Thursday, November 1, 2012
I have lived in the Virgin Islands for almost nine years now, helping people sell and buy real estate. As with any profession, it is important to maintain a neat, professional image. With the tropical, humid atmosphere it can truly be a struggle here in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I have had a number of stylists who have done my hair well, but for the most part, by the time I reached my car in the parking lot and looked in the mirror I could not tell I had been to the hairdressers. A little frustrating. I have tried relaxers, twists and a host of other processes, I didn't have the patience for locks, all to no avail.
Early this year, when it was time for a trim, I called Sharon, a stylist I had been to before, she owns a shop in French Town and is a good stylist but she was off island. She said, "I hear there is a new stylist in town and I have heard a lot of good things about her. She is good with all hair textures". She gave me the name of a shop, Phoenix Visions Hair Designs and specifically the name of Aisha. I have never had a stylist recommend another person before in St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands or anywhere else I have lived. I needed to have my hair done so I took a chance, I called 340 774 1944, and made an appointment.
From the moment I walked in, Aisha Watley, made me feel it was about me and what I wanted. She took my hair loose and familiarize herself with it's texture, Aisha asked a lot of questions about how I felt and what I wanted. I'd just lost a fair amount of weight and wanted a new look, to go with the new me. She asked about concerns I had, my hair care routine and habits. I told her I had been searching for a minimal care routine as I was hugely busy and I go to the gym regularly. Aisha made recommendations for day to day care, and suggested a style, I could wear either straight or naturally curly. I stepped out on faith and allowed her to do what she recommended. Aisha sent me home with products to use for both a straight look and a curly/wash and go look.
I loved the results, but I was still skeptical with the straight/ flat iron effect. I made it to the car and peaked in the mirror, my hair still looked great. I made it home, it still looked great! I was amazed. When I decided to go curly, the results was equally as satisfying.
I have since, recommended many friends and business associates to Aisha and Phoenix Visions Hair Designs. They have each reported positive experiences with Aisha. The most recent referral is a male customer who is new to the island. I had noticed a lot of men and children too, enjoying services, while I was having my hair done, all of them leave looking great.
The shop is well organized, they are ready for you when you arrive for your appointment. They give you a call to remind you of your appointment the day before. As a real estate professional. I have a busy schedule with things constantly coming up, and this is really appreciated. They are a full service salon, manicures, pedicures, massages, waxing, and they offer wedding packages and services for other special occasions.
Today I decided I wanted to go even shorter. Aisha, did not hesitate, she asked a few crucial questions and went to work. I have a fresh, short, sassy look! So if you live in St. Thomas, are vacationing, or getting married here and need any salon services, check out Phoenix Visions Hair Design and ask for Aisha.
If you are in The Virgin Islands and are abuyer, seller or want to rent property call me at 340 344 2959. With my fresh, sassy look, thanks to Aisha, I will help you find the perfect place.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
St. Thomas may be a fairly small island but cultural institutions abound here. One of the cultural institutions in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. is the Pistarkle Theater. Established in 1991 and currently molded by Nikki Emerich as the artistic Director. The Pistarkle Theater offers a variety of productions that get better each year.
Saturday was the final performance of "Cabaret" at the Pistarkle Theater. Typically, there was not an empty seat in the house. I attended with two friends and enjoyed the performance of a cast that has been honing their skills and clearly are exhibiting the benefit of a new musical director. An additional bonus is being able to see friends and colleagues preform at a professional level.
This cultural institution in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands offers educational camps for the youth of the community. The 2011 Leadership Performing Arts Camp was held July 29 to August 19th. Some of the attendees are featured in the video below.
Located in Tillet Gardens which is a center for the arts, yet another cultural institution on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Here, shops sell everything from Orchids, hand crafted jewelry, and hand painted clothing to name just a few products of local artists. The center was created by Jim Tillett, a, now deceased, world renowned, silk screen artist. He arrived on St. Thomas in 1959 and converted a Danish farm into a screen printing shop and art gallery. There are some Thirteen shops and a new Restaurant, "The Bistro". I tried the honey mustard pulled chicken salad, Saturday. The food is tasty and the portions are more than generous.
