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The Move is FINALLY going to happen! 🙂 ... Any and All Advice / Opinions Greatly Appreciated 🙂 / Needed  

 

libby
(@libby)
Active Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 6
September 10, 2014 8:08 am  

Good Evening All,

After many years of trying it looks like I'm Finally going to take the leap. ...Woo Hoo! .... STT it is! ....She says with shaking knees. ... Probably within the next couple / few months. ... Gosh, so much to do!

I was an active member on this board 5 or 6 years ago and talked with many nice, helpful people and got some great advice about making a move to the Caribbean. For various reasons decided not to make the move at that point but am now ready to and I would like to once again ask for the help and advice of those in the know. ....My list is extensive, but I would be most grateful for any and all input and opinions.

I have set up a week long pre move visit and already have a long task list, for before and during but would welcome any suggestions and opinions regarding things that I may not have addressed or thought to do, or just in general. I would also appreciate help navigating this board: ... links... threads, etc, to any necessary and helpful info for my PMV and relocation.

My Research Topics are:

CAR:
average Car Insurance costs for a good record and average car? Should I get liability only?
should I ship a car or buy one there? Maybe an inexpensive, reliable island get around...if such a thing exists? ...If so any suggestions ffor make,model, type? ..
or buy a different one here and ship it.
Do I need / want 4WD or AWD?
...I have a Town and Country Minivan. She runs like a top, and I'm pleased to say that the brakes seem very good,... at 100,000 mi I have never even replaced the pads, ... I thought that might be an island car plus. ...On the Negative side: she's meant to cruise the freeway quite comfortably, so she doesn't have the tightest of suspensions, and I wasn't sure if her weight would be disadvantage and cause extra wear and tear?....and 100,000
Also if I buy a replacement new / used here
can I ship a car that has an outstanding loan from a bank on the mainland to STT or does it need to be paid off first?

HOUSING:
Is there any map or resource / site that will give me neighborhood names that I can use when I am looking for housing on Craigs list? Is Craig's the main/ best site for searching? And are there any areas that you would recommend I shy away from or lean toward? (I know answering that could offend so Pm would be welcome also). I have a 7 year old boy so I am hoping for a SAFE area that will offer him the option of playing outside and some kids to play with if at all possible. I have a smaller dog as well, so if I'm not mistaken, that leaves the condos at Cowpet out for the most part. .... Bummed! .. as I have heard,.... and based on my own observations,... probably agree, that, that would probably be a good area for him.
I am also torn between renting and buying a place.
I am wondering how accessible housing loans are here? Comparable to mainland or different? and are rent to own option common?.... I know the advice will inevitably be to rent, try it out first, and then buy. ... understandably so, and probably sound advice, but I was considering buying something that would / could easily be used as a vacation rental if STT doesn't end up working out for us a full time living arrangement.

Schools:
Montessori or Antilles? Any other good options? Also can anyone comment on or advise on their tuition (yikes) ...more importantly,on what seems to be a very strange payment schedule, paying most or all on the front end instead of monthly?? ... Double YIkes!

Employment:
What would / could be good job options, resources for finding a job, or best general advice?
I have an extensive sales background, primarily as an Outside Account Rep, as well as lots of Bartending and waitressing experience. ....a good personality and sense of humor(I like to think) common sense, and a hardworking, loyal, Midwestern work ethic... and can do most anything. I have also owned and run a few businesses of my own and have many ideas for possible businesses on the island but would welcome local input as to employment and any businesses or services niches that would probably do well and / or, are needed / lacking on island that I could fill.

Finances:
Do I need / [b a local bank account?[/b] If so, what does this entail? What's required?
Do I have to get a cell phone locally? Should I?
I have service with Tmobile now and it seems to work fairly well on STT...... I'll pay more attention on my PMV.
If I do need one: who should I use and how much will it probably cost?

Which internet carrier on Island is best / most reliable? Average cost?

I have a new Dish contract here, will it transfer?

Are power outages common, or somewhat common? Do I need to look for a place with a generator?

Are there good dentist on island? (I'm sure there are) what are average costs for cleanings and fillings? Should I try to get all this done and up to date before I move?

Lastly, what is your best advice or recommendations for things that I may not have covered, thought of, found on this site, or in the settler's Handbook that you have learned through your experiences.

Thanks so much, in advance, for your time and any and all advice and comments. 🙂


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OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 6523
September 10, 2014 10:55 am  

Welcome back! Can I just make one suggestion? You said, " I would also appreciate help navigating this board: ... links... threads, etc, to any necessary and helpful info for my PMV and relocation." Many of your questions will be answered by going to the top bar of this page and reading everything from, "The USVI" through to "Forum". It's a formidable amount of reading but it's well presented and categorized and will fill in many of the gaps.

