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Island Broker Blog

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.

Categories: General


  1. Islands of the Caribbean May 15th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Buying an island isn’t in my budget, but I wish it was. Sounds like you guys know the in’s and out’s pretty well.

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