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PMV to STT coming up in March. Best place to look for rentals, considering....

 
40isthebetter20
(@40isthebetter20)
Advanced Member

Hey there! 
Me, my hubs and our 5 year old will be in STT this upcoming March and we will be doing our first PMV to see if this would be a good move for us. Due to my PTO restrictions at work we'll only have a week there (but don't worry- we'll plan more trips before we actually move) ;). 

If you all don't mind, can you please recommend some good areas to look for a rental? We'll need 2 bedrooms and we'll need pet friendly. Nothing super cheap but we aren't billionaires either- maybe around $1500 if possible? Middle of the road would be just fine and a family friendly area would be great. I just want to get an idea of what's out there and what it's going to cost. 

Since we're on an island, beachfront isn't a necessity since you can drive and find one in any direction. 🙂

Most importantly- I'd like to find a location near a good school as our little will be in elementary school. Any info you guys could provide about the schools down there would be great also. I have heard private is the way to go but I'm open to hearing all opinions. 

Thank you so much for the help!! 

xoxo

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Topic starter Posted : January 31, 2020 2:13 pm
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Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

As you get closer to your arrival date start winnowing out the scams from the real rentals on craigslist and setting up appointments, also use the Island Trader publication for the week you arrive, published Thursdays. This will be unnecessary if you are not moving fairly soon. 

Do your school research online sites ahead of time and set up visits to the ones you are interested in, which may influence your choice of areas, or you may decide on maybe a location convenient to your job if you have one. Most schools will require you to drop off/pickup the children depending on location etc.

There are fine residential areas throughout the island - budget for vehicles, rent, utilities, deposits, furniture, personal shipping expenses etc. -- $1500 2 bdrm can be found with some searching, likely unfurnished and no utilities included at that price, pet friendly?? maybe with a bigger deposit, unlikely to be fenced for sure, hopefully off street parking spaces and paved access and solid construction.

Separate electric meter and metered water from cistern is something to look for, house generator and hurricane shutters are also something to look for, NEVER rent any apt sight unseen!

If this is your 1st of many PMV's? you will not really be in the market to rent/put down deposit on a place this trip, so seeing many individual apts. probably will be a waste of your short time. Concentrate on the schools, costs anticipated, overall residential areas of preference, job search?

 

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Posted : January 31, 2020 3:02 pm
40isthebetter20
(@40isthebetter20)
Advanced Member

@exit-zero

Thank you so much for the info! 

You're right- we def won't be ready for deposits or anything yet but we do want to get an idea of what we're looking at financially and what qualities in a rental are musts and what we can live without. 

We're planning on possibly making the move in a year (or so) so we can prepare financially, get the little out of 1st grade and into the summer, and do this as well thought out as it can be done. 🙂 

I am a Senior IT Security Operations and Compliance analyst, so I'm giving myself the year (or however long is necessary) to find something either on island or remote work. (I know the internet reliability working from home will take some effort but I should be able to make it work for what I need.) If I find something sooner than later, then we may push the move up a little if we feel comfortable doing so. 

My husband is a Contractor and is also a boat mechanic (he had a job doing that a long time ago before he started his contracting business) so we should be able to make something work between the two of us. 🙂 

We live in a really expensive area now, so the cost of living real estate wise seems to be about the same. Just that initial jump from a mortgage to rent will hurt a bit. LOL. But we'll eventually get that sorted out, too. 🙂 

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Topic starter Posted : January 31, 2020 4:26 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

The two things that I tend to see send 'transplants' leaving island are either their kids or their health.  So for you, I would say that you should really concentrate on schools for your young one.  I would look at private, public, and parochial schools.  I don't have a lot of knowledge of the schools on STT, but maybe someone else can chime in there.  I do know that two of the private schools on STT that a lot of STJ parents send their kids to on STT are Antillies and VI Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy.  I have two kids and my oldest went to private school until 5th grade then we switched to an online program.  My youngest is in public school and is currently in 4th grade.  So far I can say that every situation we have has had its issues.  It may take some time to figure out what is best for your family.   

