Possible Move, VERY...
 
Notifications
Clear all

Possible Move, VERY soon...need solid #'s please 🙂

 
maybestx
(@maybestx)
Active Member

Hello All...my husband and I have been following this site for a few weeks. We have received some AWESOME tips and advice, so thanks all!! I had a job interview Tuesday and I have a really good shot I think at getting the offer. So, I would be moving there (husband and 2 kids to follow) in about a month!! (say a little prayer that I get the offer!!) This is what I'm needing to know from anyone willing to share...I know it's an extremely personal question but can anyone give me (or PM me) an idea of what kind of salary it takes to live there? Please note that we are not materialistic people.

Also, we are both combat Veterans and would like to purchase a condo using the VA Loan...but we are seeing that there doesn't appear to be many condo's that accept VA backed loans? Strange to me. Any advice on that would be great...perhaps first hand experience? Also, I see such a fluctuation in electric & water bills!! We have a budget going and were looking at budgeting $250-$300 for electricity in a 2-3br place. Is that unreasonable? Too Low?

Also, our daughter is 5, pre-k aged. Our son is 2, so he would eventually go to daycare in the fall when hubby starts school. I've heard mixed reviews on the schools. Some say they are dangerous and public school is the ONLY way to go. Others say that public is FINE as long as you are careful where you place them. Does anyone actually have a young child(ren) in school now? On the school subject, my husband will be using the GI Bill to continue his education...any else doing this at the Univ. of the VI on STX? Advice?

We have budgeted the major expenses, housing/rent, elec., water, insurance, car pmt (we will be shipping ours), inflated food costs, moving costs (registration, shipping car, import tax, etc.). Can anyone give us idea on major and small expenses that we may have overlooked?

Lastly, crime rates. Yes, we read the statistics. And we are obviously concerned because we have small kids. It appears that crimes are drug-related/driven. We wouldn't be anywhere near that "scene" or the areas where that would occur. Crime happens everywhere, learn the triggers and stay away from it as best you can. Thoughts?

Oh, does anyone have a recommended realtor? We obviously have some specific needs with VA loans and that whole process.

**I know that everyone says "read the archived posts" but to be 100% honest, I just don't have time to read through ALL of them and piece together the specific answers I am looking for. I am still working AND we recently moved before applying for this job (lol...oh the timing), so we don't have the net at home yet!!**

I would GREATLY appreciate any advice, actual prices and numbers, or anything that you would offer! Thanks and God Bless!!

Quote
Topic starter Posted : January 17, 2013 5:37 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

Welcome to the forum, maybestx, and thank you both for your military service.

Salary: You’ll need about 30% more than you made stateside, for the same standard of living. Much more if you want to put your kids into private school. I think most transplants reduce their standard of living here, but that’s a misleading term because you might spend more time at the beach, which is free. Or you might spend more time visiting at friends’ houses instead of at restaurants. Neither of those is necessarily a lowering of standards.
See: https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,186830

Schools: Most transplants put their kids into private schools, especially in the older grades. Opinions vary, but most will say that the public schools here are far below stateside standards. Search this forum for plenty of discussions on schools.

Electric bills: Our electric rates are 4 to 5 times higher than the stateside average. You will quickly learn to conserve. Actual bills are all over the place because usage varies so much. Bills over $500/month are common.
See:
https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,178615
https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,189286

Water bills depend on whether you get your water from WAPA or from your cistern, and how much it rains. From WAPA, I think it’s roughly 5 cents per gallon. It’s expensive because WAPA uses electricity to distill it from salt water.

Crime: I think you have the right attitude. Learn the triggers and avoid them. Don’t leave stuff on the beach or in your car. Don’t lock your car or they’ll break your windows to get in to look around. Don’t wander drunk late at night. Don’t go to remote areas alone. Don’t live next to public housing. Put up multiple layers of defense against burglars. Search this forum for plenty of discussions on crime.

