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Relocating to Saint Thomas

Mytcar34
February 23, 2012 11:24PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 68

Semi- retired couple from Texas relocation to Saint Thomas.
We will be starting our new adventure relocating to Saint Thomas within the next year.Hopefully with the help from you folks and plenty of soul searching we are excited.
After compileing a list of concerns we have come to the conclusion most folks dont do there homework.
We are leaving Valdez Alaska shortly you will probably ask what does Alaska have to do with Saint Thomas?
We are isolated one road in, an airport, and the state ferry.These may be closed at any time due to high winds, snow and avalanches, nearest town is 300 miles away, and you thought you were isolated.
Our grocery prices are higher than yours, only have one store.
Our gasoline prices are higher.
Supplies are hit or miss wow you at least have a Home Depot and K mart.
Electricity is about the same and we also have to deal with outages regulary
They say our schools are terrible, dont have kids in school so we really dont know sound familar
Government what can you say it sucks on all levels.
Police and crime, every ones got it.

We are going to lease long term is there a nicer part of the island so to speak with out insulting anyone. We are veterans of Saint Thomas and sort of know our way around.
# 1 -We are going to rent a month until we can find the right long term rental
#2 Should we buy and island car or ship one.Will have to buy one regardless
#3 Havent checked on renters insurance yet, any ideas.
#4 planing to rent a car for a few weeks any suggestions
Our view of this move is another adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the world,and we feel that we wont be sorry.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

speee1dy
February 24, 2012 06:16AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 4,789

that will be a bit of a change for you. alaska to stt. hope you enjoy your adventure.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

trainwreck82
February 24, 2012 06:41AM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 264

I know a -lot- of people that bounce back and forth between STT and AK, mostly in the jewelry business. Something I hear a lot during the transition months is that they never really hit May thinking "can't wait to get back to Alaska" but when November comes, a lot of "can't wait to get back to STT." And now I will try to actually post something useful to you.

1) Renting for a month is a good idea you'll see repeated in virtually every thread on this board. I like Two Sandals By The Sea, but it's in Red Hook so if you're out exploring you'll be driving probably a lot more than you want to. Still easy to recommend on price though, but if you go that route book well in advance, they fill up often. The Green Iguana is around the same price last I checked, clean, decent views of the harbor, and very convenient to everything. You'll hear the occasional gunshot. The Crystal Palace is often recommended here and its owner is a regular poster, heard good things about it but have no personal experience with it.

2) If you don't already have a car buy one here.

3) I've never had much of value until this year (finally landed the job I wanted, not settling for the job I could get.) I'm looking into it myself, I'll keep you in mind if you're still posting.

4) You'll see rental agencies that are not your typical Hertz, Budget, etc. Give them a shot. I met a guy once that rented me a (admittedly shitty) island car for $400/mo. Major rental agencies will be triple that and require a credit card. You can find deals.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

Mytcar34
February 24, 2012 01:22PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 68

Thanks for the advise we certainly will take note. Is it better to deal with the professionals on long term rentals ( heard a few stories not all good) or check out the local listings? I have tried Craig's list have all ready run into one possible scammer. I am sure most of these listings are probably honest but wish they would include pictures.Not sending anyone money by Western Union. Thought about a move to Saint Croix but with Hovensa shutting down not sure what will happen with there economy.In case i get bored later are there many job opportunities available.Not trying to make a living just something to do?

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

trainwreck82
February 24, 2012 01:41PM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 264

Quote
Mytcar34
Thanks for the advise we certainly will take note. Is it better to deal with the professionals on long term rentals ( heard a few stories not all good) or check out the local listings? I have tried Craig's list have all ready run into one possible scammer. I am sure most of these listings are probably honest but wish they would include pictures.Not sending anyone money by Western Union. Thought about a move to Saint Croix but with Hovensa shutting down not sure what will happen with there economy.In case i get bored later are there many job opportunities available.Not trying to make a living just something to do?

If anyone asks you to send them money via anything up front, it's a scam. There are different opinions on the boards about how to go about renting an apartment - some say use a realtor, some say use island trader/craigslist. I have personally never cared much for either.

