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Might Be moving soon to St John need help

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Jzarz313
(@Jzarz313)
Advanced Member

Ok I've done some research and tried to look all over the web to find a rental agency that can find me an apartment in St. John.

I have a possibility that I may be getting a job in St. John and I have a few questions for people that live on St John.

1. how much of a salary do i need to make to maintain a good life for my wife and newborn baby.

2. how much does a 2 bedroom cost average price and how easy is it to find a place to rent long term

3. i have a mitsubishi lancer should I take it or leave it its brand new

4. does anyone have a contact for a real estate agent that can help us find a decent place to live

5. is it safe to move my wife and new born to St. John or St. Thomas?

6. Which moving companies are well trusted and moving from the main land us how much does it cost to ship a car from florida to st john.

7. any other information that you could provide to me would be great as i'm going to be a new dad and trying to start a new job and family in St. John.

How much does insurance cost for a basic 4 door car. and what is the biggest concerns that I should think about before moving my wife and child.

thanks ahead of time for any and all help.

and why is it so hard to find long term rentals in St. John.?

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Topic starter Posted : June 11, 2012 1:36 am
lc98
 lc98
(@lc98)
Trusted Member

1. how much of a salary do i need to make to maintain a good life for my wife and newborn baby.

Depends on your lifestyle. A two-bedroom apartment on STJ averages more than $2000 per month.

2. how much does a 2 bedroom cost average price and how easy is it to find a place to rent long term

See above. Not easy to do from off island; quite easy once you have arrived.

3. i have a mitsubishi lancer should I take it or leave it its brand new

Unless it is 4WD with decent ground clearance, I would not ship any kind of new vehicle to STJ. Also, unless you own it outright, you might not be able to ship it here -- lienholders don't like you taking their collateral someplace where it's hard for them to get it back.

4. does anyone have a contact for a real estate agent that can help us find a decent place to live

Check the classifieds page of the St John Tradewinds newspaper. Archives can be found online at stjohnnews.com. Also, find the St John phone book online and call the real estate agencies listed there. They may be able to help you or tell you whom to call.

5. is it safe to move my wife and new born to St. John or St. Thomas?

I won't speak for St. Thomas, since I don't live there. As for "safe" -- depends on what you mean by that, but St John is a relatively safe place.

6. Which moving companies are well trusted and moving from the main land us how much does it cost to ship a car from florida to st john.

These questions have been answered aplenty here; search the archives.

How much does insurance cost for a basic 4 door car. and what is the biggest concerns that I should think about before moving my wife and child.

It depends on your driving record. Depending on where you are moving from, it's probably not going to be more than you pay in the states, but the coverages are significantly less.

If you have not visited St John before, I highly recommend you do a pre-move visit of at least a week (not a vacation) to see what it is really like. I would not move here with my family sight unseen; there are a lot of differences between STJ and what we call "America".

and why is it so hard to find long term rentals in St. John.?

It's not, once you are on island. It's partly an intentional barrier to discourage all the flakes who think it would be fun to move to a tropical island and waste business owners' time with idle inquiries. And partly because the islands are still technologically behind the mainland in some arenas.

Good luck!

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Posted : June 11, 2012 3:58 am
Jzarz313
(@Jzarz313)
Advanced Member

Great thanks for all the information one other question having my wife and newborn moving with me what should she know about raising a baby here and how close is the hospital or dr office?

Also what scams should I look out for being a new resident to the island?

Also are there things to do to keep my wife busy and not home sick?

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Topic starter Posted : June 11, 2012 4:43 am
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member

having my wife and newborn moving with me.....
are there things to do to keep my wife busy and not home sick?

The new baby will keep her busy round the clock for at least a year. Sent you a PM with details about newborns & newmoms... Unless she is 10,000% on board with moving away from her support system to a small realitively isolated island with a newborn you are asking for a world of heartache.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 5:09 am
Jzarz313
(@Jzarz313)
Advanced Member

So at 2000.00 a month for a two bedroom would that be similar to apts in the states or more like apts in brazil and south America? Also based on the rent if I wanted to have a similar life style to the states (I live in Miami) what kind of salary do I need to make for a family of 3 ... 40-50-60-70k???