These cultural institutions on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands provide opportunities for young people to develop their talents, learn to express themselves in wonderful ways, improve their self esteem, and provide a great source of entertainment for the community. The arts are heavily dependent on contributions from individuals and corporate sponsors.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The essences of island living in St. Thomas, a charming, stand alone, two bedroom, one bath cottage on a fenced and gated property. Tastefully decorated with original art from around the world, Moroccan carpets and all new furniture. Every detail has been attended to, down to the linens and cookware.
The kitchen is open to the living area for maximum interaction with guests and family. The bedrooms are on opposite ends of the cottage for maximum privacy. There is an extra room that can be used as a walk-in closet or an office area, if you like. Split air conditioning, Internet service and cable television are included. There is a lovely outdoor dining room with lounge chairs for sipping your cordial after a romantic dinner.
There are traditional wooden hurricane shutters and hurricane resistant glass in the windows and French doors that lead to a patio. A generator in case the electric goes out. There is a full sized washer and dryer. Flat parking for two cars is another bonus with this rental in St. Thomas.
This rental in St. Thomas is conveniently located just West of town, so you are not fighting the traffic. It is close to the University, and not far from downtown businesses. This ideal, home can be yours with an annual lease for only $2,400.00 per month. Pets are considered individually. This is a nonsmoking property.
For all your real estate needs on St. Thomas, contact Van Blake-Coleman Realty. Call 1 866 576 3331.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
I have shown property in Estate Hope only once before, a raw piece of land. Estate Hope is located on the Western side of the island before you get to Estate Fortuna, people hold on to the property in this area. I had an appointment to show a home listed for only $249,000, hard to find on St. Thomas. The listing touted the home to be within walking distance to Stumpy Bay. I met a friend I have been showing homes for a while and we ventured down an unpaved road that was pretty rugged (not unusual in St. Thomas). Turns out, this is probably not the home for her and her husband but I could not resist the opportunity to go to Stumpy Bay. My friend had never heard of Stumpy Bay (she is quite young, at least by my standards) We could hear and see the water clearly from the house but there didn't seem to be any beach in sight, just a rocky coastline. When we got down to the road we could not see the water so we decided to drive. We finally reached an area too rugged for either of our four wheel drive vehicles. We parked in the middle of the road, no one was going to be able to drive any further any way; so walked the rest of the way.
As we came through the trees, a beach began to appear, as we walked across the sand littered with bleached coral (most of this has been removed by visitors on the other beaches even though it is prohibited), there was a serenity and sense of peace that settled around us on this isolated beach. No wonder it is such a treasure to those who know it. I only had the time to take these pictures but I will return with a bathing suite and some snorkel gear, when I can steel an afternoon. Soon, I too will be able to smile whimsically when Stumpy Bay Beach is mentioned. I may not have the wealth of memories but I will know the privilege.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Three of the open houses were in the Estate of Frenchman Bay.
MLS number 12-1635, priced at $1,799,000 this relatively new, sprawling 7,000 sq. ft, seven bedroom, seven and a half bath home is located very close to the sea and in clear view of the cruise ship route. It was the first open house on St. Thomas, I attended today. It is minutes from Antilles School, town and the Lime Tree Beach. Amenities include a huge pool, balconies off of the bedrooms, each bedroom is en suite, custom imported wood work, incredible parking space and travertine flooring throughout. There are actually two separate units here; a four bedroom four bath upper level and a three bedroom three and a half lower level.
