Shipping from PR?  

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bahamamama
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March 20, 2016 9:34 pm  

Hello!

My husband and I are in the very early stages of planning a move to USVI. Either STT or STX, but ideally STT. It will be a few years, but we're saving $$ and researching our options now. We've considered building a home vs buying an existing home. Right now we are leaning towards buying an existing home, something that maybe needs some cosmetic updates that we could do ourselves. I get the impression that building in USVI is for those with deeper pockets than ours.

We remodeled our kitchen here at home with Ikea cabinets and love the results (and the price!) I know there's an Ikea in Puerto Rico. What options are there for shipping large/heavy items from PR? Such as kitchen cabinets, furniture, home furnishings, etc. The cabinets come in flat packs, and in our experience, a mid-size kitchen is about 100 flat packs + small pieces like hinges and stuff.

If anyone has any pointers on shipping companies or approximate cost, that would be great!

Thanks!


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OldTart
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March 21, 2016 12:29 am  

I think your question is WAY premature. You're well advised to not even consider purchasing real property here until you've lived here for at least one year and preferably 2-3 years.

Island living isn't for everyone and the attrition rate of newcomers is very high. Be sensible and rent until you have a better idea of whether or not staying here is a good fit for you. Repeat, the attrition rate of newcomers is VERY high. Nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is. Housing doesn't move quickly here and if you find that island living doesn't work for you, being saddled with real property you can't sell quickly is an unnecessary and expensive yoke around your neck.


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bahamamama
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March 21, 2016 2:15 am  

I think your question is WAY premature. You're well advised to not even consider purchasing real property here until you've lived here for at least one year and preferably 2-3 years.

Island living isn't for everyone and the attrition rate of newcomers is very high. Be sensible and rent until you have a better idea of whether or not staying here is a good fit for you. Repeat, the attrition rate of newcomers is VERY high. Nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is. Housing doesn't move quickly here and if you find that island living doesn't work for you, being saddled with real property you can't sell quickly is an unnecessary and expensive yoke around your neck.

Oh yes, we absolutely plan on renting for a bit to get to know the area and decide on a place to settle. We weren't planning on buying right away.

But, I am definitely a planner, and am the type to weigh all of our options before making such a big decision to uproot our lives in the states and move to USVI. We absolutely want this, but just want to make sure that home ownership would someday be in the cards for us and what our options are. Just trying to get a feel for what home remodeling looks like in USVI and how hard it is to ship things from other islands. 🙂

Thanks for your reply! Good to know that real estate moves slowly....from future home buyers, that's good news 🙂


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Scubadoo
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March 21, 2016 3:24 am  

Oh yes, we absolutely plan on renting for a bit to get to know the area and decide on a place to settle. We weren't planning on buying right away.

But, I am definitely a planner, and am the type to weigh all of our options before making such a big decision to uproot our lives in the states and move to USVI.

I can relate. Doesn't hurt to plan. Just have to take into account that some things change over time so the plans may need to change as well.


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Alana33
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March 21, 2016 9:58 am  

A friend remodeled her kitchen with Ikea products.
She like the cost savings even with shipping but a few years down the road,
she found they weren't holding up very well and regretted the decision.


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OldTart
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March 21, 2016 10:24 am  

A friend remodeled her kitchen with Ikea products.
She like the cost savings even with shipping but a few years down the road,
she found they weren't holding up very well and regretted the decision.

Good point. I know a few people who went that route with exactly the same results. It looks really nice and the price is right but in this climate it quickly deteriorates.


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East Ender
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March 21, 2016 10:32 am  

As an aside: What is IKEA made of? Am I the only person who has never been in an IKEA store or had a Crispy Cream doughnut?:S


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Gator's Mom
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March 21, 2016 10:44 am  

Ikea furniture - sofas and such - are framed with kiln dried wood and could survive island life.

Cabinets and wood furniture vary in materials and you'd have to know what you were purchasing.

Ikea's quality is pretty high for the price.


