Archive for Virgin Islands Real Estate


Are you looking for a rental on St Thomas?

Large 3 bedroom house for rent on breezy north side of St. Thomas. 180 degree views from two levels of porches. Great north central location – 13 minutes to Red Hook on the east end and about 12 minutes to Charlotte Amalie and 7 minutes to Magens Beach.
Solar water heaters so lower electric bills! Apartment comes furnished but there is plenty of room for your stuff, too. Pets are welcome with owner approval.

For more information contact Karen at Sea Glass Properties 340-514-4730

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inside sitting area

kitchen cabinets new

new kitchen cabinets

view east down island

view north 2

view West

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I have moved to Sea Glass Properties!

I wanted to make a big announcement. I have moved to Sea Glass Properties. I feel this is a wonderful opportunity for me. Sea Glass has excellent marketing on many different websites as well as their own magazine. We also work on all U.S. Virgin Islands so I will be better able to take care of all my buyers and sellers. My cell phone number and email address will remain the same so you can still contact me easily.I look forward to hearing from you and continuing to assist you with all of your real estate needs.

I'm with Sea Glass Properties!

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2 unit new construction

The View

Come see this 2 unit home in Estate Ross. It has a nice view of the Caribbean Sea and is close to town and Havensite. This house has a new roof, new parking area, new stairway, and all new appliances and cabinets. The upper unit has three bedrooms, stainless appliances in the new kitchen, and washer/dryer hookups. The lower 1 bedroom apartment has all new kitchen and remodeled bathroom. Great for rental income!

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Selling And Buying Real Estate In The US Virgin Islands

Here I live in the US Virgin Islands.  What a beautiful place to be!


When I was 15 my family went on vacation to Grand Cayman.  Ever since then I have wanted to live somewhere where it is warm all the time, palms are the most abundant trees, the water is aqua, and wearing your black flip flops means you are dressed up.

Well, it took a few years for me to convince myself that I could do it, but here I am.  I moved to St Thomas in October of 2004 and I have never looked back.  I am selling St Thomas real estate, along with St. John real estate and St. Croix in one of the most beautiful areas in the world and loving it!  Now I get to help other people find their dream home.  This can be a studio condo or a multi-unit income producing home or a piece of land.

The US Virgin Islands consist of St Thomas, St John, St Croix, Water Island, and various other smaller islands and cays.  I can help find commercial space for those of you looking to start a business or I can help you purchase an established business.

Feel free to email me at if you would like to find out what real estate is available or ask me any questions.

Karen Korsgren (”Island K”)

ph: 340-514-4730

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Vacation Ritz Carlton Style

 this could be your viewWhen you come to a beautiful island, you just want to relax and play in the sand and turquoise water.  No worries about making beds, cleaning dishes, cooking, or finding a place to eat out all the time with enough room for you and the kids. 

Welcome to the Ritz Carlton Club Suites.  At the Ritz Club Suites you have two bedrooms – in the master suite, a king size bed and in the other bedroom are two queens.  Twice a day maid service, and three meal presentations a day so you dont have to find a restaurant for every meal.  If you do find yourself with leftovers or if you feel like cooking, there is a bistro kitchen in the unit.  There is even a washer and dryer since you will be staying for two weeks at a time in the winter. 

Master bedroom

Just imagine being steps from one of the most beautiful beaches on St Thomas.  When you wake up in the morning, your view is of palm trees, white sand, and water so blue and clear you can almost make out the fish swimming in the shallows from your room.

                                       Ritz Carlton suites

 Come on down and see what the Ritz Carlton lifestyle is all about.


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When the seller changes his mind about selling or tries to stall the sale.

For this post I would like to define two terms.  Encroachment-when a structure of any kind (a building, fence, or wall) or portion of it extends beyond the land of the owner and illegally intrudes on land of an adjoining owner.  Easement-the right given to use the land of another for a specific purpose.

A closing date was finally set for last Friday.  All three lawyers, the buyers, the sellers, the listing agent, the selling agent, a rep from the title co, and a rep from the bank were all available.  All final bills had been submitted and the HUD statement was sent out.  Thursday afternoon I received an email from the sellers atty that the seller did not want to pay the commission to the real estate agents.  Since the seller became mysteriously unavailable until Friday evening, the closing was called off.

Over the weekend the listing agent had a chat with the seller and it was my understanding that the closing would take place on Monday or possibly Tuesday at the latest depending on everyones schedules. 