MLS number 12-878, priced at $360,000 a two bedroom, two bath, solid concrete condo with breathtaking Caribbean Sea views from every room except the bathrooms. I almost missed this open house in St. Thomas today. This unit has been beautifully kept and has a private driveway. It is situated in a quite small complex, located in the center of the island. Other significant features are large closets and a double sink mater bath, low condo fees - only $555.30 a month, hurricane screening, UV water filter and an automatic generator.
MLS number 12-1555, priced at $259,000, the only two bedroom two bath unit in Frenchman View Condominium Complex. There are great panoramic views and a large deck. The complex has a pool. Construction is concrete. The condo fees are $962 a month.
View from the deck of MLS 12-1645
Estate Lerkenlund is the location of the last open house MLS 12-1645, priced at $515,000 and consists of three bedrooms and three baths, with a work shop and bonus room down stairs. This immaculately kept home commands amazing views of Magen's Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and could be converted into a two unit home if you wanted to, with access from the lower road. The main level has walk-in access and there is a solar and generator system on this home; resulting in low electric bills and making power outages a non-issue. The hammock in the living room make this home my pick of the open houses in St. Thomas today.
If you are interested in seeing real estate in St. Thomas call Van Blake-Coleman Realty at 866 576 3331.
Many of the listings are available through broker's reciprocity.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
This report contains figures from the St. Thomas Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service:
During the month of September in the St. Thomas real estate market, 7 homes were sold with an average price of $605,929.00. The total volume of homes sold last month was $4,241,500. The number of homes sold has increased by more than 200% over the same time period last year but the average price is down by more than 26 %.
There were 4 condos sold in the month of September with an average price of $158,375. The total volume of condos sold last month was $633,500. In the St. Thomas real estate market, the number of condos sold has increased by 33% in the same time frame last year but the average price has decreased by 46% from a year ago.
The raw land sold in the St. Thomas real estate market during the month of September numbered only 2 with an average price of $202,500. The total volume of land sold last month was $405,000. This represents a decrease of 60% in the number of lots sold compared to the same time frame last year but a 141% increase in the average price.
the St. Thomas real estate market is small enough to be significantly impacted by one or two large or small sales with in the month. The St. Thomas real estate market normally see an increase in both the number of sale and prices in the high season from November to April. Now is a great time for buyers to purchase on St. Thomas and throughout the Virgin Islands.
There are a significant number of transactions which take place and are not recorded on the MLS.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
The Virgin Islands Territorial Association of Realtors is our state level organizations of Realtors in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is comprised of The St. Thomas Board of Realtors, the St. John Board of Realtors and the St. Croix Board of Realtors. There is currently a combined membership of 292 members.
Many people believe the only interest Realtors have is selling people's homes and collecting large checks. I would be crazy to say we have no interest in making money, everyone likes doing that. Most of us live in the territory and our lives, our futures, our families and friends are all impacted by addressing large and small issues that affect the Virgin Islands Territory. Therefore our interests are much deeper and very personal to each of us.
The Virgin Islands Territory has a challenge in specific sections with homes that have been damaged by hurricanes, abandoned because of inheritance and probate issues, financial inability of owners to complete rehab projects or a combination of all of the above. Yes, even in paradise, we have blight and we need an organized method of address it, especially since we have such a rich history that deserves to be preserved.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of the Virgin Islands Territorial Association of Realtors, especially our president, Kerstin McConnell, president Elect for the St. Thomas Board of Realtors, April Newland, President of the St. Croix Board of Realtors, Caryn Hodge, Honnie Edwards and Lorine Williams and our CEO of the Virgin Islands Territorial Association, Belton Jennings for the dogged determination and dedication they have exhibited in working to pass legislation in the territory which will improve the quality of life for all Virgin Islanders, specifically the Historic Preservation Bill. While the bill is not in it's final form, it's essence is important.
Belton Jennings was the conduit to the grant from NAR (National Association of Realtors), which help to fuel the latest efforts with the Historic Preservation bill. The named members waged a campaign this year, personally lobbying, making appearances on radio and TV and testifying before the legislation.
