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winterhater
(@winterhater)
Active Member

Thank you all for your great advice. i was really kidding about hiring a contractor and then leaving. We do all our own work here in the states other than structural stuff and complicated plumbing. We can rip out and redo kitchens and baths etc. I am surely concerned about supplies though. I would assume it is a nightmare getting things like kitchen cabinets in? There is a Home Depot on island right?
I keep thinking about furniture though....do they have alot in stock? Like say I need a sleeper sofa in the week I am there? Plus, what do people do with furniture they don't want? I would almost rather an unfurnished condo....How do furniture prices compare to the states there? Again, thanks for the help-you all are really helping me enter into this with waaaaay more knowledge than before. So when I finally decide to sign the papers I can feel a little more prepared for what i am in for! I know it won't be all fun and games but i want to be prepared enough so that I don't feel like we made a mistake day one of ownership! 🙂

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Posted : February 2, 2015 10:53 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Prominent Member

Getting kitchen cabinets from Home Depot will be a long wait if ordering.

Your best bet for kitchen cabinets and furniture would be to buy what you like and need in the states and ship here. Not a lot of options here and what there is, is pricy for good quality.

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Posted : February 2, 2015 11:25 am
winterhater
(@winterhater)
Active Member

Starting to wonder if getting a long term tenant in-at least initially would be better. There would be less wear and tear, they could pay their own electric and we could have someone there to accept delivery of new furniture...etc.

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Posted : February 3, 2015 10:26 am
IslandBoomer
(@islandboomer)
New Member

When I was shopping for a place, I found the long term rental properties to be a mess. Many long term renters are hard on a place, wear out the kitchen more because they cook and eat there much more than vacationers, and some really stink up the place with smoke (even if you tell them no smoking).

Additionally, if they don't pay their rent and won't move out, you've got big problems, especially if you're off island.

At least short term renters pay up front, and they WILL leave. Yes they can be abusive to the property too, and surely they care NOT about the high electric and water bills or attracting ants with foods left out and about.

They both have their pros and cons. If you can find that dream tenant who's hardly ever home, pays their bills, and takes pride in their rented home, fantastic.

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Posted : February 3, 2015 5:01 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

If you're going to even think about putting in a long term tenant, you need a good property manager. You CANNOT be a long distance landlord, and prospective tenants need to be properly vetted. We have a highly transient population and much care has to be exercised, otherwise you end up with such as the last poster described. To find a good property manager you exercise the same due diligence as you would looking for any contractor - references, etc.

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Posted : February 3, 2015 5:27 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Prominent Member

You might wish to investigate the new management's hotel plan.
It might be easier than an offsight property manager, and their maids clean, staff fixes things that may go wrong and are onsite so complaints go to them, if something is not right or working, etc.

You'll pay for it but don't really know how they do the split between owners/hotel plan. I don't know if they allow you to take your own bookings thru, say, vrbo or flipkey, for instance or if only guests allowed thru the hotel. Might be worth checking into. You may not make a lot of money but maybe break even. You can block out the dates for your occupancy.

May other owners there can address this.

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Posted : February 3, 2015 5:57 pm
Lolly
(@lolly)
Estimable Member

The condo we rented last year for a month, and the condo for this years week long visit were both rented on VRBO but the check in , cleaning and beach towels go thru the unit that is managed by what was Antilles resorts ? I think. They operate out of a unit in A bldg . These are 2 separate owners in 2 different bldgs .
The unit from last year has an owner that lives in STT and he still uses this on site management but he did stop by to meet us . Also this is a ground floor studio in
bldg C that he has for sale but it is pricy ! This was a very good location for us .
If you want more info just let me know .

BTW we are very aware of the price of water & electricity so we try to do our best to help out...we never leave the condo with anything on , we seldom use the AC and when our G'kids are with us we remind them about the water & elec . use . I monitor 13 year old Miss Priss on her shower time ! I hate plastic bottles so we bring reusable ones and have never had a problem with the water ! hope this helps

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Posted : February 3, 2015 7:36 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

Alana33 wrote:
You might wish to investigate the new management's hotel plan.
It might be easier than an offsight property manager, and their maids clean, staff fixes things that may go wrong and are onsite so complaints go to them, if something is not right or working, etc.