Then there is healthcare.... the USVI doesn't offer any individual healthcare options at this time (that I'm aware of) unless you have a special situation like you are a Veteran or an ex-pat.  There are some employers that offer health insurance through a group policy, but that can be hard to find as well since there are so many small independent businesses here.  

Your husband shouldn't have too hard of a time finding a job if he is a contractor.  There probably a lot of differences in building here vs where you are from, but nothing he couldn't learn if he got to work with an experienced crew.  I am with a construction company on St. John and we are always looking for experienced carpenters and masonry crew.  

 

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Posted : February 1, 2020 5:27 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

If you have a pet, be aware that if your dog has to fly cargo due to its weight, you cannot do so during summer months due to heat/temp on tarmac restrictions.

Check airline regulations.

Pets cannot fly cargo on any Airbus aircraft for any leg of your flight. Boeing Only.

Definitely want to check commute between home, school and work situation. It can be a grind!

Check Wi-Fi internet and cell service.

Some locations have unreliable services.

 

 

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Posted : February 1, 2020 10:36 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

As far as public elementary schools go, I think Sibilly and Yvonne Bowsky are good.

http://publicschoolsk12.com/elementary-schools/vi/st.-thomas-island/780003000027.html

Antilles and Montessori are private schools and both excellent and may offer subsidies to offset costs and there are Parochial schools such as Sts. Peter and Paul, Anglican, Lutheran.

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Posted : February 1, 2020 10:48 am
40isthebetter20
(@40isthebetter20)
Advanced Member

@stjohnjulie

Thanks so much for the info! Job and health insurance wise, I'm hoping to find  a work from home position since everything I do can be done remotely. I know internet will be challenge but surely I can make it work some how. 🙂 I don't want to down talk the jobs on the island by any means, but working remotely I know I could match or exceed my current salary and benefits which would give my husband plenty of time to find a job and for us to get established. 

@alana33 

Thanks for the info on the public schools! I looked at the cost of the private schools and while I'm sure they're great, if we can find a good public school that we all like then that will save $14k- $20k a year. Which would go a long way elsewhere. 🙂 

Both of our pups will probably exceed the weight regulations. I really wanted to research if there were different ways to get them here bc truthfully, them flying is one of my biggest concerns. I'm sure they would be absolutely fine (and I'm over reacting), especially on a mild sedative if the vet thinks that's okay. So thank you for the info! I will def keep that in mind!  Meanwhile I'll be searching for a slow boat that I'm sure will cost us a fortune so it won't work out... lolol 🙂 

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Topic starter Posted : February 1, 2020 1:13 pm
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member
Posted by: @40isthebetter20

@stjohnjulie

Thanks so much for the info! Job and health insurance wise, I'm hoping to find  a work from home position since everything I do can be done remotely. I know internet will be challenge but surely I can make it work some how. 🙂 I don't want to down talk the jobs on the island by any means, but working remotely I know I could match or exceed my current salary and benefits which would give my husband plenty of time to find a job and for us to get established. 

@alana33 

Thanks for the info on the public schools! I looked at the cost of the private schools and while I'm sure they're great, if we can find a good public school that we all like then that will save $14k- $20k a year. Which would go a long way elsewhere. 🙂 

Both of our pups will probably exceed the weight regulations. I really wanted to research if there were different ways to get them here bc truthfully, them flying is one of my biggest concerns. I'm sure they would be absolutely fine (and I'm over reacting), especially on a mild sedative if the vet thinks that's okay. So thank you for the info! I will def keep that in mind!  Meanwhile I'll be searching for a slow boat that I'm sure will cost us a fortune so it won't work out... lolol 🙂 

Very few mainland based jobs offer health insurance that provides coverage in the VI.  Many mainland based employers will not allow you to work from the VI because of income tax issues.

Home schooling will be a better option than public schools in the VI. 

There are no boats - cruise ships or otherwise - that will take your dogs to the VI. Your options are air cargo (American and Delta offering Boeing equipment), checked baggage (Boeing equipment), Amerijet or private air charter.  Investigate Amerijet - but plan to pick your pets up by private charter in San Juan. Amerijet has not heat restrictions since pets travel at night from S. Florida.

