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Friday, July 3, 2015

1105 Petronia Street, Key West - Petunia & Poppy are Adorable!

Just Listed (but not by me) 1105 Petronia Street which is located in the Old Town area of Key West. The listing Realtor perfectly describes this quaint abode this way as a:
"Monthly vacation rental duplex! Petunia and Poppy are absolutely adorable. Poppy is a one bedroom/one bath sanctum with brand new everything, and a sweet porch perfect for people watching in its quiet Old Town neighborhood. Petunia is a two bedroom/one bath retreat with private covered deck and outdoor shower. Both units have been meticulously renovated and appointed with a unique design aesthetic that is both whimsical and upscale. Both feature modern baths, kitchens, and laundries, and Petunia even boasts a clever Key West Coffee bar. Both units sold completely turnkey with seasonal rentals in place."
 I had the good fortune to show this adorable home a few days ago. I arrived early and sat on the front porch to take in the view. Petronia Street at this location is a one-way street from White Street. It dead-ends at the Frances Street which is the east boundary of the Key West cemetery just about 100 feet or so west of the house. This is a very quiet location. The street scape is Key West perfection!
It would be tough to decide which of the two units is the cutest. Ask any mother which of her kids she likes the most. (Well, maybe that's not the best idea, but you get what I mean.)  The front unit is the one bedroom. The vaulted ceiling in the living room and bedroom gives both spaces so much dimension. You forget you are in a small cottage. The interiors are all new and were superbly renovated and decorated. This place comes fully furnished and includes monthly rentals booked in advance. 
I am sure you noticed the traditional white picket fence at the front. But did you also notice that there are two gates, one which leads to the front unit but also a gate on the side which leads to the rear two bedroom unit?  When you enter the rear unit you immediately see a vestibule with built-in bench and pegs for hanging coats and bags and stuff. Then you turn and enter the living area. Then you say "On My Gosh! I wasn't expecting this!" It is just so damned precious. There is nothing not to like in this house. Not one thing. After you gain your composure and start to checkout the details, you notice that it is the attention to details that makes this place so charming. Everywhere you look you see some little thing that by itself is functional and uniquely attractive.
The rear covered deck is so inviting. Instead of people watching, guests here will experience the privacy and solitude a lot of people who live in big cities never get. If you want to be with people you can walk a couple of blocks to go to Dante's to lay by the pool and drink cocktails all day long  or mosey over to Duval Street at night to eat and party. But if you want to read or write a book, that covered deck might just be the place to do either.
Even the inside of the drawers in this cute little chest are painted. Details. Details. Details. The details are not tedious. They are meticulous. This place is simple. Or should I say "simply elegant!"?  
1105 Petronia Street ought to work well for the buyer who wants a place to use during season and at other occasions throughout the year but who also wants a place that can be rented as a monthly vacation rental that will generate income to help pay for the cost of ownership. I have sold houses to two different couples who have rented their places so often that they can't use the homes themselves because they would lose so much income. (One couple bought a small condo just so they would have a place to stay. And the other couple has been looking for a similar property.) Petunia and Poppy would give a new owner a place to stay and a place to rent. CLICK HERE to view more photos I took of the property. 
This charming property is offered for sale at the asking price of $1,100,000. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and to view more of the listing photos. The photographer did a bang-up job on this. After you have looked at the photos, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at to schedule your own private view of this captivating property. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Key West Real Estate Sales Report - First Half of 2015

I thought it would be interesting to look at the real estate sales for Key West for the first six months of 2015. I used the Key West mls database for the geographic areas of Key West and Stock Island but did not include any sales east of Stock Island. This geographic area most potential buyers consider to be "Key West" even though our mls database reaches property sales which extend ten miles east of Mile Marker 0. 
620 Eaton Street, Key West
There were a total of 231 single family home sales in Key West between January 1, 2015 and July 1. The highest priced sale was 620 Eaton Street (above) which sold at $4,495,000. The least expensive house sold at $225,500. The median priced home sold at $635,000. The listed properties sold on average at 95.71% of the list price. This figure is important for potential new buyers to understand. It is not a "rule" that houses must sell in this range, but this range is very suggestive of where typical deals are actually struck. A couple of years ago the spread was at 92%. The reduced amount of inventory and the higher sales prices have inched the margin upward. The prices for the broader market include home sales in the Mid town and New town areas of Key West which have been sluggish because of rising windstorm and flood insurance rates.

