Islands for Sale
If you want to ski, go to the mountains. If you want a beer, go to the bar. If you want to marry someone Danish, go to Denmark. The same practical advice holds true for private islands. If you’ve got your heart set on buying an island of your own, go to the location that interests you.
Get people working for you. But, the more people you deal with, the more you’ll pay out in commissions. Advertised private islands are sometimes more expensive than property you come across by accident. Making inquiries on the spot will often land you a better price for your island. Whether you’ve decided to buy a private island in Maine or Belize, the same tactics apply. Spend your time in local marinas, restaurants, and watering holes to find real deals that might not be advertised anywhere.
Not all islands appear on the books. Every local is a potential source of information, not to mention gossip. The marina bar is a place to tell tall tales of the one that got away, or the one that fell off their boat in a drunken stupor the week before. It’s also a great place to inquire about islands. Fishermen know the local waters like the backs of their hands. Seek them out at the docks and see what they have to say.
If you find an island locally, you’ll probably be dealing directly with the owner. The island’s owner may not have considered selling their private island, let alone advertising. Keep your inquiries discreet. If you start sniffing around like a foreign bigshot in a sleepy backwater, you’ll drive the price up. Get a local to make inquiries on your behalf and you’ll start negotiating at local prices.
Private Island Brokers
If you’re strapped for time, but not cash, brokers or agents will happily do all the work for you. Farhad Vladi of Vladi Private Islands is the world’s preeminent private island broker. Vladi is the ‘old school’ of private islands – he practically invented the business. He is familiar with private islands around the world, having sold many of them, sometimes twice. If you’re searching for an island in the Caribbean or Central America, get in touch with Caribbean Island Brokers. Private Islands Online is the ulitmate island marketplace, advertising islands for sale all over the world. Alternatively, if you have narrowed your search to a particular region, contact a broker who has a long record of listing properties in the area. Sometimes brokers don’t advertise private islands in order to protect the privacy of owners. If you already have a real estate agent you trust at home, ask them to recommend a qualified colleague in the locale that interests you. If you’re working with a broker you don’t know, ask for references; a qualified and reputable broker will be happy to provide them.
A Note on Price and Value
Once an island is on the books, meaning it appears online or is listed with a private island broker, the price can go up. If an island is advertised, there are already commissions to pay. The more people you deal with, the more you’ll pay for your private island. Advertising an island for sale can also have other negative ripple down effects. Let’s say Apple Cay appears on a website for $5 million dollars. Apple Cay’s neighbour, Orange Cay gets wind of this and decides to put a similar pricetag on their island, hoping to cash in on what they perceive to be ‘island fever’ – a hot demand for private islands by wealthy foreigners. Before Apple Cay’s inflated price appeared online, Orange Cay was entertaining realistic offers around the $200,000 mark. Now, after seeing the advertised price of Apple Cay, Orange Cay doesn’t want to miss out on the perceived action. When islands are listed at unrealistic prices, everyone misses out, because there is no action. No one buys and and no one sells.