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Posted : February 1, 2020 1:40 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

My pup, Hershey will be making her 7th flt. I'm cargo when we get back to STT, tomorrow.

Shes 10 and 56 lbs. We've always flown AA.

STT, MIA, MCO back and forth.

I've never sedated her. Talk to your vet about this and try meds out in advance. You don't want a bad reaction on flt. I'd advise against it.

I always ask the captain's to let me know when she's boarded and I sit on right hand side where I can see cargo and luggage. She's the last on and 1st off. $200 each way for her in cargo.

Trying to get ALL BOEING flts. is a bit of a pain.

I'm usually back for at least a month so while not easier to bring her, I won't board her for that length of time.

Airlines have breed restrictions too, so do your homework!

Many landlords won't accept pets.

Rarely will you find fenced property.

Our neighborhoods are not like those in states. No sidewalks, no Dog park, dogs not allowed on beaches.

Private schools are pricy but you may qualify for financial aid. Can't hurt to check.

Healthcare insurance is an issue.

Yours probably won't be transferable to USVI. Unless you work for VI Government or an employer that provides it, you're not going to be able to get/afford it. 

As Gators Mom mentioned, 

"Very few mainland based jobs offer health insurance that provides coverage in the VI."  

"Many mainland based employers will not allow you to work from the VI because of income tax issues."

 Lots to consider as you move forward.

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Posted : February 1, 2020 3:01 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

@ Gators Mom...   can you please refresh my memory?  Have you had children in the public school system here?

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Posted : February 1, 2020 3:35 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member
Posted by: @gators_mom

 

Very few mainland based jobs offer health insurance that provides coverage in the VI.  Many mainland based employers will not allow you to work from the VI because of income tax issues.

 

Mine does.  One of the guys I work with in the mainland has relocated to the VI as his permanent residence.  He does no work in the VI.  His job has him flying all over the US to work here and there in the field for a week or two at a time.  So now he simply has a little longer commute every week or two and the company still covers all the travel cost they'd be anyway.  That should make for some interesting tax filing.

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Posted : February 1, 2020 9:18 pm
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member
Posted by: @stjohnjulie

@ Gators Mom...   can you please refresh my memory?  Have you had children in the public school system here?

Julie - I have been an administrator working for educational institutions for 30 years. Sometime ago, I worked for a school district that ranked very high nationally for academic success. Everything was there - parental involvement, substantial family incomes and no school qualified for free/reduced lunch program, brand new schools, media centers, all the classroom tools you think you need and more, teachers who were paid living wages - and on and on. I don't know if these kind of resources are what those parents are seeking for their kid but statistically VI public schools just don't offer the same experience.  

This biggest predictor for school success is attending school. No matter what, public school kids in the VI have missed a year of classroom time because of the storms that can never be made up (a semester after the storms, then half-day school for a year).  This educational gap may cause an achievement gap for some kids for the rest of their lives - and for the VI community. 

 

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Posted : February 2, 2020 9:02 am
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member
Posted by: @Scubadoo
Posted by: @gators_mom

 

Very few mainland based jobs offer health insurance that provides coverage in the VI.  Many mainland based employers will not allow you to work from the VI because of income tax issues.

 

Mine does.  One of the guys I work with in the mainland has relocated to the VI as his permanent residence.  He does no work in the VI.  His job has him flying all over the US to work here and there in the field for a week or two at a time.  So now he simply has a little longer commute every week or two and the company still covers all the travel cost they'd be anyway.  That should make for some interesting tax filing.

My very large employer offers a PPO plan that works anywhere in the world - but most smaller employers provide HMO coverage that tends to be local or regional.

That IRS/territory bona fide resident qualification can get complicated - and states with income taxes can add another layer of misery for remote workers and their employers.

https://taxmap.irs.gov/taxmap2018/pubs/p570-001.htm

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Posted : February 2, 2020 10:00 am
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