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bahamamama
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March 21, 2016 11:14 am  

As an aside: What is IKEA made of? Am I the only person who has never been in an IKEA store or had a Crispy Cream doughnut?:S

The cabinet frames are are like a high quality particleboard with melamine...not what you normally think of when you think of particleboard. Our cabinets were heavy and felt durable. The doors are fiberboard. Since you buy the doors separately, you can replace them if you want to change the whole style of your kitchen. I really like our Ikea kitchen, but it's only about 6 months old and we're up in the northeast. I'd definitely recommend spending a day shopping in an Ikea store...they have some pretty neat stuff. and no, I've never had a crispy cream doughnut either ;):D

Good point. I know a few people who went that route with exactly the same results. It looks really nice and the price is right but in this climate it quickly deteriorates.

Interesting! Well that's kind of a bummer. I'll have to look into that more. We have an Ikea pantry cabinet built into our bathroom, which was remodeled about a year ago. So far it's holding up to the humidity and steam pretty well, but that's hardly a comparison for the constant heat and salty air down there. Thanks for pointing that out. Do you happen to know how they managed to get the products on the island?


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BeachcomberStt
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March 21, 2016 11:35 am  

As an aside: What is IKEA made of? Am I the only person who has never been in an IKEA store or had a Crispy Cream doughnut?:S

I have neven been in an IKEA store or in someone's house that is furnished with IKEA furniture, but I have eaten many a fresh Krispy Kream donuts that can be addicting :@)


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OldTart
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March 21, 2016 11:38 am  

Do you happen to know how they managed to get the products on the island?

Not specifically, but getting heavy/bulky items shipped here from off island isn't a big deal. There are loads of freight companies and people ship such items here all the time.


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Alana33
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March 21, 2016 1:06 pm  

My friend shipped down a container load of items including building supplies, appliances and kitchen cabinets. Can't remember shipper but probably either Tropical Shipping or Crowley.

You do not want any type of particle board products in the tropics, no matter how well made they profess to be.

Here's a blog on building in STJ.

http://www.bongobongostjohn.com/blog/

It's long but it's great reading for anyone thinking of building.
While this was on STJ and that involves another level of complexity, it's a good representation of quirks, frustrations and prices than can escalate.

It is less expensive to build on STT but it's dependent on your finishes and you can guesstimate approximately $250 a square ft., minimum.

Here's their bottom line: not including land.

The most-asked emailed question from the beginning has been “How much?” Well, now we know. So take a deep breath. Here you go. (And keep in mind, we already owned the land.):

Jun 2004: What we wanted to spend....................$450,000.00
Aug 2004: What the architect estimated...............$550,000.00
Jan 2005: What the builder estimated.................$669,000.00
Jan 2006: Builder's revised estimate.................$815,000.00
Jan 2006: (Days later) Revised, revised estimate.....$857,000.00
Jun 2006: Payments to builder to date................$1,138,421.13
Add to that expenses paid directly by us:
Additional excavation...................................$10,000.00
Driveway................................................$26,000.00
Landscaping to date.....................................$22,000.00
Furnishings and accessories.............................$35,000.00
Miscellaneous (+/-).....................................$10,000.00
Interest Only on Construction Loan......................$34,000.00
Total cost to date................................$1,275,421.13
As you can see, WE WENT A LITTLE OVER! In fact, the house is DOUBLE the builder’s initial estimate, and nearly TRIPLE what we planned to spend when we first decided to build on our lot.

Obviously, homes can be built less expensively but it's a good read, nonetheless.


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speee1dy
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March 21, 2016 1:29 pm  

i was going to ask if ikea was all particle board or was it real solid wood


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Gator's Mom
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March 21, 2016 3:55 pm  

i was going to ask if ikea was all particle board or was it real solid wood

http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_JP/rooms_ideas/kitchen_howto/JP/kitchen_products_overview.html


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RockyDock
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March 21, 2016 4:47 pm  

"If anyone has any pointers on shipping companies or approximate cost, that would be great!"

The follow two shipping companies make a once a week run from Puerto Rico to St Thomas. Most commercial companies in Puerto Rico will deliver direct to these shipping companies, and therefore you will not have to pay the local PR 11.5% sales tax on your purchased items.

Black Hawk Shipping Enterprises, Inc.
http://blackhawkshipping.com/

Stevenson Formel Freight Services, LLC, operates the M/V Norma H II, a 180’ General Cargo Vessel.
http://www.normahfreight.com/

Rocky Dock
Water Island


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speee1dy
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March 21, 2016 4:50 pm  

gee, thanks for the link.

i was specifically asking the poster who mentioned wanting to use ikea and not in general. Also, note that some of ikeas products are made of REAL wood and not Particle board So giving me a link to Ikea isnt going to answer the question on what the poster is using.

i assumed it was obvious i was asking the poster and not just a generalized question.


