAA
How To Buy Your Own Private Island

"Some days I wish I could just buy a deserted island and move away." Most of us have said something like that at one time or another, but we don't actually mean it. How many people actually go out and buy an island, and are there really that many deserted islands available? If you're in the market for a deserted island, other than a real estate agent specializing in deserted islands, there may not be many people who can help you, but you might be surprised to know that more people own islands than you might think and they aren't necessarily among the ultra-high net worth community.
Sir Richard Branson
If you've heard of Virgin Airlines, Virgin Mobile or even Virgin Galactic, one of the newest companies in the Virgin brand that will take people to space, you may know that Sir Richard Branson is the owner of the Virgin brand. Branson calls home a private island in the Caribbean. Once deserted, Branson built a home on the island. This home recently burnt down in a storm, but it is in the process of being rebuilt. However, Branson owns other deserted islands too. Necker Island is an island in the British Virgin Islands with only a few homes that rent for as much as $371,000 per week. Not only do guests live a secluded life, the staff outnumber the island's guests.

Brendon Grimshaw
Brendon Grimshaw isn't an international celebrity like Sir Richard Branson, but he is living the life that many of us have said we would if we had the chance. Grimshaw purchased Moyenne Island, a small island off the coast of Mahe, Seychelles for $16,000 and later moved to the island in 1972. He has since turned the island into a nature preserve, planting 16,000 trees, brought in or bred 109 giant land tortoises and constructed nearly three miles of nature paths that guests can walk for $12.

How to Purchase
Perhaps you're thinking that you want to be the next Brendon Grimshaw and purchase your own island. If you're not looking for a truly deserted island in the middle of the ocean, the process is surprisingly easy, although most likely expensive. Take the Florida Keys, for example. Currently, East Sister Rock, a small island off the coast of the Florida Keys is for sale. For $12 million you get the island, a beautiful 5,000 square foot home, two boat docks and a helicopter pad. If that's a bit out of your price range, there are websites devoted to connecting owners of private islands with people like you that are interested in buying.

Purchasing an island is all about location. An island in the Caribbean will likely cost you a minimum of $1 million, but an island in Canada, where lakes and coast lines are plentiful, may only cost one tenth of a tropical location. A truly untouched island without any development will be cheaper, but the cost of building a home may be nearly twice as much as building in a more hospitable location. Experts advise renting an island home for an extended period of time before purchasing.

The Bottom Line
That deserted island you need in order to get away from the pressures of your everyday life isn't as far out of reach as you may think, but you're going to need a lot of money and a real love of the outdoors to make your dream a reality. Maybe a Caribbean getaway where you pretend that the island is your own would be a better idea.

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