The properties listed by realtors are almost always sky high compared to what you get dealing directly with a landlord. The Island Trader comes out in the newspaper on Thursdays, that's usually a good place to start. What I've always done is drive around, get a feel for different areas (hang out at a bar or something in an area you want to learn about) and talk to some people. Eventually you'll get an idea for an area you like, that's when you are ready to pick a place. Drive around and you will see "For Rent" signs posted on poles, trees, etc. Stop at the sign, call the number, they'll normally be there with a quickness. What I've also noticed in doing it this way is that I'm rarely asked to pay the last month's rent, I'm on my 4th place and using For Rent signs I've not had to pay the last month's rent up front.

I rented a pretty amazing 2br on skyline a few years back for $1600 including utilities, and my current place is a large 2br in Hull above the surf break that is $1200. I know a guy that has a pretty decent 2br place above Magens that he pays $800, and he got that through my other favorite: word of mouth. The name of the game here is talking to people.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

ms411
February 24, 2012 01:54PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 1,369

You should start your rental search by using the Classiified Section on VIMovingCenter, IMO.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

Iris Tramm
February 24, 2012 02:02PM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 693

I believe the classifieds from the Virgin Islands Daily News are available online, are they not? I don't live on STT, but all of my rentals on STX have come by word of mouth or newspaper listings. As for the prices, the rentals on STX are going to plummet once the HOVENSA workers leave around April but, you're right, unless you've got a source of income already in place, you may have a tough row to hoe here, as they say.

The VI Craigslist strikes me as more than a little sketchy.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

trainwreck82
February 24, 2012 02:29PM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 264

Quote
Iris Tramm
I believe the classifieds from the Virgin Islands Daily News are available online, are they not? I don't live on STT, but all of my rentals on STX have come by word of mouth or newspaper listings. As for the prices, the rentals on STX are going to plummet once the HOVENSA workers leave around April but, you're right, unless you've got a source of income already in place, you may have a tough row to hoe here, as they say.

The VI Craigslist strikes me as more than a little sketchy.

The VI craigslist can be pretty ok when it comes to items for sale, especially water sports equipment. But for rentals? I once checked out a place for rent on craigslist and when I got there learned that the guy that posted it wasn't even the landlord, he was trying to get out of his lease and hadn't even run the idea by the landlord. Sketchy. Then you have the lavish apartments for rock bottom prices - complete with a fireplace.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

OldTart
February 24, 2012 02:30PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 2,923

Here's the link to the Virgin Islands Daily News and there is also a link there to the Island Trader:

[virginislandsdailynews.com]

Rental prices are dropping here on STT and some really nice rentals which I had looked at last July when preparing to move are still on the market but at monthly rentals quite below their original listings.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

OldTart
February 24, 2012 03:23PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 2,923

Quote
trainwreck82
The VI craigslist can be pretty ok when it comes to items for sale, especially water sports equipment. But for rentals? I once checked out a place for rent on craigslist and when I got there learned that the guy that posted it wasn't even the landlord, he was trying to get out of his lease and hadn't even run the idea by the landlord. Sketchy. Then you have the lavish apartments for rock bottom prices - complete with a fireplace.

Before I report them as spam I sometimes play around with the scammers for a day via email. When they advertise a $500/month rental for a 1BR 1BA with everything included (electric, cable, satellite, internet, close to major highways, w/d, central heating,, gyro, etc,) it's playtime. I enjoy wasting their time for a few hours and then tag their ads. Their photographs are also a dead giveaway. Check the overhead light fixtures. No fans? A couple of months back I asked for more photographs of a unit and they sent me some new interior shots which showed a view of skyscrapers through a window. Asking for physical addresses has elicited responses which, upon doing a quick google, show that address to be in an office building ...

And they all have similar stories about having lived in the place which they love and cared for but then were called away to spread God's word as preachers in far-off places (Africa and the UK are most popular) and they have the keys but the rent is unimportant and all they really want is for the place to be well maintained by someone such as you who sounds like such a wonderful person

Now I must get back to seeing if the latest from this one particular advertiser has arrived and end the playtime by tagging him as a spammer. :D

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

speee1dy
February 24, 2012 03:30PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 4,789

i was kinda hoping to find fake rentals on craigslist but so far have not. i want to see the fake photos. do you have any links?