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Topic starter Posted : June 11, 2012 6:21 am
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

Generally it costs more to maintain the same lifestyle in the Caribbean than it does to live in the US. St. John is one of the more expensive islands in the Caribbean so even coming from a high cost of living area in the US you'll still probably find you'll spend more. Everyon'e lifestyle is different but here's a "rule of thumb" I give people asking the same question - on average figure it will cost you anywhere between 15% to 30% MORE to maintain the same lifestyle on St. John as it does where you now live.

Housing costs will be significantly higher for comparable places - figure on the high end of those averages.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 7:23 am
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

One last hint - if you haven't already done so (and I gather from your questions you probably haven't since many of your concerns are amply covered ) start at the top of this page and use the drop down menus and READ EVERYTHING you find. There's so much information it will take you weeks then search the tens of thousands of posts on this forum. Every question you've asked and hundreds more you haven't even thought of yet have been answered and discussed in great detail.

If you are serious about moving to the Caribbean you'll invest the time and effort it takes to read through the material - you'll be glad you did.

good luck in your decision.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 8:00 am
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

There is one long term agency on island... Scenic Properties. They manage many properties on island, but I would say most of them are privately run. Scenic always has listings for long term though, so you can give them a call 340-693-7777

I would say no on bringing the car. It is much more practical to have something that is higher off the ground and 4WD is nice too (although not absolutely necessary) Vehicles tend to take some abuse here. Some of our roads are not the best, parking bumps and scratches are common, not to mention how harsh the environment is in general. But if you do ship it, it will cost around $1000 and then road tax when you get here. Which is different for domestic vs foreign I am pretty sure.

There is no hospital on St. John, and no pediatricians that I know of either. The clinic on St. John is good, but for anything major or specialized, you will go to St. Thomas.

St. John living will be very different than Miami living. Our electric is expensive, so most people who live here full time don't have A/C. We collect our water from the sky, so we are very very conservative with water (few dishwashers, showers where you get wet, turn it off, soap up, turn it on rinse off, etc) We have several grocery stores, but finding everything you want at one place is a challenge. And if you are brand specific, or like specialty items, you will have a hard time.

I suggest you read as many posts here as you can, and if you haven't been here before, you should come and visit. And when you visit, try to live like the locals so.. take short showers, don't use A/C, wash your dishes by hand, don't eat out, go check out some of the long term rentals that are for rent. Even if you aren't ready to rent, or the places are not just what you are looking for, it will give you a good idea of the difference between a long term and short term rental.

Good luck! And congrats on the new baby 🙂

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Posted : June 11, 2012 9:20 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

One last hint - if you haven't already done so (and I gather from your questions you probably haven't since many of your concerns are amply covered ) start at the top of this page and use the drop down menus and READ EVERYTHING you find. There's so much information it will take you weeks then search the tens of thousands of posts on this forum. Every question you've asked and hundreds more you haven't even thought of yet have been answered and discussed in great detail.

If you are serious about moving to the Caribbean you'll invest the time and effort it takes to read through the material - you'll be glad you did.

good luck in your decision.

And invest the time and money in coming here for a PMV. Even for a single it's important but when you have a spouse and a newborn it's not important but imperative. Good luck.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 10:12 am
lc98
 lc98
(@lc98)
Trusted Member

One thing to know about life on St John is the investment in time, money, and energy it takes to get to St Thomas. If you are taking your vehicle over, it is $40-$50 per vehicle roundtrip (depending on the day of the week). If you are going by passenger ferry, it is $13 per person round trip, plus any transportation costs when you get over there (taxi or dollar safari).

For example, assuming you have just a 10-minute drive to the car barge, the barges are running on time, and there is little traffic on St Thomas, It will take you at least 45 minutes to get to the hospital from St John. Build in more time if you absolutely have to be somewhere at an appointed hour, as there is always the potential for delay (barges break down or fill up, traffic jams on STT, etc.)

If you want to have a similar style of life to the states, seriously, do stay in the states. Unless you do a pre-move visit, you may be very surprised at what is different. The culture shock of moving to a VERY small town, for one, will be huge. There are about 4,500 people on St John, and if you're not accustomed to the dynamics of a small, rural community, it may take some getting used to.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 10:47 am
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

If ever someone needed to make a pre-move visit, it is you and your family. If you can't afford to do this, seriously reconsider moving to STJ, you will not have a good experience.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 11:23 am
piaa
 piaa
(@piaa)
Trusted Member

Think for a 2 bedroom apartment and if you run the a/c only at night your electric will probably be in the $300 - $400 per month range.

