Moving to STT in January 2016
My husband and I will be moving to STT in mid-January. We have read so much information on this site and are very grateful that we have had such a resource. I am sure I will have several questions right before we make the move, however, right now I only have one . . .
We have been looking for somewhere to stay that is relatively inexpensive since funds will be tight. I have checked airbnb, VRBO, a few local real estate sites, St. Thomas Source, Craigslist and many other sites that I have come across, and while I have found places through these websites they are either more than we really want to pay or booked during the month of January (obviously because it's in-season). I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on any places that are pretty inexpensive that may not be advertised on these sites, or possibly if anyone knew of a place that will come available for a short-term furnished rental until we find a more permanent place to stay. I really wanted to go ahead and book something now rather than wait until the last minute.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
Unfortunately, moving here at time of year presents those problems.
Unless you want to wait unt the last minute and try to wing it, then you'll have to spend what's necessary, even if it's more than you like.
It's expensive to live here and that's part of the reality. Good luck.
What is your budget? Will you have pets or kids? Will you have transportation? Have you checked the Island Trader? That publication is online.
Thank you, Alana33. Hopefully something will come along that won't break the bank! 🙂
ms411 - No, we will not have pets or kids. We are in our mid/late 40's and empty-nesters. We will not be bringing a vehicle with us, so will have to find transportation when we get there. I know it's not ideal, and the advice is to ship a vehicle, however both of our vehicles are financed and the banks won't let us bring them, so we have to sell them. We really didn't want to spend more than $70 a night and if we could get under that, it would be even better since we know we have to purchase a car.
While we are both nervous about the move, we are aware of some of the challenges that face us when we get there (thanks to this site). I know we won't have a real idea until we are actually there, but we are both looking forward to it!
That is a very low budget for accommodations - especially in Jan. when any guest house will be busy and is unlikely to give you a better rate for a few weeks - the VRBO,AIRBNB,places are very oriented towards vacation rentals here but keep trying different parameters.
Have you looked at Island View, Green Iguana, Bunker Hill, Villa Santana, Crystal Palace, Galleon house?
Maybe try to contact some of the less expensive smaller furnished long term rentals on Craigslist and and offer to pay them $ 400 - $500 for a week on an apt. they haven't rented yet as a temporary place?
You will need 2-3 months rent to sign a lease, and commonly, deposit money for the utilities so having the available cash to get an apt. is important too.
Probably cost you less to buy a car there and ship it than buy here.
Get something with good ground clearance as some potholes are deep. Our hills are steep, good engine and brakes necessary..
$70 a night for 2 persons in Jan. is going to be virtually impossible to schedule in advance. It's high season and our high season is pretty short so places tend to be reluctant to compromise on rates during this period since what they make then has to carry them thru the off season which pretty much starts at the end of April and goes thru end of Nov.
Maybe trying to find a room/house share on Craig's List may be more likely but then you're going to have to have the problem of not being able to find someplace well in advance.
Is there any particular reason you wish to move in Jan. instead of waiting until May when short-term rental places go down in costs
and there are more options for long-term rentals are available?
Thank you for the suggestions. I will definitely look into them.
We have the money for first, last and deposit as well as utility deposits and enough to last us for a little while. Just wanting something that is relatively inexpensive for when we first get there so we don't go through what we have saved so quickly. We have wanted to make this move for quite a while, and have been researching it like crazy! Pretty much been obsessed with it for the last few months. Trying to obtain all the information we could before asking questions. We made the decision to come in January because my husband was recently laid off and it seemed like now was the best time. We don't want to run through the money we have been saving to move there just to survive here.
Sounds like trying to find a room to rent might be our best option. It's something I will check into. As well as buying a vehicle here and having it shipped. My husband is the one that keeps saying "oh, we'll just buy one when we get there." I keep trying to tell him we need to buy one here and ship it based off of everything I have read!! I will continue to reiterate this to him! Hopefully I can turn him around!
You are better off waiting until May like suggested. There will be much better choices of apartments and cars since a lot of people leave at the seasons end.
Be very careful on Craigslist. We have all seen listings for apartments that have all the blinds closed so you can't see what's outside and some of the idiot scammers post pictures showing wall mounted heaters and 220v outlets.
Thank you for tip! I hadn't noticed the ads on Craigslist with blinds closed. I will definitely make sure I pay attention!
