Time to Find Your Home
With a pre-qualification in place, it’s time to discuss your home-buying goals. If you’re already a resident of St. Thomas, you’ll be far better acquainted with the styles, and sometimes the quirks, that homes in your price range may afford you. If you’re new to the island, Barbara will gladly spend time getting you acclimated to the market and to the selection of homes in your price range. Like many aspects of island living, patience is going to be important.
In getting started, figure out what you need, and what can you do without. For example…
- Residence vs. Condo: Are you flexible?If your budget is $500,000 and below, you will probably get more contemporary, updated finishes in a condo than you would in a residence of the same price. But if you’re a dog owner, very few condominium complexes on St. Thomas will accept a dog. (The Pinnacle is a notable exception. The Elysian is another.)
- Area: Are you locked in to a certain area of St Thomas? The North is very different from the South, from the East and especially the West. Get to know the island.
- Size: What’s the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms that you need? Do you need a home with an apartment? Many homes here include an apartment, and many owners rent those apartments to offset their mortgage costs.
- Waterfront/Beach: Do you want a waterfront property on St Thomas, or a property that is at least close to the beach? Keep in mind, because St Thomas is so hilly, very few St. Thomas waterfront properties allow you access to the water. And, some of the best views are not experienced by virtue of a waterfront location. Homes in the hills can command some killer views. Speaking of views…
- View: Do you have to have a spectacular view? Is a “nice” view OK? Can you do without a view if other criteria fit the bill?
- Pool: Do you have to have a pool?
- Yard: Do you need a yard? We have them but they are hard to come by on a hilly island like St. Thomas.
- Construction: Will you consider a wood home, or a mixed-construction home as opposed to a fully concrete home? Insurers favor concrete homes, but plenty of wood homes remain intact following storms.
More Isn’t Less
Once you’ve honed in on the criteria that are most important to you, let the search begin. While it’s perfectly possible that you find your dream house right away, it’s more likely that it will take some looking around. If you arrive at a showing and know right away that you don’t like the house, go in anyway. The more you acquaint yourself with what is happening in your price range, the better equipped you will be to make an offer when the time comes.