Pia

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Posted : June 11, 2012 12:39 pm
Jzarz313
(@Jzarz313)
Advanced Member

Wow thanks for all the information everyone , now based on what everyone explains to me I figure I would need to be making atleast 60k to have a normal life. Can anyone advise if this is correct, does anyone make that amount in the islands?

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Topic starter Posted : June 11, 2012 6:57 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

people can make that and more depending on the job they have. really, your best bet is to come down for a pmv-you have children, check out the schools also. and the price of gas and food and electricity. do this and more research before you make a final move.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 7:32 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

One point, since you haven't told us what you are earning now how can any of us tell you if $60K will support YOUR lifestyle.

Yes, people can earn that amount, some need two jobs or work very long hours to do it. Some earn more and many earn less but there's no way for anyone here to advise you if $60k will support YOUR LIFESTYLE. That's why you need to make that PMV and get first hand info.

The Catch-22 of living in the Caribbean is living expenses are usually higher and wages are usually lower than for comparables back in the states.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 7:41 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

As said, it's virtually impossible to determine if $60K pa salary would work but that's probably a close minimum for a sole wage-earner with a non-working spouse and an infant. Another thing which wasn't mentioned is that, given the circumstances, it's going to be difficult without two cars. I've seen this scenario played out before both on STT and on STJ. It's difficult for a single to get around without a car but a family unit can only juggle so long with only one vehicle before the lack of a second vehicle gets very old very fast.

I understand that you may not want to divulge the party who "might" be offering you a job on St John but the very few high-end positions in the islands are generally available on STT first, STX second and STJ in far third. Keep thinking and good luck!

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Posted : June 11, 2012 9:10 pm
lc98
 lc98
(@lc98)
Trusted Member

Don't forget, you'll have start-up costs on top of salary. To move, you will need first/last/security deposit for rent - $6K; a reliable 4WD vehicle - at least $7K; and the cost of shipping any belongings you bring with you.

OldTart is right that one car per couple isn't always much fun, but it's doable if the stay-home spouse doubles as a chauffeur. Some newcomers are afraid to drive here; you have to see the roads in person to understand why.

Once you are here, say rent is 33% of your cost of living (suggested standard), that math works out to $72K per year. Expensive groceries, diapers, utilities, all of that will add up fast.

I assume your potential employer offers health insurance coverage for you and your family; if not, look into how you would get it, as there is NO option for private individuals here to buy health insurance.

There are indeed jobs that pay $60K and up on St John, but they are scarcer in some fields than others.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 10:15 pm
Jzarz313
(@Jzarz313)
Advanced Member

Thanks for the heads up at the moment my salary is in the range of 55k I dont go out a lot we spend about 1015.00 in rent 259 on cell phone 250 on cable and Internet and 365 on a car payment and 150 car in insurance 175 in electricity . So those are my fixed expenses, does anyone know what the average salary would be in st John? Also would it be a better idea to live in st Thomas and take a ferry to work? Also how long is the boat ride?

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Topic starter Posted : June 11, 2012 10:28 pm
VIsnorkeler
(@VIsnorkeler)
Trusted Member

I just have to throw my two cents in...WHY are you moving with a new-born? How many changes are you getting ready to make? A new job? A new baby? A move? Wow, your wife must REALLY love you!! I've seen many couples come here and break up because one loves it and the other HATES it. You may want to think again about moving a woman with a new baby completely away from any support system she may already have.

I am certainly agreeing with other posters who have asked for more details. All, well most, are hearing warning bells going off.

I love it here, and lucky for me, my boyfriend does as well. BUT, neither of us has children or are expecially close with our families. You are aware we are pretty much an island in the middle of nowhere, right? I mean, visiting family "back home" is a little bit of a big deal. You can't just hop in the car and go visit grandma for the weekend.

That said, good luck to you because it seriously sounds like you will need it, honey!

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Posted : June 11, 2012 10:37 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Phew. "Average salary" for what and in what field? If you have a job offer then surely you know what the salary is? $1015 rent won't get you much on St John. $175 for electricity ditto - see piaa's post. Water plus cooking propane too. Your fixed expenses where you live have no bearing whatsoever on your fixed expenses here. Yes, some people do live on STT and commute to St John every day. The passenger ferry takes about 20 minutes. I can tell you from friends who've done it that that too gets old fast. If you're living comfortably where you are now on $55K, add at least 1/3 on top of that to even begin to maintain that lifestyle here.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 10:41 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

If you have a job offer, I would seriously quiz them about these things. If there is someone in a similar position, they might be able to talk to you. Many people come here to the VI and when it is time for babies, return to the states. Money is not everything, but it is helpful.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 11:21 pm
lc98
 lc98
(@lc98)
Trusted Member

"Normal life" here is different from "normal life" in the states.

