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Island Broker Blog

THE place to stay while island shopping!

June 18th, 2011

The last year and a half has been beyond hectic. So hectic I haven’t kept up on my contacts and blog as I should but I’m proud to announce that Hatchet Caye Resort is completed and open for business! The island has been my second home for the last couple years. We’ve always felt that Hatchet Caye was in a unique location that gave it a tremendous advantage as a vacation destination. Located right next to the cut in the Belize Barrier Reef, called Gladden Spit, Hatchet is perfect for fishermen and divers. The world’s best dive locations are only a couple minutes away, shore diving from Hatchet is incredible, and it is simply the best fishing I’ve ever experienced in my life. It’s not uncommon for us to catch upwards of a hundred fish while bottom fishing and the big game fishing always has lots of action. Fishing tournaments are held right on Hatchet’s doorstep so it’s a perfect location for the participants to stay.

We’ve built the resort to accommodate large vessels with enough room for several yachts to tie up at the same time. Plus we have 4 heavy duty mooring balls just off shore that will safely hold the largest of vessels.

Hatchet Caye is right on top of the route that The Moorings, TMM, and Tradewinds use for their sailing charters. We are getting more and more day and evening visitors every week just from these folks alone!

Hatchet is designed to be the ultimate private island experience for those who want total relaxation while also experiencing some of the most exhilarating action sports offered anywhere! This is the one location in the Caribbean where you could wake up early and fly fish right from your own beach, then jump in a boat and do a scuba dive in the worlds most spectacular location, then come back for lunch and after relaxing a bit, head back out to do a second dive and when that’s done, go trawling for big game fish! Then head back to the island and jump in an ultralight and fly with our pilot over the reefs and islands seeing the most breathtaking views anyone has ever seen. There is only one place on earth where you can actually do this and it is at Hatchet Caye Resort in Belize.

Nothing says you must be active. Lounging at the water’s edge is perfect at Hatchet Caye Resort. Watch the dizzying array of bird and sea life right from the deck of your own cabana. Take a leisurely pedal boat ride from Hatchet to the Silk Cayes in the most comfortable pedal boats I’ve ever piloted. In the evenings, stroll out to the south pier. Turn on the actinic lights and watch thousands of fish come visit. The fish are attracted by the light and it’s a show not to be missed. Night snorkeling anyone? Sure!

Ever been in a Hovercraft? Hatchet has one ready to take you on one of the smoothest boat rides of your life. Our hovercraft holds up to 9 people and can reach speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour!

Have you ever sailed 1.6 times the wind speed? We have. Hatchet Caye has two Windrider Raves that raise up on hydrofoils to get the little trimarans up to speeds that are truly exhilarating. Hobie Cats? We have those too! Oh and Sea Kayaks? Yep, got those too. One of the craziest experiences a fisherman can have is to try to land a 20 pound snapper from a sea kayak! It kinda evens the odds for the fish!

The island is a model of green technology. Running totally on solar with generators used only as back up; it’s the most advanced resort in Belize. Not only do we make fresh water through desalination but we also have a rain water catchment system that is state of the art. It’s the best tasting water in the Country.

All waste is treated by methods well beyond the purest septic systems found in the States. The effluent is then used to water the flowers.

The resort has a maximum capacity of 22 guests living in air conditioned comfort. Each cabana has custom built furniture and even Wii gaming consoles!

Our Caribbean Island Broker clients will be given special access to Hatchet Caye Resort . It’s the perfect way to get a taste of what it would be like to have your own private island and Hatchet Caye’s location makes it a perfect base for island shopping in Southern Belize.

It’s so great to see an island dream come true. Come experience it for yourself.

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Categories: General, Island related businesses, island development

Island Budget

September 29th, 2009

I’ve always hated when salesmen ask me what my budget is, it feels like a set up. But heck, everyone has a budget. There are so many things to consider beyond the price of the island itself; you also must consider the development and maintenance costs.  Do you want to spend your entire budget on the best possible island?  Or does your budget need to include the cost of improvements?

The need for fill, power generation, production of potable water and disposal of waste are just a few of the things you need to consider.  Even if you don’t plan to develop the island immediately, these are important questions to consider upfront ensuring you’ve budgeted appropriately.  You also need to consider the maintenance costs once this infrastructure is in place.

Most Belizean islands require at least some filling to raise the elevation to an even height. Filling an island can be completed in various ways.  Each technique has its pros and cons and the ideal method will vary depending on the island, the budget, and the long term goals of the project.

A coral island may cost double that of others but overall it could save considerable money on construction costs. Why? Less filling is necessary and also the building footings need not be as deep.

Power generation can be handled in numerous ways. Diesel generators are the most common and cheapest method. But long term the cost of maintenance and fuel is very expensive. Solar has a much higher up-front cost but virtually no long term expense. Overall, the best approach is a combination of solar with a diesel generator as a back up. This allows you to get your development going immediately using the generator while you properly design and build the solar system.

The creation of potable water is probably the easiest and cheapest challenge to tackle. A simple structure with a roof and rain gutters that direct the water into a cistern will begin producing free fresh water immediately. The important part is to create plenty of storage. From there a simple filtration and pressure system will get you going. For the long term a purification system or a reverse osmosis desalination system would be important additions.

Once the basic infrastructure is in place, then the building process can begin. Construction costs on an island can run up to 50% more than a mainland property. Delivering building materials to an island can easily eat up thousands of dollars per trip so proper planning to maximize the use of the vessel on each delivery can make a big difference.

I wish we could spell out the cost of each facet of island development but each vision will have a need and therefore a different cost associated with it. The important thing here is to begin thinking about these aspects right up front because your development costs could easily surpass the purchase price of your island.

