As a real estate agent, I deal with an assortment of people with different needs. And very different pocketbooks. So, if you’re looking to rent a property, it’s important to understand that there is no shame when it comes to what you can or cannot afford. Looking at properties that dazzle you, only to learn you can’t really afford them, makes what you can afford disappointing, and often unnecessarily so. Just be forthright with your Realtor and you’ll save yourself and your agent time and frustration. Keep in mind when shopping for rentals that most do not include utilities, and utility costs are very expensive in the Virgin Islands. We all love a cooled down home in the tropic heat, but AC doesn’t come cheaply. So, factor in your electric costs, and keep in mind that most landlords typically ask for the equivalent of three months rent – first, last and a one-month security deposit – in order to sign a lease. In this market, rent can often be negotiated, so ask your Realtor to help with that. And if you know you can’t afford first, last and security to rent a place, let your Realtor know right away. That’s not the kind of thing you want to negotiate at the last minute. It’s always helpful for your Realtor to know from the start what your finances are, and he or she can then advocate for you, rather than try to offer excuses at the last minute. More than anything, a landlord wants someone who can pay each month and take care of the property. If you can do that, but are on a limited budget, there’s hope!