The prospect of moving to St. Croix and living in the Caribbean can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming. Generally, the first priority for when relocating to the island is finding a place to live. If you have never lived on St. Croix, and especially if you have never lived on an island, I recommend you rent before you buy. This will allow you to make sure island living on St. Croix is a good fit for you! Ready to start looking for a rental? Here are the things you will need to consider to make the best choice for you:
Furnished or Unfurnished:
If you want to start slow, rent a place that is furnished house, condo or apartment since it can be expensive to ship all of your household goods, or to buy new ones on the island. Many furnished places include basic furniture, appliances, linens, dishes and kitchenware, just make sure to ask what is included.
Rent & Utilities:
Know your budget for monthly rent and utilities. Some rentals include some or all of the utilities and/or amenities in the monthly rent, such as water, electricity, cable, internet, pest control and/or pool service. Find out what utilities are included in the monthly rent, and ask what the average monthly utilities currently are on the residence so you have an idea of what to expect your monthly bills to be.
Size and Requirements:
Know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need, as well as any other requirements or ‘wish list’ items such as: an office, a guest cottage, workshop space, storage areas, air conditioning, a pool, a yard, an ocean view, etc.
Research what part of the island you want to live on. Do you want to be near a town, in the rainforest, near a beach, or in a more secluded area? You’ll probably want to live close to the area you will be working or spending most of your time. When you are looking at a rental, ask about the pros and cons of surrounding neighborhood. Also, make sure the house is open to breezes to keep it cooled off since many residences have small AC units or no air conditioning at all.
Terms of the Lease:
Do you need a pet friendly place to live? How long of a lease are you looking for: 3 months, 6 months, one year? Is the house or condo you will be renting currently listed for sale? If so, how much notice will you receive before the house is shown by realtors, and how much notice will you be given if the house sells and you have to move out? Does the house have storm shutters and a generator in case of power outages? What is the regular maintenance needed (such as landscaping, changing water filters or servicing the generator) and who is responsible for it? Make sure you are comfortable with all of the items you will be responsible for as a tenant, and everything is spelled out clearly in the terms of the lease.
There are a multitude of houses, condos and apartments for rent on St. Croix, so make sure you shop around. Also, keep in mind that rent amount and lease terms can be negotiable. While the internet is a great tool which allows you to look at pictures, maps and even get reviews of available rentals, keep in mind that pictures may be outdated and maps don’t really tell you much about the surrounding area. Your best bet is to visit the island and shop for a rental in person or, at the very least, work with a rental agent who can help you make an informed decision. Happy hunting!
-Jennie Ogden, Editor
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