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

Mytcar34
February 24, 2012 05:06PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 68

There was one listed on the 18th for Saint Croix on Craigs List, it reads hardwood floors, pictures show ceramic tile, also two gas fire places whice i did not see in photos, and they are not sure how many bedrooms or bathrooms they have.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

Mytcar34
February 24, 2012 05:41PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 68

Would you suggest that we explore the options of a move to Saint Croix. We have not been there only Saint Thomas.I chose Saint Thomas because i felt with the Cruise ship traffic there might be a little more excitement. We are retired and boring so night life is unimportant to us although i love the water and taking pictures.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

STXBob
February 24, 2012 06:43PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 1,822

Quote
Mytcar34
Would you suggest that we explore the options of a move to Saint Croix.

Of course! Many of us think it's the best island in the world.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

blu4u
February 24, 2012 07:04PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 855

Quote
Mytcar34
Would you suggest that we explore the options of a move to Saint Croix. We have not been there only Saint Thomas.I chose Saint Thomas because i felt with the Cruise ship traffic there might be a little more excitement. We are retired and boring so night life is unimportant to us although i love the water and taking pictures.

Definitely check out stx. More bang for your buck.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

Alexandra
February 24, 2012 08:56PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 1,431

Quote
Mytcar34
There was one listed on the 18th for Saint Croix on Craigs List, it reads hardwood floors, pictures show ceramic tile, also two gas fire places whice i did not see in photos, and they are not sure how many bedrooms or bathrooms they have.

Any island property that claims to have a fireplace or a furnace is suspect. If they mean a backyard fire pit for roasting a pig or using as a BBQ or an old Danish historical building with a bread baking oven in the kitchen building, that's one thing, but we do NOT have regular fireplaces or furnaces in properties here. Why would we when it's in the 80's every single day of the year? Some things are too obvious not to catch onto the scam.

By the way, we do not have natural gas available for gas fireplaces. We have propane for stoves and generators, etc. Do be cautious of the Craig's List ads. I've heard of quite a few cases where unsuspecting people sent funds for a vacation rental or a short-term rental if moving here and then never got keys and didn't realize they were scammed until they arrived and had no place to stay. I've helped a couple such people find a place to stay but couldn't help them recover their lost $$. Expensive welcome to the island, to be sure.

If you are going to do business with anyone prior to arriving on-island, make sure it's with a licensed Realtor as at least you have a way to check them out in advance to be sure they are for real. You'd also have a way to pursue a resolution if there was an issue when you arrived. Yes, I am a Realtor, but this is why I know you're much safer working with a licensed professional if doing business prior to arriving. We all value our licenses and don't want to be put out of business by acting improperly with one vacationer or prospective new tenant. We value our livelihoods much more than that. Even if you do pay slightly more for a Realtor represented property for a short-term 1-3 month arrival rental, you can see if you are able to locate a word of mouth longer-term rental after you arrive. Or maybe you will find that you have a good agent who treated you fairly and has a great long-term property for you. It can happen. Keep an open mind and look into all leads. A good Realtor shouldn't be upset if you look at rentals directly in addition to any they show you, although it isn't unheard of for a Realtor to help you get a better rate even on a direct rental and/or to help you get issues addressed with the property when the landlord might have tried to ignore your complaints until they found out you had a real estate professional also in your corner.

Whether you and your wife choose STT or STX, enjoy your first year in the islands and make the most of the new experiences.

Alexandra Bentley
Great House Real Estate
St. Croix, USVI

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

JulieKay
February 24, 2012 09:04PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 1,338

Quote
Mytcar34
Would you suggest that we explore the options of a move to Saint Croix. We have not been there only Saint Thomas.I chose Saint Thomas because i felt with the Cruise ship traffic there might be a little more excitement. We are retired and boring so night life is unimportant to us although i love the water and taking pictures.