There were several sales which I thought were very interesting and worth mentioning.  I wrote about some of these properties in my blog.  1441 Thompson Street (below) was a bank owned property which I wrote about. I got more phone calls and emails from potential buyers on this than any other property that I wrote about during the past six months. The asking price was just $360,900.  It sold for $380,100. The new owners have already begun cleaning out the tropical over-growth. I can't wait to see what they do to this Bargain!
The house at 1105 Washington Street (not pictured) in the Casa Marina Area of Key West got snapped up on day one it was listed. The new owner paid just $1,000 over asking price of $499,000. It's been spiffed up a bit and back on the market at $795,000.
 I wrote about the house at 1711 Atlantic Boulevard three times. I showed the home several times to many different potential buyers who had a variety of ideas as how they might use or develop this 1950's home. The house sits on an elevated lot across the street from a nature preserve with mangrove that abuts the Atlantic Ocean. The property was originally listed at $680,000. The price was reduced to $590,000. It sold for just $540,000. I think this is a great deal for the buyer. The lot is worth the price and it will continue to go up in value as market prices increase in Key West. It is the location that trumps all. The existing house is elevated five feet above the street. Key West recently approved new heights for homes which may give the owner of this particular property the ability to build a new house which could have water views that look out over the mangroves in the foreground.
I showed 530 Grinnell Street ( above) in Old Town several times. This very pretty and very small home was superbly renovated and decorated.  The original asking price was $975,000 plus $50,000 for the furniture. It sold fully furnished at $750,000 or $937.50 per sq ft.  I had two very serious buyers who loved the house but refused to consider making an offer even after the price was reduced to $799,000. My buyers rejected the idea that any house that small, no matter how cute, could be worth nearly a $1,000 per sq ft. I told both couples I thought it should sell at $750,000 furnished. The seller was never going to move that custom furniture to some other place. That made no sense whatsoever. I was right on price and strategy.  Both couples I represented lost a terrific property in my opinion. I mention this house because buyers seem to get the jitters when they think about spending $1,000 per sq ft for a house in Key West. I have a news flash for my Dear Readers. Prices are going to continue to go up over the years. Prices that are being paid for quality homes now will seem like bargains in five to ten years.
527 Margaret Street was a major rebuild of what remained of the front wall frame of the old home. The city allowed the owner to take down the original house to the front wall studs and then build an all new structure to the rear. The result was an amazing new two bedroom home in a great Old Town location. This property sold for just $1,125,000 or $803 per sq ft for this 1400 sq ft 2/2 1/2 bath home with pool.  The interiors in this home are incredible.
813 Waddell Avenue is located in the Casa Marina Area near the Atlantic Ocean. Although there was a home on the 10,500 sq ft lot, the property was sold for the value of the land which had two ROGO units. That means a new owner could separate the large lot into two smaller lots and build tow houses in this upscale neighborhood. The property sold for $1,175,000 or $608.70 for the land value. Most of the homes in the Old Town area and many in the Casa Marina Area come within the purview of Key West's Architectural Review Commission.  Most of the homes cannot be taken down. This is a property that may be razed or renovated. It was the lot size and options to do build two homes that made this property so valuable. Readers need to appreciate the lack of buildable lots in the desirable areas of Key West. Buildable lots give a new owner opportunities that most property owners can not get.
1111 Packer Street (above) is located in the Old Town area South of Truman. This home had a successful multi-year vacation rental history. It sold at full asking price of $1,175,000 or $818.25 per sq ft. This home was thoughtfully designed and professionally maintained. Many buyers think they can buy an old house, do some fix-up like the see on an HGTV program, decorate the place, and put it on VRBO and have vacationers pay for the place.  Real life is more challenging than that - especially in Key West where construction costs are high and governmental over sight is challenging.  A property like this makes it much more likely that a new owner will continue to earn steady income over the course of home ownership.  I "get" why this sold at full price. It was worth it!
Located in the Heart of Old Town but tucked away and hidden from view is 6 Pinder Lane, an enchanting home and secret garden that once belonged to author Nancy Friday. The home seems to rise from the garden with a wrap-around-porch and broad deck that circles the nearby pool and spa. This very private home has three bedrooms and two baths including the treetop master bedroom with private bath. I listed this home at $1,549,000 or $1,072 per sq ft. It sold at the asking price. I thought the home was perfect as is. The new owner is going to renovate the house and redo the garden and pool. The existing house and garden are magical. I am sure the renovated home and garden will be spectacular. There are fewer and fewer totally private locations like this in Old Town. If you are a buyer who wants privacy or a property that is really special in some sort of way, the better thing to do is to buy it. Because someone else will buy it. And you may regret listening to that cheap angel that sits on your shoulder.
1026 Von Phister Street (above) is a 2233 sq ft home located on a beautifully landscaped 9603 sq ft corner lot in the Casa Marina Area of Key West. The new owner paid $1,800,000 for this "fixer" property which will be upgraded.  I can't wait to see what happens. I live across the street and see the property values going up and up when fixer houses are purchased at this price point.
1013 Southard Street is located in one of the very best blocks in Old Town. Several of the most beautiful homes in Old Town are located in this block. This home sold at 100% of asking price, $1,900,000, in one day.
The photo above was taken from the bank owned top floor unit at 107 Front Street Units 317 - 318 Harbour Place in Truman Annex. This property was listed for $1,326,000. It sold at $1,920,000. I submitted two offers for two different potential buyers. Neither was the successful buyer. I told both buyers that this is a true one-of-a-kind property. I think the buyer who got this property felt the same about it as I did. Congratulations!

I then did a quick sales price comparison by location.

