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How do you buy a private island?

Define Your Desires and Budget
The first thing you should do is narrow down your search to a general region or specific location.
The first thing you should do is narrow down your search to a general region or specific location.

Before you begin to shop for your own personal paradise, you will want to narrow your search to at least a general region, if not a specific location. Is there a part of the world you've visited and wanted to never leave? Or are you still searching for the perfect island experience? If you've never lived or stayed on an island for an extended time, you might consider a long-term rental as a trial run to ensure that the reality of island living measures up to your expectations [source: Private Islands Online].

Once you've settled on a region, what other factors will you need to consider before purchasing a private island? The first and most obvious is your budget. In most cases, you will need a deposit of 10 percent of the purchase price to enter into an agreement of sale [source: Vladi Private Islands]. And unless you have piles of cash at your disposal, you will also need to arrange for a jumbo mortgage or private financing to cover the remainder of the purchase amount [source: Vladi Private Islands].

If you plan to build a home or other structures on the island, prepare to spend at least one-and-a-half times the amount you would spend for the same project on the mainland, plus the cost of any utilities and infrastructure that may need to be installed [source: Private Islands Online]. If you are purchasing an island in a foreign country, you will also need to factor currency exchange rates into both the purchase price and the cost of construction or other improvements.

Speaking of utilities and infrastructure, you'll need to find out if the island you're interested in already has power, a wastewater treatment system, and, most importantly, a reliable source of fresh drinking water. Also, how far is it from the mainland or the nearest town? How will you get there and back, and where will you get food and basic supplies? Is the shoreline accessible by boat? Is the island accessible and inhabitable all year, or only in certain seasons? Is there a protected harbor suitable for a dock? The answers to these questions will help you better understand the true cost of ownership and determine whether the practical aspects of life on the island match your desires and expectations.

One advantage of purchasing an island with an existing residence is that a previous owner will have already dealt with at least some of these issues. But whether you decide to go with an established property or find a pristine, undeveloped island to make your own, you still have a few more issues to address. Just how many more? Read on.