Make me third to say consider STX. Each island is different, but I prefer it here. :)

Of course, someone on STT will most likely correct me, but hey, we each have our favorites!

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

Mytcar34
February 24, 2012 11:29PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 68

Thanks for all the advise we will be contacting folks as soon as we can nail down a time line for our move.I had planned on getting out of here in April but not sure yet. We just had 24 feet of snow in five weeks. We may now plan a trip to Saint Croix to look around since we have been to Saint Thomas numerous times. You are correct about the need to contact professionals that are in the know, it makes life a lot easy er. I thought i had this all figured out after living in Venezuela, Canada and now Alaska but i know i am forgetting things.

How about cell phone usage we currently use ATT, are there roaming charges to call the mainland etc.
Can you recomend a monthly rental in Saint Croix?

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

speee1dy
February 25, 2012 05:47AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 4,789

stx is less crowded which i like. downtown parking and driving is easier here than stt. i hear our grocery stores are cleaner too

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

OldTart
February 25, 2012 05:53AM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 2,923

Back in the day I used to go over to St Croix quite often, really enjoyed my time there and met some great people. Two of the big plusses for me where St Thomas is concerned are its close proximity to other islands and incredible sailing. Gorgeous St John is only a 15 minute ferry ride away while the BVIs are also close by for day trips by ferry or private boat. The sailing is wonderful with so many offshore snorkeling sites and dozens of islands and little cays to pull into. St Thomas sometimes gets a poor rep from those who simply pass through it on their way to St John. Only seeing the main roads and the hubbub of town, they've no idea of the lovely areas which lay outside the main hub!

ATT has great service on all the islands and no roaming charges. Cheers!

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

speee1dy
February 25, 2012 05:57AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 4,789

oldtart, that is the only reason why i would not mind being on stt, the close proximity to the other islands

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

trainwreck82
February 25, 2012 06:30AM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 264

Just so we can get a bit more balance here... you couldn't pay me to live on STX. More bang for buck? That's literally the only thing STX has on the north side of STT I say no thanks, I'll pay a little more to have what I have here. There :).

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

Iris Tramm
February 25, 2012 08:26AM

Registered: 4 years ago
Posts: 693

Quote
OldTart
Back in the day I used to go over to St Croix quite often, really enjoyed my time there and met some great people. Two of the big plusses for me where St Thomas is concerned are its close proximity to other islands and incredible sailing. Gorgeous St John is only a 15 minute ferry ride away while the BVIs are also close by for day trips by ferry or private boat. The sailing is wonderful with so many offshore snorkeling sites and dozens of islands and little cays to pull into. St Thomas sometimes gets a poor rep from those who simply pass through it on their way to St John. Only seeing the main roads and the hubbub of town, they've no idea of the lovely areas which lay outside the main hub!

ATT has great service on all the islands and no roaming charges. Cheers!

Whoa. As a STX sailor I have to at least respond to the implication that STX has poorer sailing than STT. STX has fantastic sailing, including Buck Island and it's magnificent snorkel trail only a skip through the cut in the reef away. Beautiful, isolated ... NOT teeming with tourists doing the BVI charter island hop.

Alas, there is no racing. Ya got us there.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

Alexandra
February 25, 2012 12:33PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 1,431

There are plenty of monthly rentals available on STX. What is available each month changes constantly, so it's a question to ask a few weeks prior to your visit so you can book something with vacancy at that time. You can find anything from a studio condo to a fancy vacation villa and everything in between. For PMV's, most people will recommend living in the kind of property you'd likely live in if you moved here so you can see what the island experience would be like for you in everyday life and not from a tourist perspective.

Re: Relocating to Saint Thomas

Mytcar34
February 25, 2012 01:35PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 68

Thank goodness for Internet access it really helps. We look at our move as an adventure. We are currently living in a small two bedroom apartment here in Alaska. Big change from our home in Texas, we only brought what would fit in suite cases. We travel light. We will do the same for our move to the islands.

Is it better/safer to live in town or out in the mountains. We like the idea of gated or possibly a rental located at a home.

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