On Monday the seller decided that since he still had to pay the commission, he would try to have the buyer pay for the cost of removing the encroachments to the tune of about $12,000.  In the contract it states the seller must give clear and marketable title to the buyer.  This means the property has to be clear of encroachments.  The seller is now claiming that the buyer said they would pay for removal of the encroachments.  I have a few issues with this.

1. The buyer NEVER said they would pay to have the encroachments removed. Why would the buyer offer to pay for something that was not their responsibility? 

2. This language was never written in to the contract for sale, added as an amendment to the contract, and is not in writing from the seller or the sellers atty.

3. The buyer was never given estimates, consulted as to cost, or allowed to interview the company to do the work.  Why would the buyer give the seller carte blanche with their checkbook?

4. One of the encroachments was to be given an easement.  This means that the owner of the property to the north was going to say on paper that it was ok for the rock wall to be on their property and that that part of their property now technically belongs to the owner of the property to the south. 

5. The seller spent unnecessary money he is now trying to charge to the buyer for removing the wall that was to be granted an easement. 

6. The removal of the wall reduces the value of the property.

7. When the closing was scheduled for the week before and the bank requested all final bills to be submitted, there was no mention of the buyer owing the seller $12,000+. 

8. And finally, THE SELLER IS ALREADY SUING HIS TITLE COMPANY FOR THE MONEY SPENT ON CURING THE ENCROACHMENTS!!!   He is claiming his bank allowed him to purchase the land with encroachments without telling him.

You would think the seller and his lawyer would have remembered about a bill as large as $12,000.  It was only after the seller saw the amount of money they were receiveing from the sale of the house and the commission that was to be paid that the attemt to not pay the commission was tried.  After that failed,  the seller and his atty brought this bill up.

The problem for the buyer is that even though seller put his house on the market knowing about the encroachments, and the buyer has been waiting for the encroachments to be cleared for 7  1/2 months (they are still not officially cleared),  and the buyers have kept to everything on their side of the contract, the buyers cannot make the seller sit down and sign the paperwork.  The seller can tie up the buyers earnest money deposit that is held in escrow.  The only recourse the buyer has is to sue the seller.  This means going to court and could take years to settle.

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Insurance in the USVI

 Yes, insurance here is expensive because of hurricanes and possible flooding from such storms as find their way in to the Atlantic. The “replacement cost” on the appraisal is what the insurance companies look at when they decide what to charge you.  The appraisal does not go by square footage alone.  Other factors are what the house is constructed of and if it has hurricane shutters and clips.  When purchasing a home, the appraisal will have this information.  It will also have the three different ways the home was valued.    With a concrete, shutterd three unit home the insurance will be over $10k/yr.  Ouch!  That breaks down to about $850/month.  That is on top of the mortgage and taxes.  The different insurance companies do have slightly different rates, so shop and compare.

The bank will require flood insurance for beachfront, waterfront, and low laying areas, or a flood certificate if your home is not in a flood zone.  If you have rental apartments, I would suggest obtaining liability insurance.   Liability insurance does not cost much extra and it is well worth it.


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Closing on property, The Loan Stateside

After reading the previous posts, you may be asking yourself, why would I use a lender on island?  Well, you may have to.  St Thomas and the other US Virgin Islands are territories of the United States, not states themselves.  Although the laws and citizenship are US, there are some differences that become more noticable when trying to purchase property here. 

If you have a good relationship with your bank or credit union in the states, or if you own property in the US, you may be able to use a stateside lender.  The problem is that lenders in the states cannot use a property in the USVI as collateral on a loan.  This means you would have to own something in the US of equal value to what you are purchasing in the USVI.  If you default on your loan in the USVI, the lender would forclose on your US property.

Unfortunately when it comes to finding a financial lender in the USVI, there are very few choices.  We have recently had the opportunity to use lenders located stateside that are licensed to practice in the USVI.  That is a welcome change.  Half of the transaction is still on island time, but it seems to move along a bit better.

Buying a first home or a vacation home should be an exciting experience, not one you loose sleep over.  I have been looking for a home to purchase since I first moved to St Thomas in 2004.  I know that sometimes it will be years before you see the home you love.   I will help you find that home in paradise!


