Closing on our hous...
 
Notifications
Clear all

Closing on our house and moving in just three weeks  

Page 2 / 2
 

ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
Advanced Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 213
May 11, 2013 2:52 pm  

Whoa. That's one heck of a leap of faith not to mention brave. Stateside houses are a whole different ball game than here. It's a learning curve but IME a fairly easy one. Some things suck, some things are awesome lol, thats a simplified version. What I am dying to know is since you bought a house what's your hurricane insurance going to run u????? Would you mind telling us what you paid and what size house? If you'd rather not share I understand.

Really, good luck man. I can't imagine now, jumping into buying a house before living here long term - kudos for your bravery.

Edit: I posted but started thinking: did you find the house on a PMV or just online through a realtor? I was unclear...

Thanks! It's something we've talked about for 5-10 years, and now just feel very sure about. We found home prices in the VI to be very similar to the states, pretty much at all pricepoints. We found the cost per square foot to be quite comparable to the mainland - of course variable by things like lot size, views, overall neighborhood condition, and interior quality. We found insurance (total, including windstorm, earthquake, and fire) to cost about 1.5%-2.0% of the amount insured on an annual premium basis, which is pretty much what we expected from our readings here.

In terms of our househunting, we searched all over the MLS for 2-3 months before our PMVs (we make one trip to St. Croix and one to St. Thomas). We looked at literally at about 60 homes on St. Croix and 80 on St. Thomas (online), spending a total of around 80-100 hours on the MLS looking at listings. From there we selected Realtors/buyers' agents (which technially are not officailly buyers agents in the VI, but the principle is the same) a week or so before each PMV, and had already picked 4-6 homes each time that we wanted to be shown by the Realtor.

In my opinion you can save yourself a ton of time crawling the MLS not just to avoid wasting time on homes that are just not your style or pricepoint, but it really helps you get a feel for the market overall. Having a good Realtor (you can check out what other listings they have to gauge their familiarity with the neighborboods you are interested in) is key, as is a good attorney, which your Realtor can refer to you.


ReplyQuote
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3920
May 11, 2013 4:21 pm  

Chris: Many of us see you as foolhardy, some as brave. In any case, as you get on-island and get settled, please keep posting your experiences. The before and after stories are very helpful to those who are planning a move.


ReplyQuote
Ca. Dreamers
(@ca-dreamers)
Advanced Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 404
May 12, 2013 12:51 pm  

Chris,

We did much the same as you. Scoured the MLS from afar, visited and looked here(STX) for 4 + years, made several offers on property(many fell through), finally got what we now consider our HOME!

We sold everything in the "Peoples' Republic of California"(ranches & homes).
Shipped our cars and pets (5 Dogs & 3 Cats).
A life time on personal possessions in a 20 foot container.

We are lovin' our life here and have had several visitors from other parts of the world that are in awe of this rock we call home.

All the bad stuff can be mitigated with a positive attitude and "Livin' you Life" smart.

Good Luck to you, congratulations and welcome to PARADISE!

CD


ReplyQuote
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 6523
May 12, 2013 1:13 pm  

Chris,

We did much the same as you. Scoured the MLS from afar, visited and looked here(STX) for 4 + years, made several offers on property(many fell through), finally got what we now consider our HOME!

Not quite the same. You visited many times over a four year period before taking the plunge. Chris has been to STX I believe just once, decided that island wasn't what the family was looking for, then came to St Thomas and purchased on that visit. This is from where most of our concerns stem but it's been done and all one can do is wish much good luck and great fortitude! 😀


ReplyQuote
Karoserri
(@Karoserri)
Active Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 8
May 12, 2013 7:15 pm  

Chris, Good luck and wish you the best, we are moving there in a few weeks as well, but renting for a while to learn the lifestyle a bit before we buy. I dont have any doubt that I will enjoy the simple island life with all of it's quirks, But I reserve the freedom to move around a bit till we settle. That being said, We are pretty spontaneous in our older age (mid 40s) and not much ties us down. Hope to see you around STT! Joey & Stacia


ReplyQuote
mtdoramike
(@mtdoramike)
Trusted Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 955
May 13, 2013 6:16 pm  

No, it's just common knowledge that most folks who move to the islands last about 5 years or less. Which buying or owning a house will add to the hassle once they have decided they have had enough island living. But the upside to owning a home in the islands even if you decide to bail, is the investment. Homes in St. Thomas doesn't lose their value like stateside homes do. So you should get a little return on your investment if and when you sell it.