For example: Compared with my stateside budget, I actually pay less in housing expenses but am quite happy with a much smaller place than I had back on the East Coast. (I pay about the same in utilities, unfortunately.)

I pay more for food because fresh foods are more expensive at the markets and because I eat out a lot more (with the price of groceries, it's only marginally more expensive to eat out frequently if you know what to order), but I don't have cable TV and am happy using the Internet through my phone instead of paying extra for higher-speed service.

Bottom line, some of the things that were "necessary" to my stateside standard of living wouldn't really add much to my happiness here. The balance is a very individual decision, and one that usually evolves as someone adapts to island life.

This is not Miami. You can make it cost-wise here on a $60K salary, but make sure you are looking at the bigger picture of what it is really going to be like for you and your family to enjoy life, here or anywhere else.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 11:35 pm
Jzarz313
(@Jzarz313)
Advanced Member

"Normal life" here is different from "normal life" in the states.

For example: Compared with my stateside budget, I actually pay less in housing expenses but am quite happy with a much smaller place than I had back on the East Coast. (I pay about the same in utilities, unfortunately.)

I pay more for food because fresh foods are more expensive at the markets and because I eat out a lot more (with the price of groceries, it's only marginally more expensive to eat out frequently if you know what to order), but I don't have cable TV and am happy using the Internet through my phone instead of paying extra for higher-speed service.

Bottom line, some of the things that were "necessary" to my stateside standard of living wouldn't really add much to my happiness here. The balance is a very individual decision, and one that usually evolves as someone adapts to island life.

This is not Miami. You can make it cost-wise here on a $60K salary, but make sure you are looking at the bigger picture of what it is really going to be like for you and your family to enjoy life, here or anywhere else.

thanks for the information. I will really consider all this information, that main reason for my move is because of the job offer it would really help my career and its with a good company which i would like to stay with long term. I have lived in a lot of places all over the world growing up as my dad moved a lot due to his job but this will be my first big move as a head of household. so I am use to moving to different places and learning new things however for my wife it will be a huge change as she has only lived in the US and traveled only to Dominican republic on occasions. I know someone mentioned that it will be extremely hard for my wife to deal with this but i figure if she is committed to moving then I will be able to have her mom fly down to visit every so often. Someone had mentioned that most us lien holders will not allow cars to leave the US , so with that said do they have car dealerships that will finance a car or do i have to purchase it out right?

God willing i will be getting an update on the position over the next few days and I will keep all posted about the details so you guys can tell me if this would be a good deal or not.

Quality of life is important to me and my wife but going from miami to St. J. is like going from 100 to 0 in .001 seconds flat. which may be a good thing since i think we could all do with a little more of the simply life. I think at our age i'm 32 and she is 22 we are in the right age to make a go of this opportunity and see how it works out. either way we are happy to live a little less hectic and save some money for a better future.

how much is a safe bet to have ready for a move here is some info.

I have a 1 bedroom apt only major furniture is a bedroom set, couch, 2 tv ( should i sell my furniture or take it?)

Car I probably will not take as most say the lien holder will not allow it.

My wife and new born will stay back till the baby is old enough to travel so perhaps atleast 2 months which is perfect since it will allow me time to focus on my job and prepare a place for them to come to. and i think i will need all that time to make the place as comfortable for them as possible.

any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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Topic starter Posted : June 12, 2012 12:47 am
Jzarz313
(@Jzarz313)
Advanced Member

one other question most of the expats that have moved from the states to St. J, why have you decided to move and is it with a family or just a couple? also how long have most of you lived on the island.

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Topic starter Posted : June 12, 2012 12:51 am
sheiba
(@sheiba)
Advanced Member

Why leave wife and baby behind? Its easier to travel with a newborn then an older baby or toddler. Its an important time for all of you to be together. She and baby will need you. I think it could be a great experience living on st john even if its temporary. You can always go back to the states.

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Posted : June 12, 2012 1:01 am
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