Ms. Sylvia Moses grew up in West End, Tortola, British Virgin Islands and spent most holidays in Salt Island, where her family originates. While on Salt Island she would enjoy various activities such as picking salt, catching and cleaning fish, assisting with pulling the seine and picking whelks. She delights in everything to do with water activities including sailing and going to the beach. During her free time, she loves reading and watching historical movies.
Ms. Moses owes much of her success to her upbringing. Her parents instilled values that she carries with her even today. Her father was a strict parent that ensured that his children got an education. Even today the values such as honest living and hard work permeate her life. She believes success is not about the money but instead, ability. The educational system in the British Virgin Islands also prepared her well for her successes. She truly believes that it was the village that helped to make her the woman she is today.
She attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Accounting as well as a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of the Virgin Islands. This afforded her the opportunity to serve as a public servant in the Government of the Virgin Islands. She began working at the Inland Revenue Department in 1983 and after years of hard work and dedication, she became the Commissioner of Inland Revenue. She enjoyed her work as she was also able to travel and meet other public officers. Then, Ms. Moses transferred to the Premier’s office where she became the Director of International Affairs. As Director of International Affairs, she oversaw the BVI London House as well as assisted with the establishment of the BVI House Asia. After 35 years of service, she believed it was her time to transition and give the people behind her an opportunity to lead. So she transitioned into real estate, her long term passion.
While in high school, Ms. Moses was fascinated by Real Estate. During her summers and after school she would work with Pam Romney at Island Real Estate. She vividly recalls going to the airport with Mrs. Romney to get clients to take them on home tours. Even then, she enjoyed giving home tours and taking care of clients.
Officially, she has been in the Real Estate Business for the past year. During that time Ms. Moses found the career to be intriguing because it creates an opportunity to interact with a vast cross-section of people be it buyers, sellers or renters. The flexibility that the job provides where she can set her own hours and have unlimited income potential is also a great benefit. She can view the many beautiful properties that the BVI has to offer and to enjoy the scenery around the BVI such as the beautiful sunsets in the West or the view of the islands lying in the Caribbean Sea from the hillside. She enjoys helping people find the right property to fit their needs and feels a sense of satisfaction when the client is successful whether it be them being able to purchase their dream home, gain independence with their new apartment or being able to sell their home.
After Hurricanes, Irma and Maria, there were a lot of damaged homes that became available for sale. However, COVID-19 affected the market. In March of 2020, the British Virgin Islands’ Real Estate Market had just rebounded from the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, however, it felt an early decline due to COVID-19. At this time, there are increasing numbers of properties coming on the market and an increased number of young people, both males and females, looking for properties. There were also increased numbers of overseas investors looking for damaged properties, homes and land for purchase. Currently, while sellers are still able to negotiate their prices successfully, it is a buyer’s market. This is due to the current economic environment because of COVID-19. The National Bank of the Virgin Islands’ deal for 100% financing until December 2020 along with the Government initiatives assisted in reviving the Real Estate Market.
If the current trend continues, Ms. Moses sees the housing market in a very good place in the next 10 years. If young people continue purchasing a piece of paradise, the BVI will be in good hands. “He who owns the land runs the country.” Ms. Moses encourages young people to own a piece of paradise. It would give them a sense of pride and stability as well as allow them to build wealth. She encourages people, especially BVIslanders, to invest in the country.
Ms. Moses advises readers to save, maintain, build responsibly and network.
Save- Young people should start saving for purchasing real estate as soon as they leave school. “Do not put the cart before the horse”. Spend your money wisely and prioritize your life goals. Save towards your investment, even when renting. To purchase Real Estate in the British Virgin Islands buyers have to make a deposit (usually 10%) as well as bank fees and legal charges. Once a potential buyer can show a steady income and financial maturity, they are considered great candidates for purchasing. The hardest part of purchasing Real Estate is financing. Even after you have found your dream home or land there may be a two to four-week wait for approval from the bank for land or up to three months for homes, so be patient.
Maintain your property- Once you have purchased your property, be sure to maintain it. If you forgo maintenance, you may end up with a huge expense and you want your property to serve you for a long time.
Build within your means- Potential buyers should build within your means and with the future in mind. Be prepared for life changes. Your circumstances may not be permanent so consider everything when you are purchasing or building.
Most importantly, build a relationship with both your banker and your real estate agent. Establish credit in the bank by taking small loans that you can afford to repay. Also, find a good real estate agent you can trust and you will help you acquire your dream property.
The British Virgin Islands is our home and Ms. Moses encourages us to invest in our home. “Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
Ms. Sylvia Moses is an example of hard work and determination reaping its benefits. After working many successful years in the public sector, she now can work in her dream career as a Real Estate agent. She encourages readers to save, read and volunteer. As a member of the BVI Red Cross and the BVI Cancer Society, she acknowledges that “Volunteering your time and knowledge to help the community is a very useful way to spend your time and give back.”
Ms. Moses would like to thank the numerous people who moulded her including her parents and her family. She was also like to thank her mentor Dr. Nadine Battle, who was her role model since she was in her teens and has played a part in nurturing her and contributing to the woman she is today.