Key Highlights

  • Video tour and WhatsApp negotiations sold +$6.3M private island
  • Uptick in demand for private islands

Some people believe that the combination of luck and timing is all you need to be successful.

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Turns out that not much more than luck and timing were involved in landing a sale of a +$6.3M private island…just a video tour and WhatsApp. The timing impetus for the sale was the COVID pandemic and its effects on the need for privacy and safety. The luck impetus for the sale was the buyer’s deep pockets.

Horse Island, a 157-acre parcel of land off the southwest mainland of Ireland, was recently sold sight unseen. An unidentified European buyer recently purchased Horse Island after watching a video tour of the property. The deal was negotiated via WhatsApp.

Formerly inhabited nearly a century ago when a small copper mine operated there between the mid19th to mid 20th century, the island was home to some 150 people. All of the island’s inhabitants left during the 1960’s.

Horse Island is home to three beaches, a large resident wildlife reserve, a rugged green landscape and seven houses. Interestingly enough, Horse Island does not provide a home for horses in terms of having a barn or equestrian facilities.

Six of the seven houses are guesthouses spatially sprinkled around the main house to ensure that no one experiences claustrophobia. The only interior shot of the main house on the video is one of the large dining room that is surrounded by windows so family and guests can enjoy uninterrupted vistas of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding the island. The property sports tennis courts, a private pier for ferries and super yachts, a gym and helipad. There is also a “shipwreck” playhouse for kids.

Horse Island is also completely self sufficient with its own utilities and private roads.

According to Thomas Balashev, the founder and CEO of Montague Real Estate, “Horse Island is a unique trophy asset; sourcing the land and getting the sale over the line during COVID-19 has been a challenge, so naturally we are delighted with this result.”

Alex Robinson, an agent with Knight Frank who was also involved with the transaction, added, “It highlights a trend that is becoming more apparent as the impact of COVID-19 is felt and people look to purchase property or land in remote locations.”

This trend of utilizing virtual home tours and even FaceTime home tours for buying and selling a home is substantiated by both realtor.com and Zillow. According to Zillow, 36% of buyers would likely buy a home completely online and 43% of sellers said the would be more likely to sell a home completely online while in the midst of the COVID pandemic. Even after the pandemic ends (when is that happening?) 30% of buyers and 33% of sellers would be happy to do the transactions online.

As early as April 2020, realtor.com discovered that some 25% of shoppers would buy a home completely online. Likely, this percentage has risen over the past few months.

Thanks to CNN Travel, TeamSunday, realtor.com and Zillow

Also read: Is Price Really the Most Important Factor for Homebuyers?, Consumer Sentiment in Housing Market Bounced Up in June, Nearly 50% of Homeowners Expected to Move This Decade – Will 50% of Those Moving Use Updater?