Reflections on Buying A Home 5 Days Before Hurricane Maria
By Kathleen Brownsdon
Blue Sky’s Villa Rental Specialist
To say that I will always remember Hurricane Maria is quite an understatement. Although I have lived in the Caribbean for ten years and 18 years in South Carolina I have never experienced a Category 5 hurricane. Sure, I have ridden out a few hurricanes in my time, but they never were more than an amazing “storm party.” Hurricane Maria was different.
After renting in the Caribbean for nearly 10 years, we decided to make St. Croix our official forever home! So, five days prior to Maria’s landfall on St. Croix, my husband and I closed on our very first island house. As Maria approached, we searched for supplies to prepare our new home for the storm. Unfortunately, all the shelves were empty. Our house would face the storm alone—without shutters or boards on the windows and without her new owners. We rode out the storm in our rental apartment.
The storm blew for hours. The noise was incredible; the rain and wind relentless. Once the worst of it was over, I went outside to assess the damage. Trees and power lines were down, car windows smashed, parts of roofs, decks and windows were strewn across the landscape. Naturally, I wondered how our new house weathered the storm. With a mandatory curfew and impassable roads, I was unable to check on our home.
Finally, several days after the storm my husband Nat was able to see our house for himself. Keeping me in suspense for a few minutes, Nat announced “the house is fine!” What a relief to know that construction on St. Croix is darned good and our home’s minimal damage is a testament to that.
When people find out Nat and I closed on our home just 5 days before the storm they all ask if we regret it. We couldn’t be happier with our decision to buy in St. Croix. The beauty of the island, and the affordability of its real estate are what initially inspired us to buy. The remarkable people on the island are what make us confident that we made the right move.