Here is a link to read the article that was published in Realtor's Party News Letter
Monday, September 3, 2012
A friend of mine decided to charter a boat right here in St. Thomas, VI over the Labor Day weekend and invited me to join them. We departed from Compass Point one of the many marinas on St. Thomas.
As we left St. Thomas, VI over the Labor Day weekend we sailed by Nazareth, RH. One of the waterfront homes in this neighborhood is depicted below. At the time of this writing there were 20 homes for sale in this area, ranging in price from $399,000 to $4,100,000.00. Pricing depends on whether the home is inside gated areas such as Water or Deck Point and proximity to the water.
We passed by St. John and Tortola. Our first stop was Sandy Cay. This island is 13 acre island, donated by Lawrence Rockefeller in 2008 to the BVI. Part of the allure of this island is that you get to feel what it is like to be on a completely private beach. Although there are at least six mooring lines, there seems to be an unwritten rule among the boaters. If they approach and see some one else there, they sail on until you leave. Circling back and coming ashore. Occupancy is limited to 90 minutes. We used our time to frolic in the surf, scrub ourselves with the white sand, walk the trail and snorkel a bit. Although there wasn't much to see in the water the beach was glorious.
Next came Foxy's Taboo Located at the water's edge and known for it's casual but sumptuous dining.
Back to the boat and on to White Bay where the beach is lined with restaurants, bars, boats and activities.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
On St. Thomas there are a total of 168 residences for sale ranging in asking price from $155,000 to $10,990,000 currently.
During the month of August, 2012 there were 5 homes sold on St. Thomas. The median price was $460,000 which, on average, was 93% of the asking price.The average days on the market was 357.
There are 175 condos available for pruchase in the St. Thomas, Virgin Islands real estate market, ranging in price from $69,000 to $2,595,000. There is a boat slip that comes up under this category for $62,500.
For the condo segment of the market, 3 units closed on St. Thomas during the month of August. The median price was $250,000 which was, on average, 87% of the asking price. The average days on maket was 188.
The St. Thomas, Virgin Islands real estate market has 245 lot for sale; ranging in asking price from $20,000 to $8,000,000.
During the month of August, there were 4 lots of raw land sold on St. Thomas, with an median price of $46,500, which was, on average, 84% of the listed price. The average days on the maket was 316.
Snap Shot of the St. Thomas, Virgin Islands Real Estate Market
Condos are selling quicker than homes or land. Homes are selling closer to asking prices. Only the very inexpensive lots are selling. The higher end of the market is fairly quiet in all segments.
How can both buyers and sellers gain an advantage in the St. Thomas, Virgin Islands Real Estate Market? Retain a local Realtor who knows the market.
All satistics are from the Mulitple Listing Service for the St. Thomas, St. Croix Real Estate Boards.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Call to make an appointment 340 344 2959, I will be happy to show you your heart's desire.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
This townhome is waiting for the right buyer to doll it up. Located on Raphune Hill in a solid concrete building, overlooking the harbor only a little cosmetic work stands between it and a stunning show piece of a two bedroom, two bath home.
A stairwell with built-in lighting leads to the loft style master suite.
The entry level bedroom has a walk-in closet.
Raphune Hill is just above the hospital and down town Charlotte Amalie, and before you get to the major, center of the island shopping area, so it is truely convenient to everything. You will be able to see the ships as they arrive in port.
Priced to sell at only $225,000.00 call 866 576 3331 for your appointment for a private viewing now.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
On the jewel island of St. Thomas, situated above the most popular port of call in the Caribbean, is Harbor View Villas. An intimate condo complex designed for comfortable living in tropical surroundings.
The stunning view of the harbor and Caribbean Sea is immediately apparent as you enter the unit. The gleaming marble tile runs throughout the condo and onto the wrapping balcony. Should the tropical breezes take a break, the unit is equipped with central air conditioning.