ReplyQuote
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2138
May 13, 2013 6:21 pm  

...it's just common knowledge that most folks who move to the islands last about 5 years or less.

Much less. About half the transplants move out within 6 months of moving here.


ReplyQuote
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 842
May 13, 2013 7:31 pm  

...it's just common knowledge that most folks who move to the islands last about 5 years or less.

Much less. About half the transplants move out within 6 months of moving here.

IMO, the Vi "self selects" for transplants with big-time baggage (substance issues, emotional instability, occupational challenges like poor education and inability to hold a job, relationship problems). I think about half the folks (50%) who move here do so because they are running away from Issues which they cause themselves. Once they arrive on island, they realize that they just packed along their biggest problem--themselves. Additionally, about half the transplants arrive with minimal amount of resources (no job, no career training, no money in the bank, no prospects). It's very hard to live a stable life ANYWHERE with big-time baggage and no resources. The grass is always greener somewhere else.

The Vi also attracts a certain segment (10%) of adventurous folks who decide that time is right to "follow a dream" or" try something different". Normally these people are in stage of transition in their career and/or personal lives. (i.e. recent retirees, 20 somethings exploring life choices). These people view the Vi as pit-stop in the overall life journey. Most young retirees or "kids" I meet are planning to stay for 1-10 years. Some people make a more calculated move and factor things like life-style and career variables. (5%)

A large portion transplants (35%) come to the Vi from outside the US for economic opportunity. This segment has the most persistent longevity. Many will do what ever it takes to carve out a life for themselves in the USA. And if/when they fail, no other country provides immigrants with a social benefit safety ntet like the USA, (food stamps, subsidized housing, education, health care, black market employment etc.).

Chris, You are who you are. You will still be you after you make the move. Sounds like you're smart calculating fellow. We need more savvy community oriented folks with resources. IMO, the island would better off with out all the left over "transplants with baggage" and "benefit sucker". THese are the people who keep us from moving forward by fueling the us .v them menatility, rather then bringing creative resourses and talent into the mix. Welcome.


ReplyQuote
fdr
 fdr
(@fdr)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1246
May 13, 2013 7:38 pm  

Homes in St. Thomas doesn't lose their value like stateside homes do.

Ignoring the fact that stateside home values vary dramatically by location... homes in St Thomas can very easily lose value if they are not rigorously maintained. Which costs a lot more than it does in the states, and requires a lot more attention than in any non-tropical area. Not to mention the very real risk of major damage from a storm. Sure, there's insurance, but a forced remodel is even less fun than it sounds.


ReplyQuote
mtdoramike
(@mtdoramike)
Trusted Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 955
May 13, 2013 10:49 pm  

Homes in St. Thomas doesn't lose their value like stateside homes do.

Ignoring the fact that stateside home values vary dramatically by location... homes in St Thomas can very easily lose value if they are not rigorously maintained. Which costs a lot more than it does in the states, and requires a lot more attention than in any non-tropical area. Not to mention the very real risk of major damage from a storm. Sure, there's insurance, but a forced remodel is even less fun than it sounds.

True, but in the states, if you bought a house in most areas the house may have cost $300.000.00 and then BAM 6 months later the value dropped $50,000. The next thing you know a few months later and guess what BAM house value dropped another $50,000.00. So now, your sittin in a house that you paid $300,000.00 for a year ago and they are telling you it's only worth $200,000.00 and could possibly drop even lower in the future. I think I would much rather have the deterioration or storm damage and have the ability to kick back on Hull Beach sippin a cool one.


ReplyQuote
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3920
May 14, 2013 12:13 pm  

We lived on STX for 8+ years and never entertained the idea of purchasing a home. We found a comfortable, affordable rental that met our need perfectly. When our situation changed and we needed to move back, not owning made that necessary move a lot less stressful. We have friends who did need to sell quickly and found that to be very difficult.


