Moving to St. Croix within 6 months
I am moving from Charlotte, NC (USA) to St. Croix within 6 months. I am preplanning now. Any help is good help. It can be advise, any job info, and rental or living arrangement info...I'll take it all! Im excited, determined, and wont be deterred. I need the good, bad, ugly, and whatever else anyone can think of...I'll consider it all, but nothing will stop me at this point lol. Thanks my new Island family! One Love!!!
PS...please provide any 1099 Contractor jobs that anyone is aware of...thats my preference being I have been out of the private sector for a while now here in the States and like it whole lot better. Is anyone aware of any Grubhub type gigs over there btw or something similar? THANKS!!! 🙂
What is bringing you to STX? Most people come for a reason, good, bad or otherwise. My wife and are also just beginning our adventure on St. Croix, in our case as soon to be retirees looking to seasonally escape the New England winters as well as become part of the St. Croix community. We’ve seen a good deal of the Caribbean over the last 30+ years and have been impressed with St. Croix with its culture, beauty as well as the warm welcome we’ve been given.
Hi Jalde. My time has been good here in the States. I've been fortunate enough to have lived all over the US and spent time in Australia, The Grand Bahamas and Mexico. I love to travel. Im pushing mid 40s now and would like to make the Islands my home instead of waiting until retirement...I'd like to already be there. So Im making arrangements now to look for work, living arrangements, and get rid of it all or leave what the kids want behind and head to St. Croix. I've heard alot of good things about it. Share more of your pros and cons if you have any. Thanks for responding!
We're still in the process of moving ourselves. We purchased a home this last January and ended up renting it back to the original owners until the end of November. I'm still working full time, for the next 18 months, but my wife will be moving in at the beginning of December. We have made about 4 trips to STX since last October and with each visit we are getting more comfortable and excited. My parents also owned land on the island in the late 1960's but never built so they eventually sold the land. I first visited the island in 1968 when I was 12 and have fond and clear memories of that time.
In terms of advice, that's always dependent on the individual. What I can share is what I'm looking for and why. I've spent the last 40+ years working mostly in high-tech, the semiconductor equipment industry specifically. It's been an amazing experience and I have traveled close to 6 million miles (globally) and worked with some of the smartest people in the world. I have been very fortunate to have both traveled and worked with peoples of so many different cultures and backgrounds all aligned towards driving the electronics industry forward. At the same time I've discovered, over many years, that I need what Island Life provides as an antidote to help me recharge my sole. Without getting too philosophical, life is hard and it takes discipline, enormous effort and a little luck to carve out something good for your family and community.
My goal in retirement is to reinvent myself, to get away from the corporate grind of meeting Wall Street expectations and working essentially 24X7 so that I can genuinely become part of a small community. Unlike many people who say they want to travel when they retire, I don't, I've seen the world, I want to put down roots and soak in the community, I don't want to be a tourist. It's time for me to try and do more locally versus flying all over the globe to take care of customers. I still have a ton of energy, I just want to channel it differently. I have nothing to prove to myself and no agenda, I only want to get involved and help as long as I am able.
From all the blogs I've read and people I've met it's clear that St. Croix has it's issues and frustrations. At the same time it has tremendous potential (upside) and the influx of young talented people can only help move things forward. Seek the adventure with an open mind and a willingness to move outside your comfort zone and I would guess you will do well and learn a lot.
Wow. What an incredible quick insight on what im sure has been an amazing journey that pages are still being added to. Thanks for sharing. I have an IT degree as well but I've dibbled in a bit of anything I can get my hands on and learn...Ive always been a sponge and not afraid of a thing. I remember being young and that Army commercial would come on and say..."If you died, would anyone want to read a book about you"...thats always stuck with me...so here I am writing my pages and excited as it unfolds...taking the good with the bad...but not afraid. Im coming down within the next couple months...and hopefully within 6 to 8 months, Ill get moved down there. Ill keep in touch and feel free to reach out. Maybe we will meet some day! Thanks for sharing! ?
I'm a semi-retired IT guy myself (software engineering and management with 30 years in government and 23 in IT) and have been a part-time resident for about 5 years.
I have a couple of contracts I work on remotely for customers in the States. If you can bring any remote work contracts with you, they'll give you some buffer while your finding something longer term.
The refinery here is working on coming back online after closing in 2012. There may be opportunities there for you, but may not be 1099.
