Real Estate FAQ


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This page has information about the beautiful island of St. Croix.

Local News

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Overview, Weather, History of the island

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Religion, Schools, Government, Economic Development, Real Estate Market

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Activities on St. Croix: day sails, Buck Island tours, scuba diving, sport fishing, parasailing, kayaking, horseback riding, tennis, golf, hiking, camping

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Real-Estate FAQ



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


What is living on St. Croix like?
How much will I spend renting on St Croix?
Is the cost of living high on St. Croix?
Can I find a job on St. Croix?
Is it difficult to ship my belongings to St. Croix?
Do I need transportation on the island?
Should I ship my vehicle?
How do I register my car on St. Croix?
Is St. Croix a Pet Friendly Island?
Is there many families with children on St. Croix?
What are the schools like on St. Croix?
What is the process of completing a real estate transaction on St. Croix?
What are the condo fees on St. Croix?
How much does it cost to build a new home on St. Croix?

What is living on St. Croix like?
Island living is a lifestyle and mindset. Just imagine waking up every morning with a rich cup of coffee in your hand and watching a glorious sunrise over the Caribbean or strolling along the sandy shoreline of our sparkling turquoise waters. How about ending the day toasting a green flash at sunset with a sweet rum punch? From scenic surroundings to water sports, Quelbe music, local cuisine and friendly people, the laidback way of life available on St. Croix is waiting for you.

For most of us, not everyday is a vacation, but it sure seems that way! The vast majority of local residents hold fulltime jobs and face the same daily concerns one experiences on the mainland. Except we get to start and end our days with the stroll along the beautiful shoreline to rewind! Often after a days work, residents go home to their families or out for happy hour with friends to catch the sunset. On Fridays or weekends, we might have a night out under a sky full of stars or perhaps go to the movies, to dinner at one of our many fine restaurants, bowling, to a crab race, a local bar to have drinks and dance or over to a friends house for dinner. This is a very social island! Many residents own watercrafts and with the wonderful year-round weather, fishing, sailing, power boating, windsurfing, and diving are popular weekend and holiday activities. Golf and tennis are popular pastimes on the island. Festivities also abound to keep everyone busy on St. Croix such as: Jump Up, First Friday, Art Thursday, Carnival, Starving Artist exhibits, Half Iron Man, Mango Melee, Sunset Jazz, theater productions at Caribbean Community Theater and concerts on the Island.

As the weekend comes to an end, many residents spend their Sunday mornings at one of our many churches worshipping and singing. Sundays are also for get-togethers with families and friends at the beach, a day trip to Buck Island or lying in the hammock under the grapetrees. Despite its many positive aspects, island living may not suit everyone. Some get island fever because life on St. Croix is laid back. Many people enjoy the tranquility and freedom the island life provides, and for some it can be too relaxed. Those who embrace the lifestyle fall in love with the island and stay for years, if not forever. It is highly recommended that you visit the island for an extended stay to see if island life is right for you.


How much will I spend renting on St. Croix?


Rental Type
Cost Per Month
Efficiency Studio$600
Cottage$1000 - $1600
1 Bedroom Apt.$800 - $1000
2 Bedroom Apt.$900 - $1500
2-3 Bedroom Apt.$1200 - $2000
3-4 Bedroom Apt.$2000 - 3500


The property management department of Coldwell Banker St. Croix Realty offers a wide range of rentals. To view a comprehensive list of rentals available, visit www.stcroixvacationhomes.com


Is the Cost of Living High on St. Croix?

The cost of living in the Virgin Islands is higher than average costs in many cities across the US mainland. Recent documents published by the Virgin Islands Legislature estimated that the cost of living in the Virgin Islands is on average 33% higher than many US jurisdictions. However, our beautiful beaches and the turquoise sea are free and the Cruzan Rum is cheap and plentiful!


Can I find a job on St. Croix?

There are plenty of opportunities for salaried and volunteer positions. Because we are a US Territory, you do not have to have a work visa if you are a US Citizen. Jobs include almost all those found commonly in the mainland; doctors, nurses, teachers, sales associates, attorneys, taxi drivers, computer technicians, cable and telephone installation personnel, babysitters and others. Many occupations are in some form related to tourism, the islands main industry. You can visit the following websites for a partial list of employment opportunities:

bizvi.com
vidol.gov
career.vi
dopusvi.org


Is it difficult to ship my belongings to St. Croix?

