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Are you suited to Island Ownership

We all picture life on our private island as full of long, lazy days and rum laden cocktails, but the reality might include years of building, no running water, sand fleas, and a few storms here and there. But your personal island experience will be determined by your pocketbook and your expectations.
Great Barrier Reef Island

When island owners fail to realize ‘the dream’, it’s because their expectations don’t match up to the reality of island ownership. If you want to bask in the sun all day and leave the work to someone else, your bank balance should have a few zeros in it. If you want to own an island on the cheap, be prepared to work, because you will be your own handyman. And you must know how to do more than operate a blender. Lazy afternoons in the hammock sound great, but there is more to owning an island than barking orders at your Man Friday.

To get the most out of owning an island, you need to invest time, money and effort to make an island into a home. Islands are best suited to well-organised people who can fund the maintenance and upkeep of a private island property. On an island, you are living a lifestyle that requires a different outlook than life on the mainland. Self-sufficiency, mechanical know-how, and independence are all qualities you will need. Even if you buy a developed island, the maintenance will cost you time and money. An undeveloped island often needs work before it becomes comfortably habitable. Developed islands often hit the market priced well over what they cost to build. The value placed on a private island home by the owner involves more than lumber and nails. Some sellers tend to put a high value on an island because of all the blood, sweat and tears they’ve personally invested into their island.


Once you’re living on an island, a sense of isolation can creep up. There are only two ways you can leave, via boat or by air. Swimming isn’t always an option. Satellite and cellular phones mean you can stay in touch with the rest of the world. The distance between your island and the mainland is also relevant to your physical health. Remote island living is for healthy people. The nearest hospital can often be hours away from your island retreat. If you break your leg or start suffering chest pains, you should have a reliable escape plan.

Owning an island requires thinking outside the box. You must have a well developed ability to solve problems. Long stays on your island require meticulous efficiency and attention to detail. If you own a cottage or villa on the mainland, you can get in your car and start driving. Islands require patience and planning, because the weather might not always cooperate if you need to travel on a moment’s notice. Island owners should also be quite familiar with the operation and maintenance of boats.