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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What is my Key West home worth?

What is my Key West home worth?

One of the factors that makes Key West so interesting is the character of its architecture and the diversity of its neighborhoods. And those two factors have a great impact on how homes are valued for re-sale in Key West.

The Old Town area has four Principal types of homes: two story Greek Revival structures built in the late 1800's through the 1930's; "cigar maker's cottages" (often called shotgun style homes elsewhere) which are one story houses with a long hall on one side of the house with all rooms opening onto it; "eyebrow houses" which are two story homes with a center stairway leading to second floor bedrooms that have unique windows that are situated so that they may remain open during a rainstorm and are protected from the elements by the extended roof that resembles an "eyelid"; and fill in homes built throughout the years including some post World War II modern homes.

The mid town and Casa Marina areas have a mix of housing types with the typical being CBS (concrete block structure) as well as some sporadic "conch homes -- a mix of Greek Revival, cigar maker cottages, eyebrow homes".

The new town area is mostly single family homes built in the 1950's through the 1970's. Most of these are CBS construction. And there are many condos built in the 1990's through today.

Many homes, especially in Old Town, were neglected for years--maybe decades. As Key West has been revitalized, homes have been remodeled block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood. But not all homes have been remodeled with the same integrity or craftsmanship. Likewise, many homes in the other neighborhoods have been similarly remodeled .

Up north in America where many homes and neighborhoods are cut from cookie cutters, it is easy to extrapolate a home's worth based on what a similar home sold for. Realtors and appraisers do it all the time. Realtors' valuations are called "CMAs" (comparative market analysis) and are usually done as a tool to help obtain a real estate listing. Appraisers
are licensed by individual states after completing coursework that teach them how to value real estate. They should be an objective third party who has no financial or other connection to any person involved in the transaction. Banks engage appraisers to evaluate the specific property and compare it to similar properties that have sold in the area or that are offered for sale. I recently spoke with one of the co-owners of a large Key West appraisal company. He said his company is having as much trouble keeping up with valuing homes in a declining market as it had when prices were rising just as rapidly a few years earlier. Homeowners and investors would be wise to use the services of an appraiser when pricing their homes for sale. Some Realtors pump the price up to secure a listing, and then recommend that the price be reduced after the property languishes unsold. Time is money is Key West just like it is anywhere else. The prime selling time is between late December through Easter. Sellers who have unrealistic prices, especially in the tight Key West market, will probably have their homes unsold.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Big Bounce

The Big Bounce

I have lived in Key West for 13 years and have shared two major life-changing events during that time. The first was 911 and the second was Hurricane Wilma.

I was at the gym that fateful morning. Ron who worked the front desk said a member just called him and said two planes (a big one and a small one) had hit the World Trade Center. I knew the chance of that being an accident was impossible. I suspected the worse, but did not know what the worse was. I sped home on my bike screaming expletives. When I got inside the kitchen I turned on the tv to watch the horror as it happened. We all remember the madness as is unfolded.

I had afternoon floor duty that day and I questioned why we were keeping the office open. But I went as requested (I was at a different company then). Town got dead real quick. There was little traffic and hardly any tourists. They closed the office about an hour after I showed up. I drove out to Walgreens to stock up on vodka, knowing the next few days would be awful. The clerk did not really understand what had happened. I told him, and he got the most awful pained look on his face. He said he had heard that the navy had posted armed guards at Sigsbee. I drove out to see them. Yep, they had their weapons out.

Town (that's what a lot of call Key West) died that day. Business went away. Fantasy Fest occurred, but it was subdued. The tourists just did not return for the normal fall schedule of events.

Then the day after Christmas town bounced back---big time! And the dead real estate market exploded. The demand for real estate could not be met. Prices rose by double digits for Key West and the other Keys as well each year through 2005. Buyers started questioning whether the market could continue to grow at the rate it had for the previous 4 years. Reason suggested that the market would continue to grow, but not at the rate previously experienced.

