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ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
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Joined: 8 years ago
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January 30, 2013 11:20 am  

First off, hello everyone. This is my first post here, though I have been enjoying all of your insight and searching on this fomum for about 60 days now. It's so nice to see so many people willing to share their time in helping others who want to be, or are in the process of becoming, their neighbors. Have actually enjoyed reading AandAtoVI's saga - like they were, we were initially focused on St Croix but after a PMV there are targeting St Thomas.

So after visiting St Croix a few weeks ago and seeing several houses (and having close to 20 hours on the St Croix MLS, using a STX Realtor), we decided STX is just not for us. It was just way to quiet and seemingly desolate for us. We are 'town' people - we like to go out to restaurants all the time, we like activity, and while I always considered us laid back, compared to Crucians we are apparently quite uptight 😉

It was a very good experience, however, and we've been searcing the St. Thomas MLS since we got back 2 weeks ago and really decided that we really liked the Red Hook area, and Nazareth. 90+% of the homes that meet our selection criteria are in Mahogony Run, Frenchman's Bay, or Nazareth -- but while I LOVE golf (live on a course in MI) it seemed that was really all that area had going on, it's cooler, and had mildew issues. Frenchman's Bay looked nice, but not "neighborhoody" enough for us. We have a 4 year old and being in an area where he can make friends is very important to us (we want to make friends too of course). This is one of the biggest reasons that the Red Hook area was so appealing to us - we'd like to have a 'town' (I know it's not technically a city) quite close by to hang out in and enjoy life in that is safe to be in after the sun sets, and almost anywhere you are in Nazareth you are within walking distance to a fabulous beach.

Any opinions about the area? We're going for our STT PMV in less than 2 weeks, and are going to stay at Secret Harbor. My wife is in the process of selecting a STT Buyer's Agent, but if anyone has a strong recommendation please pipe up - we'd want someone familiar with the Red Hook area, and with single homes in the median range for the areas (not condos). We have 3 houses we're planning to see when we go (unless you all persuade us otherwise about the area) - would love any comments - again a big part for us is having kids nearby for our four year old to play with, so knowing what parts of the area are more family style versus empty nesters would be a big help.

BTW, I know most new folks are told not to buy something, and to rent first for a year, but in our case we've seen every house the the MLS on the island 5 times over, and there are really only 2 or 3 we're interested in. Given that we're only going to have a new house that fits us come on line every 4 months or so, we don't mind taking a risk and buying before we move. We'd plan to spend our summers in Michigan anyway (Michigan is absolutely wonderful in the summer, and the sun doesn't set until 9:30 in June and July), so if it didn't pan out we would just rent the house all full-time instead of just in the summer. In terms of job we're all set; as long as we like STT I'll be starting a new company based in the east end of St. Thomas in the fall.

Thanks first off for all of your past comments - I've done a lot of post searches here and really enjoyed your perspecives and candor (I don't mind negative comments at all). Appeciate very much any opinions you all have. We've lived our whole lives in a 50 mile circle and instead of "when we retire we'll......" we're trying to take a leap and do it now when were 40 and still have [hopefully] most of our lives ahead of us.

Cheers,

Chris (and Nicole)


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billd
(@billd)
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January 30, 2013 12:06 pm  

I would use Stout Realty. I have used them in several transactions and Jay Ann is very good. Tell her bill sent you.

What you are asking about the RH area is like asking to solve world hunger. On your PMV you will see for yourself and then dfetermine what is right for you.

Good luck

bill


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East Ender
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January 30, 2013 12:39 pm  

The East End is nice for http://www.vimsia.org/, the St Thomas Yacht Club and the community pool- all activities where your child will meet others. Welcome to St Thomas!

John Foster Real Estate is in the neighborhood. You'll pass them on the way to Secret Harbour.


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VIsnorkeler
(@VIsnorkeler)
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January 30, 2013 3:35 pm  

You will love Secret Harbour! You'll definitely meet other kids there. Sunday Funday is celebrated here frequently. This is the time of year for snowbirds, so expect to see some older folks, too. I love this area. I have lived in Estate Nazareth for over two years, love it love it! I'm sure I will meet you during your stay there as I work in the restaurant on the property. Welcome to the island. See you soon. PM me if you'd like to know a little more about the specific area that these houses you are considering are in.


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mtdoramike
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January 30, 2013 7:48 pm  

Your making a big financial mistake by buying a house on St. Thomas without spending a minimum of 3-5 years on the island before making that kind of commitment. Most folks who wonder down to the islands stay a maximum of 5 years and then they start missing their old life and the conviences of living stateside.

