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My family and I are thinking about moving  

 

tanishaw
(@tanishaw)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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August 28, 2009 11:05 pm  

Hi all

My name is Tanisha Willaims i live in farmington hills mi with my husband and 3 kids, we love st croix and st thomas, the last time we was there was in 2006. We really are thinking about relocating and moving for good. But we have a problem. Here in michigan the housing market is gone and it will very hard to sell our home (350.000). . We would like to know if there are options there like rent to own or assuming someones mortgage that is behind on there payments? Another thing is how are the schools? we would probably put them in country day...We just need help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Thank You


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Novanut
(@novanut)
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August 28, 2009 11:21 pm  

Best advice is to start at the top of this page and start reading everything you can. It tells all about the island, people, housing, jobs, you name it. There is also a very good search engine here to pinpoint what you're looking for.

Happy hunting,
nn


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Linda J
(@Linda_J)
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August 29, 2009 12:00 pm  

But no there is no rent to own or assume a mortgage here. The lack of any "creative financing" has probably saved us heartache during the housing downturn.


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Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
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August 31, 2009 2:33 am  

Country Day is a very good (yet expensive) school.

Owner financing is virtually unheard of in the USVI. I've tried putting a few creative deals together if someone has enough down payment and can qualify for a balloon payment in a couple of years to complete a delayed purchase if a seller can manage to keep his finances together that long with the influx of cash from the down payment. It's worked a couple times but it takes good people on both sides of the transaction and a very solidly written contract to cover everyone's backsides.

I'd hesitate to recommend you try something like that if there is going to be a problem getting your own house sold.

Your better option for immediate use would probably be to try and rent out your house while having it on the market if you can find a high quality tenant you'd trust not to destroy the place. Then rent here until you get yours sold and are free to move forward comfortably with a new purchase. If you find you don't like island life, that also saves you having to unload another house sooner than would be ideal.

Rental rates have come down about 1/3 on the island over the past 6 months. That's great news for people coming soon who want to book into a full year lease before the market can recover and likely begin to tick upwards once again in 2010.


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nforbes
(@nforbes)
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August 31, 2009 5:40 pm  

i heard about one rent to own option on this board...it was from Heritage Property (he posts here). You can ask him if it's still available - i believe it was in La Reine.


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Betty
(@Betty)
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August 31, 2009 7:47 pm  

Rental rates have come down about 1/3 on the island over the past 6 months.

It really seems more like a 25% to 20% to me. For example $2k places are not renting for $1350 but more in the $1900 to $1700 range. Although I have heard of some place that normally rent for $2k going for $1500. I have no idea how the vacation rentals are doing. Its always bad this time of year.

For me as a landlord, it seems like they're were just very few renters out there. Or lots of people that might move here. Or people that wanted the place so cheap I'd much rather it sat empty. I have a lot of experience with renting and the people that try to get you to go outrageously low for something nice rather then buy/rent in their price range/size range are usually trouble.


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islandlola
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August 31, 2009 9:21 pm  

<>

Unfortunate, but true (at least, in my experience, concurring with Betty here).

Fortunately, this does not represent most people (again, in my experience).

Best,

Islandlola
---


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curran17
(@curran17)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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September 1, 2009 4:00 am  

Islandlola,
what about teachers? the pay sucks but they have a steady pay check, how much can they afford to pay for rent? When I lived in STX I rented a condo but we needed two roommates to share it. That was way back when though.
How much can teachers afford to pay for rent? About?


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dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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September 1, 2009 4:18 am  

It is true, not every profession pays equally well, and people in some professions here require roommates to meet their monthly rent obligation. This is an important point that young people need to know in order to choose a course of study that will meet their adult needs. Many of us make difficult trade-offs to live in the VI rather than the states, and young people likewise need to understand that there are trade-offs inherent in what they choose to study and the eventual career paths that will be available to them. Teachers have the ability to move from the states to the VI and work, while most careers do not afford that possibility. There are numerous other advantages to teaching, and many disadvantages, one of which is relatively low pay. Every profession has trade-offs, and it behooves young people to think about the issue before they pursue a course of study that will limit their career options.


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Linda J
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September 1, 2009 4:46 am  

Once one determines what his/her budget is, they should look for a rental in that range. It is not fair to expect a landlord to change the rental price.


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islandlola
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September 1, 2009 10:36 am  

While I think that on the average local teacher pay does not allow for the most luxurious accommodations, it is possible to live nicely. I have had teacher tenants--their job stability makes them a good bet in my view. I must say, though, that it was typically in a situation with one other professional to share the rent.