Once you get to the forum section you'll probably have questions you'd like a little more specific answers to but, again, use the search engine and you'll find recent discussions on several of the topics you've raised. I think once you've exhausted the information already here you'll have much of the information you're seeking and your list will be whittled down quite a lot!

I'll be happy to answer a few of your specifics later on, but that's a start. Good luck!


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CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
Trusted Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 2473
September 10, 2014 11:21 am  

I agree.

I've seen almost all of these questions discussed in the last month.


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ms411
(@ms411)
Expert
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 3554
September 10, 2014 11:27 am  

Where are you staying for your pmv? Best to rent from a local so you can get to know someone and get questions answered.

No need for local phone, but old school land line is best in case of storm and power outage.

Choice is currently hiring outside sales reps. Bartenders always needed.


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C_Ray6
(@C_Ray6)
Advanced Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 141
September 10, 2014 12:08 pm  

Congratulations! I am glad I am not the only one on a five year plan. I have been visiting this board daily, will continue do so for the next couple of years and have read those same questions and answers at various times so using the search function would be a good start. The information gathered has been invaluable. The more answers you get to each question the better and not every island contributor is on the board every day.


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speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 8786
September 10, 2014 12:29 pm  

your car ( from what i have heard ) needs to be paid off or you must have permission from the title holder. BRING your car if it is one you trust.
car insurance is not too expensive here. I think i paid 800 for 2 last year. full coverage.

rent for at least the first year, just to get the lay of the land

you can keep you bank stateside-i have one stateside and one local

cell, you can keep you stateside phone-make sure you do not have one that charges roaming down here

internet-broadband-choice-innovative those are your 3 choices. i have broadband

ask dish that question-we have a contributor on this forum who sells dish

power outages are common-generator would be helpful

is patience covered in the handbook?

relax, have fun and enjoy.


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Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 2383
September 10, 2014 3:25 pm  

ms411 wrote
"No need for local phone, but old school land line is best in case of storm and power outage."
There are no more 'old school' land lines from Innovative - they are replacing all the copper wired phones with fiber optic cable and a modem, which has very short lived battery power - sadly the land line reliability is gone!
For the OP:
Car insurance, basic liability is under $300yr with a good record, over 25.
Inexpensive and reliable do not occur in the same sentence very often in an Island Car.
4wd or awd is not a must have on STT
I don't think a bank will want you shipping a car with a lien on it out of the States - [although a Repo Man might relish a Caribbean pickup]
I am trying to find a good map with Estate names online; try
http://www.mapgeo.com/usvi/
but once you are here you will be able to find one. Craigslist is getting more popular but Island trader and road signs are still excellent resources. Absolutely ------ rent for at least a year before buying property, even an empty lot!
Both schools you asked about are very good private schools. Antilles is much larger and more traditional but many students go to Montessori and switch over in the higher grades [ Montessori used to stop at grade 6 but now goes through grade 12] - the denominational private schools are also well worth a look for your student.
You will find a job --- probably two.
Most of your other Q's will depend on where you live.
There are many good dentists - I would get any major work done ahead of your move with your current one though.

I know posting your questions always gets a - 'do your forum search 1st' answer from many members here - and it is nice to get a personalized answer to your post - BUT there really is a lot of info to be gleaned from the multiple posts already answered and I often do a search myself before I write an answer to get a better perspective.


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ms411
(@ms411)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 3554
September 10, 2014 3:44 pm  

By old school land line phone, I mean one with a cord so doesn't need charging. Hard to find, though.


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noOne
(@noOne)
Trusted Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1495
September 10, 2014 5:55 pm  

I went to both Antilles and All Saints and would recommend both, although I favor Antilles.


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dabb21
(@dabb21)
Advanced Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 71
September 10, 2014 9:17 pm  

from my knowledge about the cell phone I have found that tmobile will charge for roaming and that they have no towers on stt so you would be using the att towers Im wondering if a vonage or something like that would work


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Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12281
September 10, 2014 9:40 pm  

Nope - no Vonnage. Sprint, AT&T and Virgin Mobile, I think.
You have to call your cell phone company if different from those to find out what they charge and if roaming applies. STT has plenty of towers for service.
It can get patchy in some locations, especially if on east end of STJ then you may pick up the BVI tower and be in for a BIG ssurprise when your bill comes. If our towers go down for a storm related event, we'll pick up the BVI tower and it shall be an expensive call so best to check in that event who's on your phone for service.


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Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 502
September 10, 2014 10:50 pm  

Let me address your car and car insurance questions.

First, as others have said in most instances your lien holder will probably not let you move the car to STT unless you pay off the loan balance. You should contact your lien holder for a definitive answer.

Like on the mainland, YOU HAVE TO HAVE LIABILITY INSURANCE and that's not overly expensive.