As with any move, this will be one of the biggest projects you will have moving to the islands. The least expensive way to ship a large quantity of items, perhaps your entire household and car(s), is by ship using a moving company. Items must be packed in crates and delivered by you or a moving company. Most large moving companies have agents in the U.S.V.I.; call your local movers to find out if they have contacts on St. Croix who can facilitate your move. You must then hire a trucker or moving/storage company locally to pick up your crates and deliver them to your home or store them until you arrive. Some of the freight handlers will furnish a container delivered to you for packing your household goods. Always ask for quotes from different freight handlers. Below are several of the freight handlers that service St. Croix:


Do I need transportation on the island?

A car is the best form of transportation. There are few, if any, bike paths and taxis can be expensive. There is some public transportation but the stops vary throughout the island. If you choose not to ship your car to the island, there are many car dealerships, used cars dealers and for sale by owners found in the classified ads. In addition, many of the rental car companies sell off their fleets periodically.


Should I ship my vehicle?

Here are some things you should consider before deciding whether to bring your car to the Virgin Islands.

  • Decide whether your car is worth enough to spend the money to transport it to the islands. If its not worth it, then sell it in the states and buy a car when you get here.
  • You will be asked about your title on the car, if you do not have it you may be asked for a letter from your lender indicating you have permission to transport the vehicle off the mainland US. Ask the shipping company you are using for full details on required documents and/or letters.
  • Main roads are paved. There are some residences with dirt driveways.
  • St. Croixs roads are fairly easy to navigate, but some are steep and curvy.
  • It is hot here. Youll need a good cooling system and AC if you want comfort.
  • Ask if you can you get parts for your car here?
  • Salt in the air is hard on cars.
  • There are several taxes you will pay to bring a car into the territory. Check the VIN on your vehicle to find out where it was built. Cars built in the US will generally incur lower fees then foreign built vehicles. See the Customs section for more details.


Shipping your Car to St. Croix
Shipping barges for cargo will transport cars from ports generally on the east coast of the US mainland to St. Thomas and St. Croix. You will need to contact a shipping company for a quote. Below are several of the freight handlers that service St. Croix:


How do I register my car in St. Croix?

Your mainland license plates will not work here. Your car must be registered in the US Virgin Islands. Motorcycles go through the same registration and tax processes as cars.

Customs
Clearing customs and paying duty is usually done at an office close to the shipping dock. The duty collected is based on country of origin on the car and is calculated using the book value or Bill of Sale, whichever is greater. The VIN is used to determine origin: if the first digit is 1, 4 or 5, it is a U.S. car and there is a no duty owed. For VINs starting with 2 or 3, there is a 6% duty. VINs starting with 6 or with a letter, will incur a 3.5% duty. The U.S. Customs Office will accept personal checks, cash, certified checks and money orders. You can call the Customs Office at (340) 714-1600 for more information.

Road Tax

  • You must get a Bill of Lading from the shipping agent when the car arrives on St. Croix.
  • Take the Bill of Lading to the Internal Revenue Office, and pay the 16 cents per pound road tax. This fee is accessed when you bring a car into the territory. Your title may have the weight on it; if it does that is what they will use. If it does not, you can look up the weight online and print that page to show when paying the road tax. For more information call the Internal Revenue office at (340) 714-9332. You can use cash, certified check or money order to pay this tax.


Insurance
Insurance is required in the US Virgin Islands. You must get your vehicle insured before requesting a moving permit. Insurance carriers are limited and the cost for coverage is considerably more then in mainland US. Below is a list of insurance carriers that do business on island:

  • Guardian Insurance : www.guardianinsurance.com
    P.O. Box 9109 St. Thomas, VI 00801 (340) 776-8050 Fax: (340) 779-8830


  • Inter-Ocean Insurance:
    P.O. Box 4134 Christiansted, VI 00820 (340) 773-4600 Fax: (340) 773-4190


  • First Insurance Agency: www.firstinsurance.com
    P.O. Box 100 Christiansted, VI 00821 (340) 713-1101 Fax: (340) 713-1107