The rents here are higher because of the refinery reopening and the protracted storm recovery.
If you can do website development at a reasonable cost, there may be some good opportunities working with small businesses.
From what I've been told, avoid contracts with the government here unless they're COD (they're terribly slow about paying).
If you're moving permanently, consider looking into bringing your car down (if it's not paid off, you'll need permission from the lender). It cost us $3300 to bring our car down from near Atlanta last month (including most of the taxes). If your car is paid off and reliable, it's worth the expense, because a cheap rental is about $1k per month and a decent used car could run you $8-10k out or more (unless you can find someone leaving the island and desperate to sell).
Many of the cars listed on Craigslist aren't on the island and there are more than a few scams out there - even more than in the States.
Best of luck to both of you and let me know if there's anything I can do to help.
Thanks for the helpful info Rewired! I have one contract gig I can bring along with me from a group I worked for in my time in Australia...I still am fortunate to work for them thank goodness. I definitely to ship a car as you are right, those are pretty steep prices for a used vehicle smh. Do you by chance know of any businesses needed over there? I'm open to opening up my own business as well but not sure the stipulations behind it and investment. Thanks for sharing! ?
Make sure to check out the links at the bottom of this page for more info in shipping a car -> https://www.vimovingcenter.com/car/
The information there is consistent with the experience we had recently shipping our car down. If you ship a non-US vehicle (VIN starts with something other than a 1), you'll pay an import duty. This might make a difference in your purchase decision. Also, be aware that potholes and dirt roads are common on the island, so ground clearance might be a concern if you're going to be driving a lot. Regular unleaded was $2.95/gal today and premium was $3.15/gal. The prices are pretty consistent across the island and they've been pretty consistent our past few trips (July and December 2018 and Feb/March and September 2019).
Regarding starting a business and opportunities, there are opportunities out there, but the challenge will be finding employees as you grow (I've talked to a number of people who had businesses and had challenges there). I talked to someone today that said there were 3 questions in their interview:
- Will you show up on time
- Will you show up consistently when you're scheduled to work
- Will you promise to be sober when you get here
The interview lasted less time than it took me to type it out, and they got the job.
Here is an OK starting point if you want to start a business -> https://www.usvieda.org/start-business
Searching for 'how to start a business in the US Virgin Islands' will bring a number of links, including from some business attorneys in the islands.
About 95% of businesses on the island are small businesses, with a high percentage of those having less than 10 employees. Health insurance is also a challenge on the island.
Your skill set, experience and interests will determine the value you can add to the island. Many people start out with a couple of part time jobs while they're determining what works best for them.
Thanks Rewired. Gas is creeping up here in the States as well. That's nothing new, you know how the old gouge when opportunity presents itself with Nations smh. Thanks for the car shipping links and the business links...I will definitely utilize them both. I heard the roads were tough...is it hills and mountains? I heard a 4 by 4 or truck is definitely doable there. I'll keep in mind about the job criteria and don't mind working a couple part time or fulltime whichever presents itself until get my footing. Do you know anything about AirBnb...I was thinking about utilizing one when first coming down to get my feel of things and try to with the locals on finding a place to rest my head permanently. Any advice there when first coming down and living situations? Can you maybe contrast on the different cities and what you think of them or any preference as far as the Big 3 (Christiansted, Fredericksted, and Kingshill) or anymore other smaller hidden gems? Thanks again man...you have been wonderful. Hope im not bugging you lol. I'm super inquisitive but at the same time I know the best way to get the feel is to come down which I will here very soon!
Hi maybe contact Mindy at St Croix for Rent at 340-626-3204
for rentals with what you are looking for. They manage a ton of properties for rent including ours and she is really nice. Because of the number of properties she manages she probably has a sense of when things are coming up for rent, etc. that aren’t listed yet on their website. A lot of rentals now are at least $2500 per month but I am sure there are some exceptions if that doesn’t fit your budget (or with a 2 bedroom+ you might get a housemate). Good luck!
Thanks BearBear...I will definitely reach out to Mindy and tell her you referred me. Do you know the website by chance? I can check there as well while waiting to contact her or hear back from her. Thanks a million. And my apologies for the bold print...I hit something and can't figure out how to cut it off lmao??
Mindy is great, I use her all the time. Very responsive as well. Good luck.
