Abandoned Property STT
this is not so much a relocating question, as I am already here, but is anyone familiar with how to go about researching abandoned property (real estate) here on STT. I have passed many storm damaged or "unfinished" properties here that seem to be abandoned, as they have gone un-fixed or un-finished and are not inhabited and have been so for many years. Any thoughts or feedback is greatly appreciated!
Hey Island Mike,
This article about abandoned property appeared in the St Croix Source online http://www.onepaper.com/stcroixvi/?v=d&i=&s=News:Local&p=1201844373 . It may be germaine to the situation on St Thomas as well. As the article says, many abandoned properties are owned by multiple owners many of whom may live on the mainland. To find the owner(s) of a property you can try this link to the Cadastral (tax assessor) website search- http://dev.public.vi-usvi.cavucorp.com/logon.htm . Try entering in the address for a search in the line marked "Legal Description". You'll need to know the plot number and the name of the estate. Street name and number and $5.00 will get you a cup of coffee. You can also go down there and ask in person. It can be a daunting task but it is not impossible- just VERY time consuming- Good Luck!
I am interested in what you dig up regarding this. If you don't mind, keep me in the loop. *Or if you ffind some deals and want to broker something, I am interested.
310 251 1909
the tax assessors's office will give you the name and mailing address for the person to whom they send property tax bills for a particular address. You can try mailing a letter to the owner of record. Most such attempts don't receive a response or you learn that there are multiple members fighting over what to do with a property.
On STX, many thousands of acres of land and many damaged buildings have been stuck in probate for decades while nothing can be done with them. The high cost of renovating historical buildings keeps many of the downtown structures from being repaired even when an owner would like to fix them up. Many properties are owned by families who think they may do something with them "someday" and aren't really interested in selling.
It's been more than 18 years since Hurricane Hugo devastated STX, sending thousands of residents to the mainland never to return. There are still lots of abandoned properties owned by the people who fled or their heirs. Tracking them down is tough. In some cases, the heirs to the properties don't even know their deceased ancestor still had property in the islands, so the new owner hasn't been recorded and the tax office doesn't have contact info for a living owner. I've heard from a few such heirs when they learned of their property and didn't know what condition it was in or its potential value and decided to call a Realtor before coming down to the islands to check out their inheritance. Until property tax bills mount to a level that the government might someday go through the foreclosure process, these properties just sit there deteriorating further year after year.
Our own form of Landbanking.
Would this be for your own use or to flip the property? I only ask because if you're interested in flipping, it would be a great idea except for the fact that unless a buyer is paying cash, the sale process can drag on for months which would seriously eat into your profits with the interim mortgage payments, etc.
Actually, this would be for our private use. No interest in flipping or selling of any kind.
Ah, well then don't forget to check on foreclosed property too. You might also get a good buy that way. Some of the unfinished looking properties you've seen belong to local families who build a little as they get the money. They then work on it & save up to keep on finishing it. There are still lots of hurricane-damaged properties around, which is a shame.