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Thinking of making the move...

 
Ballsie
(@Ballsie)
Active Member

Im currently in a position where I can work from anywhere in the world and my wife and I are thinking of leasing out our home in Austin, TX and moving to STJ or STX for a year (before our son starts kindergarten.) I have gone through tons of old threads on this board, but still have several questions and Im hoping you guys can help me out. We are looking to move around Jan-Feb 2011.
All of these questions will lead up to one major question.... Which island would you suggest?

1. I MUST have reliable broadband internet (I cant use satellite isp's) of AT LEAST 7mbps. I have heard that you will pay out the nose for reliable internet service. Who has the most reliable service and can I get it on either island?

2. We need a 2br house or condo in a safe area and a view would be awesome, although not a necessity. Im thinking that about $1250/mo would be the most I would be comfortable spending on a place to live. I have checked out the classifieds on this board as well as craigslist - are there plenty of other places available, or is housing hard to come by??

3. We would plan on selling our cars before moving, but we have an old 4x4 2002 Nissan pathfinder that i was thinking of shipping to the island. Would you suggest selling it here and picking up something once we get to the island, or ship the Nissan to the the island? has anyone shipped a car from Houston to USVI? if so, what would be an estimated cost for shipping/registering the truck on the island? could I pack the truck with stuff before it ships, or does it have to be empty?

4. My wife is an ex-massage therapist turned teacher, but she said she doesn't want to work a full time job while there, so she would want to just get a little part time job in a retail store or even go back to doing massage for a little while - just something that wouldn't be too time consuming. Would STJ be a better place for her to find something?

5. Does the health care differ between the 2 islands? We dont have any medical problems.... but just in case.

This site has been a world of help. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer! Oh ya... anyone thinking of moving to Austin, TX for a year? 😉

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Topic starter Posted : August 28, 2010 5:23 pm
cayennita
(@cayennita)
Advanced Member

Try Karen Stanton at the local Re Max for a place to stay. here in St. Croix. I think that you could get something at Schooner Bay Condos for that amount. We have 2 good Montessori schools.
There are two pools and tennis court. The main pool area also has a kiddie pool and a barbeque area. Overlooks towards the north and the west. Our view is that of the town and the harbor. We own a 3 bedroom. Most units are 2 bedrooms. Very safe site.
Check with Tropical shipping on line for car moving costs. I don't think you are allowed to put things in the car. Here you'll have to pay excise tax on the value before clearing customs. If the car was built in Japan, you'll have to make up the difference from US customs to the 6% charged here. After that comes registration and road users tax.
Sell the cars and get something here. Look in the classifieds or check with car rental companies selling their older stock.
Beeston Hill rehab and training center is the largest and might have some part time job available.
Broad band here is good. I use Sprint air card because we travel a lot. One of my racing crew members is in charge of the Broadband maintenance and he thinks that it is excellent.
Email me at cayennita@hotmail.com if you have any more questions

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Posted : August 28, 2010 6:25 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

"1. I MUST have reliable broadband internet "

WARNING, WILL ROBINSON!!!:D

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Posted : August 28, 2010 7:43 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

1. I MUST have reliable broadband internet (I cant use satellite isp's) of AT LEAST 7mbps. I have heard that you will pay out the nose for reliable internet service. Who has the most reliable service and can I get it on either island?

Residential sevice from the most reliable local ISP runs $50/ month for 512 kbps upload/download, $100/month for 1024 kbps upload/download. Your need is commercial, and while up to 45 mbps is available, 1 mbps costs $600/month and 2 mbps costs $1200/month, so you can extrapolate what "AT LEAST 7 mbps" will cost. You will also need a reliable, well-maintained generator.

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Posted : August 28, 2010 7:58 pm
Ballsie
(@Ballsie)
Active Member

Goo!!! How "reliable" is the 1mbps speed? I have to run an ip phone connected to my office in Dallas. Is this a cable or dsl service? I'm not letting the speed turn me away. Slower speed will just make me have to work 3 hours a day vs 2 hrs a day! What about the air cards for laptops? How is the reliability and pricing on that service?

Thanks for the responses!!!

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Topic starter Posted : August 28, 2010 8:57 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

You don't understand. The internet connections are not reliable here. Period. It is very difficult to "work from home" . You would do well to visit for 2-3 weeks and check out your options prior to making a decision.

