Building on St. John

BUILDING ON ST. JOHN 

If you’re buying on St. John, make sure you know what’s what and who’s who. Read the following to understand more about the costs and procedures of buying real estate on St. John.

BUILDING COSTS

Building costs can start around $400+ per square foot for average (masonry) construction. A VI licensed architect or engineer must sign off on house plans. Building specs can be obtained from Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) at 340-774-3320. Permits take 2-4 months for approval.

ZONING, BUILDING & HOUSING LAWS & REGULATIONS

Virgin Islands zoning, building & housing laws & regulations may be obtained from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, accounting section, 18 Kongens Gade, St. Thomas VI 00802 Phone (340) 774-2991.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

TELEPHONE:

Innovative Telephone
Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 3:30 pm (Closed for lunch 1-2 pm)
2nd floor of The Marketplace on St. John
P.O. Box 6100
St. Thomas, VI 00801
(340) 779-9999

GROSS RECEIPTS TAX

Residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands are taxed, generally, under the same statutes, rules and regulations as residents of the United States. The principle exception is that corporations must pay a V.I. surcharge equal to 10% of their corporate income tax. U.S. citizens with U.S. Virgin Islands source income are required to file a duplicate income tax return, Form 1040, with the V.I. Bureau of Internal Revenue (VIBiR) and pay tax, if due, on their V.I. source income. Any tax paid to the VIBiR is a direct reduction of the total tax liability of the individual. Form 8689, Allocation of V.I. Source Income, is the IRS form to be used for this computation and credit.

There is no sales tax in the USVI; however, there is a tax of 4% levied on the gross receipts of all businesses. Businesses with annual gross revenues under $150,000 per year can exclude $5,000 per month from their taxable base.

TITLE INSURANCE

Title Insurance is available and recommended. Check with your local attorney for recommendations.

WINDSTORM/EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE

Damage from Hugo (1989) and Marilyn (1995) resulted in improved building codes and variable insurance rates. Georges (1998), Jose (1999) and Lenny (1999) all went right over us and left no major damage. Hurricane mitigation helps! All buildings now must be engineered to withstand a minimum wind speed of up to 110 mph & zone 4 earthquake provisions. Windstorm/earthquake insurance cost is about 2% to 4% of property value depending on construction (wood frame is higher than masonry).

UTILITIES

Electricity, Cable, Propane

Having utilities changed over from one property owner to another involves some preparation beforehand. The companies involved all have their “own way” of doing things and trying to communicate with them from “off island” can be frustrating and energy consuming if you are not well prepared. When dealing with them be sure to extend courteous greetings – “Good morning ” or “Good afternoon”. And remember, “patience is a virtue – island time can be forever”..

Local service providers:

ELECTRICITY

WAPA (Water and Power Authority) Located Market Place 3rd Floor
P.O. Box 302636 , St. Thomas , VI 00803-2636
Monday – Friday (8:00am-4:00 pm) Closed 1-2 pm for lunch
(340) 776-6446

CABLE and Digital TV Service

Innovative Cable TV
Located on the 2nd floor of The Marketplace
www.cabletv.vi
P.O. Box 6100
St. Thomas, VI 00801
(340) 693-8685

PROPANE

Paradise Gas
(340) 693-8848 

MAIL SERVICE

US Mail, Postmaster
St. John, VI 00830
(340) 779-4227

General delivery free

P.O. Boxes are $20.00/year

Alternative mail service providers:

Connections
PO Box 37, St. John, VI 00831
(340) 776-6922
www.ConnectionsStJohn.com

PostNet
5000 Estate Enighed
St. John, VI 00830
(340) 714-7250
www.mailcentervi.com

WATER

Roof gutters for cistern collection and storage. Required cistern capacity: 10 gallons of cistern storage for every square foot of roof on single story home, 15 gallons for two-story home. STJ also has a desalinization plant; water cost (including delivery) is $385 for 3000 gals (more for Coral Bay Delivery). V. I. Water and Power Authority (WAPA)

MORTGAGE

Mortgages are available through banks and lending institutions, including, Merchants Commercial Bank, First Bank, Scotia Bank, and Merrill Lynch.  Most banks require the buyer to pay for title search, title insurance, property appraisal, written certificate of surveyors property, perimeter survey & bank attorney fees.  Second homebuyers can qualify for up to 70% loan to value mortgages.