ReplyQuote
fdr
 fdr
(@fdr)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1246
May 14, 2013 2:26 pm  

in the states, if you bought a house in most areas the house may have cost $300.000.00 and then BAM 6 months later the value dropped $50,000. The next thing you know a few months later and guess what BAM house value dropped another $50,000.00.

First, again, your statement is untrue for many, MANY areas in the U.S. Second, what you describe has only been happening (and only in certain areas) during the last 5 years. Before that, for decades, and certainly in the lifetime of anyone reading this today, real estate was what you bought because it "always increased in value". Current trends won't always hold true here in the USVI, either, no matter how attached we are to our beliefs about them.

I spend every workday immersed in U.S. economic trends and people's perceptions of them, the majority of which perceptions aren't supported by actual data but only by what people want to think is true. The above is one more example of that in action.

I think I would much rather have the deterioration or storm damage and have the ability to kick back on Hull Beach sippin a cool one.

Spoken like someone who has never been through a major hurricane, nor lost everything he owned in one.

As a former homeowner, I now prefer that someone else have the headaches of dealing with the problems of keeping a house from falling apart. If I owned the place I live in now, I'd never have time to make it to the beach! Deep cleaning, pest control, gardening, painting, something always breaking just when it's all going so well.... Not my idea of a fun way to invest money!


ReplyQuote
mtdoramike
(@mtdoramike)
Trusted Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 955
May 14, 2013 2:37 pm  

I and my family have been through and lived through hurricanes and tornadoes. Some have lost everything while others suffered little to no damage.

There are very few housing markets that aren't dropping like rocks and those are the usual like New York, Las Vegas some parts of California. But don't be mislead by the news claiming the housing market is on the rise. Thgis is a misconception due to the house flipping market. Most of the houses now are being bought by flippers. But there I go again with a blanket statement:) That really ought to stick in your craw if what I posted before rubbed you the wrong way:)


ReplyQuote
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 6523
May 14, 2013 2:52 pm  

As a former homeowner, I now prefer that someone else have the headaches of dealing with the problems of keeping a house from falling apart. If I owned the place I live in now, I'd never have time to make it to the beach! Deep cleaning, pest control, gardening, painting, something always breaking just when it's all going so well.... Not my idea of a fun way to invest money!

I'm with you. I owned many homes stateside over many years but have been here three decades now renting. Even if I had the wherewithal, I very much doubt I'd buy here. As much as I've always enjoyed taking care of the properties I've rented and done minor fixes when necessary - along with gardening, painting, etc. - the bottom line is that it remains someone else's main headache. I've gone through the two major hurricanes here but the day to day upkeep and maintenance is way more than I ever experienced in the continental US and keeping up with it is as you describe! The older I get the less I like moving but renting gives you that flexibility which ownership doesn't. Many, many friends have come and gone over the years and many were local homeowners. Those who left before the main economic crunch hit us were able to sell quite quickly but others had a very difficult time moving their homes, as nice and very well-kept as they were. No fun.

I couldn't disagree more with the snarky comments on this thread about "naysayers". Advising caution based on experience doesn't translate to "naysaying" by any stretch. I'll continue to wish the OP all the very best in this new adventure and hope that he'll keep us posted from time to time to let us know how his family is enjoying the settling-in process. 😀


ReplyQuote
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12257
May 14, 2013 5:29 pm  

As a longtime homeowner, I can attest to the "constant need for maintainance."
Finding good people (plumber, electrician, handyman, etc.) to help with problems that pop up from time to time is key.
If you find someone trustworthy, reliable and knows what they are doing...........keep them forever.

It is true that homes in the VI market do stay on the market much longer than in the states unless they are a real "steal."
It's not unusual to see homes that have been listed for sale for more than a year so that is a factor in a decision to buy vs. rent
as well as the additional costs for paying property taxes, homeowners insurance on top of mortgage, maintenance and day to day
cost of living here.

That being said, enjoy your new home, new lifestyle and welcome to de islands, mon!;)


ReplyQuote
Ericw
(@Ericw)
Advanced Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 277
May 14, 2013 7:25 pm  

We found windstorm to be very expensive and at the time we were shopping they would only allow a very few new policies to be written. If you have access to USAA, this would be a great option.

