Owning a Rental Property on St. John: Part 1

casa la 1

Yesterday we showed you a small sampling of villas for sale on St. John. Now we’re pretty certain that many of you have daydreamed at least once or twice about living on island, but perhaps the full time island life isn’t for you yet. So maybe the idea of owning a rental property that you can visit from time to time may sound like a good alternative. Well today we want to introduce you to a family who has done just that.

Mark and Christine Fano first found St. John back in 2010 when Christine was looking for a place for her family, which includes sons Dominic and Christopher, to spend the Easter holiday that year. Their requirements were quite simple:

“Warm ocean temperatures, heat, sun, but not too windy,” Christine said. “No more than 3 1/2 hours away with a direct flight from our home (in New Jersey), family-friendly, quiet, safe where you can leave your hotel or villa without worry, and variety in land topography, just to name a few.”


So like many other people, Christine did quite a bit of research online and quickly found that St. John fit the bill. They then began researching accommodation options when they came across a building blog, which inevitably prompted them to think about their retirement.

“We are in our 40s, which is young from what people tell us, but we wanted to have something now so we could enjoy with our children and make memories,” Christine said. “The first week we vacationed and visited St. John. We looked at many homes on island and nothing fit our criteria. Certain things like location, you can’t change. We didn’t want to be driving 15 minutes to go to a market and wanted to be on the sunniest side for the later part of the day when we would normally get back and swim in the pool. Beauty was important as well as practically for us and our guests.

“It was important to look at homes and their rental income as well. We are business owners so we looked at things with that in mind. We researched what villa locations were best for homeowners and renters. We knew we wanted to be close to Cruz Bay, but we also wanted a quieter location where it felt like a neighborhood,” Christine said. “Basically, we were not going to settle in terms of our personal needs, especially because the large amount of money it costs to build, and then maintain a large, full A/C 5 bedrooms home on island.”

So after a bit more research, the Fanos decided to build their own retirement home on a parcel near Klein Bay. The first dig happened in the Spring of 2011, about six months after their architect Mike Oxman completed the drawings and after all of the permits were approved.

Casa La Famiglia took about 21 months to build (a record from what we’ve been told!) and was officially completed in February of this year. And if you ask me, it came out beautifully. See for yourself:

casa la pool

casa la seating

casa la dining

casa la bedroom

Coming tomorrow: Read more about the construction process, some surprises they encountered along the way, as well as some personal touches they’ve incorporated into their vacation home.

To learn more about Casa La Famiglia, please visit www.CasaLaFamiglia.com