Order of Priorities in Moving....Please Help!
I have been researching the island for some time now, and hope to make a move there within a year or two. But i was just curious as to what the usual procedure is for someone like myself moving from the states to the islands. Meaning.....Is it best to use a temporary apartment at first such as " villa fairview" until a find a more permanent residence? Is it ok to head down there with no job lined up in hopes that ill be able to find something with a month or twos time? What time during the year is optimum for finding a job and apartment?
There must be some steps or methods that are easier then others to make this move. Please help....all commments appreciated!
I would recommend that you stay at a temporary residence when you first move down. It's hard to get an apartment if you aren't here-landlords want to meet you, you need to see the apartment and neighborhood. It is what I did, it gave me enough time to learn the island, figure out the most convenient neighborhood relative to my job, shopping, safety etc. Plus, there is usually a nice group staying there (Villa Fairview) who are in the same boat as you.
As far as coming down without a job, it is very possible. If you do that I, then have at least 3 months of living expenses in the bank before you come down. If you are in the medical, educational, retail or hospitality industry, you can probably get a job rather easily if you come down just before season starts (Oct or Nov). Most apartments open up then too. The worst time to come is during the summer.
Hope that helps.
Thank you very much! Its appreciated. One more question for you though.......when you moved down here and lived in the temporary apartment looking for work and a permenant residence......how did you get around the island for shopping, job hunting, apt hunting, etc.....did you ship a car down? Buy a used one there? Take taxi's?
here's what we did, we started in 1994 as tourists, we were down to st. croix about 3 times a year for a week to 10 days each time, we made a few friends heard all the stories good and bad, blah blah blah, our east end friends had more bad stories than our west end and north shore friends. In 99 i went to virgin islands home loans and got my self pre-approved for a mortgage THEN i found a realtor and had her show us places, i told her upfront "nothing east of csted" i only wanted north shore meaning cane bay, lavallee, rust op twist, and gentle winds, she showed us 3 properties and we bought the 3rd. So what i'm trying to say is this: we spent 5 yrs going to and from the states about 15 trips here BEFORE I made the decision to buy and move, we came here with eyes wide open and have never looked back, buying a house makes it tougher to just pack up and leave when you've had a bad island day, it also shows people you have a commitment and they seem to be more helpful versus just being a renter.
This is true....but you obviously had the funds and a career in order to be able to support yourselves and a mortgage. I have some funds, but not a down payment on a house yet. And i wouldnt want to purchase a home until im 2 or so years into living there. So i can make sure im happy there before i commit.
career? me?LOL i've been a waiter and or bartender my entire life, we took out a 2nd mortgage on our house in the states to get the cash for a down payment for a house here, then we sold the house up there and had cash for about a year here,all i had was good credit and a "full steam ahead" attitude
Good advice given. Will you be visiting first? What type work do you do? Shawn's correct about finding the right neighborhood & just staying at a place like Villa Fairview to get your feet wet. Read the relocating stories at the link at the top of the page.
I moved here with 2 suitcases but I had a job & my employer had a place for me to stay. Don't forget you'll probably have to pay first, last & security when you do rent an apartment plus maybe utility deposits so have enough for that. Most places are furnished with the basics. If you do plan to ship your vehicle & haven't got it paid off, make sure your lender will allow you to ship it down here. Many won't. The other option is to buy an island car when you're here & sell the one in the States. There are lots of posts on here about shipping cars.
You might hate it after a while living down here so IMO it's probably a good idea for most to hold off bringing all your worldly possessions until you're sure you'll stay a while. Good luck with your plans!
while i don't know alot about st. thomas i share a 2 bdrm apt with a guy over there in the neighborhood above antilles school, i think the road is called hog hill in frenchbay or something like that, it seems to be a pretty nice neighborhood located between the marriott and bolongo bay. the house is on the side of the hill and we have the bottom level apt while the landlord lives above,i keep the place year round because it's nice to have a 2nd place down here on another island and it helps my friend out. You'd do well on st thomas just because it's so very busy pretty much all the time
Well i think we plan on coming the first week of October 2008, and staying at a temporary place such as villa fairview. And within the month of staying there...check out the island, find a job, and find a more permanent apartment. If we dont find what we are looking for, we'll come back to the states and try something else. All we will bring is our clothes and personal stuff.....no furniture, or cars or anything. If we find what we like.....we'll buy what we need down there, and have family from home ship some furniture down to us. But i planned on purchasing a cheap car there. As for what i do.....ive been managing retail stores and now currently a cafe for approximately 4-5 years now. Plus im about to have some hotel pool and bar expierence to add to that. So ive got a little expierence under my belt for only being 23.
