So, you’re thinking of renting land. That’s great! Having land in Second Life is a wonderful way to express your creativity, live in your dream home, start a business, or just have a simple quiet spot to enjoy with friends and family. Before you get started, though, there are a few things you should know.

The first question to ask yourself is, am I ready to rent or own land? It’s important to understand the basics of Second Life before you get in over your head. If you’re considering getting land, be sure you understand and have mastered the following skills:

*Moving, flying, sitting/interacting with objects, buying things by right clicking and via vendors.
*Opening a box
*Rezzing an object from inventory, moving and rotating objects.
*Creating a prim using the build function, moving, rotating, and stretching it. Texturing and other functions will also be helpful skills to have.
*Inspecting objects to see prim counts and other useful info.

Don’t understand some of those things? Visit http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Video_Tutorials and watch simple, fun videos on how to use Second Life!

Ready for land? Read on.

There are two types of land available in SL: Mainland land and Private Estate land. Mainland is property on continents that are owned and managed by Linden Lab. Private Estate land is property on islands that are owned and managed by another Second Life resident.

Tier is a term in SL for your land use fees. Whether Mainland or Private Estate, you can’t own land in SL without paying some sort of maintenance fee on it.

MAINLAND

You must be a Premium member to own Mainland land in SL. This is different from Payment Info On File/Used. With Payment Info On File/Used, you are only billed when you purchase L$. With Premium membership, you pay Linden Lab a monthly fee based on how much land on the Mainland you hold. This fee is paid in US dollars, not Lindens.

A premium account includes the ability to own 512 m2 of Mainland with no additional charge. You must pay Linden Labs Tier on land in excess of that first 512 m2.

ADVANTAGES OF MAINLAND

*No Covenant – do anything you want within the LL Terms of Service.
*Can be less expensive.

DISADVANTAGES OF MAINLAND

*No Covenant – No protection from neighbors who may put up ugly buildings, giant advertisements, or other offensive or unsightly material. Lag is common, and persistent. Visit the mainland, then visit private estate land – the difference is striking!
*Less protection from griefers and troublemakers; you can ban from your parcel, but it usually takes days or weeks to ban all but the worst offenders from SL as a whole.
*Fewer “prime parcels” with ocean or other views and attractive terraforming

PRIVATE ESTATE LAND

Private estates are owned and operated by Second Life residents. Solace Beach and its surrounding islands, for example, are owned by Ayesha Lytton. You don’t have to have a Premium account to buy land on a Private Estate. That transaction is between you and the island owner. Estate owners collect weekly or monthly fees from their residents, and pay LL out of what they earn. Many Private Estates, including Solace Beach, allow you to pay your monthly tier in L$. Tier on private estates varies, but there’s a lot more to choosing land than just cost.

The terms and conditions of your purchase (or lease) of any land on a Private Estate is defined in that land’s Covenant. The Covenant document for a parcel of land can be found on the Covenant tab of the “About Land” window. Covenants are like a homeowner’s association – they set out the terms of use for that estate. A typical Covenant will set out fees/tier, land use regulations for the area (commercial versus residential, whether sub-leasing is allowed, restrictions on the size and appearance of buildings, setback requirements, sim theme, etc.) and behavior expectations. You should always read the covenant carefully before deciding to rent or buy!

It is very important to choose a stable and responsible estate owner, especially when buying land with resell rights or renting long-term. If the person who owns the estate/island you purchased land on goes under (or sells that island) then your land may disappear too. For that reason, it’s important to choose an established company with friendly, competent staff.

ADVANTAGES OF ESTATE LAND

*Often more attractive than mainland. Gorgeous themed and unthemed islands, with unique textures and stunning views, are available. Virtually any size plot is possible.
*Often have Covenants to protect you from giant ad towers, unsightly buildings, laggy scripts, and other nuisances.
*Usually have private security, and can quickly ban troublemakers from the entire island.
*No Premium membership needed. You can usually pay weekly or monthly, depending on the estate owner’s policies.
*If you rent, you can move anytime, without worrying about selling your land.

DISADVANTAGES OF ESTATE LAND

*Often have Covenants: depending on your plans, it may be easier or harder to find appropriate land. However, estates with no or very limited covenants do exist.
*Can be risky: research your prospective landlord’s reputation, or choose a rental that allows weekly payments if you’re not confident in his/her reliability.
*May be more expensive, but almost always provides enhanced service compared to mainland.

TYPES OF SIMS

When renting estate land, there are two types of sims (regions) to choose from, standard and homestead. A standard sim has a 15,000 prim capacity, so for every 512 sq.m. of land, you get 117 prims. A homestead sim is a low prim sim that shares its processor with 3 others. You get 1/4 the prims of a standard sim, as well as 1/4 the processing power. Therefore, homesteads make good residential land, or light commercial if shared by only 1 or 2 businesses. However, they are usually not good for clubs or other high-traffic use. When choosing land, make sure you know if it’s a regular or homestead region, and consider the pros and cons of each. To ensure a quality renting experience, Solace Beach zones all of our homesteads Residential Only, except in cases where a person rents a full homestead.

ABOUT LAND MENU

Let’s say you’re standing on a piece of land you like. You’ve read this tutorial, and you want to find out: is this estate land or mainland? Is there a covenant? What type of sim is it? All of this information is easy to find. Simply click on the name of the land at the top of your screen, and you’ll get a menu. From there, look at the different tabs. Under General, you can see the land title, description, and size in square meters, as well as a button to buy/rent that parcel. The Covenant tab states the land’s rules. The Object tab shows you the total prims on a sim (tells you if it’s standard or homestead), how many prims that parcel gets, and how many prims are currently used.

You’ll also want to find out the exact borders of the land. To see this, click View at the top of your screen, then Property Lines. This information will also help you when placing your house!

Solace Beach Rentals welcomes first-time land renters. We’re always happy to put in extra effort to make sure you’re happy in your first virtual home! Feel free to explore our available lots and homes, and contact us if you have questions. If you tell us about your needs, we can help match you with the property that is right for you!