Relocating to St. T...
 

Relocating to St. Thomas...HELP! Where do I begin???  

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baileywags
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March 19, 2015 12:06 am  

My husband and I are thinking about transferring to the islands - actually coming to "check things out" in two weeks. I have contacted a few realitors who have told me to go through Craig's List for apartment/house rentals. Not being familiar with the island at all, this makes me a bit nervous. We are looking for something in the Megans Beach area and also East Shore/Red Hook??? Probably going to rent our home here in Kentucky for a year or two until we figure out where we want to buy property, so we will rent on the island. Looking for a two bedroom (because everyone is already sending their vacation request to us) and must be ok with a dog. Our 14 year old lab-retriever LOVES the beach more than us.

My husband will transfer here with a job, I however will be looking. I have along history of working at non-profits as a case manager, program manager and currently as a Volunteer Coordinator. Anyone with some knowledge that can send me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

Car - ship or sell and buy on the island???

Rent furnished, or ship our own furniture??? I know there is cost to shipping over, but some of the pictures of furniture I am seeing in pictures is ok for a week or two....but does not look comfortable for long-term. And, I really like my bed!

These are the things on the top of my list, for now. Can't wait to get down there and see this amazing place for myself. I have a feeling that our upcoming visit will only seal the deal for us.

Looking forward to getting my toes in the sand - EVERYDAY.


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East Ender
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March 19, 2015 1:06 am  

Welcome to the board! Magens (north side) and Red Hook (east end) are both popular areas, but you will need to decide what area fits your needs best. If you know where your husband will be working, you'll have a start for your check out visit. Re: furniture, I always recommend that you rent a place furnished for about 6 months before deciding to ship your "stuff". Dogs are not welcome on many beaches, so be careful...


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Alana33
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March 19, 2015 1:09 am  

Renting unfurnished is generally less expensive. If you're just renting for a year or 2 and rent unfurnished, you'll have to purchase everything you already have. If your husband's contract is for longer than a year or 2 and you don't want to purchase everything from pots to cleaning supplies,TVs, etc., bring your stuff. It may be cheaper in the long run.

If you car is not low to ground to become pothole fodder or foreign made which incurs customs duty, bring it. Cheaper than buying a beater here. IMO.

You're going to want to rent where you have an easy commute to work so that should be a consideration. Lots of rentals are available and more become available during summer/off season.

However, if you're bring your dog, be aware that airlines have a cutoff dates for pets flying cargo, generally end of April - beginning of May and all thru the summer months until Oct./Nov. depending on temps so you need to check those dates, first, before you decide when to make the move with your pup.

Rental pool size diminishes with pets, most condos don't allow dogs of the size of a Lab. Many rentals won't have a fenced yard.

Also be aware of scam listings on Craig's List. I came across quite a few the other day while browsing available rentals for STT.

How many of your friends are actually going to visit for you to spend additional money for a 2 bedroom vs a 1bedroom?

Good luck. I'm sure there'll be additional responses to your inquiries.


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dabb21
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March 19, 2015 6:23 am  

I put an ad on craigslist for what i was looking for and let people contact me instead of me going through every one. I felt this helped me weed out the spammers. Its also going to be difficult to find a place so far out. I wanted to seal a place a year ago but had to wait until my moving date came much closer. Good luck!


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Afriend
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March 19, 2015 11:56 am  

The subject of your thread is: "Relocating to St. Thomas...HELP! Where do I begin???".

The previous responders gave you some good info and I'm sure others will chime in with more info but I'll suggest an answer for your "title question - Where do I begin?"

Simple, there's a wealth of information right here on this website - all it takes is a little time and effort on your part. Use the dropdown menus at the top of this page and read everything you find. Then use the forums search feature to bring up 100's, if not 1,000's cover just about every topic/question you may have an plenty you might haven't thought of yet.

As you read through the material you may notice some negative sounding comments - these are not meant to dissuade you but rather to let you know that island living is not all turquoise waters, palm trees, sandy beaches and pina coladas. There are some challenges to living on an island and the regular contributors here want you to learn about those challenges along with the finer aspects of island life.

The common advice in most of the responses will be to come down for a Pre-Move Visit (the longer the better), don't come as a tourist but rather spend your time doing everyday chores to see what life is really like. Also, most people will advise you that once you make the move rent for at least a year before you buy, leave your furniture in storage back in the states until you know what you actually want to bring (you'll probably need less),

There are hundreds of past threads discussing whether you should ship your car or get one here - read as many of them as you can.

Same with shipping your pet - lots of very useful info at your fingertips - just search the archives.