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Posted : August 28, 2010 9:51 pm
grammie3
(@grammie3)
Active Member

Ballsie - We live in Denison and thinking of making the same move in Jan - Feb 2011.
We have been told to buy extra car here and ship all 3 then sell 3rd card which will pay for shipping of all three. Not sure if this is true, but just what I have heard.
We want to move to St. Croix and hopefully can locate a furnished condo or rental unit. Housing is one of my biggest concerns as we have heard it is scarse and high priced. Good Luck!

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Posted : August 28, 2010 11:29 pm
Nannerz
(@Nannerz)
Advanced Member

Haha. Sprint's MiFi card is as good as a paperweight.

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Posted : August 29, 2010 12:38 am
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

The internet connections are not reliable here. Period.

True.

It is very difficult to "work from home" .

It depends on what your work is. I work from home doing web development without too much trouble. My ISP gives at most 1 Mbps down, with maybe 95% uptime (Broadband VI). If I called them everytime it got sluggish, I might get more uptime. I don't count on realtime anything at any given moment, but I know that my packets will get through sooner or later.

I was in the states a few weeks ago and experienced 25 Mbps down. Wow.

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Posted : August 29, 2010 2:17 am
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

As far as St. John goes... you will not be able to find a two bedroom apartment for $1,250 a month. You might find a one bedroom for that. Also, we do not have a hospital on island. We do have a very good clinic, but if anything serious happens, you will either be taken to St. Thomas on a water ambulance or airlifted by helicopter. 🙁 Don't think St. John will suit your requirements, although it's really nice here!!!

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Posted : August 29, 2010 8:33 am
Neil
 Neil
(@Neil)
Trusted Member

7mbps ??
That's 7168kbps... which going to cost a fortune here.
I'm trying to think of what kind of business would need that kind of speed.... uploading/downloading massive video files?? If you're just crunching data or working with docs in the cloud, that speed is great, but could be done for 2mbps if it allowed you to live in paradise.

Sorry to disagree with LindaJ, but it is EASY to work from home on the net here on StX (which I do) ....unless you are trying to run your own server on island, or need super upload speeds. The "up" time is not so bad, and when it goes down, it usually comes back up soon enough. Just need a good backup such as an internet capable phone to access your server. I used to have the higher speed Broadband service but have found that even the 512 is not bad. You adjust to it, like everything else around here.

IMO, $1250 a month for rent is a minimum -given your criteria. Few renters here are "comfortable" paying what they pay, --which is another thing you have to get over. The trick is to get rid of other expenses that merely make you comfortable but aren't so necessary.

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Posted : August 29, 2010 12:24 pm
islandlola
(@islandlola)
Trusted Member

Quote:
Linda J
It is very difficult to "work from home" .

Quote:
StXBob
It depends on what your work is.

I've gotta agree with STXBob here. If you work as, for example, a day trader, then you're going to want to be tethered to your connection pretty closely and what we have may not suit. If you have more control and flexibility in your work, what we have here in the way of Internet may be more than adequate. (Having 3G access as a backup is helpful, too.)

Our Internet services, of course, be much better, and having the Internet down can be annoying. In working remotely here I live by the words of my late, wonderful grandfather-in-law: Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. If you can send it or do now over the Internet, better do it. You never know when it will be out.

Best,

Islandlola

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Posted : August 29, 2010 12:48 pm
Ballsie
(@Ballsie)
Active Member

Thanks for all the response. I do a lort of downloading, but with slower speeds I can just start the downloads before I go to bed at night and hope everything is done in the morning. my biggest concern is my ip phone. I need to talk to my office during the work day. It only requires 88k for a telephone call, but it just needs to be up most of the time. 95% of the time is fine. I was getting the impression that internet is down more than it is up.

As far as rent. by dropping 2 car payments with full coverage insurance, I can definitely afford more than 1250/mo. My concern was that I might not get my current house leased out for enough to cover my house payment. I figured I would have to throw in some cash every month to cover it. This is why I was thinking 1250.

Like I said, Im just trying to get as much info before we decide. We are planning a visit in early November to check everything out and find a place for a Jan move.

Im guessing that everyone agrees that St Thomas is more affordable?

Again, Thanks for all the responses and help!!!