We originally were going to come in November, but pushed it to January so we could spend the Holidays with our parents, kids and granddaughters. We both have to find jobs when we get there so we didn't want to push it out to the end of the season. We want to be sure that we can at least find some kind of employment no matter what it is until we can find something within our respective fields. Any income coming in will be better than none.
Places that say they include heat, fireplaces, heated parking garages, parking garages, stainless steel appliances, basements, fully and modernly furnished for $700 are also scams. There are some other clues in addition to what SITC and I mentioned.
If you rent something thru VRBO or Flipkey, at least you're protected.
I figured the places that had fireplaces and heated parking garages weren't legitimate. Haven't looked at Flipkey, but I think my husband has. Might be better for us to spend a little extra at least for the first few days/week we are there and look for a temporary place when we actually arrive rather than trying to do it from here. At least that way we will know exactly what we are getting.
I checked the places that Exit Zero listed above and the prices weren't too bad, at least not for a short stay. I think I found a couple on VRBO for around $100 a night when I was checking there yesterday. I'll have to just check again.
Prices tend to go up mid Nov. - Dec.1 until mid - end of April.
As well as buying a vehicle here and having it shipped. My husband is the one that keeps saying "oh, we'll just buy one when we get there." I keep trying to tell him we need to buy one here and ship it based off of everything I have read!! I will continue to reiterate this to him! Hopefully I can turn him around!
It's interesting how the contributors to this forum seem to be almost of one mind when it comes to shipping a stateside car here as opposed to buying something used already here. I can assure you that this train of thought isn't representative of the total island population. I also often wonder exactly how many of those who advise it have ever actually bought a used car here.
Buying a used vehicle here is just like buying a used car Anywhere USA, Caveat emptor and have a mechanic look it over before purchasing it (assuming you're not a competent mechanic yourself). I'm a 30+ year island resident and have never purchased anything other than used cars here. Never regretted even one of them, have resold all but one (it was stolen and stripped!) for a good price.
Ship a car here and that pristine stateside paintwork will be beaten up in a heartbeat. If you decide not to stay (and the attrition rate of newbies is huge) it's not worth shipping it back stateside. There are always loads of decent cars for sale here - not the least of which are those belonging to people for whom island life didn't work out and they have to sell quickly before they leave. Obviously the better and more plentiful deals are around April/May when high season winds down.
Of COURSE you have to be careful just as you'd be careful anywhere but in my opinion it's unnecessary to go to all that trouble and expense. I know a few longtime residents who purchase new from the States as even with the shipping they can benefit from lower stateside prices - but neither are they going anywhere and are well-established here. Scores of my friends have and do buy used here and don't think twice about it.
I'm with your husband on this one. 😀
Thanks, OldTart! I'm sure he will appreciate that! His line of thinking is along the same line as yours. He thinks it would be better to invest the $2500+ that it would cost to ship it in a vehicle that can be purchased on island. If we buy something here we have to lower our top dollar amount to cover the shipping so to him it seems as if it's a wash in a way.
While it's true what OT says about buying a vehicle here, in my experience, good deals really come word of mouth and thru your connections on island which you won't have.
IMO, you can get more, for less, stateside, even with shipping.
Start looking at Craig's List and Island Trader online to check prices and compare.
Word of caution, foreign made vehicles or those with foreign made parts such as those from Mexico will incurr a Customs Duty to bring into VI. I've forgotten which US made cars have parts come from Mexico but because we're a territory the US Trade Agreement does not extend to VI.
The VIN # will dictate whether or not you pay a duty to import to VI.
You can always call Customs to check as the duty is based on a percentage of value and it varies from country of origin. (Think it ranges from 1 - 6% depending upon manufacturer but can't really recall.)
Whatever you decide, I'm sure it'll work out.
While it's true what OT says about buying a vehicle here, in my experience, good deals really come word of mouth and thru your connections on island which you won't have.
In 30+ years I've bought I think six used cars here. Two were from friends, the others were through advertisements. The last one was seen by a friend parked roadside with a sign and a phone # on it, the seller brought it to me so I could see and drive it and I still have it seven years later. Every one except for the two I purchased from friends (and which I knew had been very well serviced and maintained) was checked out by a mechanic for a very well worth it $50 (I'm guessing the price these days is a little more). Most people are very happy to share the name of a reputable mechanic who'll perform that service. Three or four cars I thought looked and sounded good were nixed by the mechanic!
