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Moving to the US Virgin Islands

Sunset over US Virgin Islands

Moving to the US Virgin Islands

A USVI Buyer's Guide: What to Expect & How to Prepare

With our sunny climate and unique culture, the US Virgin Islands is an increasingly popular destination for remote workers, retirees, and second homeowners seeking real estate. For Americans in particular, the beautiful US Virgin Islands is a coveted destination for a beach home. Before buying a home, it's a good idea to consult our buyer's guide to for information on the cost of living in the US Virgin Islands, tips for negotiating, local info & more. Prepare yourself for making the jump into our tropical Caribbean waters.
 

What to Expect

 

Areas

The US Virgin Islands are comprised of three major islands - St John, St Croix, St Thomas - plus Water Island, the littlest of the US Virgin Islands. Any of the Virgin Islands will prove to have a slower pace of life, easy access to the tropical outdoors, plentiful waterfront activities, and year-round beautiful weather.

St Croix Real Estate Market
  • About St Croix: The largest and best-known of the US Virgin Islands. St Croix has an abundant coastline and excellent waterfront access for beach activities. St Croix is frequented by travelers and retirees seeking relaxation, coastline, and local cuisine.
  St Thomas Real Estate Market
  • About St Thomas: St Thomas has a wonderful community atmosphere, with great shopping, nightlife, golfing for those who like a little more activity on the island.  Between the beautiful views and the buzzing community, St Thomas is an easy choice for a destination home.
  St John Real Estate Market
  • About St John: St John is the smallest of the three main islands, with about 60% of its land dedicated to Virgin Islands National Park.  For more info on neighborhoods within St John, explore our St. John Map. For those looking for privacy and easy access to the lush hiking trails in the park, St. John is an easy pick.
   

US Virgin Islands Population

According to the 2010 census, the population of the US Virgin Islands is as follows:

  • St Thomas: Population of 51,634
  • St Croix: Population of 50,601
  • Water Island: 182
  • St John: Population of 4,170
 

USVI Property Tax Info

The Virgin Islands’ tax program is one of the most competitive tax benefits packages in the world. All the tax laws in effect in the US are “mirrored” to the US Virgin Islands, with VI residents paying income taxes to the islands instead of the US. For those who qualify, this can result in up to a 90% reduction in income taxes and a 100% exemption on property taxes. Depending on the type of property you own on the U.S. Virgin Islands, you will be required to pay a percentage of the property’s assessed value in taxes. Below are the tax rates by property type.
  • Residential Property – .003770
  • Land – .004946
  • Commercial Property –.007110
 

Cost of Living in Virgin Islands

Cost of Living in Virgin Islands by Sea Glass Properties

 

Utilities in the Virgin Islands:

The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) generates and distributes electricity to approximately 55,000 customers throughout the territory. It also provides desalinated, potable water to 13,000 customers in the major commercial and residential centers. Because of its reliance on fuel oil and continually escalating crude oil prices worldwide, WAPA’s customer rates are generally higher than in most regions of the United States. WAPA charges about 56 cents per kilowatt versus an average of 12 cents per kilowatt state side. Basically, electricity is pretty pricey here in the Virgin Islands, but lowering your WAPA bill can be as easy as using ceiling fans rather than air conditioning units, using LED or CFL bulbs, washing clothes in cold water, using a clothes line, and letting dishes air dry. Additionally, you can consider a long term investment in a solar water heater. Learn more about WAPA.  
 

How to Prepare

Decide Whether To Rent or Buy in the US Virgin Islands

The top four reasons people decide to purchase a home have nothing to do with monetary considerations; such as having a place to raise and school their children, a place where their family will safe, adequate living space for growing families, and to have a sense of ownership and control over the property. Additionally, there are several monetary positives on the side of home ownership, such as tax incentives and the building of equity. If you can afford the upfront costs of buying instead of renting, buying is a great long investment. An advantage to homeownership  is the chance to build equity through the property’s value. You also have the advantage of a set mortgage payment that won’t fluctuate the way rental prices do. Rather than renting and helping your landlord pay off his mortgage, each mortgage payment you make helps you save for the future. And if you ever do sell the home, you could walk away with a lot of money in your pocket.

This does, however, come with annual maintenance and repair costs in addition to the time you’ll spend hiring workers or doing the projects yourself. When you rent, you have much less to worry about when it comes to the actual property. If anything goes wrong or needs replacing, your landlord is the one who has to sort it out (and pay the bill). But on the flip side, owning provides you the opportunity to do as you like with the property such as tearing down walls, building additions, owning a pet, or hosting visitors. With a home, the property is your oyster!

Tips for Buyers on Negotiating Price

Be prepared to negotiate price when buying a home by researching answers to the right questions. You need data points and information to work from, including what price similar homes have recently sold for; how far above or below asking do they normally sell for; how long do homes stay on the market compared with the home you’re buying or selling? It is esstntial to be clear on these questions, the real estate market data, and your budget so you can act swiftly yet intelligently when the right opportunity arises. Learn more about 5 Essential Negotiating Tips for Buying a Home.


 

Making the Move

 

Resources for Moving to the US Virgin Islands

Congratulations -- all is said and done and you are ready to make the move! Sea Glass Properties is here to help. Explore more articles from our blog on the subject of moving on the subjects below.

Car Options after Moving to St John

After moving to St John, you will have two options: buying a car on the island or shipping your car. Buying a car is easier, but you may pay 15-20% more than you would stateside. Shipping your car costs around $2,5000. Learn more about transportation and car options after moving.

Packing & Shipping to the Virgin Islands

Keep your move low-stress by bringing only what is absolutely necessary - especially if your stay is only temporary.  With our tropical climate and humidity, pack only your warm weather wardrobe and leave behind delicate or antique items that are susceptible to mildew. Find more packing and shipping information for making your Move to the Virgin Islands!

Moving to US Virgin Islands With Pets

Moving to the Virgin Islands with a beloved family cat or dog? Breed, size, weight, time of year will all be factors when planning your pet's airline travel. Learn all about moving to the US Virgin Islands with pets.

Find The Best School after Moving to the US Virgin Islands

There are plenty of schools to choose from in the Virgin Islands. Here are some resources for finding the best School After Moving to the US Virgin Islands. Contact A Sea Glass Properties Agent for More Info on Moving to the US Virgin Islands!  

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