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Monday, August 21, 2017

206 - 4 Southard Street, Key West - Transient Licensed Shipyard Condominium

Just Listed, but not by me, 206 - 4 Southard Street, Key West. The listing broker describes this extra large two bedroom Shipyard Condominium this way:
"This updated Shipyard condo offers a fantastic investment potential with its Truman Annex special transient rental license. Perfectly located near the community pool, with tropical treetop views, flooded with natural light, updated kitchen & bathroom, and two balconies. The unit is offered fully turnkey and ready to rent. Walk to the beach, Duval St., the Southernmost Point and Hemingway's House."
Returning guests to Key West know the location very well. The gated entrance is located just two short blocks west of Duval Street.  And in the not too distant future, the location will also be know as being near the new Truman Waterfront Park. (More on that later in the blog.) The map below shows the location of this unit just a few feet to the east of the community pool. The map also shows the designated parking space is feet from the front door.

This second floor unit has a front balcony which overlooks the parking lot and a rear balcony with a view of the Shipyard community swimming pool. If you become the owner of this unit and decide to rent it, you will soon learn the value of this location.  There are around 176 units in Shipyard. Some are located near the pool and some are located a hefty hike. Some are located near the one designated parking space while others are located another hefty hike. While most vacationers don't cook a lot of meals, they do buy some groceries and probably some liquid refreshments.
In preparing this unit for sale, the interiors were updated with new furnishings. The place sparkles. I moved to Key West just about the time the last of the Shipyard units were being completed. They were built in phases and not all units are alike. This unit has 680 square feet of living space. Some units are 520 to 580 sq ft. That's a lot of space not to have. And that extra space ought to translate into repeat business year after year.
I walked from this unit over to the new gated entrance to the Truman Waterfront Park still under construction. The place looks great. The photo just above is the direct route over to Ft Zachary Taylor State Park and Beach.  Guests will love being able to walk to the beach or maybe attend a concert at the new amphitheater.  All the restaurants, bars, and shops on Duval Street are a five minute walk in the opposite direction.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS datasheet for 206 - 4 Southard Street which is offered fully furnished at $619,000. (Compare that to other units where the seller wants to negotiate the price of their used furniture, towels, and pots and pans.  The price you pay is the actual price you pay and nothing more. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to set up a private showing. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

923 Southard Street, Key West - Price Reduction

The asking price on 923 Southard Street in Old Town Key West just got a lot better. Originally offered at $1,024,900, the new price is 2.7% less at $997,000.

The original cigar maker's style cottage was built circa 1889. I found an old photo that shows pretty much the original structure as it appeared 50 some years ago (see the black and white photo below). If you look carefully you can see traditional clapboard siding at the front but board and batten siding (vertical siding) on the side.  You also will see a "sawtooth" addition at the rear. I suspect that was the kitchen at the time the photo was taken. A later owner expanded that space to include a second floor addition.  The resultant house today has 1476 sq ft of living space under air. The house sits on a large 2700 sq ft lot (approximately 27' x 100') lot located in the heart to Old Town.
Circa 1965
The listing Realtor describes this pretty as can be property as:
"This late 19th Century cottage is the perfect oasis in the heart of Old Town. Landscaped and fenced in the rear for total privacy, with an outdoor shower, arbor, heated plunge pool and a bodega for storage. The living area and hallway are bright with eastern light falling on the natural Dade County pine walls. The bright white kitchen gives onto the outdoors, and attached laundry room. Bedrooms are at opposite ends upstairs, separated by a hallway with skylights, closets and a nook. Step out of the master suite onto the deck overlooking the inviting scene below. The harbor and Duval Street are a short walk away. New roof in 2015, and 4 new split a/c units in 2016. Offered furnished."

Today this storybook cottage rests behind a picturesque white picket. The front porch provides the perfect perch for people watching.  Inside, you are greeted by a traditional long hallway on the right which leads to the kitchen and dining at the rear. The current owner removed a previously existing wall that separated a small front office from the adjacent living room. The newly expanded living room is a delight. The floors were refinished and look like new. Windows from the hallway on the east which filter into the living area.  Windows at the front and west side light the living room during the daytime. The Dade County Pine Walls are punctuated by the baseboards, trim, and crown molding all painted a crisp white.  

