Looking for island information
My name is Teri, I am a single mother planning to move to your beautiful island of St.Croix within the next year...(if I can wait that long....) I have lived in a tiny town in North Dakota my whole life, so I am almost as nervous as I am excited. I will be taking two of my daughters with me (ages ten & sixteen). I want to know everything I possibly can about your island. Although I have found the information you have provided very helpful and interesting, I want more, more, more....My interest in work would be something along the lines of a bed & breakfast or small inn, perhaps even a tiny little bar on the beach (I was a bartender for ten years when I first started out and I love to be around people) However I do have experience in management. The type of home I am looking for will need to match my personality...humble (yet clean) and on the beach is a must! Please, I welcome any information that will help me and my family better prepare for this very important move. Can you suggest anything? Thank you much!
Teri....I can almost feel your despair. This time of year when the winds are cold and the sun rarely shines it is easy to look for a warmer place. I did, and though things change it is still where I want to be.
Have you ever been to the Virgin Islands? If you have, you are one up on the others who think they would have a better life here.
If you have not, then you need a reality check. Do your homework, read all of the things on this website. The moving stories, the bad things, the good things, the impossible things. You will learn much. If after all that, and you still think this is the place for you, then "what ever it costs"....take a trip here. It will be far cheaper than dislocating your life.
I sure is warmer here, but not necessarily better.
Let me guess...it was the words "North Dakota"...ahhh yes! I can imagine how you must have "felt my despair", but let me assure you that I didn't decide this last week when the wind chill was 40 degrees below zero, but rather several years ago. It is only now that I have been able to start my planning phase.
Do you live on the islands Ms Information? If so, which one if I may ask? You don't sound very happy, did you make the mistake of "dislocating your life"?
I thank you for your concern and I appreciate your advice. I will indeed continue to read this message board and learn all I possibly can, as that was my intention. As I said earlier, I welcome any information...this includes the good, the bad and the ugly!!!
I hope this helps as it is my experience in the planning stage so far...
I'm deciding on STT as I think it will offer me more security as far as job prospects go when I make the move (my wife and I).... Her experience in cleaning houses: Lots of residences on STT and lots of rentals, so the market for her is pretty good. I have been in Marketing for over 4 years and have a lot of construction experience (I could probably pass a contractor's exam), so again, the market for me is pretty good as well. Since we will be "starting over again", I think that the most security I can provide us financially, the better off we'll be. In time, if we want to move to another island, we may do so, but for now, we're concentrating on STT.
This does not mean that STJ and STX don't have job prospects, but STT has more.
Also, the capital is there. I don't know if that will help, but makes me feel better for no good reason.
Lifestyle-wise, I love STX, or at least as I've read about it so far, but I think that STX is a goal for later as $$ and opportunity dictate.
My wife and I are waiting on the book "Virgin Island Settler's Handbook" as it has been more than suggested by many on here as a "must read" if considering the move.
I have been to STT and STJ and we will make 2 more (at least) PMVs... PreMoveVisits. The next visit will be to drive around the island and see more of it without the "vacation" eyes... Get a feel for the areas/neighborhoods and to see some rentals while there.
The next PMV after that will be to actually get a residence (lease or purchase) and possibly look for a job.
My wife and I are making sure we have plenty of $$ when we make the final trip down... (enough that IF WE CHOSE TO, we wouldn't have to work for at least 3 months). This should give us plenty of cushion to find jobs/work. Once we get our jobs and unpack, we will be able to relax and really start living the "island life".
I think the three pcs. of advice I am offering are:
Be sure to visit the islands to get a feel for them before you move, have enough money when you move and read read read (which it sounds like you're doing.!
Duke & Meli
Thanks Duke & Meli...I know of the Settlers Handbook, (I was able to find it online at www.vitrader.com). I wish you and your wife years of happiness in your new home wherever you choose to land and I thank you for the advice as well.
Remember too, 'humble' and 'on the beach' don't go together - beachfront is highly sought after and rent/purchase price is pretty high. Humble is more likely to be inland - depends on your definition of humble. The price goes up with a view of the ocean etc.
I don't know Jane...
Last time I walked the beach, I was pretty darn humbled by some of the homes!!!!
(Ah, some day we will have one of those... Hmmm... Maybe a moutain side one would be better.... Less chance of water getting in...)
Go to Realtor.com type is zip code 00820 when the screen appears, fill in the blanks on what your looking for, the listings will have prices and pictures etc. If your going to purchase a home with a mortgage, Hurricane insurance is a must as far as the Banks go (expensive). At this point in time Real Estate tax isn't bad but the islands just went to a new revaluation price which is still being hammered out. Utilities are going to be higher than what your use to paying, as well as food prices (which are about 30% higher). You have three choices on schools (public, private, and home schooling). Transportation on the island of STX is about the same as on the mainland depending on what state ( gas price today is about $2.79 a gallon of regular gas). Health care insurance is about the same as the states and going up. The USVI is not a third world nation with a third world economy, its expensive to say the least. On this board go to top of this page, hit home and start reading the various topics. "One common factor" for the "majority "of the people that left the islands was the cost of living! Hope this helps and good luck!
Don't rent or buy without seeing it first. Some neighborhoods are not what you may think. While the people may be very nice, some think nothing of having old junk cars either in the street or in the front yards rotting away. Also some places with an ocean view mean that if you squint really hard, you can see a postage stamp size patch of blue that is the ocean. Not my idea of an ocean view.