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bahamamama
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March 21, 2016 4:57 pm  

Alana33: great blog! beautiful home. I was getting frustrated just reading about their troubles! haha 🙂


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bahamamama
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March 21, 2016 4:57 pm  

"If anyone has any pointers on shipping companies or approximate cost, that would be great!"

The follow two shipping companies make a once a week run from Puerto Rico to St Thomas. Most commercial companies in Puerto Rico will deliver direct to these shipping companies, and therefore you will not have to pay the local PR 11.5% sales tax on your purchased items.

Black Hawk Shipping Enterprises, Inc.
http://blackhawkshipping.com/

Stevenson Formel Freight Services, LLC, operates the M/V Norma H II, a 180’ General Cargo Vessel.
http://www.normahfreight.com/

Rocky Dock
Water Island

Perfect! Thank you very much! That's exactly what I'm looking for; I'll bookmark those.

Thanks again


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Gator's Mom
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March 21, 2016 5:16 pm  

gee, thanks for the link.

i was specifically asking the poster who mentioned wanting to use ikea and not in general. Also, note that some of ikeas products are made of REAL wood and not Particle board So giving me a link to Ikea isnt going to answer the question on what the poster is using.

i assumed it was obvious i was asking the poster and not just a generalized question.

The link I provided takes you to specifications for Ikea kitchens.

I use many Ikea products in my home FL. Most are quite durable including cabinets and living room furniture.

Ikea cabinet boxes are made of coated particle board. Cabinet doors may be made from other materials including solid wood. Ikea cabinet products, per the link and from my experience, are quite substantial in weight and substance.

However, I will be shipping a custom kitchen flat to STX in coming months, the boxes and doors will be made from solid wood. We considered Ikea but chose a different route.

When we investigated the Ikea kitchen, we looked at shipping from Puerto Rico or from Ft. Lauderdale. The Lauderdale store is larger and has better prices.


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speee1dy
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March 21, 2016 6:43 pm  

again, you could not answer a question for another poster unless you know specifically what they purchased


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bahamamama
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March 21, 2016 6:49 pm  

again, you could not answer a question for another poster unless you know specifically what they purchased

She's got it right - all the Ikea cabinet frames are the same material...it's just the doors that are different. I'm guessing that if anything, it's the frames that don't hold up well in the USVI climate.

As far as their other furniture, some of it is solid wood, some of it is particle board. You just have to look closely at what you're buying....I find that with Ikea, you either get surprisingly good quality for the price, or you get junk. But you can find some good deals on solid wood furniture.

But it's all a moot point since it sounds like the cabinets wouldn't work in a tropical environment anyway. But, my original question was answered: that you can easily ship larger items between islands. Good to know! 🙂


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speee1dy
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March 21, 2016 7:24 pm  

alana, do you know if those bloggers are still around


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speee1dy
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March 21, 2016 7:27 pm  

bahamamama, i know. lol i was making sure you knew so you knew if that type of material would work down here,just like all the other posters who brought it up on this thread. i dont particularly need to know.


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AandA2VI
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March 21, 2016 10:30 pm  

gee, thanks for the link.

i was specifically asking the poster who mentioned wanting to use ikea and not in general. Also, note that some of ikeas products are made of REAL wood and not Particle board So giving me a link to Ikea isnt going to answer the question on what the poster is using.

i assumed it was obvious i was asking the poster and not just a generalized question.

LOL. Most Ikea is particleboard - bad particleboard at that - in AZ it was just fine and would last a couple years but here, it doesn't stand a chance. They do offer much better quality furniture and items BUT They are 2-3 times as much. I would just rather buy the good stuff that will last. I think for cabinets though it could work OK. My friends who own Seas The Day in STJ got some local cabinets made that are BEAUTIFUL.

*** 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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OldTart
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March 21, 2016 10:33 pm  

You're not moving here "for a few years" and who knows what will happen in the meantime. Suppliers could be delivering materials by drones by then ...


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