1. You are likely to be able to vacation rent out your place 16 – 20 weeks per year. Your rental rates will be based on season (high season is Dec. 15 – April 15, low season is April 16 – Dec. 14), and number of people occupying the property. In other words, rates will be for 2 people, 4 people, 6 people, etc. and they will be different for high and low season.
2. You are NOT likely to be able to cover all your fees and expenses AND a mortgage. You most likely WILL cover your fees and expenses with a vacation rental property.
3. As of this writing, property taxes are .00377 x purchase price – so that’s a constant and is easy to figure.
4. Condo hotels (Colony Cove, Club St Croix, Sugar Beach) can NOT be financed here, nor can purchases of $100,000 or less.
5. Condo hotels generally take about 40% of your income from rentals. You can put your unit in their rental pool and they will handle all bookings, accounting, maid service, etc. They book the units by the day, week, month, etc. and go in rotation.
6. If you purchase a condo that is NOT a condo hotel, you will need a property manager and villa rental specialist, UNLESS you do your own villa bookings. Most villa rental agents will use VRBO, Flipkey, Homeaway to advertise your unit, and you will most likely have to pay these fees, which range from about $350 a year to $600 per year per site.
7. Property managers/villa rental specialists charge differently. The percentage of the rental they take will vary between 10% – 30%. Some charge a monthly fee for property management. That ranges from $100 – $200 a month. Maid service is extra – and ranges from $80 – $200 per cleaning, depending on the size of the unit and complexity of the cleaning.
8. If you rent your place you will need AC at least in the bedroom. Prepare for electric bills of $200 – $600 per month.
9. Most condos here have insurance included in the monthly fees, which range from $500 – $1300 a month. If they do NOT, then you will not be able to finance the condo without getting your own windstorm insurance, which will add about $500 per month to your tab. Do make sure you ASK if the condo is “self insured” or has commercial windstorm insurance if you plan on financing your purchase.
10. If you rent your place, you’ll want to also purchase renter’s insurance. That is not too expensive – probably $800 – $1500 a year.
11. You will also need a good cable package, internet, and a router, if the condo you purchase does not have these amenities (many condos provide BASIC cable and some provide internet). If you have to supply these – budget about $150 per month.