I have no info to share on the VA Loan or the GI Bill.

Good luck with your job offer!

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 6:52 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

maybestx, food prices might be your biggest shock. a 1/2 gallon of milk can be anywhere from 3-6 dollars depending on which brand. some brands do not even last to the expiration date. fresh produce from the stores leave a lot to be desired. you can't always get what you want at grocery stores all the time-improvise.

crime-stay out of situations but remember, crime sometimes comes to you.

electric, we have a 3 bedroom, two tv ( not on at the same time all the time ) washing machine-we line dry, NO AIR. our bill runs about 200-250. i would think that that will go up again soon due to no hovensa.

if you still owe payments on your car, i do not believe you can ship it?? correct me if i am wrong.

there is another thread just posted about moving costs-please read that. i just read it today

good luck and enjoy

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 7:14 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Condo maintenence fees can be very expensive monthly and added assesments are not uncommon.
Because of the building style most condos are in need of AC which is a big expense.
Private school for 2 children will be $15-30 K
I sent you a pm with a realtor.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 7:30 pm
maybestx
(@maybestx)
Active Member

@speee1dy - You are indeed, wrong. 😛 I contacted Toyota Financial Service, with whom my vehicle in financed and I can ship my car, that I am currently making payments on. However, there is a process and some forms that they would need filled out, but it can be done. Thanks for raising the question though!!

@ExitZero - Thanks for the PM. and yes we had calculated in Condo Fees. It's strange how they flucuate from one place to the next. Thanks!

@STXBob - Thanks for all of the info and the links to some answers! Much appreciated!!

Keep it comin'!!

Thanks Everyone (tu)

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 17, 2013 7:44 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

"@speee1dy - You are indeed, wrong. I contacted Toyota Financial Service, with whom my vehicle in financed and I can ship my car, that I am currently making payments on. However, there is a process and some forms that they would need filled out, but it can be done. Thanks for raising the question though!!"

Best to contact our VI's DMV to see what paperwork is necessary for them to allow you to register your vehicle here if still making payments to a stateside bank and not owned by you, outright. The bank will have to provide you with some sort of release or title to move vehicle out of state. Best to check directly with DMV in order to have all the paperwork you shall require - 340-774-4268
You won't be able to register it without the proper paperwork.

You will have to pay customs and duty on a Toyota in addition to a Road Tax fee.

You can call Customs to find out charges for that - 340-714-1600 for Sea Cargo Clearance

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 8:07 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Best to contact our VI's DMV to see what paperwork is necessary for them to allow you to register your vehicle here if still making payments to a stateside bank and not owned by you, outright. The bank will have to provide you with some sort of release or title to move vehicle out of state. Best to check directly with DMV in order to have all the paperwork you shall require - 340-774-4268
You won't be able to register it without the proper paperwork.

You will have to pay customs and duty on a Toyota in addition to a Road Tax fee.

You can call Customs to find out charges for that - 340-714-1600 for Sea Cargo Clearance

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 8:09 pm
maybestx
(@maybestx)
Active Member

@alana33 - thanks for the numbers! I'll be calling them to see what it'll cost!

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 17, 2013 8:12 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

I pm'd you.

Those tel. numbers are for STT but they will have the same info for STX.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 8:28 pm
mtdoramike
(@mtdoramike)
Trusted Member

I would recommend staying where you are at if you enjoy being married. I have seen everyone that I knew who was married and went to St. Thomas eventually divorced. The tropics changes people, some for the better others for the worst. Drugs and alcohol are VERY plentiful as well.

Check Craigslist for housing to get an idea of what a 3 bedroom apartment/condo will cost you a month for rent Be prepared for a minimum of $3000.00 a month. In my estimation, you will need a minimum monthly salary of $6000.00 a month and that is no frills. But once your kids get old enough to go to school, look out because I'm sure you will want to send them to a private school, which will set you back another thousand a month easily.

