Costs of owning
What are the costs involved in owning a home in the VI? Average utilities, cable, internet, water? I'm sure there are things I'm leaving out. Just trying to get a handle on what the expenses will be outside of a mortgage/rent.
There's really no "average" costs since home sizes vary considerably and everyone's lifestyle is different. For example you may use A/C more that your neighbor who lives in a similar size home - his electric bill might be $550/mo while yours is $750/mo.
To give you some idea of what you can expect use the "USVI Overview" dropdown link at the top left of this page and click on "Cost of Living". There you'll find a list showing the costs for Electricity, Water, Telephone, Cell Phone Service, Internet & Cable-TV. The numbers there should help you figure based on YOUR lifestyle.
One of the big outlays you didn't list is maintenance. The climate here is pretty unforgiving on home exteriors, decking, etc. and regular upkeep and repair is essential. Keeping up a garden and keeping back the ever-encroaching bush also entails constant work which you either do yourself or pay someone to do. If you have a good-sized cistern, learn to conserve water and pick an area which isn't bone-dry you may never have to buy water. If not you may end up buying water on a regular basis which is going to up your monthly expenses considerably.
In any event, you should live here for at least a year and, more realistically, several years before investing in your own home.
Also: windstorm, earthquake, flood insurance. Pest control. Generator.
We plan on buying a home here eventually. We have been here 3 years and have been renting. Its a good idea to rent a while to get a feel. It will give you an idea on what you want and general upkeep. When you rent you can call your landlord to fix whatever is needed. You can gauge your general expenses on what breaks, wears out or just general upkeep. We have a much better idea of what we want now. Trust me you will come here knowing exactly what you want in a house, but living here will make you re think on what you really need or want.Take your time
Let's not forget about paying property taxes.
You won't have a $550 electric bill unless you're using AC 24/7 and absolutely wasteful with electricity.
While much higher than stateside, the WAPA rates have come down and are expected (fingers crossed) to hopefully go lower with the propane conversion.
I think you'll find that maintenance, homeowners insurance, electricity and appliance replacements costs will be higher here than you may be used to.
Agree......The links here are helpful to help estimate Cost of Living expenses. They are just estimates though. Individual "Consumer" use varies greatly.
I have done research on local Real Estate agent websites to get a sense of property values. Often listings will have great details about the property, and other misc. related info.
Yet, without living there how can one know with any certainty what side of the island they would like to live.
What state are you moving from?
Thanks so much for all the good info. We have lived high in the Colorado mountains for 30+ years and are DONE with winter. It's May 29 and it's still snowing! Renting sounds like the way to go at least for a while. We still aren't even sure if STT or STX will be a better fit. Coming back to STT in October for a couple weeks and plan on spending a month next May, 2 weeks on each island. We have an adult son who has Down syndrome that loves it there but were not sure if he could really live there. We would have to find him something to do, job, volunteer just something so he has purpose, so we have lots of research to do.
If your son loves animals, there are shelters on all 3 islands that ALWAYS need a helping hand and volunteers. Good luck!