Custom mahogany cabinets grace the kitchen and both bathrooms. Corian counter tops and Italian glass tile back splash are among the finishings in the kitchen. Dishwasher, garbage disposal, stove, fridge and extensive culinary utensils make cooking a joy. There is a large barbeque grill and the kitchen has a pass through to the deck so you can hand things out instead of walking through the living room.
The master suite has a king sized bed, office area, walk-in closet, duel sinks and sliding door access to the balcony.
If you tire of working, diving, golfing, sailing, partying or lounging by the complex pool there is a complete entertainment center in the unit.
All of this can be your to enjoy on a long term lease for only $3,000 per month. Call to make your appointment to view this unit in person.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
While we don't have melting snow with crocus peaking through the melting snow; there are quieter changes in the Virgin Islands with the advent of spring.
One of the measures of winter in the Virgin Islands is the onset of what we call the Christmas Winds. They are pleasantly cool breezes that blow from mid February, unit early spring. When they are here you hardly notice the height of the mid-afternoon heat. Most of us have to sleep with light blankets and some wear sweaters and pull out wool clothing. There is a noticeable lowering in the temperature of the Caribbean waters.
During the past few days, I have noticed the bite of the high sun in the afternoon. So don't forget your sun block.
The Caribbean waters begin to warm and those who have the option to swim here year around prefer to wait for the warmer waters. Yea, more beach time!
Normally my orchids bloom in November or December, this year they chose to bloom in late March. I love the combination of the Orchid and the Bromeliads shown in the picture above. I have a lot to learn about growing orchids, I think I may have them in too much direct sun. I have several others who have pink and purple blossoms but I have not had success in getting them to produce flowers. I will keep trying.
In the mean time, enjoy the new signs of life wherever you live, celebration of the resurrection and life in general!
Sunday, March 25, 2012
This past Saturday was a day I was determined to get there, a particularly demanding week with rental issues, made it even more important. A friend was supposed to meet me but she wasn't there when I showed up. I forged on, walking briskly and enjoying the picturesque homes in Peterborg and Misgunst nestled in the rolling lush green hills, crystal clear water with gentle waves lapping the shore, a cool breeze and brilliant warming sunshine.
As I started my second length of the beach I noticed an attractive man go down on bended knee at water's edge. Standing beside him, a pretty blonde woman, open mouthed, grabbed her chest and mouth in surprise. I was close enough to see the color come into her cheeks and tears spring to her eyes as she reached to hug the man. It was clear, I was witnessing a proposal. I saw a camera swinging from her wrist.
As I interrupted to offer to capture the moment on their camera for them, she pointed out he had written in the sand, "Will you marry me?". From her accent, I believe they were from Australia. Ooops, I had almost stepped on the proposal. I inquired, "Clearly this is a specail moment, may I take a picture to capture it for you?". She excitedly said, "he has a ring and everything!". Curled tightly on his pinky was a lovely diamond ring.
I think it is a safe guess, she had forgotten the camera was even on her arm. I did my best to capture them, the view and the sand writing in one shot. I took several shots, of them and the writing separately. Their joy was so obvious. I wished them many years of happiness and moved on.
As I continued my walk, I was overwhelmed with emotion, as I was allowed by fate and them, to share such a special moment with total strangers. I have seen a lot of weddings at Magen's, many of them very beautiful; it is an ideal location. This was the first time I happened on a proposal. I am still not sure why it moved me so. Writing about it brings back the emotion.
I thought about asking them to e-mail a picture or two so I could post them here, but I thought it would be a bit too intrusive. I may not know them but I will always remember them and feel connected in some small way to them.
Another great day at the beach.
Monday, March 5, 2012
The first step was identifying where I was most inefficient.
1. I was using a manual day planner and to do lists. It was bulky and awkward, so I stopped carrying it and sometimes would use small note pads. Paper gets crunched up, when you don't carry it you forget what was on the list and so on.
