A Tropical Island Resort Could Be Yours For $49 USD. No Joke.

03/05/2016 4:49 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
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No matter how much you love your job, home, local Thai place, etc, chances are at least once in your life you've said, "why don't we just throw in the towel and go live on an island somewhere?"

Sure, it may not have worked out for Tom Hanks in 'Castaway', but for many of us, the idea of living in a tropical paradise is a dream come true, albeit a seemingly impossible one.

But before you file the thought under the 'daydreams I have on my daily commute' or 'what I'd do if I won the lotto', it looks as though the whole owning-an-island-resort thing could have just been made available to the average Joe, courtesy of an Australian family who have decided to raffle off their island resort rather than putting it up for traditional sale.

The resort in question is Kosrae Nautilis Resort Micronesia, a debt-free property located on the tropical island of Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia which currently boasts mostly 'excellent' reviews on TripAdvisor.

Oh, and it looks like this:

kosrae nautilus resort

Currently owned by Doug and Sally Beitz -- who pride themselves on doing "things differently when possible" -- the decision to raffle the property off as opposed to putting it up for sale came after the family raised $45,995 USD to install solar panels in the resort via crowdfunding site Indiegogo in 2014.

"After we announced to our family that we were going to sell the resort, I had a fleeting thought about raffling it through a crowd funding website, but didn’t think much more about it," Doug Beitz told The Huffington Post Australia. "The next day our oldest son Adam seriously pitched the idea of raffling it to us, which sounds crazy, but I remembered the similar thought I had the previous day and realised it was meant to be."

So how does it work?

Essentially, the opportunity to own Kosrae Nautilius Resort works like a normal raffle. There are four different packages available to purchase, ranging from $49 USD to $349 USD, each of which contain a certain amount of raffle tickets as well as images shot by award-winning photographer Matt Shepherd. For instance, the $49 'Explorer Pack' contains one Matt Shepherd image and one ticket.

On July 26, 2016, the winner of the raffle will be drawn (Beitz plans on using random drawing site random.org to select a random winning ticket number, with a Notary Public or Justice of the Peace in attendance to confirm the process is impartial) and notified by both telephone and email.

Beitz is also offering a one-month 'handover' phase from current management which could start immediately after the raffle is drawn or at a later date, depending on the winner's situation.

kosrae nautilus resort

What do the current owners get out of it?

Well, money. It's clearly stated in the terms and conditions of the competition that "if less than 50,000 tickets are sold, the advertised prize is not available. In this case, the prize winner is given 50 percent of the total amount of tickets sold. For example, if 25,000 tickets were bought for $49.00, the total amount equals $1,225,000.00. In result, the winner receives 50 percent of $1,225,000.00 which equals $612,500.00."

In other words, if the raffle goes ahead as per the T's & C's, the Beitz family stand to receive at least $2,450,000 USD ($49 USD x 50,000) for their property. If not, they keep half the money raised by ticket sales, plus the actual resort.

As Beitz told HuffPost Australia: "We believe this is either going to be a good outcome or a great outcome. As it clearly states in the terms and conditions if less that 50,000 tickets are sold the prize is not available. However, we are confident that this is going to go viral and become an exciting new way to sell business all around the world. This will create such an amazing effect for the whole of Micronesian tourism."

kosrae nautilus resort

Beitz also states the family thoroughly enjoys the idea of "an average everyday person like us" scooping the prize, and vehemently denies the competition is in any way a scam.

"We know that some people will think that," Beitz said. "If you could talk to our family, friends, staff and regular customers about us, they would tell you of the integrity that we put into everything we do, and this is no different.

"We seriously thought about selling it in a normal way, and if we had, no one would think it was a scam or too good to be true, but because we are now using a different method in the hope of putting the business into the hands of an average person, some people will think it's too good to be true and we accept that.

"We know the 'knockers and skeptics' will have their say and not buy a ticket, but that's a good thing, because they are not the people that we want to hand the resort to. We want someone who is open minded and forward thinking to win it, and we hope this raffle will attract those people."

kosrae nautilus resort

OK. Let's say I do win this raffle. Then what?

According to Beitz, it would be up to the winner how much (or little) he or she wanted to get involved in the day-to-day running of the business.

"If the winner wants to run the resort 100 percent themselves they would need some basic people skills and computer skills," he said. "The tax laws in Micronesia are very simple, every three months you pay three percent of your turnover (what you bank) to the government, with very few allowable deductions. So if you did a one-day course on spreadsheets you could handle the financial side of things."

Coupled with Beitz's offer of a handover, plus the fact most of the resort's staff have worked there for over 10 years, Beitz says the new owners should not find themselves not too out of their depths.

"We are confident if the winner is able to listen and watch what is going on, and not make big changes over night, the staff will continue to do 95 percent of the work, with the new owner watching and making decisions based on my initial training and daily help from the staff.

"We have an excellent local dive master and boat driver, so the new owner doesn't need to be a diver. If they however choose to employ managers who are already experienced in the field, then their job will become even easier."

Furthermore, Beitz states the resort has a long-running reservation in place starting three weeks from now.

"A US Government department has booked 10 of 16 rooms until August 2017," he said. "This gives the winner guaranteed income for the next 15 months."

Interested? Find out more here, or check out a taste of island living in the video below.



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