OLD TOWN.  This is the area most potential new buyers think they would want to live in. There is definitely an advantage of living within an easy walking distance to restaurants, theaters, galleries, gyms, night spots, and places you go every day.  There were 84 single family home sales in Old Town in the first six months of 2015.  The average price per sq ft was $639.41. The median sales price was $953,516. The sales price ratio to list price was 95.20%.  620 Eaton Street was the most expensive home that sold - $4,495,000. A little fixer located across the street from the cemetery was the least expensive home - it sold at $327,500.

1311 Truman Avenue - The Meadows Area
THE MEADOWS. Seven homes in this area traded hands in the past six months. The average price paid per sq ft was $617.11 - slightly less than Old Town. The median sales price was $835,496. The sales price ratio was higher than Old Town - 96.52%.  The biggest sale in this area was 1311 Truman Avenue which sold for $1,900,000. The least expensive home was a cute as can be small cottage style home at 1416 Pine Street that sold at $598,400 in just five days.
901 Washington St, Casa Marina Area
CASA MARINA AREA. There were 12 single family home sales in the Casa Marina Area between January and July. The average price per sq ft was $688.49 - higher than The Meadows and Old Town. The median sales price was $1,409,375. That trumps Old Town by $455,859.  The lots are typically larger and the houses are more eclectic than Old Town. There are still a couple of blocks of houses that were built in the 1960s that remain pretty much the same as they were when built.  Buyers seem to snap up anything in the Casa Area if it is priced under one million dollars. Houses with large lots in good locations that may be razed to build an all new house can be very valuable.
I encourage prospective key West buyers to look at homes and the few available lots for sale with an open mind. I know that prices are high compared to other places. Many destinations are easier to get to and have less expensive lodging and food than Key West. Housing prices may be considerably less. These locations may have as many or maybe even more fun things to do than we have in Key West. Maybe the weather is better in those other places as well.  Maybe you can walk from your home to most of the fun things you do in your daily life. Maybe. But doubtful on all points.

Monday, June 29, 2015

1621 Sunshine Drive, Key West: Good Day Sunshine

I took some time off Sunday afternoon and played would-be buyer and checked out the new listing at 1621 Sunshine Drive, Key West, Florida. I had been inside this home a couple of years ago when it was still under construction. I could not believe my eyes at how quickly the landscaping has filled in and the home has taken on an identity all its own. The listing Realtor describes this 1672 sq ft three bedroom, three bath home this way:
"Located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, this beautiful property was newly constructed in 2013 with custom finishes. Upgrades include travertine tile and bamboo floors, Brazilian Marinachi granite countertops, gas range, laundry/utility room with sink, custom closets and much more! French doors connect the living room to the exquisite back deck and pool area, offering the best of Key West outdoor living. Both upstairs bedrooms are en-suite and have private balconies. Built to all the latest codes, the home is elevated and has impact glass. With off street parking for two cars and a location close to the Casa Marina, Old Town and the Atlantic beaches, this Midtown Gem has it all!"
This home is one of several that were built in 2012 in a little enclave located just a couple of blocks north of the Atlantic Ocean and just east of White Street. Higg's Beach and Rest Beach are easy walking distance from here. But there is no need to go to the beach for sunshine or to swim as this home has a sunny private pool and a shady tree where the new owner can listen to The Beatles "Good Day Sunshine" and appreciate the good life in living in Key West where the days are sunny almost every day of the year. 
Lie beneath the shady tree...
Good Day Sunshine
This home is laid out somewhat similar as you would expect to find in an Old Town home where the great room is located at the rear of the main floor. The living area and kitchen are open and expansive. The ceilings are extra tall (9 feet) as compared to many homes built in earlier years. The doors at the rear open out to the covered rear porch which has steps that lead down to the sunny private pool. Three years ago this property had potential. Today it is real. Real pretty, that is! I was really amazed at how wonderful and private this pool area is and also at how sunny it is. So many houses in Key West have tiny yards and tiny pools.
Master Bedroom Balcony Overlooks Pool Below
Master Bath has a Tub and Shower plus Dual Sinks
Second Bedroom, Second Floor.
Second Floor Front Balcony
This home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. There is a first floor bed and bath which might come in handy should using the stairs becomes a challenge. Both upstairs bedrooms have private balconies. The master bath comes with a huge tub and shower.
Imagine the Sunset Views from the Front Guest Bedroom Balcony
A new owner will benefit from the materials used in the construction of this home which include Hardiboard siding, impact windows and doors, and metal roof. Hardiboard is a man-made material that looks like wood siding but bug resistant and stands up to our intense sun and humidity. The impact windows and doors and the metal roof mean your windstorm insurance costs will be much lower. And you won't have to have someone put up the shutters if we get in the path of a storm. Those lower costs multiply year over year which means your investment now will not become a money pit in the future.
Five Minutes Away by Foot
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos of 1621 Sunshine Drive which is offered for sale at $895,000 or $535 per sq ft. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule an appointment to see this home.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Maybe you'll buy this home and sing "I'm so proud to know she is mine!"


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.