Hello! I am looking for advice from people who own rental property on STJ. My husband and I are both real estate agents and own rental property but in VA. We are wondering the best way to manage the property from afar. Use a property management company or a local person (maybe one that lives on property?) Do condos generate more income or single family homes? One bedroom or 5 bedrooms or in between. Which are easier to rent consistently? Cruz Bay or Coral bay (from a tourist perspective). Are you happy you own a rental on STJ or do you regret it? Thank you so much!
Buying a rental on STJ
I wholeheartedly urge use to use on island management. You don't necessarily need a big company to do it, but you need someone on island that can take care of things for you. This is generally important to renters and it should be important to you as a homeowner as well.
In more recent years, budget rentals have been harder to come by. So I would say there is a pretty good market for that. If you could find something you could rent out for less than $150 a night, you probably would have it booked pretty consistently. If that is not the kind of place you are looking for and want to get something that you'd rent out for considerably more, make sure the place has a pool and AC in at least all of the bedrooms if not the whole house.
If you haven't already, go read threads on TripAdvisor. You can get a general feel for what people are looking for there. St. John's forum is pretty active and there are always lots of questions about villas/condos.
Good day CatherineFales,
I will say up front, if your main goal is to make lots of money, there are many easier ways to do it than investing in St John real estate. The true costs and hassle factor of maintenance, insurance, etc. are very different from what you have in Virginia. If you don't really know these numbers and timelines going in, you will quickly find out why we say the best way to leave the islands with $1 million is to arrive with $2 million.
You might get lucky with your timing in the market. As many people have been unlucky as have been lucky. Make sure you are really looking at all the risks before you decide to do this.
We are wondering the best way to manage the property from afar. Use a property management company or a local person (maybe one that lives on property?)
Definitely a company, though like Julie said, it does not have to be a large company. Just more than one person, and preferably not a couple, so you never wind up in a bad situation when your manager has a family emergency, illness, etc.
Do condos generate more income or single family homes?
One of the special things about the island is that it isn't covered in condos like St Thomas. Please don't build one. If you are buying an existing building, your margins will probably be better with a private home, but it depends on the condo fees (unless you buy the whole building).
One bedroom or 5 bedrooms or in between.
There is great demand for smaller, less expensive places, like Julie mentioned. There is even more demand for long-term rentals for locals to live in. But the economics usually work better for the owner to build a larger home for short-term rental, so that is what gets built.
Which are easier to rent consistently? Cruz Bay or Coral bay (from a tourist perspective).
They attract different types of people, so it isn't really a direct comparison. Anything beyond Coral Bay proper (e.g., East End or Lameshur area) can be a bit remote, even for visitors who are accustomed to long commutes. For some people that remoteness is an attraction. For others, it's the opposite.
Are you happy you own a rental on STJ or do you regret it?
You won't hear from many here who regret it. They've all moved on, most without all the money they put in. There are people who come this island to take without giving, and they don't last long.
If you want to be a part of this very special community and provide something we need, you will have a far different experience from looking at it purely from the perspective of your own pocketbook.