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Finding Tenants? Is rental property a bad ROI?  

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bahamamama
(@bahamamama)
Active Member

Just a follow up to my previous post...looking for some pre-move information. We're hoping to move to USVI when I finish school (about 2 more yr) and are saving up $$ in the meantime. We'll be renters for awhile, with plans to purchase property once we're more settled.

We think we'd eventually like to purchase a home that has a small rental unit attached for a little additional income. We own rental property in the states, so we're pretty comfortable being landlords. We'd be open to having either long term tenants or short term/AirBNB type tenants (being an Air BNB host actually sounds like fun!)....I guess my question is: how hard is it to find quality long term tenants? The rental market where we are ebbs and flows. This time last year we had an awful time finding quality tenants, and this year we're being overwhelmed by the number of applications we've had!

Anyway, we'd like to do some pre-move visits. Right now, I'm leaning towards staying on STX to check out the housing market there, but I've been keeping an eye on rental units, and I see ads for the same rental units posted over and over again....it makes me wonder how long rental units on STX are vacant before finding tenants? What about STT? Does rental property have a bad return on investment in USVI?

I'd ove to hear anyones experience as a landlord or airbnb/vrbo host on STX or STT. TY! 🙂

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Posted : March 27, 2016 7:35 pm
jj00802
(@jj00802)
Advanced Member

As for STT, there are good tenants (those who pay promptly and keep the apartment clean), but I have had the disaster tenants as well (leaving a big mess and rent past due).

There are probably various good or bad reasons why apartments seem to be advertised frequently (seasonal tenants, etc.) I have had tenants move in and stay only a few months because they moved back to the states or moved to the other side of the island to be closer to their new job location.

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Posted : March 28, 2016 2:53 am
OldTart
(@OldTart)
Expert

I've been a landlord both here and stateside and being a landlord here is a totally different ballgame for myriad reasons. This for you is a possibility SO far in the distant future.

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Posted : March 28, 2016 10:46 am
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Trusted Member

The AirBNB market is growing fast in the Virgin Islands. We have our first AirBNB guests from Germany staying in our guest cottage right now for two weeks. They flew in on the Norwegian Air flight from Copenhagen. They are great people and we've enjoyed having them so far.

We have another 2BR 2BR unit downstairs that we're converting to AirBNB now that the long term tenant has moved out. We know several others who are converting long term rentals into short term rentals using AirBNB and other similar services..

Its way more lucrative than long term rentals. But, a good long term tenant may be better for some people. We've had long term tenants for over 10 years but we long longer need the guaranteed monthly check and prefer the flexibility of AirBNB and not having our units tied up if we don't want to.

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Posted : March 28, 2016 11:16 am
Jimfusio
(@Jimfusio)
Active Member

I'm curious about this too. I'm sure, like anywhere else, there's good and bad, but if anyone has any specific info or experiences to share, I'd like to hear them.

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Posted : March 28, 2016 9:22 pm
OldTart
(@OldTart)
Expert

I've no doubt that I'm no exception in having enough material to write a book on the ups and downs of being a landlord here but until you've lived here for a while and settled in - and have a better understanding of island life and the comings and goings, keep it on the back burner. As you settle in, and if and when being a landlord becomes more a reality, you can talk to past and present landlords in person and get their feedback.

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Posted : March 28, 2016 9:34 pm
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert

Have a good lease and take pictures because at some point or other, you'll probably end up in small claims court. I've had both good and bad tenants.
It's simply amazing what some will do to your property.

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Posted : March 29, 2016 10:03 am
caribstx
(@caribstx)
Trusted Member

All the more reason to go the short term rental route. If you don't like them...they will be gone in a few days. Problem solved. Next...

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Posted : March 29, 2016 11:21 am
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert

That's true but there's a shortage of vacation rental guests during the summer months so if you're depending on the income, this may not work for everyone.

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Posted : March 29, 2016 11:39 am
bahamamama
(@bahamamama)
Active Member

The AirBNB market is growing fast in the Virgin Islands. We have our first AirBNB guests from Germany staying in our guest cottage right now for two weeks. They flew in on the Norwegian Air flight from Copenhagen. They are great people and we've enjoyed having them so far.

We have another 2BR 2BR unit downstairs that we're converting to AirBNB now that the long term tenant has moved out. We know several others who are converting long term rentals into short term rentals using AirBNB and other similar services..

Its way more lucrative than long term rentals. But, a good long term tenant may be better for some people. We've had long term tenants for over 10 years but we long longer need the guaranteed monthly check and prefer the flexibility of AirBNB and not having our units tied up if we don't want to.

That's great! Best of luck to you! Being an AirBNB host seems kind of fun!

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Posted : March 29, 2016 12:47 pm
Jimfusio
(@Jimfusio)
Active Member

Have a good lease and take pictures because at some point or other, you'll probably end up in small claims court. I've had both good and bad tenants.
It's simply amazing what some will do to your property.

I think that's good general advice for any landlord really.

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Posted : March 31, 2016 8:16 pm
OldTart
(@OldTart)
Expert

I think that's good general advice for any landlord really.

Absolutely - universal! I was a LL stateside too but there are certainly rather unique issues here. Anybody thinking of becoming a LL here (and especially someone with no prior experience) is well advised to do a ton of homework and invest in the services of a good real estate attorney to put together a lease.

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Posted : March 31, 2016 9:14 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Advanced Member

Before renting out your property you should watch at least a couple of weeks of Judge Judy - half the cases on the show deal with Landlord/Tenant disputes. The difficulties Landlords encounter is enough to make anyone think twice about renting.

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Posted : April 1, 2016 1:45 pm
caribstx
(@caribstx)
Trusted Member

I've never had a problem with any of the long terms renters I've had either here or on the mainland. But I wouldn't take just anyone off the street either. Must be very picky to avoid problems...and have a great lease.

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Posted : April 1, 2016 2:03 pm
Dante
(@Dante)
Advanced Member

I have a rental on St. Croix . Demand always seems high. I have had good luck with tenants , even remained friends with previous tenants over the years .

It is very common here to have a rental attached to a single family home .

As mentioned by other posters a good application / screening process and a detailed lease is a must !

I also have had / have rental property stateside the two main differences I have noticed are :

Things cost more here , maintenance , rentals are expected to be furnished , so the ROI is not as high.

Tenants don't stay as long , all of mine so far have planned to make St. Croix their lifetime home and left island in a year ( or less ) .

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Posted : April 1, 2016 2:32 pm
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