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Closing on property, The Loan

Lucky for me a loan officer from another bank came in to my office.  After I told her the story and showed her the appraisal, she said she didnt understand why my 30yr was not approved.  After speaking with her boss, a 30yr mortgage at a great rate would be mine.  Send in the paperwork.  I told her that the only way I could change lenders at this time is if we could close the first week of September.  This gave her just over a month.  She said no problem.

I sent in all the paperwork that was requested.  I mentioned that I would be off island for ten days and anything else they needed had to be submitted before I left since I would return at the end of August and we were supposed to close a few days later.  Upon my return I had a list of ten things the bank needed that were not mentioned before.

After asking many times for a truth in lending statement, I received it Friday September 19, 2008.  Three weeks after we were supposed to close.  Looking over the statement, I noticed the rate stated is one point higher than quoted.  When I asked about the difference I was told that since I was putting it into a trust, they had to charge me a higher rate.  This was not mentioned when I applied for the loan.  

I also wanted to mention that hiring council is recommended here.  There are certain functions that would normally be preformed by a title company or the lending institution in the states that an attorney must preform here.  Inform yourself  as much as possible and stay on top of what is going on.  You are paying these people to work for you.  Make sure they do their job. 

Next…Getting financing from the states 

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Closing on property, The Appraisal

Every time a lending institution thinks about lending you money, they want an expert opinion that what they are lending the money for is worth the amount they are lending you.  Welcome to the appraisal process.

The appraiser goes to the property to give their opinion on what they saw.  They take measurements of the rooms, rates the condition of the property, states what the house was constructed of, takes in to consideration the area, etc.  Then they research what other properties are listed for and the sale price of recently sold properties in the area.  In their opinion, the house in question was a two unit property with an accessory room (an extra bedroom outside the two units) and it was undervalued.  In other words, the buyer was getting a good deal! 

At first the bank said we were good to go.  The buyer turned in all requested paperwork.  The buyer was going to get a good rate on the mortgage, and I helped them look for potential renters.  Then the bank said they couldn’t get a traditional 30yr mortgage because the house was not zoned for three units.  Fannie Mae had rejected them.  Even after explaining that the third unit was just a bedroom, showing them pictures of the unit, and pointing out that even the appraiser said it was just a bedroom with an exterior door they said Fannie Mae said no. They suggested a thirty year amortized, ten year renewable in house mortgage.  Oh, and the loan would be considered commercial property.  This means that the buyers would have to come up with a 25% – 30% down payment (instead of 5%-20%) for a ten year mortgage with payments as if it were a thirty year mortgage, but at the end of the ten years they would either have to pay the mortgage in full or “renew” the mortgage at whatever the prevailing rate was.  The difference between this financing and a traditional ten year balloon mortgage is that if the bank lets them renew there are no closing costs.  This information comes when we have been under contract for almost 90 days and they cannot back out because of financing since the contract states they have 30 days to secure a loan.  MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A COMMITMENT LETTER FROM THE BANK!

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Closing on property…encroachments

Let me start by saying, buying a home here is the same process as buying one in the states.  Oh wait, but it is not.  

As far as I can remember, the lending institutions here need all the same information, they just go about collecting and organizing it differently.  There are a few additional requirements (like hurricane insurance) that were not required in other states I have lived in.  My customer and I have been under contract since February 14th, 2008 to purchase a lovely two unit home on St Thomas.  Today is September 21st and we still do not have a closing date.  Now it is not all the banks fault because there have been some changes and the seller has been slow (very slow) about some items, but I do believe if the banks here had more of an interest in doing things in a timely manner, this would not be taking quite so long. 

The first problem was that the property had three encroachments.  This means that a part of a structure (building, fence, driveway, etc) from one property is actually on another property.  Every time a home or lot of land is purchased in the USVI, a surveyor must go to the property and map the boundries.  According to the original builder of this house, everything was built two feet within the properties boundries, however the current surveyor has said that this is not true, so the present owner of the house has to “cure the encroachments” prior to closing.  Normally a lending institution will not lend you money if someone else can lay a claim on part of the land they are funding.  The present owner of this house was fully aware of the encroachments before listing the property.  In the contract it states that the owner has 60 days from notification to cure encroachments or leins against the property.  The encroachments were supposedly cured and resurveyed by August 15, 2008. 

My buyer could have (in retrospect should have )backed out of the contract after the 60 days.  The problem was that there was not a alot of choice in that price range, they really liked the house, and they could see a lot of potential for improving the property.

So, the next issue… the banks take on the appraisal.

