Friday, December 19, 2014
The lady then sent me a copy of the purported Transient Rental License for 1022 Packer Street. I copied it and added some red letter markings to help potential renters compare if they receive a similar license. The City of Key West has a very short list of very specific houses and condos that have a transient rental license. Most of those properties are located within two blocks of Duval Street, but not all properties within that area have transient licenses.
Last week I received a phone call just as I was about to eat dinner. The lady who called started the conversation by saying "We're here." To which I responded who are you and where are you? She said 510 Frances Street to which I instinctively said I wrote about that property a few years ago when it was for sale. She asked when I would meet her at the property with the key. I repeated I wrote about the property in my blog. She then said I was the contact person on the internet. I assume she Googled the address and saw my name and number and assumed I was the person she sent money to when she rented the house. I told her again I had nothing to do with the rental. I waited a couple of minutes and then decided I better check the address. Once I did that I knew the property and really doubted that it was a rental. But I did not know for a fact whether it was being rented or not.
Shortly thereafter I got a phone call from a different phone number. This time a man was on the phone who asked about 510 Frances Street in a less strident tone. I told him I only wrote a blog about the house but did know what house it is. I told him I doubted it was being rented and said it could not be rented as a weekly rental. I asked him the name of the company he rented the house from. He did not know. I suggested he find out and contact the property management company if in fact he rented the place from a real company.
Several agents in my office have had similar phone calls from people who show up expecting to check into homes they rented using Craigslist or VRBO.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ACTUAL SCAM WEBSITE. Other scam addresses this company uses include 517 Margaret Street Key West, 1023 Packer Street Key West (note the license misidentifies the street address), 1409 Reynolds Street Key West, 2105 Dlophin Drive, Marathon. I looked at the photos for a couple of the houses to see if they were of the actual houses. The photos for 510 Frances Street are actually photos of a Meadows Condominium on Pine Street or Petronia Street. Last Key Realty in Key West rents a 3 bedroom home there. Last Key Realty is a well known and legitimate company. The photos of 517 Margaret Street are actually photos of the interior of a ground level one bedroom apartment on Amelia Street and the pool is of a "cocktail pool" on Virginia Street.
If you want to have a great vacation in Key West, rent your house from a licensed real estate company or property management company. Don't be a victim.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
I was driving around Key West earlier today and remembered that I started my little blog about Key West real estate around Christmastime in 2006. I told myself that I needed to check the first entry to see when it all began. I did. The first blog was actually dated December 18, 2006 or eight years ago today.
A couple of years into writing my blog I added a counter to determine how many people were actually reading my blog. As of today there have been 1,000,430 page views. (I have no idea how many page views there may have been before the counter was added.) I have written 2172 blogs. 2281 people have written comments most of which are still on the blog. I strongly believe in free speech and have only deleted a couple of comments over the years. I have deleted spam, however. There is some person in India or Bangladesh that has made comments praising my blog trying to get other readers to consider the option of buying over there instead of down here. People complain how long it takes to get here. Imagine how long it would take to get to India. A couple of years in to writing the blog I began to copy and put it on Activerain as well. Activerain is a blog platform used by Realtors to discuss real estate issues. I have 490,015 page views on Activerain.
One of the first calls I got of my blog was from a gentleman in the Carolinas. He had read a blog about a really cute house. We talked about the place a couple of times. I took more photos for him. We talked some more and then he made a cash offer, sight unseen. He bought the house. A couple of years ago he showed up at an open house I held and introduced himself. That was our first meeting. I actually sold that house last year to a nice young couple from the midwest. And I have sold several houses the same way - sight unseen.
I learned I had a bit of a fan base. People have called me up just to talk. Some people have dropped by my office to meet me. A couple of couples took me to lunch or dinner (I'm not soliciting - I promise!) A few years ago I drove a couple from Colorado (my home until I moved to Key West) around looking at houses. They didn't buy anything, but promised when the time was right, they would buy a house from me. They came back this spring and did just that. They bought their little dream home in Old Town. And there are many other readers who called me or wrote me and who have bought their dream home from me. Thank you, all!
I have a few kids under my belt as well. I had a gay couple that used a surrogate. I see them and their daughter Millie often. I worked with a local couple who had a boy less than a year old when we started to look for a house. He was walking and talking by the time we finally got their home. I think he is now seven. He got to become a big brother last year. His dad told me he is a very good big brother. Good going, Owen! I have coffee dates with a buyer from Massachusetts when she comes to town. Her son is now seven as well. He went with us on one date and spent the whole time on his iphone playing games. The grandson of another couple referred to me as Grandpa's friend. I have watched these kids grow up. Time seems to fly. It warms my heart to see these families now have second homes here and know that I have been a part of that process.
My internet skills are pretty limited. I figured out how this blogging thing works. Thank goodness that Google and Activerain have made the process easy to figure out.
And thank you to my Dear Readers who come back to this little blog to see what is offered for sale on the Island of Key West and to read the occasional reminiscing about my earlier life and occasional rambling about some goofiness going on in Key West now.
This home is not typical of the Grand Conch houses of Old Town because it is not one of them, but it is every bit a grand and glorious home. While some of the houses in Old Town have wrap around porches, I'll bet you few have as gracious interiors you are about to view. Once you enter the home your eyes are drawn through the public living spaces to the rear gardens and pool. Windows and multiple sets of French doors bring filtered light into the spaces while the gardens to the east keep the interior spaces private. Then you will notice the step landing to your left that leads to the second floor where the bedrooms are located. A guest bath is tucked away to the rear of the stairs. As you move through the living area you notice the heart pine floors that are so rich and assuring. You pause for a moment and look up. You note the high ceiling wrapped with crown molding all white and crisply painted. When you reach the dining area you realize this place, no matter how grand it is decorated, is still unpretentious. The dining is informal and set just off the kitchen. A set of adjacent French doors lead out to the covered veranda and the informal outdoor dining area. The informal living area is located at the rear. A built-in bookcase houses the TV and entertainment area and also provides lots of storage for gizmos of all sort. Doors at the far end slide open and lead out to the deck and pool. The guest cottage is located nearby.
CLICK HERE to view more photos I took of 1529 Von Phister Street. This home has 1776 sq ft of air conditioned living space that includes three bedrooms, three and one-half baths, covered and gated off street parking, a guest cottage and pool, and beautifully designed and maintained gardens. This home is offered for sale by Preferred Properties Key West. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet for more details. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing. This could be your home next Christmas. Wouldn't that be grand!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
This house had a combination kitchen and bath in one room and in one place. The bedroom and living room were every bit as pretty.
The tenant here had moved out. I don't know why. The color scheme was so Key Westie. The living room had a big hole in the wall.
Tenant in this house created a way for his dog to get outside to do his business.
Putting on the Ritz!
A little clutter never hurts anybody.
The tenant left after he did this. Tenants burning down a house is Key West is not uncommon.
Tenant came home late one night. Fell asleep. Burned the house. Killed her dog. House torn down.
Three pic series below. Big house in Old Town. Very good location.
Alive and kicking in this little house just a couple of blocks from Duval Street.
Lame swag drapes in a rather cramped bedroom in Old Town.
The pool at this Old Town property needed a little work.
I have watched a lot of TV shows on HGTV and other networks that make it look like redoing an old house is easy. It is not. And it is not easy in Key West where we have often have multiple layers of governmental bureaucracy to deal with. Renovations are not for the poor nor the faint of heart.
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Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc.
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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell
- Gary Thomas
- 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.