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Water Island

 
Ali B
(@alibfloyd)
Active Member

Hi!  I've searched and all the posts are OLD!  Husband and I are headed to Water Island in a few weeks for our second visit and will be looking at real estate.  We want to live there permanently within the next 2 years but will likely buy this year if we can sell our home in Ohio and find the right home in WI.  I've researched and researched so I know it's a small island, with only 100 year long residents and 200 seasonal and that it's off the beaten path with a very relaxed vibe.  We've stayed on the island for 5 days so we know all about the ferry, beach, activities, hurricane risk,  etc.  We've been to the Caribbean dozens of times.

I want to know the things I can't read or possibly know from shorter visits - particularly how it relates to Water Island.  Hidden expenses I might not be thinking about when living there, the good and bad living in such a small community, complexities of the actual move to WI - we will be sending at least a 1/2 container and have 2 dogs in tow.  Fingers crossed both will fit in the cabin for our flights (the large one is nearing 25lbs so we need to put her on a fitness plan ASAP, she's quite large for her breed, and a few lbs would be good for her for several reasons)

Thanks, anyone on here know much about this small treasure that they can share with us!

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Topic starter Posted : February 10, 2020 6:41 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

Some of the usual advice and warnings- rent for a year before buying property.  No individual healthcare insurance plans available yet, no Obama Care.  If you are looking for jobs most places will not consider you until you are resident on island, unless you are filling a special position.  Don't over pay your VI income tax withholding, may take years to get a refund. 

Everything costs more than the mainland except the Rum.  Hurricane insurance for your house will run about 3% of the replacement cost each year.

If you have a good vehicle with no lien, ship it.  Although I'm not sure what the WI folks do, keep a vehicle on STT and a golf cart on WI maybe.  No excise tax on vehicles made in the US.  No free shipping from Amazon unless you can talk them into it.  We have Home Depot, they don't ship to VI either from their web site.  A lot of companies will not ship to the VI but that's not a big deal.  Ship to one of the freight forwarders in FL like VI Cargo or Paradise Freight, Blue Ocean to bring to STX.  Some will not charge FL sales tax when shipping to freight forwarder, if they charge at all.  Prices are reasonable and quotes are free. 

Leave the particle board furniture behind.  "tomorrow" doesn't really mean tomorrow, it only means not today.  Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, Good Day goes a long way.  WAPA power is unreliable, make sure to get some good surge protectors for your electronics, including a whole house protector.  They make up for the poor reliability by charging 4 times mainland rates.   Make sure you have a large cistern on WI.  Can't imagine what water delivery would cost there.

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Posted : February 10, 2020 11:46 pm
Alana33 liked
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Have a generator.

Find out costs of parking at marina office.

Be prepared for sticker shock for groceries and most things. 

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Posted : February 11, 2020 7:50 am
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member

Living on Water Island will be just like this - without the boulders of course. (from 1958 movie Virgin Island).

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Posted : February 11, 2020 10:02 am
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Since you "know all about" so much after your extended stay not sure I can add much.

This may help if you haven't seen it.

http://www.waterislandwica.com/

Most residents have a car on STT, a boat of their own to commute and a vehicle on Water Island.

Research your intended property thoroughly for Title -- Water Island was administered by the Interior Dept . and it was only the late 1990's when they started transferring land leaseholds to private ownership. Be very clear about this for any property.

Inquire about the cistern size, maintenance and ability to supply year round usage - many are designed for only part time residence. Same for the septic system!!

Hurricane shutters are essential -do not think otherwise -- also have a real engineer inspect the roof attachments.

A quiet place to live, for sure, although the development of the beach and sporadic condo/resort ideas portend change in the future. An example:       https://stthomassource.com/content/2002/04/18/water-island-resort-development-offing/

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Posted : February 11, 2020 1:57 pm
Alana33 liked
Ali B
(@alibfloyd)
Active Member

Thank you all so much!  Keep it coming, some very useful advice...

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Topic starter Posted : February 11, 2020 2:07 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Be aware that you can be stranded if a severe storm destroys boats, docks, etc. 

You can be without power for months!

Maybe communication as well.

Personally, the idea of  making a simple grocery run into a major ordeal is not my cuppa tea.

All that lugging, loading, unloading, multiple times, ferry schedules to keep, expense of getting back and forth and parking at marina, limited options for entertainment.

Nice place to visit.

