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Purchasing a condo

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dirtydeeds
(@dirtydeeds)
Trusted Member

Just returned from St Thomas and had hoped to look at a few condos for purchase while I was there. E-mailed Marsha Maynes who is listed on this website and she left me a message. I called her back the next day and never heard back. I'm interested in working with a realtor who has better response than that and knows the various condos in St Thomas. In looking at MLS, there are lots to choose from, so I'm trying to narrow it down to a few complexes. Pavillions and Pools seems to have very high condo fees. Saphire Beach is beautiful, but sometimes the restaurant is open there and the grounds look great, sometimes not. I will be purchasing a condo out right with proceeds from the sale of a vacation home here and am looking to spend around $200,000. My biggest concern is that the condo fees range from $225 for some near Charlotte Amalie to $1400 at places like P&P's. My priorities for the condo complex would be: reasonable fees, stable management company, ease of renting it out to provide some income and being on the beach.
I have seen Pineapple Village and the units that I saw seemed kind of run down and the large restaurant that was on site was closed. I have stayed at Blue Beard's and it was pretty run down about five years ago, but now that they've completed renovations, it looks nice, but not near any beach. I think Sapphire has a beautiful beach, but have seen tons of negative comments on it over the years and the management seems iffy. I saw Point Pleasant this year and it looked nice and seemed as if it would generate good rental income. Also visited Bolongo which has Regatta Point and a few other complexes right there, so not sure which ones go with what. As I said, I was looking forward to getting some direction from a realtor so I could narrow my search to one or two complexes. Any suggestions from folks on this board who have owned a condo in St Thomas would be very appreciated.

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Topic starter Posted : February 4, 2012 11:18 pm
billd
(@billd)
Honorable Member

First of all I won two condos at Crystal Cove (Not Sapphire Resort). If you want to live on the beach there is no better beach in the islands. Our Mtc fees are 750 for a one bedroom two bath peoperty.

Here is the advise I would give you. If you are looking to make money forget about it. If you are lookinbg to come down three months or more or want to retire then it is a great place.

Second look at the by laws. If the common property is not owned by the condo owners then you MAY have a problem. In Crystal Cove the land is owned by the. owners. At Sapphire Resort it is owned by another party. This has been the reason for the law suit for the last 4 years and a large amount of money paid by the owners. So watch out. Do your homework.

billd

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Posted : February 5, 2012 10:32 am
exit zero
(@exit-zero)
Prominent Member

billd wrote:
First of all I won two condos at Crystal Cove (Not Sapphire Resort).

billd

Wow - Did you win them at a poker game, lottery, foreclosure sale or just flipping a coin for some old real estate in the VI???

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Posted : February 6, 2012 1:43 am
billd
(@billd)
Honorable Member

No there were given to me by an old one armed blind pirate who wanted just to pass them along to a kind person who would to give some advice to possible other owners.

See I can be humerous also.

billd

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Posted : February 6, 2012 9:20 am
talbottj8476
(@talbottj8476)
New Member

Meeting your goals of low maintenance fees, stable management, easy renting and near the beach; there is only one place for you, Sapphire Village, (not Resort). We bought a condo there about 2 years ago for close to the price you'd like to spend. The maintenance fees for a one-bedroom are about $600, the grounds look like a Disney Resort, the condo association is very well run by knowledgeable and caring individuals, units are very much in demand and sapphire beach is great. You have many choices right there in the marina for water activities and the condo complex has 2 beautiful swimming pools.

There are 225 units there, either studios or 1 bedrooms. There are only 13 units currently for sale, that should tell you something. You won't go wrong at Sapphire Village (blue roofs!)

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Posted : February 6, 2012 9:58 am
USVI1997
(@usvi1997)
New Member

You did not mention Mahogany Run to be a condo property you may be interested in.
I own a large one bedroom with wonderful north water view. No obstructions or roofs in your way.
Mahogany Run is well maintained and with entrance 24 hour guarded gate. Couple pools and w/n 10 minutes to Magen's Bay.
Also being more central north, it is a easy, equal drive into town or out to the East End.
My fees run about $720 a month, plus water at 5 cents a gallon.
Did you exclude Mahogany Run due to not being water front?
You may want to reconsider. And, mine may be on the market by summer . . .

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Posted : February 7, 2012 4:41 pm
cnjguy
(@cnjguy)
Active Member

I bought a condo at Sapphire Village last yeat. Its a studioand the are a very well run complex. You have full use of Sapphire beach, I stayed there for nmany years and I felt I wanted to spend my winters now at Sapphire Village.
Good luck with your search, I used Ron Martin of Reliable Reaity He handles many saales at the Villages.

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Posted : February 7, 2012 7:15 pm
dirtydeeds
(@dirtydeeds)
Trusted Member

Thanks for all the input. I guess I need to figure out the difference between Sapphire Village and Sapphire Resort! Is Sapphire Resort the one with the red roofs? USVI1997: I know where Mahogany is but I think the rental potential would be better for a unit on the beach and my goal is to eventually stay in STT for two months, which means it would be very expensive to rent a car for that length of time. If I'm right on the beach, then I could use taxis for grocery shopping only.

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Topic starter Posted : February 9, 2012 12:17 am
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Reputable Member

Pro and cons to being directly on the sand (Sapphire beach) vs. up the hill at bit (village) I lived in village for several months in the 90s. Village was less hetic / less buggy than the beach. Take a long strong look at the management companies and associations. SB, aka "little Iraq", is in the midst of some heavy duty nonsense. Don't discount the other residential complexes like Mahogany or Cowpet (expensive!).