So when you’re asked the dreaded “what’s your budget” question, remember it’s necessary to consider not only the cost of the property, but also the funds necessary to make it livable.

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Categories: General

Suitability of the Island

June 10th, 2009

Selecting the right island for your vision is critical. It’s so much more than just selecting the prettiest island within your budget. The size, location, shape, water quality, existing vegetation and ease of development all play into the suitability of the island.

Your vision and overall budget will dictate the suitability of the island. Does the island need filling? If so, what is the availability of sand? How many structures will be on the island? Will all of the envisioned structures fit on the island? Will the island be used for commercial or private purposes? Are there governmental restrictions on the development plan of a particular island or general location?

Ironically, very few buyers end up buying the island they were initially focusing on. More often than not, once they see the property in person, they find that there are other islands more suitable for their project.

When all aspects of development are considered, sometimes it makes sense to look at a higher priced island.  Since the ease of development can save a tremendous amount of time and expense over the life of the project.

In the end, the purchase price of the island is just one small part of the entire overall equation. This is why it’s important that we discuss your plans for the island in detail.  With this information, we can recommend the most suitable property for your needs.

Our next installment will cover the Timing, Budget, and Return on Investment and over the next several weeks, all the topics below.

  • Timing and budget and return on investment.
  • Obtaining permits
  • Filling methods; what is sand?
  • Dredging
  • Drag Line
  • Small scale dredge and trash pumps
  • Hand filling
  • Excavating the island’s own material
  • Barging in sand
  • Rocks, tubes, and other natural sand gatherers
  • Landscaping
  • Sea walls

The previous installment talked about your island vision. Read this post by clicking HERE.

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Categories: General

Incredibly quick progress on Little Pete!

August 28th, 2008

The other day we visited Little Peter Caye to check on the new owner’s progress in development. I knew the new owners were contractors and they told me from the beginning that they wouldn’t waste time on their project. They were eager to get going.

It’s not that I didn’t believe them, because I did. But I was still shocked! These guys kicked butt!

During the escrow process the buyers hired Carlton Young, Owner of Young’s Engineering Consultancy in Belize City to give an opinion of the island’s feasibility for building. After a few tests, the island was given a clean bill of health and the sale closed.Probe Test

Carlton is a terrific civil and structural engineer that knows his stuff on island property. We highly recommend him for your due diligence period investigations of soil and building feasibility.

Once the sale closed, the new owners of Little Peter didn’t waste any time getting to work. Permits were immediately applied for and then the project hit the ground running!

It’s important to note that this is a personal estate project among a group of close friends. It will be completed at their leisure with no real timeframe attached. So work may progress quickly, then stop for a few months, then start back up again.

Even though I knew they were serious about getting started, I was still blown away by the progress made in just a shade over 2 weeks. The quality was top notch, easily some of the best I’ve ever seen on any island.Little Pete\'s pier

The initial project was to get a caretaker house and pier built. Since this was a new undertaking by seasoned contractors, they knew what they wanted to achieve but still had to learn the secrets of where to get the best pricing on quality components and then getting them out to the island. This was no small task.

Ultimately, supplies were purchased in Belmopan and loaded onto an 18 wheeler for transportation to Sittee River where they were then loaded onto several small skiffs for the 8 mile journey to the island. This of course took many trips back and forth to get it all out there.Little Peter Pier

The crew camped out on the island while building and worked continuously until the pier and house were near completion. The long term plans call for a big palapa on the end of the pier which will add quite a few feet to the length of the structure. But for now the goal was to get the majority of the pier built and the caretaker’s house dried in.Caretakers house at the end of the pier

Keep in mind we were there during a “work-in-progress” so there were still small details needing completion. A couple weeks after these pictures were taken the owners came back down and installed the plumbing, electrical, and septic system in the house so it’s fully habitable and environmentally sound. I’ll get those pictures during my next trip!Backside of the caretakers house on Little Peter

Getting this much accomplished would be a truly remarkable achievement in the US with plenty of Home Depots to supply whatever you need. But imagine doing it on an island in a small foreign country, 8 miles off shore, without a barge, in 15 days!! It’s just amazing.

I expect Little Peter will be a frequent stop for us to show our clients how it can be done and that it really isn’t as hard as it seems.

The good news is these owners are interested in helping their new neighbors accomplish the same thing. So preparations are underway to offer construction services for our clients. Since we’re all neighbors here, we might as well work together to get the highest quality work for the best price we can.

Being from Texas, they understand the high expectations of foreign buyers because they have the same concerns. So if you would like a referral to some great people with amazing construction management abilities, let me know and I’ll gladly make the introduction.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress. We might even get some videos of this one. The owners said they’re video documenting everything along the way.

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Categories: General, island development

Roatan Real Estate, A private Island listing in the Caribbean

July 3rd, 2008

Well we’ve finally done it. We’ve made a visit to Honduras’s Bay Island of Roatan. What a cool area. We’ve come home with one of the most exciting Private Island listings we’ve ever had. Castaway Island is a private island estate with a home that could stand up against any home, in any high-end subdivision in the world. The location is incredible with all the diving, fishing, and sailing that Roatan is so known for. This is a fully furnished home featuring 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 2 half baths, 5 acre island, plus a 1/4 acre mainland lot with permits for another house and dock for $3.1 million. Take a look at Roatan Castaway Island!

I wish it wasn’t such bad weather. But, we made the best of it.

We really put ourselves behind with this trip. There are several new islands we’ll be listing in the coming days so please check back over the next 2 weeks. As we emerge from a huge to-do list that built up as we were gone, we’ll post more new islands for sale. If you haven’t signed up for the updates, please do so. We’ll let you know as new islands come available and anytime we have price changes. We hate spam and promise not to send you useless emails!

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Categories: General, Island related businesses