Well this is something that many who are new to SecondLife run into as time passes, to rent land or to buy it.
The choice various from person to person, it also various depending on what you are looking to do. Are you looking to open up a shop or a place to live or both? Are you an experienced builder or no building skills what so ever? Do you have a paid account or a free account?
Well here is the basics of it all, or as close to it as I have come to see and understand.
Depending on what it is you are interested in doing will make the deal of what is best for you, however renting is never a wrong answer to start with so that you can see what works for you and what doesn’t. Since renting mean if you don’t like your location you have not sunk a lot of lindens into the place so pulling up stakes isn’t much of a problem in most cases.
Buying land is another matter, in most cases those who buy land have rented land and know what it is that they are looking for in space and prims usage. You see by default all 512 land comes with 117 prims, thus each additional 512 means an additional 117 of prims are added.
512 s.m has 117 prims – 1/128 of a region
1024 s.m has 234 prims – 1/64 of a region
1536 s.m has 351 prims
2048 s.m has 468 prims – 1/32 of a
2560 s.m has 585 prims
3072 s.m has 702 prims
3584 s.m has 819 prims
4096 s.m has 936 prims – 1/16 of a
4608 s.m has 1,053 prims
5120 s.m has 1170 prims
5632 s.m has 1287 prims
6144 s.m has 1404 prims
6656 s.m has 1521 prims
7168 s.m has 1638 prims
7680 s.m has 1755 prims
8192 s.m has 1872 prims – 1/8 of a
8704 s.m has 1989 prims
However this is only the case with main land land, if you rent or buy on a private island the owner of that SIM can change the amount of prims you are allocated, which normally comes at a price.
SIMs in general have a max of 16,000 prims to portion out for the entire SIM, which is why many SIMs are several in size known as Estates (each island holds 16,000 prims thus if you have 10 sims together you will now have 160,000 prims to work with – but this comes at a high cost of about 16,950 US start up and about 1,950 US a month for teir)
This is the place to start for many people new to Second Life, it helps you get your feet wet and doesn’t cost the shirt off of your back in most cases. You can try out different size of lands and or accommodations and learn what works for you and what doesn’t work at all for you.
Not to mention there is a host of places within Second Life that are rentable from large beach front properties to what are called skyboxes which might only be only 100 s.m in size.
The price of renting varies from location to location, you can pay as little as 25L a week to upwards of 10,000+ a week depending on size and location you are renting.
Now when renting you also have an option of Renting Land, not just an accommodation. This means that if you have any building skills you can actually build your own home to live in, or if no building skills put up a prefab that you like the looks of and move right in instead of living in a place that was prebuilt before you got there.
There are of course down sides to renting, just like anything. One of the down side of renting is that if the land owner can at any time choose to stop renting and your out of luck for staying, or the land owner can choose to sell the land and the new owners are not interested in renting out the land or area.
Now Owning land is another matter, many who own land already know what it is that they are looking to do with the land, from operating a shop to a place to live or even a combo of the two.
You do not have to be able to build to own land, you can employ someone to build you your dream shop or home, or even buy a prefab to place on your property. When you own land you in most cases have a say as to how your place will look and feel, save when you buy in a sim that already has specific requirements for the look and feel of any buildings added to the sim, but in this case you will have already chosen to have a place that conforms to the requirements before hand.
Owning property in Second Life is often the second step after renting for a time, you have found that you feel works for you and are ready to take on the responsibility of land ownership. That being said only paid accounts can actually own land out right, this means if you have a free account the best you can do is to buy land on an island from someone who has a paid account and is selling land on the SIM. The reality of this is that you might out right buy the land from the SIM owner, but you still have to pay a monthly fee to them, which is much like rent when all is said and dun, and like renting if you fail to pay teir they can and will take the land away from you (as is their right). This can also happen to paid accounts if you fail to pay your teir fees to Linden Labs.
The difference from a Paid account and a Free account and owning land is that Paid accounts can own Land on the main land of SL, which just means you buy the land from LL and paid their set teir fee monthly, the land will not be sold out from under you should the sim owner choose to move on and in general the land is your’ till you choose to move on or forfeit paying teir. Owning land in a sim (island) means you can log on one day to find that you no longer have that land you bought and paid for not to mention have been paying teir to the SIM owner on. This doesn’t happen often, but it is still something which can happen.
Only Paid accounts can own main land land, and once you give up your paid account you also give up your main land land (though for a time you might still have it, but only till LL reapporperates it), thus if you have a paid account and are not renewing it then its best to sell off your main land land and find a island to buy into or go into renting space.
An upside of owning is that you have rights that are not granted to renters in most cases, such as how your land looks (you can tarraform it to your liking in most cases), you can set up who can or can’t access your land (in most sims, not all).
If you have a paid account you can also buy yourself a SIM and rent parts of it out to make real life income, though this is by no means for everyone and has a costly start up of about 2,000 US dollars just to get a single island (never mind more), not to mention about 200 US a month in teir fees that must be paid, so start up cost is about 4,400 for a year not counting any other costing factors that can and will creep in.
If you are interested in setting up you own ESTATE (island groupings) the following is information that might be of interest to you…
The average estate consists of about 5 to 20 SIMs, the cost of 5 sims is around 8,375 US (each sim is about 1,675 US), now you will have to maintain the sims from tier fees to other considerations, this is a bear min of 4,000 US thus start up costs for a small estate runs around 12,000 US (or higher depending on what cost factors you incur in building up your estate – such as hiring people to run it to builders to build what you invasion).
base cost without tier fees
1 sim = 1,675 US………………..5 sims = 8,375 US
10 sims = 16,750 US………………..15 sims = 25,125 US
20 sims = 33,500 US………………..25 sims = 41,875 US
30 sims = 50,250 US………………..35 sims = 58,625 US
40 sims = 67,800 US………………..50 sims = 83,750 US
60 sims = 100,500 US………………..70 sims = 117,250 US
80 sims = 134,000 US………………..90 sims = 150,750 US
100 sims = 167,500 US………………..110 sims = 184,250 US
120 sims = 201,000 US………………..130 sims = 217,750 US
140 sims = 234,500 US………………..150 sims = 254,250 US
Now, next to no one is going to buy out right 100+ sims at a first go, it is much more common to start small and grow as your business grows and can afford for you to expand, the exceptions being companies such as IBM and other companies that have the staff and funds to do so from the out start, but just to give you and idea I did the cost break down for buying without tier fees added or other management costs.
When all is said and dun, its a choice of what you feel will best for you for short and long term.