Good luck with your research.


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OldTart
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March 19, 2015 12:29 pm  

Excellent advice above! I second it all and would stress the importance of leaving your furniture in storage. Those of us who live here often benefit very nicely from people who bring their furniture because when they leave they realize the expense of shipping it all back is horrendous so they sell it off for pennies on the $ at yard sales and on craigslist - YIPPEE FOR US!

But, seriously, just leave it there. Even if you initially think living here is the cat's meow, reality hits most newcomers eventually and you won't be alone or unusual at all if you find island living just doesn't work for you. Traveling light and renting a fully or partially furnished place is the way to go.

Oh, and on that 2BR deal and all those people who can't wait to visit? Get a 1BR and a sofa bed in the living room! People LOVE to come visit but 99% of them don't comprehend that you're working for a living just like them and you're not available to schlepp them around to beaches during the day and bars at night. When people want to come and visit, find them a reasonably priced place to stay not too far from you, a car to rent and get together with them when you're able.

Good luck and have a great time on your PMV. 😀


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Spartygrad95
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March 19, 2015 2:24 pm  

all those people who say they are going to visit.. Sometimes don't. We went 1 bedroom with sleeper sofa, and we are glad we did. We literally shipped 8 boxes via US Postal here. That was all. Furniture is easy to find used. We didn't bring a car, but in hindsight would have shipped one here. Lots of good resources and people on this website to help you along the way. They sure helped us 8 months ago.


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Alana33
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March 19, 2015 2:36 pm  

I put an ad on craigslist for what i was looking for and let people contact me instead of me going through every one. I felt this helped me weed out the spammers. Its also going to be difficult to find a place so far out. I wanted to seal a place a year ago but had to wait until my moving date came much closer. Good luck!

I've been contacted by scanners when I've placed ads on Craig's List.
Works both ways, unfortunately. Luckily, didn't waste my time with them.

Things to watch are rentals that include heat, garage parking, fireplaces, basements, and if it has photos, there no outdoor or window shots. Scammers also have posted pictures they've taken from Realtor websites. Don't send money for something sight unseen unless booking thru a local real estate company, or sites like www.vrbo or www.flipkey.


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Afriend
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March 19, 2015 3:11 pm  

For now, rent a 1BR place as your first "island home" will most likely be only temporary. Later on when decide that you plan to stay long term and know the area where you really want to live you can always "trade up" to a multi-BR home.

Now some words of advice about your stateside friends who are "already sending vacation requests: It may sound harsh but (as pointed out by another respondent) you and your spouse will be working for a living and unless your friends visit when you are "on vacation" you won't be able to spend very much time with them. Besides, do you really want to run a "free Bed & Breakfast Resort" for your friends as a side line? Instead, do what we do: When friends or acquaintances contact us to say they are planning a trip to the island (essentially trying to invite themselves to OUR HOME) we respond by saying "That's great! What hotel will you be staying at? We really look forward to seeing you and would be please so meet you someplace for cocktails and/or dinner". This works great for us. In most instances acquaintances we were never really close with rarely make the trip to the island and those friends that do come for a legitimate vacation have a good time on their own plus we get to spend an enjoyable evening with them in the "neutral territory" of a good restaurant.

Of course we do, from time to time, let close friends/relatives stay in our home but only when we initiate the invitation.


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denvertired
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March 19, 2015 3:59 pm  

Bailey,

I've been working with Rob Barringer at Sea Glass properties, he's been a huge help. He's sent pictures of rentals, given advice on areas and pointed me in the right direction for attorneys, accountants.


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Alana33
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March 19, 2015 6:44 pm  

I can always tell when my rental tenants have company visiting.
Their WAPA (electric) bill goes way up! I keep the bill in my name
but they pay it, luckily.


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speee1dy
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March 19, 2015 7:43 pm  

afriend, excellent post.
but i have a question-why would a Realtor tell you to go to craigs list to look for rentals, isnt that their job


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OldTart
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March 19, 2015 7:55 pm  

afriend, excellent post.
but i have a question-why would a Realtor tell you to go to craigs list to look for rentals, isnt that their job

Maybe my old eyes are failing more than I thought but where did Afriend say that? :S


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speee1dy
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March 19, 2015 7:57 pm  

he didnt, the op did. they were 2 distinct sentences. but no, i did not reference the op in the second sentence


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denvertired
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March 19, 2015 7:58 pm  

OT,

your vision is still sharp


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speee1dy
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March 19, 2015 8:55 pm  

I have contacted a few realitors who have told me to go through Craig's List for apartment/house rentals.

the above is from the op


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OldTart
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March 19, 2015 9:14 pm  

It's not that complicated (denvertired thanks for the reassurance!). The OP may have been told that simply because the OP isn't on island. Just as employers shy away from dealing with all the people from off island who contact them about employment opportunities, realtors likewise have their time wasted with off-island enquiries particularly where rentals are concerned.

