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A Different Kind of Move

Earth Bound
August 16, 2017 02:17AM

Registered: 8 months ago
Posts: 6

Hello All,
I've scoured the internet and this forum looking for answers to the tiny house question and cant find one, so I decided to ask here. I'm looking to relocate with my two daughters (8 & 17) and my husband. We are actually seeking a lifestyle change in that we are NOT interested in buying or (especially) building a home there (St Croix). We'd really like to downsize and live in a tiny house or possibly rv on land we purchase outright and spend our time exploring nearby locations as we homeschool our youngest daughter (older has graduated already). My husband has been there many times so I dont feel a PMV is necessary, In researching "the dream" I have come to find that tiny houses arent really legal in many places for a host of reasons. My question is if anyone knows how acceptable it is there to place a tiny house or rv on land we purchase--as kind of our home base when we are not on the move? Its seems a silly question, but in looking at land to purchase I noticed many lots were in subdivisions and clearly had an HOA in place. I also did a quick search for campers/rvs for sale and found a whopping ONE in STT.

I guess in my head we were going to purchase a rv once we got there and live in it while we explored the island and searched for the right piece of land that would meet our green, off the grid lifestyle and would support about 4 tiny houses on it for family visits. Obviously we are not made of money nor are we lucky enough to have had a money tree in our backyard. We do have a home and a little acreage here to give us a start. I feel that securing a mortgage would mean working to pay for it and that would take away from my daughter's homeschool experience and our travel.

Any info on the tiny house movement on the islands and the feasibility of finding a place to park the camper/ rv until we find land to purchase would be appreciated. Thanks!

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Gator's Mom
August 16, 2017 06:44AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 754

There is a recent discussion on VI Moving about tiny houses on STX. Put "tiny house" in search and it pops right up. Zoning requirements can be found on the DPNR website.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Earth Bound
August 16, 2017 07:10AM

Registered: 8 months ago
Posts: 6

Thank you. I must have been very sleepy when I first looked as I swear that thread didnt show up! happy I read it this morning and found enough information to start with. Actually after reading I'm thinking a shipping container would be a better option! So today will be spent exploring that path!

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Scubadoo
August 16, 2017 07:53AM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,888

Some basic concerns and challenges are dealing with hurricanes, water and septic. RVs and tiny homes not on foundations are not going to be safe or hold up in a major or perhaps even moderate hurricane. Where not used for permanent living RVs are typically used for distance exploring without the need for hotels. With our small islands there is no such thing as distance for an RV. So no surprise there aren't many. Anyplace you live you will need water and sewer and unless you are in city limits that means a cistern and a roof large enough to keep it filled and a septic drain field. I think you would find we do have a number of small (<1000sq ft) homes though.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

speee1dy
August 16, 2017 08:07AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 8,382

wouldnt it be cheaper and better to just rent?

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Earth Bound
August 16, 2017 07:49PM

Registered: 8 months ago
Posts: 6

Thanks Scoobadoo for the insight. All things considered, we're still at the drawing board.

Spee1dy, I honestly dont know if it would be cheaper and better to rent because I've never lived on an island. I live in Ohio right now, and I think its pretty safe to say we mainlanders are extremely spoiled and wasteful, taking for granted the resources many people in many places must use wisely. That's what and why I'm researching. One thing I am sure of though: a week or two in a luxury waterfront hotel does no justice to what it's like to LIVE there. The move is inevitable as my husband's job may take him there. His job is to pay the way. Mine is to pave the way. And my gosh there is a learning curve involved for me. If it were he and I, I think we would jump in. But we have children so I'm trying to do my due diligence. Thanks for the responses, guys. It really helps me in having a growth mindset.

Re: A Different Kind of Move
avatar

Exit Zero
August 16, 2017 11:36PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 2,214

I re-read your post a few times to try and understand the plan you had in mind.
Cruising around STX in an RV feels fairly unrealistic to me - not sure you would really find that to end up being interesting, very easy, or even safe in some cases.
Finding a lot that will be zoned correctly for 4 tiny homes eventually may take some research and getting that plan through DPNR will likely take a creative architect/engineer.- it may end up being something like 4 small LR/BDR combos each with a bathroom sharing a communal Kitchen living space or some similar [outside of the box] design - that part could actually be a lot of fun brainstorming!!!
If your husband has a job you may want to consider renting a small place near his work -- learning what part of the island you would want to put down roots - use that 6 mo-a year rental to spend time researching the cistern/septic/power solutions to be incorporated into the off the grid homestead plan - experience and learn the numerous idiosyncrasies involved in Island Life.

