Not Many Lenders Out There Lending for Land on St. Croix

Scotiabank never returned my call about financing. I called them back and found out they aren’t doing land loans or construction loans at this time.  That leaves two options out of the list of 10 I started with, Bank of St. Croix and Banco Popular.  I still don’t have land loan information from Bank of St. Croix though.  I think I’m going to go ahead and get pre-qualified with Banco Popular so we can get the process moving. It doesn’t mean I have to close a loan with them and can still check through Bank of St. Croix when and if they get back to me.

Carlos sent me the names of a couple other guys to talk to regarding the house.  One’s a contractor who owns the forms to do the concrete and steel shell of the house including the cisterns, and the other is an excavator and land clearer to help me clear the lot.  I’ve left messages with both of them and hope to get in touch with them soon to start reeling in a rough budget.

Right now we’re so focused on the move that very little is happening in regards to planning of the house.  We may have selected a Jeep, it’s my first experience planning for shipping between 3 islands and working with multiple logistics companies to get it there.  I better get used to that!  It’s on St. John so it first has to go to St. Thomas, and then to St. Croix.

Garage sale at our Orlando house next Friday by the way.  Lots of things going up for sale!  Come get some!

Financing and Design

I made calls for about 2 hours today looking for financing information and only got ahold of one person who has 100% of the information I needed. Banco Popular wins for the day out of lenders. The people at Bank of St. Croix were very nice too, but only had info on Construction Loans. Someone is supposed to call me back about Land Loans. First Bank VI and Scotiabank both have to return my calls still as no one could get me to anyone with any information. Welcome to the Island life! These are the only four banks that offer land and construction loans from what I’ve found down in St. Croix.  Hopefully if I have info from all four, I’ll be able to make the best choice between loan products. I need to get prequalified before we start real conversations with land owners. We have our eye on 8 properties at the moment.

In other news, I spoke with Carlos Reyes, a designer and draftsman who was referred to me on the VImovingcenter.com site.  This is my third call with him, and I really like him. He seems to be very free with information and knows where the good deals are VS the sub contractors who are out to get as much as they can from a “mainlander.” He was helpful in a few budgetary items today as well. He also seems like he’s going to be the best value wise for us to use. We’re planning to meet in person when we go down around the end of our next trip.  I’ve got some hand drawings of features I want in the house going, and a Pinterest Board Shaleece and I have been working on, but we have to wait until we get the lot to start layout out the actual house.  Follow our Caribbean Home Pinterest Board and dream with us!

Update: First Bank VI called back first thing this morning (8/22/17) and they are no longer doing Land and Construction loans.  Just waiting on Scotiabank and Bank of St. Croix to finalize a decision after receiving the rest of their information.

We Signed a Lease!

Wow, this is all happening way faster than we expected! We just signed a year long lease on a property in Queens Quarters (central to the Island) that starts Sept. 1st! Cheers!

We were really just looking and didn’t expect to lock up anything for another month or so, but with the limited rental inventory, the fact this place accepted our dogs, the low monthly rent (relative to other places available), central location, and 1 bedroom apartment we can sublease for extra income… we couldn’t let someone else scoop this one up!

It’s all a little surreal.

TateYesterday I was actually a little in shock and a little sad that we’re leaving this beautiful lakefront property. We hung out with the dogs on the dock to watch the sunset with a couple of glasses of wine.

We are shedding everything we’ve worked so hard for over the years right now, and moving into a smaller place without the luxuries we currently have. It sounds like the answer to the title of our first blog “Are we crazy?” is an astounding YES! However, the end goal in mind is that the home we build over the next 12-24 months is going to be even better, and worth it if all goes well. A step back to take a step forward I guess. The good thing is we’ll be motivated to get the hell outta this place and finish the new house as quickly as possible. Man this sunset on the lake is beautiful though.

Jeep on STXWe’re looking at Jeeps and hopefully we will have one waiting for us there by Sept 2nd… got our eye on a 2011 and a 2015 4 Door Wrangler. Leaning towards saving the money and going for the 2011.

We have a lot to figure out with the move over the next couple of months. There is so much to do. Plan for the dogs. Move out. Put things in storage if need be. Buy furniture down there. Get the Jeep. Get the lake house rented out. The plan is to have it all done by October 1st. I can’t believe we’ll be there that soon already!

Our Realtor Doane Dariah has been amazing by the way. My favorite of them yet! I would recommend her to anyone. She’s going to help us rent out the 1 bedroom to save money by showing it for us while we’re out of town. She also said we could store stuff at her house if we need to while we prepare to build if we find sales and deals on things. That’s so nice!