Also, I caution married couples that want to make the move to the islands that every married couple that I know that made the move were divorced within 3-5 years. This is a whole different lifestyle than living in the states some adapt well, but most do not. But if I were to choose a place to live, I would focus on the Northside, particularly Hull Bay area. It's the safest area on St. Thomas to live..


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East Ender
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January 30, 2013 9:52 pm  

Mike: It is your opinion that north side is the safest area, based on your (or your family's) north side experience. There are those on the east end who feel it is safe, also. *Many* folks stay for less than way less than 5 years and there are *some* who are still married after 5 years. You gotta be careful with the superlatives! IMHO, of course.;)


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blu4u
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January 30, 2013 10:43 pm  

Regarding making friends: Yacht Club (if you're into boating) , enroll your child in pre-school. Lots of family stuff to do, beach parties, boating, et al.
Regarding hoods. Nazareth is condisidered one of STT safest hoods. The other side of Red Hook--not so much.
Regarding staying married, any big descion requires 150% commitment from both parties. I know many couples who are still married. Most of the divorces, were predictable: infidelity, subtance abuse, personality disorders, step kids, $$$. If you have marital problems, don't move to the VI, unless you want to excellerate the break-up.
Regarding real estate. Don't be in too much of a hurry. I would rent for 3-6 months and get a real feel for the island first. Real estate moves very very slow. You won't loose by waiting.


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CAtoSTX
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January 30, 2013 11:48 pm  

We live on the northside (love it) and our daughter goes to daycare in Nazareth... pretty, and nice houses - but I wouldn't want to live there compared to the northside. - I swear it's 10 degrees warmer.
We meet families all over...
There's a facebook group for families on STT called "tots on the rock"

Between church/synagogue, beaches, daycare, mommy + me classes, other kids classes (dance, kindermusic, etc) you can meet families everywhere.


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Isl girl
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January 31, 2013 1:34 am  

I lived in Nazareth. It was unbearably hot. I Live on the Northside now and its much cooler not to mention the views are a lot better than I had by Secret Harbor.


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East Ender
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January 31, 2013 1:41 am  

Can you north siders describe that green stuff growing on your shoes for the OP? 😛

The point is, there is something for everyone. Renting for a while is a good idea, but Chris already made up his mind about that.


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Isl girl
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January 31, 2013 1:44 am  

They asked for my opinion. I gave it.


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CAtoSTX
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January 31, 2013 1:48 am  

Im really curious how you Chris/OP thinks that STT is going to be any more "for you" than STX was/wasn't?


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mtdoramike
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January 31, 2013 2:12 am  

Mike: It is your opinion that north side is the safest area, based on your (or your family's) north side experience. There are those on the east end who feel it is safe, also. *Many* folks stay for less than way less than 5 years and there are *some* who are still married after 5 years. You gotta be careful with the superlatives! IMHO, of course.;)

My parents lived on the east end and their house was broken into 3 times within a year. My wifes family has lived on the Northside for generations and I can't recall them ever suffering a burglary. Now as far as divorce goes, I have found that most who find themselves in the islands are usually running from something whether it be from someone, something or themselves. But like I said before, most of the married couples that I know of who came to St. Thomas wound up divorced. But not me, I married an island girl and have been happily married for 38 years. Now am I saying that all marriages will end in divorce NOPE, but what I am saying is it will be sorely tested.


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ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
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January 31, 2013 2:39 am  

Im really curious how you Chris/OP thinks that STT is going to be any more "for you" than STX was/wasn't?

First -- thanks so much to all of you in this thread for the responses so far - all much appreciated. To VI snorkler - thanks for the offer, will take you up on it.

I have to laugh a little at those saying the east end seems 'too hot' - I get that the northern highlands might be 10 degrees cooler, but don't see how the 80s could ever be considered 'hot' 😉 Maybe I'm a lizard at heart - I love it hot. I guess if you live where the average high is 86 all year a cool breeze might be very inviting.