Read this on schooling your youngest:
[stthomassource.com]
Maybe consider UVI for the older child:
[www.uvi.edu]

It certainly can be an exciting move and beneficial to the whole family, having employment should ease the entry, jumping into a hasty decision on land and lifestyle may have short and long term effects on your enjoyment down the road.
Good Luck for true and keep asking questions.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/16/2017 11:42PM by Exit Zero.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

speee1dy
August 17, 2017 07:53AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 8,382

true, but it seemed from your initial post you had hopes of living traveling in your tiny home?
maybe i understood incorrectly. none of the islands would make this very feasible.

people here are just like the mainlanders in pretty much every aspect. people wanting to get away from consumerism, wastefulness, rat race, travel time etc.......... all that is here too.

food and electricity is more expensive. but you can read past posts to find out that stuff.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

AandA2VI
August 17, 2017 01:24PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 2,117

Scrap the RV idea. Not realistic for many reasons - safety and storms come to mind first.

Come down and stay somewhere temporarily while you find a rental. You need to deicide what part of the island you want to live on. They are TOTALLY different in all respects.

EAST - dry - hot will need AC (well I would) not much to do way out east - less crime. More stateside.

WEST - Cool (ish), wet, moldy, green and trees - better beaches - less safe (IMO) not a lot to do after 8pm

MID - Cheaper rent - no views (mostly) more central to go to Csted or Fsted.

For me personally WEST IS BEST! But I am a diver and I must be within 5 min of the pier to keep my sanity.

Re: A Different Kind of Move
avatar

rotorhead
August 17, 2017 04:58PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,445

Change RV to Boat. Get a liveaboard boat and travel from island to island. Either a sailboat or a small powerboat would do. Get a slip at a marina or live on the hook.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Alana33
August 17, 2017 07:20PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,677

thumbs up however it may be challenging with kids the age of yours and if you have a lack of knowledge of boats, maintenance, etc.
Then there's tropical storms and hurricanes.

Check out where your husband is working, where kids schools are, time commuting back and forth, costs of private or parochial schools, proximity to shopping, etc.
Rent first while you figure it out.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Earth Bound
August 17, 2017 09:46PM

Registered: 8 months ago
Posts: 6

You guys are the BEST! You are there and I trust your advice so I have scrapped the hippie-live-in-a-RV-and-be-free idea. My husband was showing me all these boats and I said NO! I couldnt see living on a boat with kids (that would deive ME crazy!). He is ex Navy so it doesnt bother him. So I guess a rental it is! I cant lie... I DID look into a shipping container house! Realized I must get my emorions out of the way. I thought this was our "forever" house and I realized that although I am excited about the move, I really LOVE this house and I'm having separarion issues. I built walls and finished wood floors with my bare inexperienced hands. I think wanting to move anywhere but a house I'll grow atrached to just to leave again was my idea of serious rebellion for making me have to change dreams on a whim. But I think I'm ready to deal with the move even though I dont feel I've had enough time to process. We have less than 90 days to make the move. Thank you AandA for the breakdown of the various areas. That helps a lot. Ultimately I would still LOVE to live in the environment. Exit Zero described. You really nailed my vision. But for now.... I'm seaeching for a rental!

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Alana33
August 17, 2017 10:47PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,677

Have you been here before?
What's husband's job/location?
Will you have 2 cars to get around?
Do you have enough money to move, set up a rental, buy furnishings, linens towels, cookware, glassware, small appliances, cleaning supplies, basic food and spices other supplies, brooms, mops, buckets, pay all utilities, pay for kid's schooling, especially for your junior in high school?
What are you going to bring, leave, sell, get rid of?
Do you have pets?
What's your budget?
Double it.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

speee1dy
August 18, 2017 07:52AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 8,382

when i moved i shipped everything, including food. didnt cost that much to ship my household goods.

no need to sell everything you have there just to buy it again here at a higher cost.

same with your cars, bring them down too

Re: A Different Kind of Move

rosesisland
August 18, 2017 08:10AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 621

Quote
speee1dy
when i moved i shipped everything, including food. didnt cost that much to ship my household goods.

no need to sell everything you have there just to buy it again here at a higher cost.

same with your cars, bring them down too

I think that totally depends on whether you are planning to rent or buy.
Most everyone I know that rents here and brought a crapload of everything, no longer have most of those things. My newest neighbor is in the process of eliminating things so as to fit into his furnished rental.