I was addressing the OP's alternate plan of a term tenant, not a vacation renter. I don't think the on-site property managers deal with handling or providing services to tenants on a term lease. That would be the responsibility of the owner.

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Posted : February 3, 2015 9:52 pm
winterhater
(@winterhater)
Active Member

I figured a hotel management plan would want nothing to do with a long term tenant-they would be making them nothing really. I think a long term tenant is not a good option for us hearing all your comments. I think our best bet is to buy a unit that has most of the updating done and furniture I can live with, since I won't be down there any extended time until years from now..I can make small changes (paint, accessories, linens etc) in the off season. As for utilities...can you install timers on A/C units? I understand PP has no water fee-so that is a very good plus for that complex....

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Posted : February 4, 2015 8:31 am
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

If you mean a timer which you would set, that's probably not a good idea in a vacation rental. Even though year-round air temperature is pretty constant, there can be a big breeze variance from one day to the next. If you set a timer to shut off the A/C during the night you're likely to have a big complaint from a visitor who, already unaccustomed to tropical heat, has to spend a sleepless night sweating under the sheets on a very "still" night.

Vacation rental owners do their best to educate, through signs and "welcome packages", the necessity of conservation measures but you can only do the best you can and can't force it on people who are paying top dollar.

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Posted : February 4, 2015 8:51 am
winterhater
(@winterhater)
Active Member

I was thinking something that would shut off during the day after a certain amount of time but that could be turned back on IF someone was there. I can just imagine people turn on the A/C then leave for the day and it runs for 12 hours with nobody home. Someone should invent coin operated units 😉

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Posted : February 4, 2015 10:18 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Prominent Member

Let's not forget WAPA outages which can throw a timer off.

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Posted : February 4, 2015 10:54 am
SapphireBeach08
(@sapphirebeach08)
Estimable Member

One of our best investments has been a home monitoring system. It allows us to set the maximum low temperature, guests really do not need the a/c down to 60 degrees. It also allows us to see who is coming and going in our unit.

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Posted : February 4, 2015 11:10 am
Future Islander
(@future-islander)
Prominent Member

To answer some of the questions....

At Point Pleasant the water is included in the HOA fee. You can use as much water as you want. We have our own well and R/O plant.

We have a 6 hour (mechanical) timer on the A/C unit. Yes, we would not want a guest to run the A/C 24/7 when they are not in the villa. Yes, during the night the guest might need to get up and reset the timer. We have had this for 7 years with no complaints. We have a sign posted at the A/C unit regarding the high cost of electricity on the island. It seems that the guests understand.

SapphireBeach08: Your "Home Monitoring System" sounds incredibly scary. I would think that a guest would want some privacy, without the "landlord" watching every move they make. I can understand your concern for security, that's why we participate in the on-site rental program at Point Pleasant. The management firm provides assurance that the guests are comfortable, our property is secure and they "monitor" all of the villas in the rental program for any incidental breakage and maintenance issues. Plus they run a fantastic guest activities program! Something I can't do from the mainland.

F.I.

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Posted : February 4, 2015 12:12 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

FI, I think you're misunderstanding the system. These systems are available specifically for vacation rental owners and do NOT include video surveillance cameras (which would be illegal anyway). They monitor ingress and egress, temperature, window entry and several other things designed for strictly security purposes.

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Posted : February 4, 2015 12:58 pm
Future Islander
(@future-islander)
Prominent Member

STT:

SapphireBeach08 specifically states: " It also allows us to see who is coming and going in our unit."

If this allows them to "SEE" "WHO" is coming and going that tells me it's a video camera.

Besides, even if it tells them when I enter/leave their condo, I'd feel a little paranoid about someone monitoring my life. I don't think it's anyone's business when I get in at night or leave in the morning. Besides, that tells someone that I'm not in the condo. So if there's a robbery in the condo where I'm staying, they are the first people I would go after.

