A few questions about moving!
Hey everyone, I am new to the site! I have decided that I would like to move back to the Virgin Islands(St. Thomas particularly) in a few years. I had previously lived there when I was younger for a few years and I loved it SO much. I've read through a lot of the posts on this site and the St. Thomas Blog and got A LOT of my questions answered, however, I still have a few more.
I am about to go to university to get my Bachelor's in Nursing. I plan on staying here(in the south) for a while to gain a bit of experience so that it might be a bit easier to get a job when I get there. I also want to save a good amount of money for when I get there. I have heard rumors about the low pay that the nurses receive at the hospital. I've looked into other places that might hire an RN, such as the nursing home near "Ghettos"(Kirwain[check my spelling?] Terrace). I forgot the name of it, as I did it so long ago. Or possibly the prison? Are there positions in correctional nursing there? Are there any nurses out there than can confirm that and explain to me how the process of receiving a VI nursing license works? Can I do it from up here and mail stuff in, or would I have to be there to do it in person? Can I do this when I make a PMV in a few years? Is the nurses salary here really enough to live comfortably on as a single woman? I understand that the cost of living is very high there compared to most places in the states. How much would you suggest I save before I make the move? I need enough to buy a car, put a down payment on a home, and a few other things.
My next few questions are about homes. I REALLY want to own a home there. Thoughts on this? I don't want a condo or anything like that. How does financing there work? Can I get loans and stuff and how easy/hard will that be? Since I'll have a bit saved for a down payment once I get there. I've looked through some of the options in St. Thomas, and it seems as though St. Croix has better/nicer options from what I've seen. I would like to CONSIDER living in St. Croix, however, my family that still lives there is on St. Thomas and I don't know my way around or know anyone that lives IN St. Croix. I would appreciate any more advice that I can get on St. Croix and how it's different than St. Thomas. Although I lived in the VI for a number of years, I never really went to St. Croix that much. My great-cousin lived in St. Croix up to last year, however, she moved because of the situation with crime and the fact that she was getting down in her old age. Crime doesn't really bother me too much, as I've had experience with areas such as Savan, Smith Bay, Ghettos, Housing, Bovoni, and Contant.
My last set of questions are about further education. I've always wanted to be a nurse practitioner. I know UVI doesnt have an MSN program as of right NOW, however, is there a chance of them getting one in the near future, or would I have to try to do something like that online or distance learning? Would it be a better idea to get my Master's degree before I move and just wait a bit longer?
I would appreciate any other advice you can give me on anything else. Thank you so much for your time and help!
Welcome to the board!
A couple of comments on nursing jobs...There are government positions available through the hospitals (Juan F Luis on St Croix, SRMC on St Thomas, SRMC also for the Myra Keating Smith Clinic on St John), the Health Department (clinics, a home health agency, etc.), the Education department and Corrections. There are some facilities such as Queen Louise on St Thomas and Herman Grigg on St Croix which are long-term care facilities run by the territory- I am not sure if nurses are hired through Human Services or Health, though. There are other facilities such as Lucinda Millen, Ebenezer Garden, etc. which are supposed to be independent living facilities, but are de facto nursing facilities. In the non-government area, there is Seaview, which is a private skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, Medicare/Medicaid certified. There are home health and home hospice agencies on both islands. There are physician offices and private schools. I am sure I have forgotten some others.
Please read through the archives at the Daily News for information about the hospital nursing salaries. It is a real hot button currently. Basically Juan Luis raised the salaries of their nurses unilaterally and the nurse's union is incensed because the nurses at SRMC are supposed to have parity.
Homes are more expensive here in the VI than many stateside locations. You will find that most properties will require work, updating, etc., even in the above $500K range. St. Croix has better housing prices due to the downturn in their economy and many are taking advantage of this, while they can but whether you choose to live there vs. St. Thomas is strictly a personal preference. STX is a larger island so can entail more travel time depending on where you live/work. Do your homework and decide which is right for your situation.
Financing is the same as in the states but the lending regulations are stricter (both here and stateside) than they were prior to 2007/2009.
You need to have an excellent credit history, a very good income to debt ratio and prove you make sufficient money with proof provided by
your latest 2 yrs. of income tax returns which show you pay taxes on at least $60K. Even with that, you may not be able to obtain financing for over $200K which will be a major obstacle in your dream of financing and owning a home in the VI.
You need to have at least 10% to put down on a residential property with min. 80% financing, plus fees for the lender application, the bank's appraisal and attorney fees (you pay theirs and yours,) other closing costs as well as money to cover a home inspection, property survey, homeowner insurance, etc. The best thing to do is check your 3 credit scores (Transunion, Experian & Equifax) which you can do for free once a yr. and go to a lender to get pre-approved for a loan. At that point you'll know what you can borrow and then be able to look for property in that price point.
You may wish to rent for awhile before deciding on an island or a location on the island in which you wish to purchase as it is a major commitment to buy a home without knowing what you can expect.
Finish your education, stateside, (IMO) if what you are looking for is not available here. You'll be in a better position to be hired when you arrive. Good luck with whatever you decide.
I I know nothing about nursing in the islands. My remarks are regarding buying a home. I would definitely wait for at least one to three years before buying a home. During that time frame look very closely at what the costs are for owning a home in the islands. The insurance rates are sky high & the maintenance costs are very high as well. I have always owned homes and this is the first place where I feel I would have been better off financially if I had rented instead of purchased.
I would also recommend a moving budget of at least $12,000-14,000 to ensure you get a reliable vehicle and have $ for "Setting up house". If there are more than 2 people coming that number should go up.