On the other hand, since I rent and do not want to buy here, I appreciate rentals with just furniture and appliances. I don't want they dollar story kitchen, faded pictures on the wall, crappy linens and towels.

So many furnished places have all those things and it blows my mind how easy those landlords make it for someone with just a suitcase to move during the night. All those things can be easily brought here or purchased here and transported to a home from store in a vehicle.

You don't need a moving van to move those above mention things. I just prefer my own dishes, flatware, nice linens and pillows, my art work, my tv, my towels, etc.

We brought all my husband's tools, except larger compressor and table saw. Most of those things were stolen while he was working off island and I was double tagged by my pest control company over a period of months. But, that's a whole other story.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

speee1dy
August 18, 2017 10:08AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 8,382

i didnt bring furniture, i did bring all my household goods though . we had been renting before and that place came furnished.


Quote
rosesisland
Quote
speee1dy
when i moved i shipped everything, including food. didnt cost that much to ship my household goods.

no need to sell everything you have there just to buy it again here at a higher cost.

same with your cars, bring them down too

I think that totally depends on whether you are planning to rent or buy.
Most everyone I know that rents here and brought a crapload of everything, no longer have most of those things. My newest neighbor is in the process of eliminating things so as to fit into his furnished rental.

On the other hand, since I rent and do not want to buy here, I appreciate rentals with just furniture and appliances. I don't want they dollar story kitchen, faded pictures on the wall, crappy linens and towels.

So many furnished places have all those things and it blows my mind how easy those landlords make it for someone with just a suitcase to move during the night. All those things can be easily brought here or purchased here and transported to a home from store in a vehicle.

You don't need a moving van to move those above mention things. I just prefer my own dishes, flatware, nice linens and pillows, my art work, my tv, my towels, etc.

We brought all my husband's tools, except larger compressor and table saw. Most of those things were stolen while he was working off island and I was double tagged by my pest control company over a period of months. But, that's a whole other story.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Earth Bound
August 19, 2017 06:43PM

Registered: 8 months ago
Posts: 6

I like this idea of not selling everything to buy again... Seems smart to me. Who did you use?

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Earth Bound
August 19, 2017 07:55PM

Registered: 8 months ago
Posts: 6

No Alana, I havent been. My husband has. We were deciding between USVI and Puerto Rico. I didnt want to live there. I think I feel more comfortable for now at least moving where my native language is spoken. My husband's job is with a trucking company that is expanding in import/export. It pays well but he wont really be stationary as much travel is still involved. That was the bases of the RV/Tiny house thinking.... Since we'll be on the go so much (home about 11-14 days per month) we can kind of take our house with us (a little stability for my homeschooling daughter). Because of that also, there was no need to accumulate a lot of stuff such as housewares etc. I really feel like I'm everywhere since I dont have time to pre-visit, research and prepare.

Re: A Different Kind of Move

Alana33
August 19, 2017 10:29PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,677

PR would be more practical for an RV as it's vastly larger.
Tho I can't think of any RV parks there. None here or on STX.
Our roads are barely wide enough for 2 lanes and STT is mountainous, relatively speaking, steep hills, narrow roads and then where are you going to find a place that's safe to park it.
Decide where kids are going to school, rent a condo or apt. within easy commute distance, give yourself time to figure it out.
Private or parochial schools will be your best bet.

Re: A Different Kind of Move
avatar

Exit Zero
August 20, 2017 12:38AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 2,214

I must be missing the point here somehow?

Since we'll be on the go so much (home about 11-14 days per month) we can kind of take our house with us

The family travels with him?
You don't need to have a home base?
You couldn't possibly follow him in an RV from STX.
maybe consider a boat or plane liveaboard??

Re: A Different Kind of Move

East Ender
August 20, 2017 11:16AM

Registered: 13 years ago
Posts: 4,881

"Since we'll be on the go so much (home about 11-14 days per month) "

I am totally confused also. Where are you going to be the other days? St Croix is 22 by 7 miles and there is no place to take your RV off island easily. If you are going to other islands, it would be by plane or possibly people ferry.

Re: A Different Kind of Move
avatar

Exit Zero
August 20, 2017 02:41PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 2,214

STX -- 85 Sq. Mi. -- 75% Bush

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