USAA sadly does not offer homeowners insurance in the VI, only auto.

They do also offer Renters Insurance but not Homeowners. However, everyone who is eligible for USAA and is interested in Homeowners insurance here should call them and request they start coverage. Two years ago I approached them and was told they were looking into adding that option here but didn't know what the interest level would be (I gathered- "if it's worth the trouble to get it started with the VI Banking & Ins dept"!).

I inquired with them a few months ago, and they said they would look into it and get back to me. About a day or two later they got back to me and said they are not pursuing the USVI at this time as it would be cost prohibitive for them.


ReplyQuote
Karoserri
(@Karoserri)
Active Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 8
May 15, 2013 3:44 am  

Can we consider that a large percentage of people that would move to an island may not be exactly the "Conservative and long time planner types"? But more likely a sponteneous, adventerous person that dares to try to live where everyone else saves all year to visit? Could we be more interested in God's natural gifts than blind materialism? Just a few things to think about. I would hate to think that I am just a "Baggage carrier" determined to dilute the island lifestyle with my personal bad habits. I hope the place isn't full of "island snobs"...


ReplyQuote
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 842
May 15, 2013 4:13 am  

Can we consider that a large percentage of people that would move to an island may not be exactly the "Conservative and long time planner types"? But more likely a sponteneous, adventerous person that dares to try to live where everyone else saves all year to visit? Could we be more interested in God's natural gifts than blind materialism? Just a few things to think about. I would hate to think that I am just a "Baggage carrier" determined to dilute the island lifestyle with my personal bad habits. I hope the place isn't full of "island snobs"...

Ha Ha.

Geez...if had to catorgize you based soley on your few post I'd say you fit into 15% segement. Looking for jeep and apartment in advance of your move, demostrats less spontianty and more calculation...IMO. Stating an interest to shift away from materialism shows a life-style choice. Granted, buying house, like Chris (the OP) takes significantly more calculation, but your move is planed out too, jusy on a more modest scale. But then again we haven't met, so I may sizing you up all wrong. You may just be another boozer who thinks that a rum punch will fix all their problems.

The Vi also attracts a certain segment (10%) of adventurous[b] folks who decide that time is right to "follow a dream" or" try something different". Normally these people are in stage of transition in their career and/or personal lives. (i.e. recent retirees, 20 somethings exploring life choices). These people view the Vi as pit-stop in the overall life journey. Most young retirees or "kids" I meet are planning to stay for 1-10 years. Some people make a more calculated move and factor things like life-style and career variables. (5%)

If you're not into materialism, you're in good place. Very hard to remain attached to "hard Goods" in the Vi. As a matter of fact, less is more in STT. Welcome.

I should start writing horoscopes or predicting the lottery....


ReplyQuote
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12257
May 16, 2013 2:01 pm  

Hope you have a stress free and on time closing!
How are you faring on Hurricane Insurance?


ReplyQuote
ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
Advanced Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 213
May 16, 2013 2:52 pm  

Thanks! Everything has gone well, including obtaining insurance for windstorm, earthquake, and full invasion by the BVI 😉


ReplyQuote
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12257
May 16, 2013 2:56 pm  

Way to go!;)


ReplyQuote
Karoserri
(@Karoserri)
Active Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 8
May 19, 2013 6:37 am  

Blu4u, You caught me with my calculation and pegged me pretty well except for the fact that neither the wife or I drink or smoke (anything). Rum always given me a stomach ache and tequila has spawned too many sea-stories! Maybe you can check your predictions soon when we get there! 😉


ReplyQuote
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 2290
May 20, 2013 2:49 pm  

Awesome Chris, when's the housewarming party?


ReplyQuote
Page 2 / 2
Settlers Handbook

Thinking about moving to the Virgin Islands?

The Settler's Handbook is a Indispensable Guide

The current 18th Edition, will help you explore your dream of island living. A solid reference book, it was first published in 1975. That's 40 years of helping people move to the Virgin Islands.

Order Today $17.95
Close Menu