The house is a 2 bedroom 2 bath home with a separate 1 bedroom apartment that has it’s own entrance. We’re going to rent out the apartment to a Barry University student (where my brother went to PA School) since we have some connections there.  We’re super close to where the study hall and classrooms are, and over 14 students were turned away from the area due to housing not being available.  Should be a pretty easy place to rent out to lower our monthly liabilities even more in prep for the build. Best part is we’ll have a guest room for friends to visit. Here’s just a couple photos of the place:

Living Room

Kitchen

2012 Correct Craft Super Air Nautique Team Edition 210 for Sale

I remember the day I got her. She’s still just as beautiful. 😍 The boat is also just as beautiful as the day I got her too.

Truth be told I worked so much in Orlando on the weekends the last couple of years owning the concert venue I was either dead tired and not wanting to go out on the lake, or was away for the weekend visiting family or traveling.  The two years before that while we were building the New York Ad Agency office I was gone every two weeks.  I wish we would have used this baby more. No matter though, someone else will get to reap the benefits of the low amount of engine hours I put on her. I know they will have a killer time and she will treat them well. I looked at the hours this morning and the engine only has 61 hours on it.  Wow, I think my biggest sin over the last 5 years was that I didn’t have time to use this thing enough. Someone else’s gain I guess.

Nautique 210 Graphics

This boat is loaded with features, and again – I’m selling it because we’re moving to the salt water islands of the world, and this is really an expensive fresh water wakeboard boat. (Maybe I’ll end up with something more appropriate for down there, once we’re there.)

Here’s some of my favorites:

  • LCD Heads Up Display
  • Push Button Start with Keypad Lock
  • Cruse Control
  • Wake Surf System
  • Front and Rear Ballast System
  • LED Underwater Light Package
  • Clarion CD Player with Auxiliary Input
  • Clarion Rear Audio Controls for Wake boarders Already in the Water
  • Snap in Carpet
  • Bimini Top
  • Tower for TowingGirls in Boat
  • Tower Speakers and Upgraded Sound System
  • No rips, tears, or anything, anywhere on the vinyl
  • Low Engine hours with Up kept Maitenance
  • Kept Covered, Out of Water, Under Roof
  • Tons of Storage
  • Tons of Seating (Configurable)
  • Tons of Hot Girls (Although not guaranteed, if you buy this boat you probably will have a ton of them in it.)

Wake SurfIf you know someone who wants an AWESOME Wakeboard and Wakesurf Boat, this is it.  They can finance boats WAY longer than cars, so your payments aren’t super high.  (Mine was $500 over 20 years and I put almost nothing down.)  These hold their value so well too – I’m not even upside down on my loan.  They are in high demand and Jason actually said he has a waiting list for 210’s. I guess that’s why they hold their value especially in Florida (Wakeboard capital of the world).

This boat is still worth upwards of $70k. Nautiques of Orlando is selling it for me, ask for Jason. (407) 425-2628

 

 

Did I mention it has underwater LED lights which means night time wake surfing?

Night Time Wakesurf

Why Waitiki?

I guess we should write a little blurb about why we’re going to name our villa “Waitiki” just incase anyone was wondering. The name Waitiki is special to Shaleece and I because it’s also the name of a little bar on Wall St. in downtown Orlando, FL where we first met one very special night. A few times we have returned on or near the date of our friendship anniversary (January 6th) to have a drink and sit on our same two bar stools.

We thought the name was perfect when Pierce, Shaleece’s brother, suggested it for the Villa since it references both something very special to us, as well as hints towards a tropical paradise for our guests. While we may not opt for the roof made from palm leaves, we will most definitely have something that resembles a tiki bar out by the pool, and most likely several tiki torches.

Anyways, Waitiki – if you don’t know, now you know!

In other news – The Realtor we started working with (Patrice) for land, referred us to someone else today who happens to be the same person that we were referred to find our rental property. I also learned that she (Doane Dariah) is a builder, which is another reason Patrice thinks we may be better off working with her. She will have insight about buying the land that’s builder specific. I’m probably going to ask Doane to act as a consultant on the project since I’m Owner Building it. It would be good to have someone who has the connections, experience, and knows the ins and outs down there to look things over for me sometimes.

Selling the 2012 Audi A7 (Premium Plus, S-Line)

I have loved this car from the moment I originally leased it. In fact, when the lease was up, I bought it as there wasn’t anything four years later that seemed to beat it still in my opinion. I’m still in love with this car, and I’m sad to be getting rid of it. However, on the islands, a Jeep or pickup truck is what you need, and that’s what we’re going to get. The island pot holes and salt can be rough on a car.