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Topic starter Posted : August 29, 2010 2:19 pm
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

Heres how it goes, St John is the most expensive then STT then STX. STX is the cheapest island, it is also the least crowded and many other wonderful things. I would check out STT & STX if I were you. There is a HUGE difference.

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Posted : August 29, 2010 4:37 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

STX is the cheapest island for real estate, gasoline and (maybe) Cruzan Rum. STX is also the biggest pain to get to and from. STX has far fewer direct flights to the states than STT does, and very little ferry service. If you travel a lot, or you like visiting STJ or BVI, then STT may be for you.

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Posted : August 29, 2010 5:37 pm
Ballsie
(@Ballsie)
Active Member

good info! I'm guessing Internet stability is the same on STT and STX? I know I keep bring it the internet subject up, but its the key to my move. No internet = no work = no $$ = no VI.

What areas of STX do you suggest? What areas should I stay away from?

I just booked a flight in late October to come check everything out for a week. This is more of a research trip and not a relaxing vacation. We will be looking for a place to lease and get a general look and feel for the island.
I had no issues getting my flight to STX. Im not planning on traveling back to the states once we are there

I got a quote for shipping my Pathfinder from Houston to STT and it was almost $3300. Seems like I could leave the pathfinder behind and pick something cheap in VI for that kind of money. Is that the kind of money im looking at to ship, or was this place just crazy high?

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Topic starter Posted : August 29, 2010 5:49 pm
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

STX like STT doesn't have all good areas like subburbs stateside. You really have to come down and look. It's more about which side of the island you will end up liking.

You need to ship your car from fl not texas, usually it's just under a thousand from fl, it makes it worth the drive and then your plane ticket will be cheaper too. Do a search on this board and you will find tons of info or just go back a few pages. It's one of those that always comes up. I highly recommend bringing the old pathfinder. They are very very reliable and easy to get fixed down here. And it's paid off and it will help you fit right in. When you buy a car here you really never know what problems you will inherit and you always gets some, I, personally would rather have a car I know and trust.

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Posted : August 29, 2010 5:56 pm
crustacean
(@crustacean)
Active Member

Bring your own, use tropical shipping from Miami, <$1000 your car being foreign may cost about $1500 to register and pay taxes, reliable ones here are expensive. Think twice about St Croix unless you are seeking real isolation. I work from home, internet is no problem, except during hurricanes and you can get fast internet for around $45 pm. East end St Thomas is great.

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Posted : September 1, 2010 11:59 pm
anne1024
(@anne1024)
Active Member

Okay....not all that computer savoy, will I be able to get online with my laptop, check my mail and of course my facebook LOL.... I have ATT for phone and I'm currently driving an 08 Acura, Steve has an older Blazer. How's the job market (office and bartender). WOW this is getting a bit overwhelming....but hopefully doable. :S

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Posted : September 2, 2010 12:40 am
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

"Think twice about St Croix unless you are seeking real isolation"

What does that mean crustaen? We (STX) have the same pop as STT and more then twice the land mass. We have the same stores more or less except for Home Depot but it looks like they are really building one here now. Without a doubt they have a very different feel but I don't see how we are anymore isolated here on stx then stt. Unless you mean we have less traffic. 😉 And I would have to agree with that! They are both beautiful islands, finding your home is more of a personal preference.

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Posted : September 2, 2010 6:18 am
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

We are a little more "isolated" than STT in the sense that it is harder to get direct flights out. But we are not cut off from the world.

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Posted : September 2, 2010 8:23 am
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

Nannerz, what problems are you having with your Sprint Mobile card? I think it all depends on where you live, because in the 3+ years I've had mine, I've only known it to be down twice. Once for maybe an hour, that I noticed, and a few weeks ago for maybe 24 hours when lightning hit the tower. It's not the fastest connection, probably, but it works well for me.

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Posted : September 2, 2010 5:53 pm
cayennita
(@cayennita)
Advanced Member

St. Croix has a very large middle class because of the largest refinery in the western world and of course the rum factories. We do not depend on tourism as the other islands do. We are lucky if we get one cruise ship per week. We do have quite a few EDC companies. We also have trading companies from the states represented here and not in STT. Lot's of big quiet money.
The Nissan dealer is closed. Bring spares for your car.
I drive a 1988 Suzuky Samurai with only 56,000 miles and it just keeps on running. Some people need to show off I guess. Only need a good "island car".

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Posted : September 4, 2010 3:05 am
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