Now, cars average $5000.00 for a junker to $10,000.00 for a decent vehicle.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 8:38 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

You will have to pay customs and duty on a Toyota in addition to a Road Tax fee.

You can call Customs to find out charges for that - 340-714-1600 for Sea Cargo Clearance

You just have to pay the road tax as long as your vehicle is from the US, not customs or duty.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 9:37 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

Lots of money. That's all you need. We've been here only a week and with buying cars, rents, internet and supplies were approaching 10k. We're a couple with no kids and the majority of that cost is the rental and a car but we just dropped $400 today on absolute necessities. Finding a furnished place is way easier IMO. We didn't see one furnished that we liked tho. Good luck! It's beautiful here.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 10:03 pm
maybestx
(@maybestx)
Active Member

@ Alana33 & LiquidFluoride - I just checked my VIN and although it's a Toyota, it was manufactured in the US. They've been manufacturing here since the 1980s...although some are still done in Japan and Canada. Thanks for the tips!

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 17, 2013 10:04 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

I would also hold off on purchasing a home/condo here until you've lived here at least 1 year, to make sure you like island life and are going to stay. Real estate moves relatively slowly here so if you end up leaving island, it could take a while to sell your condo.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 17, 2013 11:36 pm
cayennita
(@cayennita)
Advanced Member

You will also have e to pay excise tax on the vehicle based on the blue book value or an invoice that will show what you paid for it. Condos and houses are cheaper in STX than the other islands. As a veteran you'll be able to use the VA clinic. There is one her in STX as well as in STT. It appears that you are looking at STX.
We used Karen Stanton from Re Max when we bought our condo. You can pay as Little as 75k for one. Condo fees fluctuate because some are self insure with very few amenities while others have hurricane insurance which makes the fees much higher. You will also get a break on property taxes as a veteran.
I am category one and all of my medicine is free of charge as well as physicals, etc. If the VA clinic can't handle your problem, they will give you a voucher for a local doctor or a round trip ticket to PR's VA hospital.
A used car from a rental company will be from 1 year to 4 years old. For example a 2008 Jeep Patriot can be bought for 10K. Same with a 2010-11 Toyota Yaris(SP). The advantage is that you only have to pay for the transfer and tags. Mileage is between 35 and 50k miles.
Anything imported to the VI's not made in the USA or Denmark pays 6% duty. Your car was made in the USA so it's OK except for the excise tax and road users tax.
Right now the rental market is depressed. $1500/month condos are going for $800-$1000. Property values are also way down. there is a VA office to assist in getting loans. Many veterans have used that office. Make sure that you have applied for the loan qualification certificate.
If you Google the federal Government GS pay scales and look at the pay differential for here compared to where you live, you'll get a general idea of the cost of living here. You'll actually see that it is more expensive in the US major cities than here.
The electricity right now is around 48cent/kw. Gasoline is at 4.20/gl.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 18, 2013 1:13 am
noOne
(@noOne)
Trusted Member

A lot of private schools offer financial aid, you should look into that too.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 18, 2013 1:43 am
maybestx
(@maybestx)
Active Member

You will also have e to pay excise tax on the vehicle based on the blue book value or an invoice that will show what you paid for it.

Is the excise tax and duty tax the same thing? I'm pretty sure that I paid that when I purchased the car in Texas from the dealership. I shouldn't have to pay it again, right?

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 18, 2013 3:21 am
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

You will also have e to pay excise tax on the vehicle based on the blue book value or an invoice that will show what you paid for it.

EXEMPTIONS. The importation or manufacture of the following categories of merchandise is exempt from the VI excise tax: certain educational materials including books; most food stuff; coal; fuel oil; molasses used in the production of rum, animal and poultry feed; commercial fertilizers; motor vehicles requiring licensing for highway use; goods, merchandise and commodities brought into the Virgin Islands for disposition in the course of export trade; and certain sales to the US or VI Government. Certain specific tourist and construction items are exempt form excise taxes as well as from customs duties.[/quote
http://www.viirb.com/docs/TAX_STRU.htm

My vehicle requires a license for highway use,,, doesn't that mean it's exempt?