By Spring 2006 (prime selling time in Key West) the market slowed a bit. Then we had four hurricanes. Each one brought CNN and other national media to report on the fools walking on Duval Street hours before each hurricane. They could have shown re-runs of the previous storms because each hurricane was the same--until Wilma. Yes, we had some damage with each hurricane. Usually the wind uproots a few trees that fall on roofs or a car. Some minor flooding, but usually no structural damage related to flooding. But Wilma changed that as well.

Hurricane Wilma brought wind and water damage from one end of the island to the other. Most of the Old Town area was spared flood damage. But the damage elsewhere was physically and emotionally devastating for most of us. People with nothing and people with very expensive homes and toys shared equally in their losses.

I rode my bike around town every day for over a month just looking at the piles of trash and debris piled in the streets. The winds and ocean water from the tidal surge took its toll on our lush green gem of an isle. The palms and ferns looked like hell. The small foliage we all see and enjoy seemed to disappear. The island was no longer green, but grey.

But one of the great things about living in Key West is the resilience of the people who live here. When someone is injured or gets desperately ill, there is always some fund raiser to help raise funds. The people who live here do care about each other. We really do care.

I wrote last week about the smell you experience when you get off the plane at Key West International Airport. The very next day my neighbor across the street who moved to North Carolina in the spring of 2006 was down to check on her house. She mentioned the smell when she got off the plane and noted how beautiful everything was again. She said she forgot how beautiful Key West is.

The pics to the right show a huge tree in the Battleship Maine's cemetery on White Street, a tree near the Casa Marina hotel that toppled during Wilma, a house on upper Duval that was being remodeled as it looked on Nov 17, 2005 and a pic as it looks today, Jan 30, 2007.

Key West bounced back from 911. I'm waiting for The Big Bounce to occur in the real estate market. It will come.

Friday, January 26, 2007

El Encanto

1400 Whalton Street, Key West, Florida 33040
Your new address!

I have been eyeing the remodeling of this house for about 3 years. I live a block away and had the opportunity to watch the daily progress.

The original house was a one story arts and crafts home from the 1920s. The owner is a local appraiser and his wife, a realtor. They announced they were remodeling and adding a second floor. They hired Tom Pope--a noted Key West architect to design the project and Bird Construction to build it.

It is located on a corner in the Casa Marina area of Key West. It is a short 5 minute car ride to Old Town or the shopping centers on North Roosevelt or the airport on South Roosevelt. And you can walk to the beach in 5 minutes as well. It is not near any tourist destination. One of the streets does get quite a bit of daytime traffic, but like most Key West streets, it is very quiet at night.

The exterior colors are are sea foam green and white, and they blend nicely with the lush palms and the mini-estate that is located immediately south of the home. The pics of the home to the right do not do justice to the beauty of this home. There are 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, an interior and pool kitchen, a child's playroom or study (it is officially counted as a bedroom), and an inviting great room that overlooks the pool and park-like grounds to the south.

The second floor master suite has vaulted ceilings and finishes that transport you to a south seas isle. And there is a large walk-in closet with quality built-ins for superior storage. Every room is finished to the "T". Nothing has been overlooked. Nothing. It is, without a doubt, the most beautiful home I have seen in Key West.

Click the words El Encanto above to see more information on this stunning home.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

U.S. Coast Guard - Key West Style

The U.S. Coast Guard - Key West Style

"What do 'coasties' have to do with real estate?", you ask.

Well they are a big part of the life in Key West. Their job is being part of Homeland Security and doing life saving chores, drug interdiction, port protection, and so on.

Many of the people live off base. So they compete for housing just like all of the waiters, bartenders, fishermen, shopkeepers, construction workers, etc. that compete for short term housing. A single guardsman with no dependants ranked E-2 gets $1452 to pay housing and utilities. Since most one bedroom apartments in Key West go for $1200 or more per month with the tenant paying all utilities. That can amount to an additional $200 to $300 per month in some cases.

