1. What's your price?
If you want paradise, it will come at a premium, and a private island in the Bahamas, will have a suitably hefty price tag, although there is some variation. Before starting your search, it is important to know your budget and, more importantly, the type of and quality of land. This is a good idea even if it means waiting longer for development to be complete, after all, the higher quality the island, the more it will be worth in the long run.
2. How much privacy do you need?
As you may know, one of the top reasons that people choose to purchase a private island is for the privacy they provide. For some, finding and living on an island that is far removed from civilization, could be the best choice. Remember, though, the greater the distance from the nearest settlement, the more expensive it is to get supplies and staff, or even to get to the island in the first place. These additional costs can mount up in the long term, and being closer to other inhabited islands, can also provide more varied views, as well as protection; either financially or from the odd storm that can roll through the Bahamas. There are plenty of available islands in the Bahamas that are close to nearby settlements, which provide the perfect blend of privacy and practicality.
3. Water, water: it’s not quite everywhere
You would think that when you are living on a private island, access to a water supply would be easier than ever, seeing as you are surrounded by it. However, this is not generally the case, and it can be harder than you would imagine - access to a reliable water supply can actually be one of the biggest constraints:
- Is there ground water?
- Is there a well?
- Do you have a rainwater tank?
- What is the annual rainfall?
Once you have figured this out, the next step is getting an inspection to verify how dependable your supply is. Many people living in the Bahamas have survived on rainwater for generations, it falls in the rainy season and can be used slowly throughout the dryer months. However to make sure that this is practical to you, it is important that you figure out what your average usage will be. If you choose an island closer to the mainland, you will have the option of connecting to the mains water system via a PVC pipe.
4. How will you come and go?
If you are lucky you may be able to afford a private island with an airstrip. There are quite a few in the Bahamas, however, you will need own a charter plane to get you there. If this is not quite what you had planned, you can arrive by boat instead, and that’s not a bad thing, as yachting is a very popular way to see The Bahamas. When it comes to choosing your island, a very important consideration is how easy it is to get there by boat:
- Is the water deep enough for anchoring your size of boat?
- Is there a dock?
- Can you build a dock if there isn’t one?
- Is there a protected area, where a larger boat could ride out a storm?
If all this is too much for you to plan, an island nearer to a main airport would probably be your best option. Luckily the Bahamas has no shortage of airports… Both domestic and international.
5. Consider the land type
It is important to think about the type of land you have on your chosen island, how much is flat and ready to build on? In general, The Bahamas is flatter than much of the Caribbean, which is useful when you are looking for a private island to develop, flat land is easier to build on. Having said this, it could also mean you will have more exposure to the elements and storms if they whip up. Getting good elevation can take a little more time to find, communicating your wants to your realtor in this respect, should be one of the first things that you do when you begin your search for a private island.
7. Consider your views
When you think of your island, what do you see? Is it a serene view of a dazzling sunset, beautiful sparkling clear sea? Soft sand? Untouched nature? All these things are very important decisions that will need to be made early on in your search to ensure that you are getting exactly what you want. What do you want to enjoy on your island? Snorkeling, diving, relaxing on the beach, exploring nature? When you have answered all of these questions, your realtor will have a better picture and will be able to start looking for the perfect one for you.
8. Maintain the dream
Though owning a private island is wonderful in many ways, they do always require daily care and attention in order to maintain them and keep you safe on your island, it’s not quite the same as just cleaning your house. You may consider hiring a caretaker, or perhaps a couple who can fulfill this role. For those who have not yet developed their island, or don’t consider their assets as precious, having a local fisherman keep a watchful eye over your land may be a good option.
9. Developing the dream: utilities, infrastructure and the island premium.
Your island may be the place where you want to get away from it all and completely relax, but let's be honest, there are not many of us who can completely switch off. So it is important to look into the possibility of staying connected on your island, take your cell phone to the island to assess the service quality. If you cannot get access to the internet, telephone, television or radio from the mainland, fear not, these things are pretty accessible through satellite today.
Now that you have your perfect island in mind, you will want to find out exactly what’s already there, what is the existing infrastructure like, what is the condition and value of the buildings, do they have the correct government approval?
This may all sound like a headache, but with the help of a good realtor, you will be able to find out all the relevant information much easier.