Sure there are some scams on craigslist but it doesn't change the fact that there are scores of legitimate postings on there and referring someone from off island to the listings provides them an overview of what's available where (and local realtors advertise on there too).

Once the OP is here for the PMV and things start to fall into place, she can look at a few places and start to determine what best suits in terms of where her husband will be working. At that point, realtors will be more inclined to deal with her as a serious looker and not just someone from off island thinking "maybe perhaps I'll move here".


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speee1dy
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March 20, 2015 10:45 am  

i would have thought a Realtor would want the business.


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OldTart
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March 20, 2015 11:18 am  

i would have thought a Realtor would want the business.

And as pointed out, realtors don't want to waste time on the numerous, "maybe perhaps" lookers from off island - just as employers don't usually respond to off island enquiries but will respond to those already here.


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TommySTX
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March 20, 2015 11:25 am  

Let's not forget that the majority of properties for rent are not listed through realtors and only advertised privately through CL, the local papers, a street sign or word of mouth. Realty companies take a cut of that deal if you use them to advertise your house. Many people don't want to deal with that.


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speee1dy
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March 20, 2015 1:24 pm  

thank you tommy


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AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
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March 21, 2015 2:07 pm  

Skip CL. Drive around and look and call rent signs. The landlords I've rented from are old frenchies and don't even own computers. Still have flip phones and no text lol.

Big dogs are hard. Just be honest with them. Next to no rentals have fenced yard so I hope your dog doesn't mind being cooped up all day. Find place with big porch. Make sure he doesn't bark. No quicker way to make enemies of your neighbors.

Bring you car if it's less than 50k miles. High clearance preferred but not nec. My one regret - I would have brought a car from states.

Don't bring your furniture. Just save $$ and buy it all here. Can furnish whole house with everything for about 6-7k. You're going to find the places here MUCH smaller than you think especially for the price so best to buy furniture to fit here. Unless you have 3k monthly to rent a nice place you'll be in about 900-1200 sq ft and usually stateside homes are bigger.

Don't rent furnished - it's usually junk. Trust me photos are VERY deceiving. You'll see. That spacious furnished place in reality is a shoebox with dog eaten couches. Ain't like the mainland and standards are WAY lower in terms of housing. Seems like some charge more for mold and ants lol.

Toes in the sand everyday? Try again. Lol. It's REAL life here just with a pretty view. Work groceries, errands take twice as long to get accomplished than in the states. Try to make time for that sand everyday but it's not reality.... Unless your not working I guess. For the first year you'll be in the honeymoon phase and ENJOY that. It's the best. Nothing bothers you, and you'll look at people like they're crazy when they say they want to leave. It comes all too fast that falls away and you start to get pissed about crappy customer service, rude safari drivers trying to kill you, the litter and the horrible treatment of animals.

I'm lucky to have my toes in sand everyday working but swimming and diving for 4 hours a day putting on smiles for tourists is pretty
Exhausting work but still doing what I love - being in the water - albeit I went from making 80k to less than 20k. 😉

We're two years in and still can't imagine living anywhere else but the honeymoon is TOTALLY over for us and now we "get it". You'll see 😉 welcome to da rock.

*** The views and opinions expressed in my posts are soley those of A&A2VI and other like minded islanders. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the majority or any/all contributors to this site. Have a GREAT DAY!


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speee1dy
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March 21, 2015 3:51 pm  

it is nice to see you with a positive attitude most of the time AandA.


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baileywags
(@baileywags)
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March 21, 2015 10:40 pm  

Thank you so much for the friendly advise. I do know the week we are spending is going to be more about checking out the areas we are interested in, and trying to spend time where the natives live. I do know I want to rent, for the very reason of wanting to know where we want to buy eventually. We do have an option to leave everything back in KY until we decide what we want to do - so that seems helpful.

thank you for the encouragement! Cant wait for our PMV!


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baileywags
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March 21, 2015 10:52 pm  

Great Advice, I totally get that. However, we have a very small and intimate group of friends, and of course our family, that we want to see and spend time with them at our home. There are many we would be happy to see, but could send them to a great rental property - but I don't see any of them spending the money to fly there...


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