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Posted : February 10, 2012 3:51 pm
exit zero
(@exit-zero)
Prominent Member

You might want to attend an owners meeting to see the dynamics before considering Sapphire Village - maybe the most contentious and uncomprimising gathering I have ever seen in one room.

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Posted : February 11, 2012 1:16 am
dirtydeeds
(@dirtydeeds)
Trusted Member

Certainly a lot to consider. I have only owned homes here, never condos, and there are similar horror stories here about how mgt companies handle maintenance and bickering at owner's meetings. Since I can't be on island quickly/easily, it seems to make more sense to purchase a condo that will have a company that will take care of the maintenance and for a good price get me on or very near the beach. I suppose that I could consider buying a house that would have a caretaker's cottage and deal with the maintenance myself. The issues of absentee ownership make me consider just considering renting, but we have done well with the investment in our vacation house here and I would like to do the same in STT.
Seems like the bottom line is that I will have to spend considerably more time on island doing "research"...which can always be done with a pain killer in hand. Thanks everyone for your input.

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Topic starter Posted : February 12, 2012 7:08 pm
eduardQ
(@eduardq)
New Member

There are many things to consider when you plan to get a condominium. Condominiums, or condos as we all know it, offer all the benefits of living in apartments with all the advantages of home ownership. Nevertheless, there are several condominium drawbacks that buyers should be aware of. Article source: Condominium Drawbacks.

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Posted : March 8, 2014 3:30 am
beachboy
(@beachboy)
Trusted Member

If you are looking to buy a condo that is a good investment, with low dues, inexpensive utilities, an excellent on site management company and good rental income then there is only ONE thing to do! LOOK ELSEWHERE You wont find it in St. Thomas.

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Posted : March 8, 2014 4:38 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Prominent Member

That's not entirely true as there are some very good deals out there at present but we are responding to an old post from 2012.

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Posted : March 8, 2014 5:39 pm
lydiaH
(@lydiah)
Eminent Member

Alana33 wrote:
That's not entirely true as there are some very good deals out there at present but we are responding to an old post from 2012.

LOL

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Posted : March 8, 2014 11:52 pm
dirtydeeds
(@dirtydeeds)
Trusted Member

Yes, everyone should read my post and see that it is two years old. I DID speak to several owners and realtors in STT. The electricity, hurricane insurance and condo fees are ridiculously expensive. Even being able to buy a condo outright, it makes much more sense to rent a condo for a month and walk away from it at the end of that time. I didn't hear from anyone that had bought a condo at x price many years ago and then able to sell it for a great deal more. Sorry, but real estate is an investment for me, not a way to consistently lose money. In fact I heard many more stories of hurricane damage, mismanaged properties, difficulty getting good cleaners/handymen, difficulty selling the property, etc. than I heard anything about it being a good investment or idea. I have been coming to STT for eight years now and think that a short term rental is a much better/flexible and more cost effective option that buying. I am sure all the realtors that troll this page will disagree, but if you are realistic with your potential buyers, there are many reasons to be cautious about spending your hard earned money buying rather than renting.

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Topic starter Posted : March 9, 2014 1:04 am
beachboy
(@beachboy)
Trusted Member

You have learned well butterfly! 🙂

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Posted : March 9, 2014 2:59 pm
kjudge
(@kjudge)
New Member

Hi DirtyDeeds.
I am a real estate agent and you definately need to find one that will be responsive to your needs. I recommend our Coldwell Banker agents in St Thomas. Jeyan Stout is the office broker. Shame on the other agent!!!
We are renting Sapphire Beach Resort for 11 days. cant wait! I could live there!

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Posted : March 9, 2014 4:41 pm
dirtydeeds
(@dirtydeeds)
Trusted Member

Just visited Sapphire Beach in January and I agree it is a beautiful beach. However, if I was an owner there, I would be unhappy that there is still NO restaurant on site and not even a place to rent snorkel gear, etc. Makes it hard to attract people who want to rent or buy if there are no amenities on site. Hard to walk anywhere due to the hills and lack of sidewalks. It's sad that every resort I have visited will sometimes have a restaurant on site, then it will close abruptly and there will be nothing for years. I LOVE visiting St Thomas, but it's got to be hard living there with the unpredictable services, high cost of utilities and lack of recycling. Those things take a larger toll on residents than visitors, but I hate to see hard working folks have a harder time because places close and then never seem to reopen.

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Topic starter Posted : March 9, 2014 5:18 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

I have many friends who own at Sapphire, some for whom their unit is their permanent home and some who visit several times a year and otherwise rent it out as a vacation unit through vrbo. For all of them it works out very well. Their issues with the condo association from time to time are no more or less than stateside owners who have to deal with similar condo associations and HOAs. And those who rent out their units have pretty much 100% occupancy year round other than the times they set aside for their own use.

Now that the cruise ship visitors have been discouraged from coming to Sapphire (primarily because there are no longer chair and snorkel equipment rentals) the beach is much cleaner and much quieter which is to the benefit of residents and vacation renters. Vacation rental owners have started providing snorkel equipment for their guests (if they didn't do so already and many always did) and the local dive shops offer daily and weekly snorkel gear rentals. Chairs and loungers are provided to all residents and vacation renters at no charge.

There hasn't been a beach restaurant at Sapphire for YEARS now but the Banana Cabana on the beach does a great job on food and drinks; Senor Pizza delivers to the beach and the condos; and the Sapphire Bar and Grill up on the hill at Sapphire Village is a neat place serving good food at reasonable prices - plus they also take food and drink orders on the beach.

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Posted : March 9, 2014 6:07 pm
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