Today my 2012 Audi A7 Premium, Plus S-Line, 3.0L Supercharged V6 has been listed online. Take a look at the listing here, and if you would, give it a share for us on Facebook, Twitter, etc.! We’re going to need as much money as we can for this house we’re about to build.

How to Follow this Blog’s RSS Feed

I’ve gotten several questions so far on how to follow our blog. I never realized people were going to be so interested in this! That’s awesome!

All blogs have an “RSS” feed which syndicates the content.  In our case, our feed is located here: http://waitikistcroix.com/feed

If you click that link, you’ll notice that it looks like a bunch of code.  That’s because RSS Feeds are meant for RSS Feed Readers.  There are all sorts of apps out there, some for your phone, some for your laptop, and even some online based tools.

Here’s a great article I found which outlines some options for RSS readers, which you can start to explore and add our feed to (http://waitikistcroix.com/feed).

Once you’ve done that, any new article we post will show up in your feed reader.  You can add all sorts of other blogs as well you come across that you like.  Usually if you just type /rss or /feed after the main blog domain name, you’ll find their RSS feed.  Major companies have them too, so you can start streaming all the things you care about in one place, like news outlets CNN or Fox, Mashable, Techcrunch, or ANYONE with a WordPress blog.

Of course, you can always just bookmark our website and come back to it, or follow me on Social Media as I’ll be posting our articles pretty regularly on Facebook.

Enjoy!

Looking for Land for Sale on St. Croix, U.S.V.I.

The good news is since St. Croix is part of the United States Virgin Islands, the process for buying and selling property remains similar and protected under U.S. Law.  It’s one of the few places this far down in the Caribbean that you have all the protection of the U.S. Government. It makes the whole thing a bit easier than going out of the country. I’m used to the Real Estate laws here so that’s good.

While we’ve worked with about four different Realtors over the course of the last two years looking for homes to buy, we figured we’d try and find yet another recommended Realtor to help us in our hunt for land. Not because any of the previous Realtors did a bad job (we know there’s a housing supply issue), just that different Realtors continue to give us different insight and opinions that have been helping to shape our direction and decisions on how to move ourselves down to St. Croix.

We found a woman named Patrice Kelly who came recommended from someone we met on www.vimovingcenter.com who is helping us with our land hunt. Already we’ve got a couple good candidates for what we eventually want to do. The criteria is: 1-3 acres, easily build-able, a not too steep slope, up on the mountain side, with a view of the ocean, on the North or West shorelines of the island. Options right now are ranging anywhere from $60k-$100k which we’re considering, and while that’s not cheap, they say the views are worth a million dollars. 😉

We’re not supposed to go back to St. Croix until the very end of November, but if we find a serious piece of land I may go down for a quick trip sooner as not to loose the opportunity. The real estate market has been on fire down there lately, and things can sell quick if they are the right deal.

We’ve Decided to Build in the Virgin Islands, Are We Crazy?

Well, after two and a half years of looking for a home or villa to buy, and coming across nothing that fit our lifestyle, budget, wants, needs, locations and desires, we have finally decided to move forward with building on St. Croix. Prices of homes have gone up nearly 20% in the last couple of years, and even more concerning is that homes priced between $400k-$750k seem nonexistent when you add the simple request of a pool and a view.

We got our hands on a handy little book called the Owner Builder Book, which has really opened our minds up to the fact that we can possibly do this. By acting as our own general contractor we may be able to save thousands, if not hundreds of thousands on building our home ourselves. We realize it costs more to build on the islands, so those savings may be a wash in comparison to a build back home on the mainland – but none the less they will be savings down in the islands.

Against all sound reasoning we really think we’re going to be able to do it. We know we may end up over budget. We realize we will take longer than most houses built in the U.S. to accomplish, as all things do on the island. We realize it could potentially place stress on our relationship, finances, and tarnish our view of our little piece of paradise – yet we have decided to venture forward so we have a place to call home, even if we don’t enjoy it for years to come from now. So yes, I guess we’re crazy in a way, but something in the back of our minds say this is the right move for us.

We are starting this blog today because all the talk for the last few weeks has become real. Today I spent the day taking pictures of things we’re going to be listing for sale on eBay (like my beloved synths and studio gear), while yesterday we valued the car and boat which I’m selling against their loan values to pay down their debt, free up cash flow, and get ready to move. We will be moving into a rental place in St. Croix by the end of the year so we can be down on the island daily for the build.

Posts may be fewer and farther between in the beginning, but I’ll try to keep up with content as much as I can without boring you guys!

Wish us luck!

Will and Shaleece