For CAtoSTX (who ended up in STT is appears?) it has mostly to so with what appears to be a meaningful difference in both density of humanity between the two islands as well as the difference in I'll call it "recreational commerce" between the two islands. Crucians generally find STT to be too crowded, too many crusing tourists, to "hectic", and congested. I found St. Croix to be so quiet and peaceful that I was going to go insane. I like many things about island culture, like taking the time to greet strangers properly, getting away from the excessive materialism that pervades American culture, and not having a 50-55 hour week be the custom. St. Croix was just to much for us - I understand people thinking tourists are annoying and a crowding irritant, but what we figured out is that tourists are what gives a remote island with little natural resources a much better economy that means retaurants and beaches with bathrooms (a crazy concept) and bars and retail and nice things that we, at least, desire. We don't want the VI to be expactly like the mainland by any means, but we didn't want the B-52's song "Your own private Idaho" to be playing though our heads each day either.

I hope none of the people from St Croix take offence to my comments -- everyone was wonderful to us there, and it's a beautiful island; it just wasn't for us is all. Maybe we'll feel the same about St. Thomas, but I don't think we will.....I guess we're gonna find out.

Chris


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mtdoramike
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January 31, 2013 1:02 pm  

I don't think you will, St. Thomas to me is the jewel of the Carribean. The people are wonderful, beautiful beaches and a fantastic nightlife as well. It's a bit more of a happening place than St. Croix.


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VIsnorkeler
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January 31, 2013 2:21 pm  

I love the (relatively easy) island-hopping that St Thomas offers! I love that we have activities on this island and also activities on St John which can be enjoyed as well.

This end is hotter and drier than the Northside, true. And, 85+ degrees with NO breeze (as happens in the summer) and high humidity ... well, even this lizard gets uncomfortable. I still love where I live. I have bad sinuses and am very allergic to mold and mildew. I think I have great views from my place, too.

They will figure it out! Welcome to the Island!


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AandA2VI
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February 5, 2013 3:59 am  

Good luck with your move!! My boyfriend and I are "new comes" to STT. Been here for 3 weeks now. We ended up on the Northside also. It just was more of what I had in mind, GREAT breezes and less populated it seemed.... plus we have a great view. 🙂

Regarding the heat: Let me tell you.... if anyone loves the heat its ME! Im from AZ and loved the 110+ days. I was in STX on the east end in July with no AC and it was HOT... a whole different kind of hot. I am imagining that it will be much like that here on STT. It will be interesting as we have no AC at this house and I am hoping I can resist putting in a window unit.

I also wanted to buy a place right away, actually found a GREAT place on our PMV to STX but a job transfer for my BF landed us here on STT, its beautiful and people have been overall really awesome... different than STX. IMHO I would REALLY consider renting first unless you have disposable money (I know you've already heard it) you never know where the wind will take you. I am assuming you have looked into hurricane insurance already. I about fell over when I found out how much it was per month LOL! That combined with the fact that I know nothing about island houses... cisterns, electric, etc. we decided to rent. If something happens then someone more experienced is responsible. In my very extensive experience with the MLS, the pictures rarely look like what they actually are. I found a place on the east end through the MLS and a realtor. I fell in love with the pictures, it was just so me! Went and looked at it and was instantly hit with the smell of mold and feces. All the door frames were rotted out and there was some kind of animal crap in the corners and about 200 stairs to the place. Just saying lol.

I think so far my only regret was not getting a container for all our stuff. Bring your cars and it you like your stuff enough, bring your furniture too 😀 GOOD LUCK! See ya soon!


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susan56
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February 7, 2013 3:00 am  

We moved to STX almost 2 years ago. We found a condo to rent with the option to buy. We even put money down on it.

After a few months we realized we didn't want to stay there and opted out of the buy clause. We did stay a full year and are now back in the states. If we had bought that condo we would have been stuck with it forever as the seller sold it for way less than we offered.

DO NOT buy any thing right away. Living on an island is much different than visiting one. Please give it at least a year, if not more.


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Linda J
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February 7, 2013 3:12 pm  

No matter how much we say this, we can never say it enough -- LIVE HERE FOR AT LEAST A YEAR BEFORE YOU BUY.


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Alana33
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February 7, 2013 9:38 pm  

For me, RH is just too busy, congested and has too many people and not enuff parking.
On the other hand, the location is close to many beaches, shops, bars and restaurants for all those thousands of people that live and vacation in the area. I find it hot and dry compared to living on the north-side but that is just my opinion and we all know how that goes.;)


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ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
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February 7, 2013 10:31 pm  

Not sure I understand all of you -- so you're saying we should wait to buy? I got it, I got it! 🙂

Looking at houses Saturday....going to check out the golf course for lunch Sunday, was hoping to play some but if we move I'll have forever to play it I suppose, so just going to have lunch and snoop around.

Thanks!

Chris


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