There is a full bathroom plus closets closets located at the rear of the living room. This space will come in handy as the second bathroom on the second floor is en-suite to the master bedroom.
The kitchen is a compact place to cook when the owner is dining at home versus going out to one of the nearby restaurants including Mangia Mangia, Michael's, Azul, or Cafe Sole. The owner created a nicely outdoor dining area under the trellis opposite the pool. The laundry room is located adjacent to the kitchen.
The turf is not real, but the sunshine, the trees, the singing birds are very real, and they are very much a part of the appeal of this magical back yard located in the heart of Old Town.
The front bedroom tells us a lot about the history of this house. There is an original scuttle located in the ceiling over the chair in the above photo. In the old days before air conditioning, scuttles were opened to allow warm air to rise through the space to the outdoors. Today the old scuttles  remind us of the miracles of electricity and interior refrigeration. The common hallway separates the two bedrooms.
The roof top balcony is the perfect spot to take an all-over Key West tan. It's also a great place to sit in the morning drinking your coffee or late at night as the warm breezes move across the island. The last couple of nights have been incredible as the full moon migrated across the sky with slow winds moving lots of clouds about. It was quite the show. When the conch trains, delivery vans, scooters, and cars stop the real noises of the island begin: the dog scratching off fleas, the occasional cat screeching, the gecko on the wall chirping, the fountain in the garden gurgling, the palms swishing. These are the sounds of Key West us locals love to hear.

923 Southard Street is now offered at $997,000CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS datasheet. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a private showing of this treasure. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.


Friday, August 18, 2017

My Life as a Clown

That's not me in the pic.  I looked as cute, but nobody took a photo of me back in summer of 1962 when I spent many-a-day as a clown.

I was fifteen years old and had a job at a furniture store in Denver where I made $1.00 an hour. Minimum wage was $1.15 back in 1962. I guess my employer thought that since I was young I didn't have the right to be paid as much as an adult. I didn't care. It was money and the work wasn't hard.

I worked at a furniture store on West Alameda Avenue in Denver. This was an area of town where nearby Morrison Road led to the home a couple of miles west where Jack Kerouac once lived. During the 1950s and 1960s this part of town was populated by lower middle to middle class families who would shop for furniture that fit their modest budgets. Back in the 1960s the furniture store sold three rooms of furniture for a few hundred dollars - total. I remember the furniture "suites" were offered in various styles including "Early American", "Danish Modern", "French Provincial", and "Italian Provincial".  The furniture was pretty cheap in retrospect, but it was what people of modest means could afford and it offered a bit of style plus utility.

There was a large parking lot adjacent to the store where the owner set up a huge green Army surplus tent to expand showroom space beyond the building walls. The tent was crammed with new and used furniture. Strings of bare light bulbs illuminated the space at night for shoppers. There was a night watchman that stayed in the tent to make sure nobody stole anything. Looking back I can't imagine anyone would want to steal anything there.

I would work from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM five or six days a week.  In the early morning I would dust the furniture, sweep the floors, and assemble new pieces for display in the store. Sometimes I would help deliver furniture when one of the truck drivers was not present. Just before noon I would go to the bathroom and put on my clown costume, make-up and red wig with a flip-top mop that would raise a front patch of the wig to startle people. I would then go out to the front sidewalk and wave at passing cars.  There were many occasions when cars would stop and I would walk up to the car to say "Hi" to kids in the car. One day a car filled with teens stopped. One guy grabbed my arm and tried to put out a cigarette on my hand. I pulled it away quick enough not to get burned. It never occurred to me that someone would try to hurt me.  I am not wired that way. But I never extended my hand that way again.

After being a clown for a couple of years while in high school,  I went to college and later law school. I became a lawyer and later went into banking. I worked for the federal government where I worked on selling complex assets owned by the Resolution Trust Corporation until 1993 when I moved to Key West to own and operate a guest house. For the past twenty years I have been selling houses in Key West. Unlike a lot of agents with real estate licenses, that is the only thing I do.  I like to make buying a home fun but I no longer act the clown.  If you are thinking about buying a place in Key West, please consider using me as your Realtor.


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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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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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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.