BVI or USVI?
Greetings from Cananda everybody, this my first post!
Which is better the BVI or the USVI? Just a question to any one with an opinion on this matter. Thinking of investing in real estate out there and trying to put together a collective answer to anyone who lives there full time or part. This could be on any issue at all. From which has the nicest the beaches, to how inviting the locals are, cost of living or even the appearence of the mountains. I went to St. Maarten and was really disappointed to how they let the livestock eat all the vegatation of the mountain side. It truly ruined the whole look of the island. The government should really do something about this.
You jusc can't buy real estate in the BVI unless you are a belonger. If you are not a belonger you will have to get approval from the legislature to make the purchase this will take a year or more. Owning property does not give you the right to reside in the BVI full time.
Thanks Jim. I know some of these stipulations already, but what about the other topics I was mentioning. Do you live in the BVI or USVI? Did you relocate there, if so from where?
brent: LOL about the animals! It is a very Caribbean ting to tie your animals up (or let 'em loose) on a chunk of land and let them graze. I don't think you are going to find that any different on other islands. I wonder if you were responding to the type of vegetation there is on St Maarten/Martin. It is a dry, scrubby island.
Also, don't expect the government of any island to do much! 😉
This is a USVI board and many of us who live here and own property here do so because it is reputedly part of the US. I would not want to jump through the hoops I would have to in order to buy land in a foreign nation.
Yeah it was dry and scrubby, and the people had no "flavour" when they talked, it was all french. I liked Anguilla, they spoke "fast english". Very fun to listen to and gives you that real caribbean feel. Don't get me wrong, french is fine, I just hear it all the time. Is the "fast english" spoken there mostly?
Brent, there are a lot of Canadians who have homes in the Turks & Caicos, so I'm presuming it must be easy. Small, friendly islands, low crime rate, and easy access from USA/Canada.
Fast English?? Are you asking about Creole English? Yes, the inhabitants of most former English islands speak a Creole version of English. I am amazed you heard so much French on St Martin, as it seems to have become Americanized. If you go to French islands, you are going to hear French...The French are funny that way! 😉
As to geographical features, you might want to spend some vacations visiting the various islands and seeing which ones please you. BTW, what is your purpose in "investing"?
ST John is probably the cleanest and prettiest of the usvi. That is subject to opinion St Croix is the best to live on in my opinion.
I own property on St Croix. We considered the BVI, but it is to much of a hassle not just for real estate, but day to day living.
If you want timely delivery of mail to the US you need to have it sent to Red Hook and then have a courier service bring it to the BVI. some people think shopping in the USVI is limited, but in the BVI you are faced with going to St Thomas to pick up what you need.
The BVI is a fun place to sail, but not so easy for longer term living. I'm sure the 20,000 people that live there would disagree, but it wasn't for us.
What I ment by investing is to buy a small villa with a friend of mine and renting out till the day I can finally move there. I was going to buy a rental property here in Canada but the property taxes are ridiculous( $350+) a month! Our house is about 1500 sq feet and we're paying almost $400. Also it's just sitting there and you can't use it. At least if I had property there I could enjoy it. I've looked all over the caribbean and I think the virgin islands are one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The "fast english" I was refering to, sounds alot like Jamaican. You know, day kinda talk like dis, I Iove it. That was only in Anguilla, really nice and laid back. But it was so flat, except for the north end there were some 100ft shear cliffs. If you ever go there go see Little Bay. I would post pictures if this forum allows
I just can't get past the fact that when you arrive in BVI you have to stand in a line that says 'non belonger'. Now how welcoming is that.? It seems to me they make it very clear that you aren't wanted there for any length of time. Come spend your tourist money... but don't plan on staying long. ( Visitor, or non-resident... would be friendly ways of saying the same thing... but please...non-belonger?)
I'm biased, I admit. The USVI is the better choice .... for many many many reasons.
Ah yes, I am starting to see the light now. I guess these are the little annoying things people are talking about in the BVI. Wow you guys are really swaying me towards the USVI. I just hope the USVI is welcoming to Persians. My wife is from Iran, and we won't even bother to go across the border for weekend shopping because they honestly treat like a terrorist. Hopefully Obama will turn things around.