Best,

Islandlola


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Erica
(@Erica)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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September 1, 2009 8:01 pm  

Tanisha,

My husband has family in Farmington Hills, understand why you would want to miss the winters!

There are good private school options on STX (Country Day and Good Hope) but the public schools are sadly not that good.

As far as housing goes, i think there are a lot of options - the prices seem low by stateside standards to me. My mom is a realtor who knows the island really well and would be happy to talk to you to give you some ideas. Her name is Lorine, her number is 340.690.9628. Hope that helps and good luck with whatever you decide.


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Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 411
September 1, 2009 11:15 pm  

<>

Unfortunate, but true (at least, in my experience, concurring with Betty here).

Fortunately, this does not represent most people (again, in my experience).

Best,

Islandlola
---

Here I am the voice of world wide reality. St Thomas has always had new arrivals and tourists to prop up their rent costs, and St Croix has had Hovensa to prop up their rent costs. The truth is that rent costs are driven by what is available and what people are willing to pay. On St Croix, the cost has usually been higher than it might be due to the Hovensa contractors who paid higher than market rates. Absent that artificial stimulus the real rents will always be lower. Just as the cost of buying here has always been lower.

As Alexandra honestly states, rents are down right now, because real estate sales are down and the whole economy is down. It is a fact that you can find a rental for less right now. I find it offensive that Betty calls it outrageously low, but then she is a landlord. It is in fact fair and based on the up and down of the housing economy. When it is good landlords get premium rates, when it isn't, they don't.


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Trade
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September 1, 2009 11:40 pm  

But owners' insurance rates or maintenance costs don't go down.


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Betty
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September 2, 2009 2:11 am  

I really don't think I said anything offensive. Yes rental rates are down, without a doubt. You can only get what the market will pay for your product. I see many crazy people that are holding on to their old rental rates. I lowered mine right away. I didn't have any illusions about the market getting better anytime soon. But the rates are simply not down a third, especially not for the size of my rental. Maybe one bedrooms are that low.

Hovensa definitely helped the rental market in many ways, but people still need a place to stay. And honestly I've been doing rentals a very long time, here and stateside. You may not like what I say but I know what I'm doing. I've helped quite a few board members with there rental problems, not to mention friends in real life. So many people here buy a house with an apartment and realize quickly how over their heads they are. Renting is not difficult but its not common sense either. There are many rules, laws and regulations you must be aware of, simply to cover your a$$ and protect your MAJOR investment. Not to mention the number of scams out there.

One scam I just heard about a few months ago, new to the islands but not stateside. Is where people post pictures of someone elses rental on the internet and get people to send them 1st months rent, deposit, etc.. Its just another reason why I say never never rent sight unseen. You need to be here.


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Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 411
September 2, 2009 2:56 am  

Sorry Betty, I misunderstood your comment that people who wanted lower rents were "trouble". That is what I was reacting to . We all want lower rents and should not be afraid to ask for them. Trade mentioned that fixed costs remain the same, that is true, but the value of property fluctuates.

The Virgin islands still has not suffered to the extent that property owners in the states have. As an example I own a property (California) that was appraised at $600,000 at the peak and now is appraised at $320,000 or less. The rent on that property was about $2000 and is now $1400. Facts of life. Consider yourself lucky if your value and rent haven't gone down 30 or 40 percent.

There is large backlog of unsold properties here, but until they sell at a lower price you haven't lost anything. However rents are edging down. Supply and demand.


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islandlola
(@islandlola)
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September 2, 2009 7:47 pm  

<>

The way I understood Betty's comment was that people who expected "outrageously low" rent [implied but unstated: by current market standards] are "trouble'

I still agree with that, assuming that I understood the remark correctly. Yes, rents are down. Many landlords (at least those who are filling vacancies nowadays) are also going down. But that doesn't mean that a tenant's or buyer's offer to pay a small fraction of an already market-appropriate rent or sales price is acceptable. It often signals a person who a) doesn't understand values b) does understand values but wants something for little or nothing.

Just my two cents.

Best,

Ilo


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Betty
(@Betty)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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September 2, 2009 8:09 pm  

Yes that's how I meant it Islandola. I would add c) will treat your place like it has no value.

I've had some narrow misses on island, but I always use the application process and check on their previous landlords and current job. Total income must equal 3xs the rent, etc... Like I said I did this for a long time stateside, renting one little apartment here is easy. The landlord here will spill the dirt quite easily and I'm sure vice versa. Its always important to have a good relationship with your renters. I love having them, they pay my mortgage. The happier they are hopefully the longer they will stay put!

But I would always always rather have it empty then have a headache move in.


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