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Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

Corinth
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Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

Like seemingly most who end up on this forum, I'd love to one day have a home on Eleuthera. I enjoy looking at the various real estate websites even though I know that potentially purchasing a home on Eleuthera is years away (many). How many years away obviously depends on the costs involved. So for that, I would love some rough estimates on what one could expect to pay for the following monthly/yearly expenses:

Utilities - all I've read is that the electric bill can be really high but never seen any actual numbers. I'd love some input.

Property taxes - I believe I found a sliding scale for property taxes that showed what % of the home's value is taxed based on how much the home/property is worth. Can't seem to find it now.

Insurance - a beachfront home's insurance I'm sure can be pretty expensive given its location in the Caribbean and the chance of hurricanes.

Caretaker - if one chooses to rent out their property, what is the standard rate to compensate a caretaker (i.e., cleaning property and tending to guests and keeping property in shape but not actually staying at the property).

Lots of questions. Not looking for exact numbers as I realize there are many variables. Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Eleuthera
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1. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

As you note, Alan, there are so many variables that it's really tricky trying to guide anybody about the "average" costs of living here -- especially as you're talking about some years down the road. Lots of things could change ...

Some of the major expenses -- insurance, property taxes, etc. -- are a direct function of the value of the property. So the bottom line would be *way* different for a $500K house and an $800K house. Whether you add "catastrophic" -- i.e., hurricane -- insurance makes a huge difference. Some do, some don't.

Even the utilities are hard to judge: That's a function of size, how many people are living there, how much time you spend on the island, how much AC you use, how many appliances you're running -- i.e., a lot of us have two fridges, or a fridge and a freezer. Some of us use a clothes dryer, which adds to the bill. Is the house on gov't water or cisterns? Is it wired for cable/internet? ... Are you cooking with propane or electricity? ... Can you get by with one vehicle, or do you need two? ... etc., etc. Just too many variables to start putting dollar signs on it.

Maybe this will help: I have a friend who for many years had a 3-bedroom home, on a large property, with 2 guest cottages. He was very scientific in his approach to these matters. He estimated that his annual operating expenses averaged about 4% of the total value of his property. That's probably not a bad ballpark guess ... I'd be curious if other homeowners would agree.

Windsor, Canada
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2. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

Good advice as always from Dave. Here are a few rough numbers for a modest house. About $3000 a year for electric and $3000 a year for insurance. Property tax is 0 for the first $250,000, 0.75% for $250,000 to $500,000, and 1% between $500,000 to 5 million. Basic caretaking is $100 a month, but that is mostly just keeping an eye on the place. Maintenance and taking care of renters is much more, so most owners do much of that themselves. About $100 a month for some light gardening. Cleaning is $75 each cleaning.

Other major expenses include import duty which runs 85% for items like new cars. They are considering rolling back duties and having a 15% VAT.

New England
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3. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

+1...Love threads like this - hope someday to have a house as well.

WindsorDave: is that $3000/year for electric with heavy use of A/C in the summer? That seems really high for a modest sized house - that's what I pay at home for a much, much bigger house with 6 people lots of TV's and computers, pool washer/dryer electric hot water etc all running a lot - plus a home office.

Are the rates generally higher in Eleuthera, or is it that consumption is higher because of the heat and need for A/C??

Also, the $3K for house insurance, that is less than I would have thought - does that include hurricane coverage?

Eleuthera
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4. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

Re the electricity: As noted earlier, that's gonna vary widely due to a lot of factors. My last bill was $330 for the month -- but it was hot, we were running a lot of AC, we had guests in the cottage for 10 days who were running a lot of AC. We also run three fridges -- one in the guest cottage, two in the main house -- and a dryer, outdoor security lights, computers, etc., etc.

Basically, electricity is expensive here because it is supplied via oil-fired generators, so the costs are significantly affected by the global price of oil. There is a fuel surcharge on the electric bill that varies, based on the global price of oil, but the fuel surcharge often at least twice the basic Kw/hr charge for the electricity itself.

Windsor, Canada
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5. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

We mostly just run the AC at night in the bedrooms during the summer, and our electricity usage is relatively low, so the higher bills are due to the high rates here.

House insurance costs are lower than we expected. We do have hurricane insurance although a moderate deductible. We only lost some shingles and gutters during Irene and Sandy so I have not made a claim yet.

Eleuthera
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6. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

My hubster and I are still building our home, so meanwhile we are living with my father-in-law.. here is what we pay each month for living expenses in our 2 bdr home...

1) Light Bill varies between $700/mo to $400/mo.

2) Water Bill (Senior discount rate) $125/ per 6 mos.

3) Groceries (including diapers for both children weekly) $200/wk ..

4) Propane Bill (for cooking) $180 averaging around every 2 months or so.

5) Cable/internet bill $140/mo.

6) Gas for vehicles (hubby to get to work, and big mama to get kids off to school and run errands) $80-$100/week. **Noting that gas prices are almost $7 /gal now.

If you plan to build or buy a home here on Eleuthera I would definitely look into getting Solar Panels for your electric needs. The best thing about that is... when you have your solar panel on working electricity thru your home, BTC actually pays for it to be used, so once your batteries needs to be charged for any reason the bill that you have accumulated from BTC goes towards that, hence not having to pay any type of electric bill.. my husband and I have looked into this and the fella who installs these Solar Panels told us for an average sized home it would cost us around $10k to fix it up.. so in the long run it would really pay off to get these installed.

savannah sound
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7. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

2500sf house, 600sf guest house, 3 refrigerators, washer/dryer, 3 well/cistern pumps, 3 split a/c in bedrooms, 5ton a/c main area, hot water heater, 4 acres on the beach, full time occupancy

Electric: $200-250 in winter, $500-700 in summer

Insurance: $3800/year, includes hurricane coverage (have collected more for damage than paid in premiums over 20 years)

Propane for cooking & standby generator about $1500/year, more if we have h-cane

Water is well/cistern FREE!! YAY!!

Gardener: $60/day, one day/week, includes NIB (insurance)

Housekeeper: $60/day main house, $40 for guest house

Repairs/maintenance: Estimate at $2000/year

Worth it?? OH YEAH!!

Eleuthera
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8. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

Worth it? You mean ... "HELL YEAH !!!!"

We joke down here sometimes: For any expense you're looking at involving a home on Eleuthera, you should estimate the very most it could ever possibly, conceivably cost -- and then figure on paying double that ... ;-)

Heck of it is, it's usually not a joke!!

Corinth
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9. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

Wow. This forum is great.

Got the EXACT type of information I was seeking. Thanks so much.

tireboy
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10. Re: Monthly expenses - Eleuthera Home Ownership

Be aware...it looks like the government is getting serious about enforcing the "room tax" on rental properties that they put in place a couple of years ago....which will add to your operateing expense if you put your house into the vacation rental market.

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