Karen

One way to spend a day in the Caribbean

Each island in the Caribbean has it’s own feel, it’s own flavor, it’s own style!  St Thomas has the cruise ships, St Croix has some great golfing, St John has hiking and camping.  They all have shopping and great SCUBA diving!  But when you want to get a stamp in your passport, the easiest way to do that is to enjoy a day on Jost Van Dyke.

White Bay

White Bay

Jost Van Dyke (pronounced yost) is one of the smallest of the British Virgin Islands.  Jost’s population is about 220 people.  However, it has some of the most popular bars on it.  Foxy’s, One Love, and of course Soggy Dollar.  Soggy Dollar even has a web cam http://soggydollarbar.com/ 

Renting a boat for the day is how you get there.  There are several different boating options from a ‘bare boat’ to a three cabin yacht.

However you get there, it’s always a great day!

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Karen

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)

GOOD STUFF… 

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.

NOT SO GOOD STUFF…

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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Karen

Welcome To The US Virgin Islands Real Estate Blog

Welcome to the first and only St. Thomas Real Estate Blog. My name is Karen Korsgren (“Island K”) and I work for Remax Dream Properties in St. Thomas.

I sell real estate in the US Virgin Islands as well as the British Virgin Islands but I concentrate on St. Thomas because that is where I lay my flip flops. I’ll be posting articles on what’s happening with real estate in the Virgin Islands as well as local news.

I hope you like the blog and look forward to helping you answer any real estate questions you may have. I would like to give a B.I.G. shout out to those wonderful ex-pats at BrandIdentityGuru.com and StThomasBlog.com who made this awsome blog possible.

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