3. Don't assume that you can build whatever you want on your island: Those who sell islands know the allure of making people think they'll be buying their own country. But let's say you want to build a runway there for your private plane. Not so fast. You'll need permits just as you would to extend a porch back on the mainland. For that reason, "Any island with a pre-existing anything on it is a big bonus, because it saves you a lot of money and headaches later on," Krolow says.
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