  • Companion Assurance Co.: www.companioninc.com
    P.O. Box 224118 Christiansted, VI 00822 (340) 773-6800


  • United Health Care:
    3100 SW 145th Ave. Suite 200 Miramar, FL 33027 (954) 378-0604 Fax: (954) 378-0780


  • Executive Insurance Services, Inc: www.eisvi.com
    113 Barren Spot, The Village Mall #4 Kingshill, VI 00850 (340) 773-6412 Fax: (340) 713-8512


  • Marshall & Sterling: www.marshallsterling.com
    5021 Anchor Way Christiansted, VI 00820 (340) 773-2170 Fax: (340) 773-9550


  • PGU Insurance Services: www.pguinsurance.com
    (340) 719-1140


  • Masters Insurance Agency: www.mastervi.com
    Sunny Isle Mini-Mall Christiansted, VI 00820 (340) 778-5600


  • Golden Grove Insurance Agency:
    P.O. Box 3368 Frederiksted, St. Croix 00841 (340) 778-5877 Email: pvlake27@viaccess.net


  • American Medical Plans of the Virgin Islands Inc.:
    5021 Anchor Way Christiansted, VI 00820 (340) 773-8658


Moving Permit
Go to the Department of Motored Vehicles (DMV) to get a permit to move your vehicle from the dock. Moving permits are $5. The permit allows you to move an unregistered vehicle from one point to another and only between those two points.

Inspection
Take your vehicle to the DMV to get your vehicle inspected. Bring with you, your receipt showing that you paid the road tax, the title or a notarized letter indicating why you don't have the title, proof of insurance and your driver's license. You do not need a Virgin Islands driver's license; you can use your valid stateside driver's license. New residents have a 90 day grace period to get their Virgin Islands driver's license. You may be asked to show your moving permit. There is a $10 inspection fee.

Inspection Process: The driver stays seated in the drivers seat unless asked to get out to open the trunk and show the spare tire. They will check windshield wipers, horn, lights, spare tire, turn signals, brake lights, brakes, tires, exhaust and muffler, mirrors and the general condition of the car. If your vehicle doesnt pass inspection, the inspector will tell you why and give you a form showing what part failed. You are required to fix the problem and come back for inspection with the paper they gave you. If you fail inspection on a car that just entered the territory, you will have to get a moving permit to get it to a garage to repair it and then another to bring it back to the DMV to complete inspection and registration.

Registration/New Plates
Necessary paperwork for first time registrants are inspection form, receipt that you paid the road tax, title or notarized letter indicating why you don't have the title, proof of insurance and driver's license. You may be asked to show your moving permit. The cost of registration is based on the weight of the car. It can vary from $34 to $91 approximately. At the end of registration you will be given VI plates, a registration sticker for your windshield and a registration form. Plates and windshield sticker must be visible at all times. Cash or credit cards are the only form of payments accepted.

Note: Inspection and updating registration must be done annually. Annual inspection is required. You must present driver's license, proof of insurance and registration during annual inspection.

Getting a Drivers License
Valid driver's licenses from anywhere in the United States are good for 90 days after arrival in the US Virgin Islands. If your driver's license is from elsewhere you would need to get a temporary license. To obtain a US Virgin Islands drivers license, you must surrender your stateside license and pay the necessary fees for a new license. There is no written or driving test required as long as your stateside license is valid.


Is St. Croix a Pet Friendly Island?

Yes, please check with us concerning property rules on pets before transporting your friend, since it can be difficult to find a rental if you have pets.

Quarantine
The Virgin Islands does not have any quarantine requirements. Pets traveling to the United States mainland from the Virgin Islands also will not require quarantine.

Health Certificates
A health certificate from your veterinarian is necessary, it should state that the animal has not been exposed to any communicable diseases, is healthy and when rabies shots are applicable to your pet that the shots are up to date. This certificate should be prepared within 10 days of travel. Rabies shots are considered up to date if they have been administered within the last year, but no longer than one year. Have these documents readily available when you are traveling.