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Private Pool with your own Condo! $55k!!

Here is your chance to purchase a 1 bedroom condo with its’ own pool on the desirable east end. This fixer upper is walking distance to one of the most beautiful beaches on St. Thomas.
Can’t beat the price at $55,000!!! Call Karen to take a look quick! Great as an investment property. Rent it out long or short term!

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To Purchase Land on St Thomas

If you have decided that you want to build your own dream home, you must first find the perfect property. There are several beautiful pieces of land available. The closer to the water, the more expensive. We have cliff waterfront, rock beaches, and sand beaches available. There are also parcels farther from the water with beautiful views. These cost a bit less and, since most places are about 15 minutes from any beach, this may be just what you are looking for.

The terrain here is different for every square foot – and it is rock.   A topographical survey (topo)of the land should be performed for an architect to design a house that fits the land.  It is a lot easier to build the house around the rock than to move it.  I have seen some very interesting rock formations incorporated into homes.

Keep in mind the cost of building here is on the high side – between $200-$500 per square foot. This is because everything must be shipped here and we must build for hurricanes. Whether you use poured concrete, concrete block, steel frame ( ), or mixed masonry such as Deltec  ( you will have to build your cistern and septic tank first.

Also, remember that everything has to be shipped to the island – that means materials to build with and items to finish your home. Whatever amount of time you are told it will take to build or ship, assume it will take twice that amount of time to actually get done. Sometimes this is due to workers on “island time”, other times it is because in order to accomplish one thing, something is needed and it is not on island.

Whatever you decide you wish to purchase – home, condo, timeshare, or land – contact your trusty Realtor (that would be me) for listing information.

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Lets talk Condos

For those who do not know – a condo, or condominium unit, is like an apartment building except instead of renting, you can own individual units just like any other piece of real estate.  Condos are similar to townhouses (explanation of townhouse at end of post)


For many people who purchase here, the purchase is an investment and they are not on island to keep an eye on the place.  The purchase of a condo may be the best option for them because the outside maintenance is taken care of.  All you would need to do is find people to rent it to and make sure the inside is ready for any arrivals.  There are several property management companies( ) on island who can “keep your calender” and hire maid service for you.

There is a “condo fee” associated with this service of outside maintenance to pay for materials and labor.  The outside maintenance usually consists of landscaping, amenity maintenance (i.e. pool, beach chairs, tennis court, golf course, gym), parking lots, security, and general upkeep of the outside of the buildings (paint, deck or entrance repair, etc).  General upkeep is something you would have to spend money on even if you had a house.  The condo association is just taking care of it for you instead of you needing  separate numbers for the landscaper, pool guy, painter, etc. 

Purchasing a condo is also an affordable way to buy waterfront property.  For a fraction of the price of buying a piece of waterfront property or a house on the water, you can have a lovely 1, 2, or 3 bedroom home on the water or at the very least, a very short walk to the water.


This is not to say that you can assume the association will act in YOUR best interest.  Please keep up to date with any notifications or meetings and feel free to request accounts of how and when your condo fees are spent.  Outside companies are sometimes hired to manage funds.  Keep on top of them and keep them honest.

Condo fees run from about $200/month – $1800/month.  This amount is in addition to your mortgage and taxes although it typically  includes  homeowners  insurance.  Insurance is expensive here because we are in the hurricane belt.  Ask to see the complexes’ blanket policy and reserve fund. 

There is also a term called a “special assessment” that may be added at any time to address unexpected expenses that come up.  These assessments may be a one time fee per instance, or if it is a substantial sum, the complex may give the option of spreading the fee out over several months.  You can join your condo board to give your input about how the fees and assessments are spent.

Townhouses are similar to condos in that the outside maintenance is taken care of and you have restrictions as to what you can put on the outside.  The main difference is that townhouses typically are tall, skinny structures with two or more floors and one or two walls adjacent to the next town home.  There is not another unit above or below you.   While we do have some structures that would usually be called a townhouse, there is not a separate designation on St Thomas, St Croix, or St John.  All multi unit structures are listed as “condos”.

Stay tuned next time for “Who can take care of my new Caribbean home while I’m not there?”

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St Thomas Vacation Villa with 360 views PRICE REDUCED!!

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Vacation villa with 360 views on East End of St ThomasViews from Villa FantasiaViews from Villa FantasiaViews from Villa FantasiaView from Villa FantasiaView from Villa Fantasia

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