I would definitely NOT recommend moving down here in October or November. By then, most of the more inexpensive places are going to be already taken, as this is the time everyone gears up for season. It's like this:
If you're gonna buy a motorcycle, the best time to buy it is in the fall or early winter, by spring and summer the price goes up because it's "RIDING WEATHER". Likewise, the time to get the best deals on housing is when people NEED to rent properties they have. The place you rent for, let's say $850.00, in April or May is gonna be $1100.00 in November.
Since you're in retail management, fall, as in August and September is IDEAL for these positions, retail businesses put TONS of people to work during these months gearing up for season. And now you're in food service, which is pretty good year round.
If I were you, I would rethink my departure date to reflect the better opportunities for cheaper housing. Once here, you can take any job that comes your way while searching for your PERMANENT position. I have a close friend who manages a hotel on the beach here where you can get a GREAT weekly rate(under 400) from about the end of March through the end of September.
Also, it will be alot more economical for just one of you to come down, get set up and THEN bring your significant other down shortly after that. This way, you can possibly do a "Roommate" situation while you look for a private residence for the 2 of you.
I hope this helps you in some way.
Thank you beach bum.....but i was confused on a couple of things you said. I wasnt clear on exactly when the best date to come down there was. Are you implying it depends on what position im seeking that reflects when i should come down? Second.....when you said i should go down first, and my significant come shortly after......Do you mean i should go solo, grab temporoariy apt ( villa fairfield), find a job, then invite her down?
If you want to find the most affordable housing and get locked into a lease for a better rental rate, then come in the spring.
And yes, I meant come down here by yourself, get all set with a job and housing, THEN bring her down. It's simply a matter of economics. One person can live here ALOT cheaper than 2 on a temporary basis. You can find someone who needs a roommate, you can eat cheaper, ride the safari to shop and work until you can afford to buy a cheap car, etc.
Trw, are you talking about Frenchman's Bay & Hawk Hill? It's a good central location.
Regarding coming down by yourself, rather than both of you coming at the same time: What happens if you come down, love it to pieces & then S/O comes down & hates it or vice versa? I assume you'd be sharing at Villa Fairview & both of you could be looking for work at the same time. Just my opinion but what I'd do is come down with S/O not by myself.
Thank you all for the suggestions. Each has their own pro's and con's. Unfortuntaely coming down in the spring will not be an option. Sept/Oct is the only possibilitiy. And i think coming down with my S/O at the same time would be best for both of us. Because within that first month of exploring the island, looking for work, and looking for apts's.....we can get a feel for the island together, and make a judgement off that whether we stay or go. But never the less.....thank you!!
P.S: That safari taxi.....thats $1 or $2 to most parts of the island right? Can you call for pickups, or they just come by randomly?
Trade, it's past antilles school going toward bolongo bay from the marriott, you turn left at the 2nd mirror on the side of the road, the first mirror is by a new house under construction the 2nd mirror is the one i turn at, and yes it is hawk hill, lol i thought the driver was saying hog hill, LOL welcome to "island directions"
honk: IMHO, September is a pretty good time to move here. Things are very quiet, so you can wander around and get your bearings. I don't think October is too bad either. If you are looking at retail or food and beverage jobs, it is pretty much being in the right place at the right time. But you need to be here in the flesh. I also believe that you should BOTH be here. You will need to pay attention to each other and your feelings. I have seen many couples move here- one loves it and the other doesn't. Doesn't make for great on-going relationships, but at least you will be aware of any trouble early on.
Trade: I kinda like the sound of Hog Hill. Also Racoon Hill. 😉
You had asked how I got around the island when I first arrived, I rented a car for $500/month. But that was three years ago. There are taxis services that will come and pick you up if you call them. If you meet a driver you like, ask for his business card. Depending on how much you want to spend, often the car rental agencies sell their used cars. Some people don't mind hitchhiking or taking taxis. I personally need to have the freedom to come and go as I please. Plus, a lot of times the taxi will make several stops before taking you to your destination, which can add an extra 1/2+to the trip.