If you have a lien on your car the lien holder will require you to carry Collision Insurance. This applies whether it's your current vehicle that you've shipped down (with permission of the lien holder) or a car you purchased on island that you financed. The cost for Collision Insurance will vary depending on the type and value of the vehicle you are insuring. For planning purposes the cost isn't going to be that much difference from what you now pay.

If you own the car free and clear it's your decision whether or not to purchase Collision Insurance. Base your decision on the cost/value of your car and how much of a financial you are willing to take. Ask yourself how much of a financial burden it will be if you get into an accident and have to make needed repairs or replace the car if it is a total loss out of your own pocket. Insurance is something nobody likes paying for until they need it. Only YOU know the answer for your situation.

Another thing to consider, you have a vehicle with 100,000+ miles that has served you well but it has a lien on it. Most likely you'll have to pay off the loan before you ship it to STT. Can you afford to do that? You'll also have to pay to ship the car. I'm not "fully up to date" on vehicle shipping costs but it will probably cost you somewhere between $3,000 to $5,000 for shipping so factor that into your decision. Assuming you can cover those expenses you'll have a used vehicle with 100,000+ miles and while the car hasn't given you any trouble you are fast approaching the point when you'll be making necessary repairs and incur higher general maintenance costs. Are you OK with that.

Your alternative is to sell your current vehicle and purchase a different one here. What you end up with depends on how much you can afford. Obviously, it would be best if you can afford to purchase a brand new vehicle. If you can't then you'll be buying a used vehicle and all that comes with owing a used vehicle. As one of the other responders pointed out "inexpensive and reliable" don't usually go together in an island car. Cars are more expensive in the Caribbean so, regardless of make, year, model, and condition, chances are you'll pay more for a vehicle on STT than you would if you were able to purchased that same vehicle "back home". That's just a fact of island life.

Good luck!


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Gumbo
(@Gumbo)
Advanced Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 490
September 10, 2014 11:23 pm  

Schools,
My Son went to Saints Peter and Paul Catholic school, it wasn't for him.
He has attended Antilles for 4 years now and we have been mostly happy. I have friends that send their children to Montessori and they are also mostly happy. Both are solid college prep. schools.

Doctor Duane Jones is a great dentist.
Doctor Jason Jones is a great orthodontist.

Growing up here has been great for my son. My dog likes it too!

Welcome too the island and congratulations!


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East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5379
September 10, 2014 11:40 pm  

I can't help with all of your questions, but...

CAR:
Should I get liability only?

At a certain car age- 7 years?- you can only get liability.

Should I ship a car or buy one there?

When I moved here, I was told by a wise man that if my car was reliable and paid off I should bring it with me. The thing I would add now is: if it is fuel efficient. Gas is over $4.50 a gallon.

Do I need /want 4WD or AWD?

It depends where you live and drive. I was up at some god-forsaken north side house the other day and was scared for my life going up the road. On the east end, no problem. 😉

HOUSING:
Is Craig's the main/ best site for searching

No. The best is being here.

And are there any areas that you would recommend I shy away from or lean toward? I have a 7 year old boy so I am hoping for a SAFE area that will offer him the option of playing outside and some kids to play with if at all possible. I have a smaller dog as well, so if I'm not mistaken, that leaves the condos at Cowpet out for the most part.

Well, you could look for *apartments* in the Cowpet area. Lots of kids, the yacht club, Montessori down the street.

I am also torn between renting and buying a place.

No, no, no. Rent for at least six months. You need to see if the area you chose fits your needs. You also need to see if you want to stay beyond 6 months...

Schools:
Montessori or Antilles?

Montessori! I am a fan of Maria's concept and the children it produces.

Employment:
What would / could be good job options, resources for finding a job, or best general advice?
If you have a decent education and a good work ethic, finding a job will not be difficult.

Finances:

Do I need a local bank account?

IMHO, if you are going to be part of the community, you need a local bank.

Which internet carrier on Island is best / most reliable?

I think most people here are Broadband VI fans. But you may be "stuck" with whatever your landlord provides.

Are power outages common, or somewhat common? Do I need to look for a place with a generator?

Yes, yes, and yes.

Are there good dentists on island?

Yes, Dr Pomeranz.

Lastly, what is your best advice or recommendations for things that I may not have covered, thought of, found on this site, or in the settler's Handbook that you have learned through your experiences.

Come down, but don't burn your bridges back home. Stay a year (since you have a school age child). At the end of that time, if it doesn't seem right, you can always return and know that at least you took the road less traveled.

/quote]


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libby
(@libby)
Active Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 6
September 15, 2014 5:37 am  

Thank you all for the good info and advice and additional tips. Very helpful and most appreciated. I'm reading and researching some more on this board now and as suggested, will post more specific questions if needed afterwards. Meantime, any additional thoughts, comments are additionally appreciated.


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