2. I was buried in paper and physical files, I have a small office with limited cabinets that are filled to the brim and I now have metal boxes holding the over flow and truthfully there are files on the floor. Talk about inefficient, when you are sorting through hand labeled files in boxes on the floor when you are trying to reconcile rental accounts. The feeling of panic was sometimes overwhelming when I could not locate something I knew was there somewhere.
3. I have a Quick Books system for accounting an billing but I am not fully utilizing the program. When I first purchased it I had an accountant show me how to do the essentials, basically using it like a check registry.
4. Over the years I have developed friendships with people who seem to dwell on all that is wrong in the world. They will call and spend what feels like hours complaining or will set lunch dates and use the entire time to complain. I leave feeling drained depressed.
5. Keeping focused on goals has also been a weakness of mine, which is reflected in a level of scattered efforts and resulting in a lack of results.
6. Obtaining signatures on listing agreements and sales contracts and ensuring the customers and clients are left with a copy has been a challenge in the field. I carry a folder of forms everywhere and try to remember to prepare possible listing and sales contracts in triplicate in advanced. I am killing trees by the dozens and have a car filled with paper. Not to mention the hours of time I have wasted calling and e-mailing people because I haven't gotten the signed document back. My clients and customers literally span the globe, from here in the Caribbean, to South Africa, the Middle East and China.
The first thing I did before I left California was to purchase a IPad, eliminating the need for my day planer, or note pad. My to do lists are always at hand, so I don't forget what I need to do, I am focused on my goals because the are always with me. I can prioritize everything, plan my route of travel in the most efficient manner (gas is too expensive and time is too precious to wonder around) and I keep the larger picture in focus now. Truly mobile access to the internet has been enlightening, I am not hindered by truncated messages or images on my phone. I don't have to search for a scrunched up notes, I know they are at the tips of my fingers.
I do my, to do list, the night before, it eliminates the anxiety during the night of "what have I forgotten?"; that used to make me sit straight up in the bed in the middle of the night.
Then I moved on to the paper, I am in the process of going paperless. We are required by law to maintain file for seven years in the Virgin Islands. All of my files are in the process of being converted to e-files. My office is being transformed. I am going to start my new files as e-files and eliminate the physical file all together. This is a major challenge for me as I cling to the physical paper.
Quick Books remains a challenge for me and I never seem to have time to attend the courses when they are available. I am out sourcing this too. I have a son who has a business degree and could use some extra work, he just became engaged and there is a big wedding in the planning stage. We have agreed to set up a Dropbox account so he can attend to this aspect of my business for me, since I dread doing it and am not very good at it anyway. Freedom, to do the things I like and am good at.
My negative friends, are still my friends but I have to admit I have cut way back on the time I will allow them to absorb. I listen for a minute, try to inject something positive and motivating for them and excuse myself.
After reading the Docusign promo, I am signing up for the free trial so I can stop hauling all of those forms and wasting time following up on whether someone received my fax or was able to scan and e-mail a signed document back to me. With the distance of some of my customers and clients the time difference will no longer be an issue either.
I now have organized days that are more often than not started with a trip to the gym very early in the morning. I have eliminated lots of anxiety and replaced it with focused efforts, resulting in increased business and a fitter and happier me!
Monday, February 13, 2012
This is a wonderfully private one bedroom apartment located on the desirable East end of St. Thomas. It is in the midst of some of the most desirable real estate on the island. Close to Red Hook, the yacht club and Ritz Carlton. This lovely, apartment has a water view from every room including the bathroom. The rent includes the first $100 of your electric bill. Everything is new, furnishings, appliances and fixtures. Just up the street from Secret Harbor condos and resort with their wonderful new waterfront restaurant. There is off street parking. Sorry no pets or smokers, please. This is a long term rental, an annual lease is preferred, at $1650 per month. Call Van Blake Coleman Realty at 340 344 2959 or visit www.talk-to-Tanya.com for this and other great rentals.