Is St thomas crowded, hard to get around you know alot of traffic?
Brent: If you haven't been here, you need to come and look around for yourself. While property taxes may not be too high, you have to think about windstorm insurance, which can be costly.
Most Caribbean islands have Creole languages. Jamaica has quite a bit of Rasta influence, so is different from the Creole in the USVI, but yes, the language here is similar to the one you heard in Anguilla. You will also hear a French Creole that is spoken by folks from Dominica and St Lucia, just to add spice to the language pot.
Do you all have green cards?
No, I'm just a resident of Canada and my wife received her citizenship a few years ago. That 's why I was asking about BVI, I thought it might be easier to get into.
Another costly expense in Can is income tax(approx 25% of your pay). Also sales tax 13% . So before you buy something your already out 38% . Ouch! One case of Corona-$45, one bottle of Absolut-$25. It's just expensive because we're close to Toronto.
What is the approximate monthly cost for windstorm insurance for say a 1500sq foot house? Thanks, I never thought of that
You have lots of questions. have you ever been here? I suggest you get your feet on the ground here in the USVI and in the BVI. Make an appt. wi a local real estate agent, look around, hang out, spend some time. You might find you hate it here! I've been here for 20+ years and love it. I have seen people come down buy a house and sell it within a year because they could not stand the frustrations, the heat, the bugs etc.
Re BVI, I have heard they enacted legislation which prevents a Non-belonger from renting their home out? Anyone Know?
Windstorm insurance is generally between 2 -5% of the home value yearly - various conditions such as concrete construction vs. wooden - window area and orientation - hurricane shutters - additional strengthening details, [example: ring beams with hurricane clips,steel tie downs,etc, ] , age of construction, cantilevered overhangs,location exposure, and other details can affect the rate. Adding and documenting some safety measures can sometimes lower the bill too.
Thanks for the technical information, I understand all this because i was into the "new home" industry for a while. I was doing granite fabrication/installation for10 years. Now I help my wife run the spa that we own. That's why we're looking at moving to the VI eventually. She is especially talented at permanent makeup and I think this would be a great sell for the cruise ships coming in.
As for the heat, bugs, in the tropics, no problem. In the "north" as it's called gets really hot in the summer (+100 degrees with the humidity). The bugs are so big here you can throw a saddle on them and ride'em!
But, yes I hear what you're all saying, I've got to go down there, to see what it's like. We want to rent a small, modest villa, and a car for the week or two that we're there. We don't like the all-inclusive resorts because we never spend our days on them. We like to get into the culture and ways of the locals when we travel.
Brent, permanent makeup would definitely not be a good sell for cruise ship passengers. When they are on shore they want to be seeing something of the island. Having permanent makeup done takes time, and leaves you sore, possibly swollen, and unable to go in the sun until the healing process is complete ( at least a few days). Plus, about 90% of the time some kind of re-touch is necessary two weeks later to perfect the job. There are a couple of people in the V.I. who already do it, and that is probably enough for the demand there. As far as other spa services for cruise ship passengers go, remember they have world-class spas on board so probably won't waste their time ashore with that either.
Brent: You all will need to have green cards to work here, same as in the continental US.
Can you own land and rent it out in the USVI?
you can rent it out... with the caveat that there are some condo complexes that have bylaws that limit rentals to no shorter than 3 months, no pets, and other such standards to maintain the quality of life for owner occupants. Other complexes allow short-term rentals and some even allow pets. There are also zoning laws about what a property can be used for. For the most part, you are free to rent out your properties as you choose.
The windstorm insurance, is that the total of the house and property, or just the house. Also your style of building down there is much different than ours. The general cost to build hear is around $100 to $150 a square foot and around $200 000 for a half acre in the city and the same for an 1 acre in the country. What are the costs there?
Just the house. Property Ins is much higher then stateside about 4 or 5x as much. They do offer Rental Ins as well for the landlord. Building Costs are more like $200 (very modest sq ft price) and all the way up. Price of land is all over the place. You can get a 1/2 plot in gated Enfield Green with no view for about $25k or you can get sometime on a hilltop with a view for about $60 To $75k (starting) to about 200-300k. On the water you better have money.