How to Buy Land in St. John

Vacant land in St. John offers a number of advantages to future owners. As one of the most desirable Caribbean destinations, St. John is conveniently situated near the airport and services of St. Thomas, offers stunning ocean views, and is the ideal place to invest, retire, vacation, or simply enjoy life in the eternal sunshine of a beautiful Caribbean isle. One of the most significant benefits of buying vacant land in St. John is that unlike other Caribbean Islands, it’s a part of the United States of America, so U.S. real estate laws apply.

The island of St. John offers a range of land types and vacant lots for sale. When you purchase a plot of vacant land, you will have the freedom to create the home of your dreams without limits. Buying land in St. John can be overwhelming, and there are many things to consider when choosing a parcel. Here are ten things to think about when you’re preparing to buy land in St. John.

SIZE OF THE PLOT

Land in St. John usually is available in quarter, half, three quarters and one acre or larger lots. A quarter-acre to half-acre lot in a less-developed area can go for under $100,000, but a decent lot will usually run you over $100,000 for a quarter-acre lot. If you’re looking at a half-acre to one-acre lots, prices range from around $100,000 to well into the millions. Larger lots are available in the multi-million dollar range. Pricing is largely determined on location, access to the property, view, slope and site preparations that are needed prior to building.

COST TO BUILD

The costs of building a house in St. John start at around $500 per square foot. This can go up significantly depending on the finishes and materials you used. Virgin Island building codes may have special structural requirements that apply to your building plans. All homes will require a cistern for water storage and a septic tank. Make sure to involve a U.S. Virgin Island-licensed architect, engineer, or draftsperson early in the process so they can help you determine how your plans will work with the plot of land you are considering.

DEVELOPED OR UNDEVELOPED

It’s possible to purchase land in St. John within established communities like Peter Bay, where electric, road access, and other development will already be done for you. The price for this type of land will be much higher than if you purchase raw land in an undeveloped part of the island. It often pays off in the long run to purchase a more expensive piece of land that requires less excavation.

ZONING

Always make sure to research the zoning of the land you’re looking to buy. The Virgin Islands have zones, codes, and ordinances that limit what can be built on any property and require certain steps to build a sound structure. Zoning includes required setbacks from the edge of the property and can even mandate things like sea walls or portions of the land that must be left undeveloped. It can be challenging to get the zoning changed, so determine upfront if you need land on St. John that’s zoned for commercial/retail use, residential, or industrial.

ACCESS TO LAND IN ST. JOHN

Access by road is no small matter when it comes to buying land on St. John. Everything will be more difficult and expensive if you don’t have a paved public road leading to your property. Consider the easements and rights of way that may be required to create a road if there isn’t one. Look at the existing roads and also at transportation improvement projects to determine what amenities and roadway improvements are being added to the area. These infrastructure improvements and amenities have the potential to impact the value of the property.

SITE PREPARATIONS

While the land listing will have some information on site preparations that have been made already, it’s a good idea to involve your builder before you choose a site to build on St. John. They can look at the land positioning and shape and suggest home designs that take best advantage of light and views. They can also point out the best spot for utilities and driveways and may be able to identify costly land prep challenges that could be budget-busters if not factored in from the start. A land planner can also be useful at this point since they can check on factors like soil type, water table, slope, vegetation and other items that may impact your building plans. You can always change the dirt, but you can never change the view, so you’ll want to make views a priority when choosing a plot of land. Land with a good view will also be easier to resell in the future.

FINANCING FOR LAND IN ST. JOHN

It’s much more difficult to get a loan when buying undeveloped land in St. John. In general, plan to pay with cash if there’s no structure on the property. You should be able to obtain a construction loan for the building since you’re creating collateral that banks can depend on. Here at Tropical Properties, we do have connections with local lenders who will finance a land purchase, and we can help you find the best source for financing.

EXPERT ASSISTANCE

Partnering with a trusted real estate agent is absolutely essential when making the best choice for buying land on St. John. You want a real estate agent to help you navigate the finer details, inspections, research, negotiations, and closing. Here at Tropical Properties, we have extensive experience negotiating land deals. But our services don’t end on closing day. We build long-term relationships with clients, helping them every step of the way as they build their dream homes on St. John. Contact us to learn more about buying land on St. John. Whether you prefer a remote island getaway or a luxury home in a planned community, we have you covered. Start your St. John land search today, and soon you’ll be living the luxurious tropical lifestyle that you’ve always dreamed.