Is a House Right For You?

When purchasing here, remember “buyer beware”. At this time, St Thomas does not require a sellers disclosure or a termite warranty. A home inspection is a very good idea especially for anyone new to the islands because there are certain things to look for that do not occur in most areas of the United States.

For example, almost all homes in the US Virgin Islands use a cistern. A cistern is basically a well that is built into the foundation of the house. The cistern holds water that is collected from the roof when it rains and is then pumped throughout the house to kitchens and baths. Drinking cistern water is not recommended as everything on the roof ends up in the cistern. There are, however, several ways of filtering the water to make it drinkable. Checking the cistern and gutter system for leaks and checking the filtering system (if any) is just one reason to hire a home inspector.

Now that you have decided to own real estate on St Thomas, do you want to buy a house, a condo, or a piece of land to build on.

In the US Virgin Islands, multi-unit houses with a main house and one to three apartments are typical. This is wonderful if you are looking for an investment property or just someone else to help you with your mortgage. A financial institution will consider 75% of your rental income as personal income. This means you can qualify for more house. You do still have to come up with the down payment which is typically twenty percent.

The extra unit(s) can be rented short term (vacation) or long term (yearly). The nicer the house the better chance of renting short term to vacationers who would like a unique island experience. This would also mean you can stay there when you visit if you are not quite ready to be on island full time.

There are people on island who caretake villas for a living. They can keep your calender (for short term rentals), interview tenants (for long term rentals), be the maid service, gardener, pool boy, and repairman. Your basic goto guy.

Ahhh, but that is a blog for another day…

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So..Visiting St Thomas one week a year isn’t enough

St Thomas is a beautiful island to visit. Located at 18 degrees north latitude, St Thomas divides the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea where daily temperatures are about 85 degrees with a 30% chance of rain somewhere on the island.  When visiting once or even twice a year is no longer enough, lots of people look to purchase St Thomas real estate that they can call home while on island as well as rent out and/or retire to.  Sand between your toes and turquoise waters.  Afternoon naps under palm trees and driving on the left.

If this is your dream you have many choices to make.  I will talk about the benefits of owning a home, a condo, or land in this tropical paradise.  If you are not yet ready for full time residency, who do you talk to about property management?  Will you advertise and book customers yourself or have a professional company take care of your dream home for you?  Where do you find a maid/landscaper/pool service?  Stay tuned to find out…Where Dreams Become Realty

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