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 18, 2013 5:28 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

You have to be insured locally prior to getting car registered.
You'll need a moving permit to take it from the shippers lot to DMV around the corner, pay the registration and licensing fees, you may be required to pay for a new VI tittle as well.

Prior to that you'll have to go and pay the shipper and collect your paperwork, then go to pay Customs and Excise duties.
Excise based on value of vehicle (must have some kind of invoice or they shall use Blue Book value, whichever is higher),
Customs duties are based on whether the car or any part of it was made outside the USA. This will be identified by the VIN.
The percentage of the Duty is based on what country the car is made.

The VIN number is used to determine origin: if the first digit is 1, 4 or 5 it is a U.S. car and there is a no duty owed.
Vin’s starting with 2 or 3, there is a 6% duty. Vin’s starting with 6 or with a letter it is 3.5% duty.

Then you'll have to go across town (in STT) to pay the Road Tax, then you come back across town, get car from shipper
and take to DMV Inspection Lane and pay all those fees.

Take something to read and a bottle of water, maybe a sandwich as sometimes the lines for all the places you must go can be very long and sometimes not.

DMV does not take personal checks so either cash, credit card or business checks - only.
Ditto for other places.

I think if the car was made 2001 and up you can go directly to Window 1 inside DMV. (not sure of date here so best to check.)
Check the time DMV closes, I think 2:30PM so get an early start. Ditto for all the other places you must go.
Hopefully, you won't have to do this on a 6 cruise ship day when traffic is bad.

I would much rather pay someone to do all the running around, especially if you are not sure where to go and how to get there.
In STX, you probably won't have to worry about a 6 cruise ship day and their agencies might be closer to each other than ours in STT.
It's just paying the Road Tax at VIBR that is across town. The Shippers, Customs, Excise and DMV are nearby to each other.

With the recent WAPA rate increase we are paying $.0.53 per KWh for electricity.

St. Croix's economy seems to be more depressed than that of STT, STJ and Water Island as purchase and rental prices for homes and condos here are higher than STX.

Good Luck to you for a seamless transition.

PS/ Here is the link. If I'd seen it earlier I would have just put it here instead of all of the above:
https://www.vimovingcenter.com/car/

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 18, 2013 1:34 pm
maybestx
(@maybestx)
Active Member

Perhaps this will help...I'm not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but my VIN # starts with a "4". So, I should not owe an excise/duty tax. I will however owe a road tax...which I calculated the weight of my car X .16 = about $515.00.

I've already called USAA and gotten a car insurance quote for the VI...which is cheaper than my rate here in the U.S. I just have to have that insurance changed PRIOR to having your vehicle shipped in order for it to be covered during the transition.

I'll be calling the DMV and Toyota Financial Svcs. today (very shortly) to get a head start on that paper work just in case. I'll do an edit to this post then just so anyone else who might need tips has them!

Hopefully, this won't all be for nothing if I don't get the offer LOL...better to be proactive than reactive *-)

Again, thanks to all who have contributed and those who have PM'd me. Much appreciated!!

**UPDATE** I just spoke with the DMV and the Excise Office. At first the guy told me that all vehicles entering the VI will pay the duty tax. I politiely informed him otherwise, he asked a supervisor, and was quick to retract his previous statement. Anyways, long conversation short, I will not incur a duty tax because my car was manufactured in the US, according to the VIN.

Also, just spoke with a lady at the Excise Office. There is no excise tax on cars. Only Road Tax.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 18, 2013 2:31 pm
maybestx
(@maybestx)
Active Member

Thought I would add this about shipping a car that is not paid off yet...While I can ship it there with a remaining balance, its only allowable because it would be a federal job.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 21, 2013 2:28 pm
Close Menu