Those high prices create the need for roommate situations. A two bed, two bath apartment, condo, or home will typically rent from $1800 per month and up plus utilities in most instances. Old Town housing is the most expensive. Properties with a pool, on-site laundry, off-street parking, or other amenities usually rent the quickest and at the highest price. The less expensive properties are typically located in the mid-town area (east of White Street to Kennedy Drive). The price differential is not all that great, however.

I advise investors who have apartments or homes they want to rent on a long term basis to try to rent to servicemen. As a rule these service men and women make superb tenants. They are neat, clean, obey the law, and pay their rent on time each month.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

We're having a Party and you're invited...

We're having a Party and you're invited...

Anyone who reads this blog is welcome to attend a little cocktail party on Thursday, January 25 between 4:15 to 6:15 PM at 612 and 616 Olivia Street in Key West.

We are hosting the event to present two beautiful homes to Realtors and sophisticated buyers.

I am including a photo of 612 Olivia from 3 years ago and a photo taken last week. The old structure was demolished and the new home was recently finished. The home has 4 bedrooms, 6 baths in two buildings with a total of 3220 square feet of truly elegant living space. And that's just for starters.

612 Olivia was constructed for a particular owner who either has a large family or lots of friends. The rooms and public areas are spacious. And the pool, gardens, and terraces were designed for casual living and grand entertaining. 612 Olivia is offered at $3,200,000. Do drop in on Thursday and say hello.

Monday, January 22, 2007

There's no place like home

There's no place like home

Season is upon us and Key West is full of people. The tall ships are here for Race Week and the town is full of your regular run-of-the-mill tourists as well. See photo of one of the tourists to the right...

Those of us who are fortunate enough to live here full time often think that tourists view Key West as if it were Disneyland. Heck, they walk right into traffic to take pics of each other without looking to see if that car really wanted to move.

I found the photo to the right of Duval Street depicting the street as if it were a model. This is a real town despite what tourists think. There are 25,000 odd folks who live here full time. And 12 normal folk.

Finally, there is the pic of Key West International Airport. I love that little airport. Get here before it is rebuilt to look like every other airport in the country. There is nothing finer than returning home to Key West late at night and seeing that old welcome sign. Then you get off the ramshackle plane and smell the Key West air. It does smell different than air in America. (And it's not the ocean. It's just plain old Key West air. Maybe I'll start to bottle it and sell in on Ebay.) Then you grab a cab and go fast down South Roosevelt towards town. The cabbie tells you everything that happened since you went away. Those guys are the repositories of the social history of Key West. Man, there is nothing like coming home.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

From Bulging Waistlines to Bulging Muscles

Island Gym

I hurt my left arm something fierce last year and haven't been able to do much with it since. There is a new gym at 1119 White Street (former home of The Bagelry where you could watch your waistline grow). It is simply called Island Gym.

So I'm it's newest member. It's as clean as a whistle, but then it's new. But I got a feeling it will always be that way. There is lots of Pride of Ownership going on there.

The rates are okay (for Key West). They have daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual rates. And they are offering 10% off for memberships in January. The only bad thing I can say about the place is that it is small and has lots and lots of equipment--most of which is Hammersmith. Top of the line.

And it is located in my neighborhood--Casa Marina. I included a pic of the Fausto's Food Palace on White Street for those who know its location. The gym is one block to the south. I took these pics around 7:00 AM today. Key West is so beautiful at that time of day. Many people are snug in their beds, but others are out jogging or walking their dog. While I was on the treadmill I watched probably 100 people stop their cars and go into the Cuban bakery across the street from the gym for coffee con leche.

By the by, I ran into a familiar face at my open house today: John Isaksen of Isaksen Insurance. He saw our ad in the Key West Citizen and stopped by to see me. I did not recognized him because he had lost 25 pounds. He, on the other hand, knew who I was because of the ad. And he commented on the fact that I had gained weight. Thanks for noticing, John.
Glad to hear you remind me of my accomplishment. I had about 50 visitors at the open house--two of which seemed genuinely interested. Not a bad day.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

If I lived here, I could be home now...