F.I.

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Posted : February 4, 2015 1:51 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

Future Islander wrote:
STT:

SapphireBeach08 specifically states: " It also allows us to see who is coming and going in our unit."

If this allows them to "SEE" "WHO" is coming and going that tells me it's a video camera.

Besides, even if it tells them when I enter/leave their condo, I'd feel a little paranoid about someone monitoring my life. I don't think it's anyone's business when I get in at night or leave in the morning. Besides, that tells someone that I'm not in the condo. So if there's a robbery in the condo where I'm staying, they are the first people I would go after.

F.I.

And I believe you are wrong and that the interpretation of "see" is via electronic monitoring and not by camera. Do Google these systems, get a better understanding of how they work and I think your confusion and concerns will be dissipated ...

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Posted : February 4, 2015 2:40 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

FI: I'm envisaging this sort of system:

http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/product/airbnb-home-security-system.do

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Posted : February 4, 2015 3:23 pm
winterhater
(@winterhater)
Active Member

That system looks like it can be mutually beneficial for renter and owner....

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Posted : February 4, 2015 3:29 pm
Future Islander
(@future-islander)
Prominent Member

STT:

OK

I guess I'd be a little paranoid knowing someone is out there monitoring me.

F.I.

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Posted : February 4, 2015 3:40 pm
STT Resident
(@stt-resident)
Island Expert

Future Islander wrote:
STT:

OK

I guess I'd be a little paranoid knowing someone is out there monitoring me.

F.I.

On the contrary, I would be happy to know that the owners are on the ball where security is concerned. YOU are not being monitored. The property is being monitored. Hundreds of thousands of private homeowners have similar systems and I doubt you'd be leery or paranoid about spending a night in their home ...

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Posted : February 4, 2015 4:42 pm
SapphireBeach08
(@sapphirebeach08)
Estimable Member

I can "see" who is coming and going because each guest, meter reader, contractor etc. has their own code. I "see" the codes on my computer. No cameras involved. The same for the a/c. I have set a minimum temperature. However, one guest was extremely industrious and reprogrammed the thermostat so they could have the temp at 60, leave the doors open, and stay cool on the lanai. I don't have the money to cool the whole beach so now I get an alert and can undo the damage from my home computer or phone. Your system, FI, doesn't sound scary, but terribly inconvenient. I would hate having to get up in the middle of a hot night to adjust the temperature and I suspect my guests would not appreciate it either. Our next purchase will door sensors so if someone leaves the doors open for 5 minutes the a/c will shut off. There is nothing "scary". My guests appreciate the fact that I set their door code for a number they can easily remember, no complaints. I haven't had any complaints about the a/c either. I have many guests who return year after year so they must not be too frightened. I appreciate the lower electric bills more than I can express.

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Posted : February 4, 2015 5:41 pm
SapphireBeach08
(@sapphirebeach08)
Estimable Member

Oh, and as far as a possible break-in goes: Should that ever happen, I have a record of the last code used to open the door. Either the person assigned that code or someone they gave the code to is responsible. Combined with the resort on-site security, it's easy to "catch a thief".

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Posted : February 5, 2015 12:52 pm
winterhater
(@winterhater)
Active Member

I have just spent a while reading back some old threads and crime seemed to be a recurring topic on the relocation forum......For those of you familiar with Point Point PLeasant...do you find it safe? Sounds like from what i am reading St Croix is far more sketchy...

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Posted : February 6, 2015 11:00 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Prominent Member

PP has guard at their entrance that checks whose coming and going as do some of the other condo associations.
Some have electronic gates with codes for homeowners.
There are some that don't such as Sapphire. I've not heard of any reports of break-ins at PP or other resort hotels/condos or Sapphire, for that matter.

Plus you have vacationers, full time residents, staff and security coming and going all the time.

That being said, crime can happen, anywhere but chances are slim at the majority of condo associations.

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Posted : February 6, 2015 12:34 pm
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