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Posted : February 12, 2020 9:00 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Find out what you do in the event of a medical emergency. 

You are aware that there is no individual healthcare insurance in the VI?

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Posted : February 12, 2020 9:11 am
Ali B
(@alibfloyd)
Active Member

Continued Thanks.  Health Care is not an issue as my husbands company will provide it as he will continue to work remote / travel home just as he does today from Ohio.  It certainly is a new way of living that will take some used to but we are still young and ready to take on the adventure :)!  Who knows, we may be there years or decades, don't know yet.  

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Topic starter Posted : February 12, 2020 9:51 am
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member

I would suggest double checking that your health care insurer will provide more than just emergency service in the VI (PR and FL, too).  You may be young and healthy - but accidents do happen.

Also, income tax withholdings can confound some companies if you live in the VI. Chances are your "tax home" will be where your husband's company is even if you live in the VI.  It's the IRS vs IRB thing as well as bona fide residency as defined by the IRS for those of us who live in US territories. 

Schlepping everything by boat will get old fast. And if you start daily commuting to STT you'll potentially add hours to your day, which negates part of the reason most of us move to the VI to begin with.

I have known folks who have lived on Water Island and they loved it - but they don't live there anymore.

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Posted : February 12, 2020 11:43 am
40isthebetter20
(@40isthebetter20)
Advanced Member

I don't live in the islands (yet 😉 ) but I say if you want to try it go for it. We're doing our first PMV this March to STT and truthfully, I'd love to live on Water Island but my husband wouldn't go for it. The idea of completely stripping down our lives and only having what we need sounds amazing. 

We're also young (in our 40s) and I don't mind extra work or being inconvenienced in order to live an extraordinary life. We're also very athletic, so the idea of carrying groceries, etc.. is just part of a good workout before you hit the beach to snorkel or scuba. 🙂 

And honestly- if you decide it's not for you, you have 3 other more populated islands to choose from. 🙂 Or pick another island owned by another country. LOL. 

The one thing I want to mention that someone else brought up and I'll have to look into too- someone said that some companies don't have the USVI listed as a "state" with their HR dept in regards to pay and taxes. They also said that it's like $10k+ to add another "state" to their software and most companies won't do that. Also- declaring residency in the USVI is apparently super hard and I can imagine that on water island you won't have an actual address. (probably a PO Box which the company may not accept)  So your hubs will need to check with his company and sort out the tax part. The person said that they have to use the company's home state as their state for declaration of taxes (which was Fl) so they still pay whatever is required by that state. Hope this was helpful! 

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Posted : February 12, 2020 11:50 am
Ali B
(@alibfloyd)
Active Member
Posted by: @40isthebetter20

I don't live in the islands (yet 😉 ) but I say if you want to try it go for it. We're doing our first PMV this March to STT and truthfully, I'd love to live on Water Island but my husband wouldn't go for it. The idea of completely stripping down our lives and only having what we need sounds amazing. 

Thanks Gators Mom - Helpful, we will check further into it.

40isthebetter20 - we too will be there in March doing our 2nd PMV, we will be there 2/29-3/5.  If our trips cross paths, maybe we can connect in STT - I know we for sure would love someone in the same place we are to talk to about this move.  PS.  Also in 40s!

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Topic starter Posted : February 12, 2020 11:55 am
Ali B
(@alibfloyd)
Active Member
Posted by: @alibfloyd

40isthebetter20 - we too will be there in March doing our 2nd PMV, we will be there 2/29-3/5.  If our trips cross paths, maybe we can connect in STT - I know we for sure would love someone in the same place we are to talk to about this move.  PS.  Also in 40s!

@40isthebetter20 tagging you in case you don't check back to see this note!

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Topic starter Posted : February 12, 2020 12:18 pm
40isthebetter20
(@40isthebetter20)
Advanced Member

@alibfloyd

Well poop! We will just miss you! We will be there March 13th -20th. We had to line the trip up with our little's spring break. I'll message you and we can meet up on Fb if that's okay! 🙂 

 

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Posted : February 12, 2020 12:38 pm
Ali B
(@alibfloyd)
Active Member

@40isthebetter20 Sounds great! Never know, maybe we will meet someday in the Caribbean!  We will also be back for the day March 26 (cruise ship stop)!  I told hubs we might have to come back in later April too just to continue our research 🙂 

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Topic starter Posted : February 12, 2020 12:40 pm
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