If I lived in Key West, I could be home now...
Ain't that the truth. The other day I wrote about the island running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. So I decided to post a photo to prove it. The Gulf is at the top and the Atlantic is at the bottom of the pic. My office is located just to the top of the large white building in the middle next to the right side of the pic. That building is the old Gato Cigar Factory and is now part of Monroe County government offices.

The third photo is of the beach at the Casa Marina Resort. Locals go to the hotel for a variety of reasons including the annual 4th of July picnic and the Fantasy Fest Pet Parade. Both events are must dos if you live in Key West.

Key West is packed to the rim with lots of vacationers and attendees to the boat races. Our office (Dunaway McKenzie Realtors) is holding Open Houses tomorrow, from Noon -- 2:30 at the following locations: 612 and 616 Olivia, 1318 Duncan Street, and the Sea Isle Town Homes at 901 Windsor Lane. See photo at top right. The developer just reduced the price to $1,900,000 on these newly constructed and elegantly appointed 3 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath two-story town homes, each with its own private pool. Come see for yourself. If you lived here, you could be home now!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Things to do in Key West

Things to do in Key West

1. Go to the beach. We have a few. We just don't have a lot of sand or waves. But we have so much sun you don't mind laying on the rocks cause you can get a great suntan. Better yet, hangout at your guesthouse (or hotel) pool.

2. Go to Duval Street and walk up and down the longest street in America--it stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. (That's about one mile in Key West.)

3. Go out to eat. We have some great restaurant like the Cafe Marquesa, Antonia's, and 915.
You can get a lot of reasonably priced and very good food at places like Caroline's (it's in the 300 block of Duval--try the cheeseburger) or TGI Fridays (in the Winn Dixie Shopping Center).

4. Go to Tropic Cinema (400 block of Eaton, just west of Duval) or the Regal Cinema (the Searstown shopping center).

5. Ride a bike and take a self-tour of the island. Obey the stop signs and don't aggravate locals by doing dumb things.

6. Visit the Key West Cemetery. Pics included to the right. One of the best streets in all of Key West is Carey Lane. There are 3 sweet little cottages that have been renovated. There are no Conch Trains or tour buses, no motorcycles or bicycle tours, heck, even a lot of locals don't know where the lane is located. But it is just steps away from the Key West cemetery. Take a left, walk a half a block and you are at the corner of Margaret and Southard. Three block to the north is the Key West Seaport and three blocks west is Duval. So close and so far.

7. Call Gary Thomas and buy a house. 1-877-778-7092.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Is the Island Surrounded by Water?

"Is the Island Surrounded by Water?"

I mentioned that I used to own Eaton Lodge Guesthouse and the question cited above is an actual question I got when a potential guest called to reserve a room.

Recently a friend from Atlanta asked me to pick-up a couple of his friends who were in Key West on a cruise ship and show them around Old Town. They asked how all the cars got here.

The answer to both questions is simple. Key West is a real island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (or sea or bay or whatever body of water you think). It is accessed by driving down U.S. 1 from Miami over a series of Keys ("cays" or islands) that are connected by bridges, the longest of which is the famous seven mile bridge. The other two means of getting here are via airplane or water.

Since we are surrounded by water, many potential home buyers think that they can purchase a waterfront home or condo. That's next to impossible on the Island of Key West. There are only a handful of properties actually on the water here and because of that, they are normally among the most expensive properties in Key West.

If a water view can be substituted for "waterfront", there are many more potential properties available. And if proximity to water is the criteria instead of "water view", the list becomes even wider.

During the past 5 years several new developments have been built with "water views" in Key West and on Stock Island, Key West's nearest neighbor. Most of these properties are condominiums and some even come with boat slips or having boat slips available. And because of the recent downturn in the real estate market these properties are priced more affordable than ever. The Impossible just became more affordable.

