The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Private Island

Imagine yourself laying on the sands of a virgin island, the sea breeze caressing your skin, and the mild sound of the waves bringing you the peaceful state of mind that your soul so much desires in your day to day – the sense of freedom that is unlimited.

For many people, buying a private island is the ultimate dream. Actors like Mel Gibson and Johnny Depp, Canadian singer Celine Dion, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison already own one. You don’t necessarily have to be a famous actor or a billionaire to buy an island. Nearly thousand islands come onto the market each year, and there is a wide range of options regarding price, size, and location. In fact, and according to Mr. Farhad Vladi, Founder and President of Vladi Private Islands, “buying an island can sometimes be more affordable than buying an apartment in Manhattan”.

The Thimble Islands | USA | Photo Courtesy VLADI PRIVATE ISLANDS

– Lifestyle & Investment –

Mr. Vladi has been active for more than three decades, providing his clients with the perfect combination of lifestyle and investment. He believes that buying a private island requires more than having cash in hand, which in his words, is often no more than the price of a car. For Mr. Vladi, it is also important to have the right sense of nature.

“As a matter of fact, the average island purchaser is an individualist with above-average intelligence, and they purchase to enjoy the pristine nature of an island. On the other hand, buying an island is a safe investment, as long as the process is carried with due diligence in the right way, but also, the buyer receives good advice before the purchase” – Mr. Vladi says.

The Thimble Islands | USA | Photo Courtesy VLADI PRIVATE ISLANDS

– What you need to know –

At the outset, it’s important to do your research about the island price. Certainly, the main condition that determines the value of the island is demand and supply, but other facts such as the price structure of mainland properties close to the island also influence the final price.

Another factor is whether the island is habitable. Many islands get sold including a residence, however, on many of them, a home is yet to be built. When someone buys an island, they enter into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and ask for a due diligence period for about two months, which gives time to check everything out and see if they can build properties on the island. According to Mr.Vladi, this includes:

  • TITLE | What type of title does the island have? Only a freehold title is acceptable.
  • BUILDING PERMIT | Availability of permits, the size of house and type of development.
  • ACCESS | Is the island accessible? Harbor, Anchorage, landing,
  • MEDICAL | Medical service must be within 90 minutes radius of the island.
  • ISLAND SURROUNDINGS | Neighborhood, amenities, services and also crime level.
  • ISLAND VALUE |Is the island market, locally-driven and/or by foreigners?
  • FAUNA | Can you live with the indigenous animals on the chosen island?
  • INFRASTRUCTURE | Water, Sewage, Electricity, Telephone, Internet.
  • CLIMATE | Get familiar with weather, climate, and conditions as well as trees and plants.

Moreover, this is a good time to hire an architect, who can investigate the details. Mr.Vladi does not deny that there are government restrictions on many islands, but fortunately, usually permit is granted for the construction of one house – unless the island is under nature conservancy rules, but this is what can be found out during the due diligence.

The same applies to supplies such as electricity; you can investigate if the supply of electricity by cable is feasible, and if it isn’t, then there are many other alternatives such as wind generators or solar systems among others.

Overall, Mr. Vladi’s aim is to make sure the client makes the right choice, and with that purpose, he always asks the client to visit the island to do part of the inspection. The best way to do this is to rent the island itself or another island in the area, to find out about the social and natural environments. “If the client likes the island, they have a good basis for lifestyle and investment”, he says.

Eastern Part of Milford Island | New Zealand | Photo Courtesy VLADI PRIVATE ISLANDS

– Financing –

 The price of an island can vary from $30.000 to $30 million, and you need to make sure to have this cash on hand. As islands do not generate a monthly return, banks don’t finance such investment. “However, in some cases, the vendor is willing to provide financing and is happy to receive the payment over a period of three years” –Mr. Vladi says.

– Where do I buy? –

 The scope of Vladi Private Islands is international, yet, over the years they have experienced a higher demand for the following geographical areas: Western Europe, Eastern Canada, United States, Caribbean, Central America, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and French Polynesia –to mention just a few.

Moho Cay |  Belize | Photo Courtesy VLADI PRIVATE ISLANDS

– A dream come true –

After all, like with many other dreams we have, to own a private island is much closer to reality than we could imagine. Maybe, imagination can become a reality if you allow yourself to believe that “You can be, do and have anything you want”.

“That is quite a statement! It is a dream to say that “you can be, do and have anything you want”. Of course, that is the feeling you have when you buy an island but every island is a part of a country, and therefore, the sovereignty is to the governments. They have laid out the laws, which also apply to mainland and island properties. However, you do not have neighbors, and you can enjoy lots of liberties”, said Mr. Vladi in conclusion to our conversation.


Cover |  Ballast Key  | USA | Photo Courtesy VLADI PRIVATE ISLANDS