Import Permits (Birds, Ferrets, Sugar Gliders, Snakes, Other Unusual Animals)
Some animals require import permits; these include but are not limited to birds, ferrets and sugar gliders. You are required to submit an application ($15 fee) to the Department of Agriculture; the application must also be approved by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. The process can take a week to two weeks. Contact the Department of Agriculture at (340)774-5182 for more information and to request the application forms. Due to public health and environmental concerns, importing any type of snake into the territory is not allowed. The island is snake-free courtesy of our mongoose population and we would like to keep it that way.

Transportation of your Pet
Contact your air carrier for complete details on what pets they allow, how many, weight/size restrictions, travel restrictions based on time of year/temperature, types of carriers and their general policies regarding transportation of animals.

Some very large dogs are not allowed on the aircraft but can be transported by air cargo. Contact the airlines that service the USVI to get details. When traveling with a large dog, try and get a direct flight rather than one with a stop over in Puerto Rico. The commuter planes from Puerto Rico to St. Croix are small and generally don't have room for a large dog carrier. Ask a lot of questions of your airline to find the best travel route for your pet. Travel restrictions during various seasons exist, primarily due to extreme temperatures that might negatively affect pets while on the ramps at airports. Call the airlines and find out what dates they allow pet transportation.


Are there many families with children on St. Croix?
Yes, there are many families living on St. Croix. There are many activities that children can become involved such as soccer, swim teams, golf, tennis, dance, baseball leagues and so on.


What are the schools like on St. Croix?

Public, private, and parochial schools are available. Private schools vary in tuition based on grade level and each school ($5000- 10,000).


What is the process for completing a real estate transaction on St. Croix?

Although many people moving to St. Croix have purchased or sold properties in other areas, real estate transactions in the United States Virgin Islands can seem different if you are not familiar with the process. Below we have listed several items that take place during the transaction that may be a bit different from what you have experienced in the past. The process consists of attorneys, sales commissions, earnest money deposits, title search, owners title policy, recording fees, property survey, home inspections and transfer tax.



Who pays for what?
While most everything in a real estate transaction is negotiable, here is a list of the fees associated with a real estate transaction and which party typically pays for each item.

Sales commissions are usually paid by the seller.

Unlike in the United States where earnest money deposits may only be a few hundred dollars, on St. Croix the typical earnest money deposit for property is approximately 10% of the purchase price and is credited to the purchase price at closing.

The buyer will traditionally pay approximately $125 for a title search which is applied toward the cost of the owners title policy. The buyer is also responsible for paying all recording fees and for a property survey. The property survey will be required if the buyer is seeking bank financing and optional, but recommended if it is a cash purchase.

What are the attorneys role and who pays for the attorneys?
The attorneys close all real estate transactions and both parties have lawyers. Each side pays their own attorney fees for preparing closing documents including the deed, tax clearance letter and title.

Who is responsible for the owners title policy?
The buyer will traditionally pay according to property values such as:
  • $50,000 policy costs $362.00
  • $100,000 policy costs $587.00
  • $300,000 policy costs $1420.50
  • $600,000 policy costs $2452.50
  • $1,000,000 policy costs $3,602.00
  • Mortgage policy costs $75.00

Is a home inspection required?
On St. Croix, home inspections do not come with home warranties. Home inspections are not required but recommended for home purchases and done in most transactions. The buyer pays for the inspection.

Who pays the recording fees for deeds?
The buyer will traditionally pay slightly more than $1.00 for every $1,000 of property value, based on the sales price.

What is a transfer tax and who pays?
This is a government tax calculated on the contract price of the property and is traditionally paid by the seller.

How much is a transfer tax?
  • 2% for property value up to $350,000
  • 2.5% for property valued up from $350,001 to $1,000,000
  • 3% for property valued up from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000
  • 3.5% for property valued over $5,000,001


What are the condo fees on St Croix?

The condo fees typically range from $400-$1200 a month and most of that cost is due to windstorm insurance, which can be costly, and common area maintenance expense.


How much does it cost to build a new home on St Croix?

Building costs range from $175 per square foot to over $400 per square foot plus the cost of the land. Of course, it depends upon the type of house youre building - how elaborate the trim, fixtures, the slope of your land, etc. Cisterns and septic systems are necessary and are included in the per square foot price. Please be sure to speak with several local construction companies for additional information and estimated timelines. We can help you with a list of builders on St. Croix.