There are plenty of mountains, potholes and dirt roads to go around on the island. Trucks seem to be the most popular vehicles, with Jeeps and other 4 wheel drives next on the list of vehicles you'll see.
The East End tends to be drier and arid although this past year or so it is much greener with the rains it's received. There is a casino on the East End (Divi), but it's pretty tiny by mainland standards. Other than that, almost all businesses are very small and the area is relatively rural.
The West End (Frederiksted) is more rain forest like (on the northern part) and flatter (on the southern part). The town itself is pretty small, but there is an influx of people when the occasional cruise ship docks there.
Middle Island (Christiansted and Kingshill) is where most of the business/industry lives (although still pretty rural by mainland standards). There are a higher concentration of small businesses, restaurants and businesses in this area (including a Home Depot, KMart, shopping centers and a new movie theater). The water plant (for drinking water) is on the north shore west of Christiansted and the container port, airport and refinery are on the south shore of the Kingshill area.
We were fortunate enough to be able to afford a 1 bedroom condo a few years ago, and have used our time on the island to travel around the island to find places we would like to live more permanently.
Depending on your budget and preferences, there are widely diverse options available - the places that appealed to us were Rattan (hills W of Christiansted), Little La Grange (ENE of Frederiksted and near the rain forest) and the North Shore (between Salt River and Ham's Bluff).
When you get here, talk to people - many of the best deals are found through casual conversations on both rentals and purchases. Many of the houses on the island have apartments in them (usually basement apartments) and many of those are rented by word of mouth. Talk to Mindy about rates and look at VRBO and HomeAway to see if there are reasonable long term rates when you come down, but expand your search by word of mouth when you get here. That's how most of the 'hidden gems' seem to turn up.
Awesome sauce Rewired. I will definitely take all this in and do my research. I've gotten so now I spend a lot of time I'm the library lol...but as you say the best experience will be to come down and mingle! I hear the houses are pretty expensive to build there and even more so if you find any for sell. Your take on that...im sure it's a lot different here in the mainland in the States than there as far as lucking up and purchasing cheap property. Thanks as always for the invaluable info to you and everyone that's chimed in. One Love Everyone!!!
Although the price of existing homes is significantly higher than on the mainland (read that $150-$400+ per square foot in most cases), the location and condition are big factors in price.
We have friends that started building a house on the East End over 2 years ago. They just inspected their foundation earlier this month...
It is a very expensive and long (measured in years, not months) process to build a house on the island right now. Most new houses are built of poured concrete or concrete block with poured concrete cores.
Between the recovery efforts and the refinery rebuilding so that they can reopen next year, the price of concrete has skyrocketed and the concrete companies on the island are having a tough time keeping up. I haven't bought any concrete here, but I've heard prices from other people as high as several hundred to a thousand dollars per yard... A search of the forums may give you a better/more accurate cost to build.
This demand for concrete and time to build has driven up the price for existing homes, especially those that are 'move in ready'.
There is one builder advertising smaller new homes for less than $250k, with a promised build time of about a year from contract date. (If I remember correctly, they were priced at $235K, but don't hold me to that). You should be able to find listings for them if you search the MLS listings through one of the many real estate web sites.
Another possible alternative (depending on how handy you are) would be a 'fixer upper' that you are capable of doing all or most of the work on yourself.
IF you buy any existing home, make sure that you get both structural and termite inspections - even if they're not required. You don't want to make a major investment only to find out later that you will have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on repairs that you didn't know about.
Wow...Both Structural and Termite Inspections. Very wise man...things like that you don't think of. Thanks as always for the invaluable info Rewired! You rock buddy! ?☄?
Hello! I am interested in moving to the USVI within the next 4 to 5 months. I currently live in Arizona. I have been saving & have enough for at least 6 months. I would possibly be interested in sharing expenses &being roommates with someone else who has the same dream. I am open to any of the islands, preferably the ones that have the most job opportunities and the ones that have a reasonable rent.
Have you had any luck with your search? I am currently living in Colorado and would like to move there after the 1st of the year, I would like to live on St Thomas or St Croix, I work in hospitality and will continue to pursue my career path. I'm hoping that I would be able to secure a job prior to arriving, fingers crossed 🙂 But, I am simply at a point in my life that I know I would regret it if I never even tried. I've visited there before and LOVED it!!
Let me know of any of your findings! Cheers!