Real Estate/Land Planning Question
Hey Guys, hope all is well with everyone....
I'm in Southwest Florida and have been watching the weather channel and it looks like you might be getting a little rain (much needed I hear) and some wind....hope it's all good.....LOL
Anyway, my question is.....does anyone know if a real estate license from Florida will transfer to STX? Or do I have to take the test in the USVI?
Also I have a background in land development (I'm a land use planner) and have been looking for a job...I've applied for a planner position on St. Croix with the government but their is a hiring freeze now...does anyone have any suggestions where I could contact potential employers?
I'm planning on coming to STX in early September to look for work.
Any advice would be appreciated.
If you want to be a realtor here, call the local brokerages here. He can get a tempory, which is good for 6 months without taking the test. You'll have to be sponsered by a local realtor and get approved by the board for the tempory license. You do have to take the test but much of it is very simular. Kind of a hard way to make a living here until you have the contacts. We have 219 house for sale, 169 condos and 444 pieces of land for sale. Not a lot and they dont move quickly but we do have alot of realtors, so you have to find your niched quickly to make it here.
Here, as anywhere, many people attempt to break into the real estate profession and very few remain longterm. If you are an agent elsewhere, at least you should already be aware that there are a LOT of expenses before you may ever make a dime in commissions and that it takes even the most competent agents years to develop a reliable pipeline of customers and clients when they relocate to somewhere completely new.
To apply for your license in the USVI, you have to first be a resident for 30 days and get a "tax clearance letter" from the government, which is part of your application packet for a business license. Your new broker will write a letter much as brokers do on the mainland agreeing to take responsibility for your real estate activities. The application requires I think 3 local references who have lived on island at least 5 years and known you a while and will vouch for your character. There are a variety of things to fill out and provide on the application form. Once you apply, the Real Estate Commissions (appointed by the governor) must vote on your application after which you get a temporary license and have 6 months to pass the exam. It includes local and national sections, so you will need to learn the local information independently to be able to pass that section. Some of it is NOT intuitive or even sensible. When your temporary license is approved, you apply to the Board of Realtors for admission. Until they vote to approve your membership, you cannot gain access to the MLS or work as a Realtor through your agency. You can be an assistant to someone to start learning local info of use during this interim period. Once fully approved, you are off and running.
Many things about selling real estate in the islands are the same as you would be used to from the mainland. There are some differences that will catch you by surprise. I moved here from Washington State nearly 5 years ago after years in real estate and still cringe now and then about some of the things that are done backwards here or just not done at all. There are no classes required at this point to get a license. You do have to take the Code of Ethics course periodically to maintain membership in the Board of Realtors and other classes are offered now and then. There is no minimum clock hour requirement to renew your license. Renewal is done annually and requires a tax clearance letter showing you have paid all your income taxes and gross receipts taxes and are in good standing.
Most properties for sale do not have lockboxes, so plan to spend more time than you'd like walking all over town or looking for parking to visit each individual office to pick up keys and again to return them. You don't call owners or occupants directly to set up showings and must give a day or more notice before showings, so this also takes up quite a bit of extra time when arranging a tour for buyers. The upside is that with such a small inventory it is possible to have a really good overview of what is available at any given time and to match buyers with a likely house you already know about. With the market less active than in years past, new Realtors here will have a very hard time breaking into the business to a high enough degree to live comfortably on their earnings. Meanwhile, the expenses never drop and often go up in terms of more advertising to try and bring in business.
Jobs in land use planning are likely going to go to lifelong USVI residents. Government jobs of that caliber are just too desirable for them to be handed out to off-islanders if they can scrounge up any local to fill the position. Many locals would fear an outsider having control over how the islands grow and develop. You may find a better fit for your skills with a development company looking at putting in a new resort and amenities.