I wouldn't suggest buying until you've lived here for a year either. After a year you've lived here long enough to have a gauge on whether this is the place for you. This is not a quick resale market at all, although generally speaking I think island real estate is a pretty good investment especially over a good amount of time. You will get more equity from a home but a quicker resale from a condo (again generally speaking). A house that could be turned in to a B & B on the water you're looking at over a million AT LEAST. You might find just a "humble" house on the water for under a million but there's not a whole lot of them even on stx. You will have better luck finding a condo on the water in a middle class price bracket (thats 300k to 600k here). There's one B & B on the mls by condos by the sea that is just under a million but it does need work, its been neglected for a while. Get a GOOD home inspection on whatever you do buy, followed up by a inspection by a good electrician and plumber.
To buy a beach bar you might be looking at as little as 200k but you are buying the business NOT the building or the land and its usually a 30 year lease. Most of them are for sale because they don't usually do that well. Even the ones that aren't on the market will usually entertain offers. It is very hard to do well with a restaurant here. I would really work at one for at least a year that does do well and figure out how they are successful. Even with experience from what I've heard its much harder here.
because i'd had my job stateside forever i would not move here until we'd bought a house, i wanted that history on the mortgage app,made no sense to come here and waste that job history, who's going to look at you for a mortgage unless you've had a job here for a good amount of time or have loads of money in the bank. there are a few "gold mine"beach bars and restaurants here on island and thats because they're run like a business and not the owners personal liquor bottle or food refridgerator
Teri, I vacationed in STX for @ 30 years. On my 5th visit I hit a golf ball into the bush and while looking for it found a sign all grown over advertising lots for sale. I contacted a the seller and went to look. When I was leaving for the appointment, my wife said "don't buy any thing". I did and then I dreamed for the next 20+ years.
We came down for a couple of extended stays, 6 months and then a year. During these stays I tried to engage in the economy and figure out if I could make it. Well ,on our last trip 2 years ago I stayed.
I lived in Hawaii for a while and everything is expensive there but here it is really expensive, from housing, insurance, food, entertainment. But the weather, the culture and the privelige of being here and following my dream takes the edge off the costs. If you love it then you will find a way to be here.But as someone earlier advised, take a trip down, spend some time, make some friends and contacts. Engage as much as you can. I think that anyone with skills, ambition and the will can assimilate into the island and live a special life. Good luck.
Teri, you're in luck... There is a bed and breakfast at Salt River (oceanfront) on the market for $895,000.00. Six bedrooms and 5 and half baths. Everything you want and they have had a good rental history. Might want to check that out on the listings site.
Very nice looking place. Have not been inside, but talked to people who have stayed there. they said it was very nice.
There is also another one for sale at STC condos. Pelican ---- something. I forget the name. No view, but less upkeep.
Actually Pelican Heights has a very nice view.
Pelican Heights does have a very nice view and a pool too I think, but you do share a parking lot with St C, which is interesting. So you do have a good view but you see their parking lot then the ocean. The units are actually a very good size all more one and two bedrooms, I think it would be better used as a long term rentals, but they would have to be fixed up to make the rent you would need to. A B & B just seems so risky to me. There are smaller B & Bs here that just rent out rooms in their large homes and that seems like a much safer way to go. To buy a larger property like pelican heights you need to be handy or have a good handy man, which is as hard to find here as it is stateside.
hi from southwest florida. i stayed at that villa at salt river for my PMV. it's Villa Margarita, check out their web site, villamargarita.com very help full owners & it's great for PMV's cause it gets you out exploring, kitchens but you have to go out shopping for food, etc. as it turned out i prefer the north shore and west end but the whole island was great..
Sweet...the handy man part I can take care of...I have a dear friend that may want to join us in the move. He can do anything and everything and he does it well!
I agree that I would need to spend time living there before I make any permanent decisions. I have a beautiful home here and I would not dream of selling it unless my family and I are sure this is right for us. I may only be "thirtysomething", but I have been on my own for almost 24 years...I know what I want, I know what I need to do and although I am willing to take a chance or two in life...I am not willing to ''risk it all" and jeopardize my family and our security. Having said that....
I would like to thank everyone for their comments, advice and hints on property. My objective is to live a good and blessed life and ensure the same for my family. I am honest, highly motivated and hardworking. I think I am a bit of a smart-ass (my good friends call me witty, bless their hearts), but I think that is why I work so well with the general public. I am not afraid of finding and keeping a good job,,, or friends for that matter.
I was interested in Lizards information about the cost of living, here is why:
Last month my electric bill was $181.75, that wouldn't be so bad if that was including my heat...but I heat my home with propane...that was $567.00 (should last me about a month and a half if I keep my house @ 65 degrees...brrr, thats even cold for a chick from 'Nodak') and I still have phone (land & cell), internet, cable, H20-sewer-garbage, isurance....you get my drift...
Ummm, let's see: gas for my car is currently $3.11 per gallon ( average commute to work in my area is about 30 miles one way: more if you want to earn $10 per hour or more), 1/2 gallon of milk will cost me about $2.50, ground beef around $2.69 per lb on sale, (please; let's not even mention fresh fruits & vegetables!) Lucky for me I live 1 block from the grocery store,,,I can walk!!! So now I am curious, how do we compare in that area?
Anyway, I think I have made my point. I am not sure about the schools yet, that will be a priority for me and it will take much consideration as it has already been one of my main concerns. Real Estate is low here and I'm pretty sure I will not get anything close to what my home is worth, but that is something that I will just have to deal with later once I have weighed out my options and made my decision.
Looking forward to hearing more...please keep the information coming! Till next time...
i lived 15 years in grand forks Teri, i feel your pain