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How to Buy an Island

Nothing says "you've arrived" more than inviting guests to your own private island -- not to mention the fun you could have hosting _Lost_ reenactments. And, believe it or not, some even cost less than a high-end automobile.


  • Step 1: Set your budget Set your budget and plan accordingly. Tropical islands are rare and usually start at a million dollars. Cold weather locales generally cost less, some as low as $20,000. Canada has the most islands of any nation, and at a fraction of the cost of U.S. or Caribbean isles.
  • TIP: Research islands that are available to buy worldwide through private island real estate websites.
  • Step 2: Consider accessibility Consider accessibility. An island that is difficult to get to will generally cost less, but will take time to get to and may require boating skills.
  • Step 3: Assess development Assess the level of development on the island. A completely undeveloped island will cost less, but construction costs will be at last one and half times mainland construction costs.
  • Step 4: Research utilities Research the availability of utilities. While it's rare to have electricity, telephone lines, or town water, the island may get television reception or to a cell phone signal access. If not, satellite TV, internet, and radio is an inexpensive solution.
  • TIP: Make sure there is a reliable water supply.
  • Step 5: Determine rights Determine your ownership rights and that of the governing nation. In some cases, you may own the island but the government may own the beaches. Have an attorney check the documentation of foreign islands.
  • Step 6: Rent it Rent a prospective island if you are serious about buying. Many owners offer this service at reasonable rates. Think of it as research wrapped up in a vacation.
  • FACT: Greenland is the world's largest island that is not a continent.

You Will Need

  • Budget
  • Accessibility
  • Assessment of development level
  • Utilities
  • Determination of ownership rights
  • Attorney
  • Rental prospects
  • Internet access (optional)
  • Water supply (optional)

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