The two main property mgt. services are…

Of the two main services a property management company provides, the first is called ‘keeping your calender’.  This simply means the company will book people to stay in your villa.  It is a bit more complicated than that though.  They will keep open any dates YOU want, make sure two families are not arriving at the same time, arrange and collect payment, and arrange any of the optional services listed in the last post.

The second main service is maintainance of the actual property.  This can include regular maintenience such as gardening, maid service (once daily, once weekly), pool service, etc.  It will also include emergency services such as plumbing, cistern, septic, electrical, storm shutters, etc.  This is a very important service especially if the owner does not live on island.  It means there is only one number for the owner or a paying guest to call if a problem or an ememrgency arises. 

Another option is sometimes available because of the way most houses are built in the Virgin Islands.  Many homes here are built with an extra apartment.  This apartment can be rented out, but it is often used as a residence for a handy man (or couple) free of charge in exchange for their services.  If the problem is too big, the handy man makes the call to a professional.

How many services the management company provides and to what degree will determine the cost.  Check around for different prices and services provided, but look for recommendations or referals.  Remember, you may not be on island and you have to be able to trust the company or individual with your home and all of its contents.

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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( www.saintthomasvacationrentals.com ) 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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