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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

916 Washington Street, Key West - Casa Marina Area

When I entered the grand foyer of 916 Washington Street I immediately thought of this as Key West's Trianon for it truly is a petite palace.  Cory Held at Preferred Properties Key West recently listed this 3764 sq ft home that sits on a 7484 sq ft lot in the heart of the Casa Marina area which is offered at $3,300,000.  She describes the property this way:
"Located in the Casa Marina on a corner lot sits this elegant home built in 2007 with 5.5 bathrooms. A bright living/dining and a majestic bar with its own refrigerator, ice maker, bar sink, Chefs dream kitchen with top of the line appliances including a pot filler over the large Wolf range. French doors reveal lush tropical landscaping, covered lanai, pool, full bath and outdoor kitchen. A gracious foyer leads you to the en suite guest quarters on the main floor. A custom laid staircase to the second floor guides you to the open media room and yet another wet bar and laundry area. Two guests en suite bedrooms and over sized master surrounded by Epay Decking. Impact windows and doors, generator and 2 Door garage."
The above photos show the grand entrance, the welcoming bar and chef's kitchen with access to the butler's pantry and first floor laundry (there's one on the second floor as well),  plus access to the two car garage.  A beautiful first floor power room is located off the entry.
The first floor guest suite is a large enough to become the master suite should using the stairs ever become an issue.  The spaces are gracious and accommodating. Note the remark on the middle photo. All of the walls and ceilings were hand painted by a local artist who spend months creating this unique environment.  The paint technique is known as Venetian plastering. It is an interior finish used mostly on walls and ceilings first made popular in the 1550's in Venice, Italy.  CLICK HERE to view a slide show of photos I took of the residence.  Pay close attention to the detailed photos which show a variety of paint treatments used throughout this home.
The master suite is palatial by Key West standards - correction, by any standard. What a wonderful place to catch some Zzz's, take a shower, or soak in luxury.  Additional features include the master closet and dressing room. French doors open out to the second floor covered porch that overlooks the pool below.  Just off the master suite is the second floor living room or media room with an adjacent coffee bar.
Two more extra large bedrooms with en-suite baths complete the second floor.  The front bedroom has access to the second floor front porch for private outdoor contemplation.  The rear bedroom has access to the second floor rear porch which has access to the rooftop sundeck.  If you prefer to have an all over Key West tan, the rooftop sundeck ought to work just fine. The deck has 360 degree views of the Casa Marina Area.
The pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, and deck provide luxurious spaces for entertaining family and friends.
The Atlantic Ocean and Higg's Beach are located about four blocks away.  It's an easy walk to Salute on the Beach for an inexpensive beachfront lunch or dinner. Louies' Backyard is even closer, except the meals are much more expensive but equally casual.  I live in the Casa Marina area and love it. I can be at either restaurant within minutes.  Old Town is a bit longer walk. I drive there these days.  Nothing in Key West is too far away - this is an island.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos of this petite Trianon.  If you would like to view this home or any other property in Key West, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.  Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Who Needs to be a Millionaire in Key West?

I have been selling houses in Key West to folks from up north in America for twenty years. Most of the people I have worked with visited Key West on several different occasions before they succumbed to the lure of living the island life. Some are rich but most are people of a bit better-than- normal means. They have saved their money or made good on other investments. Maybe the kids are finally out of school and are no longer a financial drain. Many are looking for a place to retire to in a few years. Some are willing to buy a place they can rent out as a vacation rental while others are open to buying a fixer-upper and doing some hard work to create their dream house in Key West.

We have a limited supply of houses in Key West. State law controls the number of new building permits allocated to the Florida Keys and this includes Key West. This means we can't grow or build that many additional houses any one year and our limited space on this little island lessens the possibility of building new places because there just is not that much undeveloped land mass. The City of Key West has limitations on size, height, and density with further restricts what may be built and where it may be built. So there is an persistent challenge to buy what exists at the best possible price. Since the demand exceeds the supply, housing costs in Key West rise year after year. Twenty years ago a potential buyer could purchase a cute little cigar maker cottage in Old Town Key West for about $200,000 more or less. Today The cost will be nearly one million dollars US.

If you think I exaggerate the price or the supply consider the following. I just searched the Key West mls database for Active Single Family Homes. As of 7:30 AM on February 8, 2016 there are 105 homes priced at $1,000,000 or higher listed as ACTIVE in the Key West mls database.

More startling is the number of homes priced at $2,000,000 or higher. There are 37 of those currently on the market. I then checked to see how many $2 million plus sales we had in 2015 to see if there is a real demand for such expensive homes. I guess there is to extent because we sold 11 of them in 2015. I sold one myself. My office either listed or sold or both three homes priced over $2 million.