Funnily enough (or not really) one of my employees at one time was car-hunting and I suggested she use my mechanic at that time to check out one in which she was seriously interested. He advised her NOT to buy it and she bought it anyway. Two weeks later the transmission went ... (No, I didn't say, "I told you so"!) 😀
I knew if we bought stateside we would have to make sure it was manufactured and assembled in the US to avoid the customs charges. My husband has been checking your news papers and craigslist to try and compare prices. He hasn't said much about it lately as he's been more concerned with getting stuff ready for our garage sale next weekend. I'll have to check with him to see what he has come across. He usually stays up late doing his research after I have gone to bed.
He keeps saying "we can use public transportation" until we get a vehicle. I have told him that it's not that reliable. Can someone elaborate on this so I can give him more information about it?
Thanks again for all the invaluable information! 🙂
We don't have neighbourhoods such as those in the states.
You will have to walk out to the main road unless you're staying right on a main road which isn't likely in order to catch either a safari $2 taxi ride or a bus. If you live on the north side or south side, you won't have access to either.
If you're going to explore rental options, choices to do so by public transportation is extremely limited to non existent. Not sure what night time bus schedules are but safaris stop by dark which is around 6 PM in winter and 7PM in summer.
Thank you, Alana33. We both want to live on the north side, but I have told him we wouldn't be able to use public transportation if we lived on that side. So he is aware that if we are going to live on the north side we will have to purchase a car immediately when we get there if we don't ship one. He is of the opinion that where we live is going to have a lot to do with where we find employment. I currently work in the legal field as a paralegal and am hoping that I can find some kind of secretarial or assistant position. Paralegal would be nice, but I am sure those jobs are very few and far between so I am not counting on that. I think I have only seen one position for a paralegal in the last 4 months. If I can't find a secretarial position right away I will find something to at least start bringing in income. He was a facility manager before being laid off and is hoping he can find something similar or some type of maintenance job. If not, he too is willing to do anything to have some kind of money coming in until he can find something within his field. If we can't find jobs within our respective fields when we do get down there (within a reasonable about of time - 1 1/2 months) and have to turn to working anywhere, then obviously where we are living then won't matter as it will be more important to be working! Hopefully it won't be too difficult to find jobs. 🙂
Why not call the STT Bar Association and asked if they know of any openings for a paralegal? Get a list of Attorneys and email resume and see if you get any nibbles and/or offers opening up in your timeframe?
What's on Craig's List and in Island Trader is not necessarily a representative of specialty trades. Attorneys do hire from the states, if you've got the qualifications.
Depending on type maintenance job hubby had and his qualifications, there could be many options for him as well.
I do have a list of attorneys and was gonna send my resume in December. Thought it might be best to wait until the time gets closer. I also talked with my headhunter here and she said she would make some calls on my behalf so maybe that will help. I have been checking indeed.com and have seen secretarial positions so at least I will have that to fall back on if the paralegal position doesn't pan out. The bar association is a good idea! I will definitely call them.
I am more confident that hubby will find a job! I know I will too just might take a little longer than him.
Don't sell yourself short. There are about as many attorneys as there are taxi drivers on St Thomas.:D You may have very marketable skills.
Thanks East Ender!! I appreciate the boost! I work for patent/trademark/copyright attorneys so hopefully my skills and knowledge will be welcome!
You may want to reserve a rental car in advance of your move - having it will give you more freedom in exploring for a rental apt. - you won't be forced into buying a car and although it will eat into your moving fund, public transportation is not really likely to be helpful for you.
Buying a car here is certainly possible.
Unless you live close enough to drive a car to the shipping point in the states ----- buying there and shipping here isn't always a great moneysaver. I do agree you can buy more for less there but also agree with your husband that process is often a wash money wise - and it is an unknown used car whether you buy it here or there anyway, and here all cars already have paid the excise tax so you are not as limited in choice when you try to avoid that cost. [Not like bringing a car you are familiar with and know the history of.]
I think you will both find jobs - but I am always optimistic about that - perseverance and performance seem to be rewarded on that front in my experiences.
We live in Dallas, TX so not close to a shipping point, unless we ship from the TX coast, which I would imagine would be more expensive than shipping from FL which we would have to drive the vehicle there. We actually discussed renting a car last and thought that we would need to rent something when we first get there. Even if it does eat into our budget a little. I saw some others posts with places that we can rent from so I thought I would contact them.
Thanks for the suggestions! We are getting even more excited now about the move! :@)