I then checked to see how many homes sold over $1 million but under $2 million. There were 56 such sales. Almost all of the sales of homes priced over $1 million and higher were sold in the Old Town, Casa Marina, and Meadows areas. Two sales occurred on Sunset Key and there was one sale in mid town and another in new town. This confirms what I continually write and tell prospective buyers when we meet: most buyers want to buy a home in the Old Town, Casa Marina, and to a lesser extent the Meadows Areas. There are a lot more homes for sale in the mid-town and new-town areas, but those are not typically areas where second home buyers typically look. Maybe they should. But they normally do not.
I know from experience that most million dollar plus buyers pay cash for their homes. I think that is pretty much a given fact in most million dollar sales in Key West. This statement is not meant to discourage future buyers. There are still properties available at lower prices, but those properties are either located in areas where second home owners probably would not consider purchasing or which houses will likely need some degree of improvement. Some may never really be able to improve that much because of lot size, location, or city building restriction.

Here's the catcher: there are 108 single family homes offered for sale in Key West that are priced from $365,000 up. You can buy a nice home for that much up north in America. Here you can buy an opportunity.

I have been having a lot of discussions with other Realtors in my office and other offices about how busy they have been this past month. Many expressed concern that our market was over-priced. We have also had a lousy winter so far. Our typical warm days have been replaced with a lot of gray days and a lot of rain. But most vacationers booked their trips here months ago so I don't think the bad weather has really interfered with real estate enough to have a real impact.

Only 10 single family homes went under contract in Key West after January 1, 2016. The status varies from contingent show, contingent, or pending. The median price for contingent homes is $665,000. There is just one pending sale with a "median" price of  $1,400,000.

We have just begun the second month of our selling season. I wonder how many of the million dollar buyers we will see in Key West this year. I wonder how many sellers who have their homes listed for over one million dollars will sell and how many will not. And since we only sold 11 homes priced over $2 million 2015, I wonder how many such sales we will get this year. The stock market has not been our friend of late. I don't think we have been impacted by the ZIKA Mosquito Virus. But I am sure it will come into play sometime. Yes we do have a demand for quality homes in good areas. I just do not believe we have as many buyers as we have properties for sale.

If you are looking to purchase a home in Key West and need a buyers agent, please contact me, Gary Thomas. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. CLICK HERE to see some my recent sales. I am always looking for more new business. I am realistic about pricing on both the listing and buying side.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

237 Golf Club Drive, Key West - OPEN HOUSE

 "This town ain't big enough for the two of us." But 237 Golf Club Drive in Key West is!

237 Golf Club Drive, Key West, Florida has 1720 square feet of interior living space plus four covered balconies and a sunlit terrace overlooking the private pool. The lot is 4948 square feet, the largest lot currently offered among the competing other Sanctuary homes. The value is apparent. Follow Woody to the Super Bowl Sunday OPEN HOUSE. Click GOOGLE MAP.

237 Golf Club Drive, Key West


12:00 to 2:00 

Offered at $749,000

Saturday, February 6, 2016

721 Georgia St., Key West - Legal Duplex

The legal duplex located at 721 Georgia Street in the Meadows Area of Key West is an unassuming two story abode waiting for a new owner. I dug down into my old shoe box and found a photo of the house taken back in 1965. There was a note on the back which states the house used be known as 1301 Petronia Street rear. I took a picture from a similar location so that readers could see how little this home has changed in fifty years. The fence is taller and more private, the  original Bahama shutters are gone. So too are the wood windows that were  replaced with impact glass. The house is still located in a very quiet location near Old Town yet not near all that noise and commotion.
The listing Realtor, not me, describes the property this way:
"Wonderful compact duplex in the Meadows. Each unit is in good condition and immediately rentable. The first floor 1 BD unit has wood floors, newly painted interior, washer and dryer, and a large wooden deck at the rear of the house. The 2nd floor 1 BD unit was owner occupied for many years and has numerous upgrades. There are tile floors, corian counter tops, dishwasher, washer and dryer, and a balcony off the rear of the unit. This home would make a great pied a terre plus income. There are impact rated windows (2010) on both units and 8' elevation."
 It looks like the duplex was renovated about twenty-five years ago. The place has been very well maintained since then. The kitchens, baths, and some of the appliances look their age. Others were replaced. The wall mounted air conditioners are much newer.  The rear decks probably need replaced and the building deserves a new paint job.
I borrowed the interior photos from the listing Realtor with her permission. I didn't take photos when I showed the property as I did not want to interfere with the showing. I was really "taken" by the second floor unit where the owner had lived. The furniture comes with this place if the new buyer wants it. There's a very nice almost "built-in" sectional in the living room. That space is located up front just off the second floor entry area. The dining area is to the left. The bedroom is up front on the south side. The very nice bathroom is located in the middle and the kitchen is at the rear. We all had a giggle at 1980s era range.

I agree with the listing agent's suggestion that this property would make a great pied a terre. So many buyers are looking for a place they can use and also rent out for income. This is that place, only here you get annual income without interruption and if you rent it yourself and don't rely on a property manager, you won't have to share part of your annual income with a property management company.

All of the windows and glass doors are impact glass. That means your windstorm insurance will be very low. The house is located in the 8' flood elevation so flood insurance will be low. The house has been well maintained. Fire and liability insurance should also be low.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and more listing photos. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a private showing. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.


The information on this site is for discussion purposes only. Under no circumstances does this information constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities, assets, real estate, or otherwise. Information has not been verified, is not guaranteed, and is subject to change.


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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.