Checkout the above link to search for your new home in Key West-- water view or not and please give me a call (toll free) 1-877-295-7099.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

616 Olivia Open House on Sunday

616 Olivia Street
Open House
Noon - 2:30

Come join me on Sunday for an Open House at 616 Olivia Street in Old Town Key West. This elegant newly constructed (not renovated) home is located within walking distance to all that Key West has to offer, but far from the madding crowd.

The 2000 square foot home features
2 large bedrooms on the 2nd floor and a 3rd den/study/guest room on the 1st and 3 full baths. The master bedroom has a second floor covered balcony that runs the length of the house and overlooks the rear gardens and inviting pool. The interior floors are travertine marble and so are the covered front porch and rear lanai. There is crown molding and recessed lighting everywhere. The home is a GE Smart House.

So many homes in Old Town do not have parking, but this one trumps them all: it has covered parking and a door that allows you to enter into the kitchen. (That is a true novelty for Key West.) And the kitchen has everything as well: custom made cabinets, high end stainless steel appliances, professional range, wine cooler, marble, granite, you get the picture.

French doors across the entire rear of the house allow the descerning homeowner to enjoy the beautiful pool and garden views any time, day or night.

The 600 block of Olivia Street is particulary charming. To me it looks like Whisteria Lane--without the drama. Key West provides enough of that.

The home is offered at $2,300,000. Come take a peek.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sweet William Transformation

Why Does Real Estate Cost So Much in Key West?

I was doing my morning internet surfing today and ran across this picture (bottom right) on . The caption read: "This house is for sale by the famed Christie's Group. This 'Preferred Property' is about to fall down, which I found marvelous." That got me to thinking about discussing why housing in Key West costs so much and why the current downward turn benefits would-be buyers.
The house pictured was listed in July 2006 at $799,000. It is 1638 square feet on a 1959 square foot lot. There is off-street parking. And it was priced at appraised value at the time. The price has been dropped to $599,000. The good thing about this house is that it is in a good relatively good location in Old Town, but not the best. It obviously needs lots of work, but it does have the street appeal that makes it desirable.

The top four photos show a house in the 500 block of William Street as it looked a year ago and as it looks today. The restoration is almost complete. The tax records show that the existing house was 2827 square feet under roof. It looks like the square footage has been increased as the property was restored as well.

The property was sold a year ago for $1,225,000 and sold in January 2007 for $3,495,000 CASH.

The process of restoring a home in Old Town Key West is similar to any other town with an architectural review committee. The Historic Architectural Review Committee (HARC) controls that process in Key West. The City has a designated official that ensures that the city code is enforced with respect to all homes in the Historic District that are subject to the code.

HARC reviews all planned renovations, restorations, and even new construction in the Historic District to ensure that the historic character of the Old Town area is not diminished by new construction. It has strict guidelines that it jealously protects.

Old buildings such as the one pictured and chided as a "Preferred Property" cannot be torn down and rebuilt. Instead, buildings like this must be conserved and restored. Costs of such conservation and restoration often exceed the costs of normal new construction. The end result is that the cost of acquisition, planning, reconstruction, landscaping, etc. all add to the cost of the final home. But then the final home is often a work of art.

There are some great buys in Key West because of the market downturn. Prices will not stay at there current low rates and those people who buy now ought to reap great rewards in the future.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Artist House Key West -- For Sale

The Artist House

Located at 534 Eaton Street, The Artist House has what other innkeepers
wish they had: a magnificently appointed and truly historic property.

This seven unit property is located one-half block off famous Duval Street on Eaton Street--old Key West's millionaires row. Eaton Street is one of two main corridors that bring traffic in to the Old Town area. So this is a very high visibility location and because of its innate beauty, attracts many would-be lodgers who failed to make reservations in advance or who mistakenly booked a room at a huge motel on Roosevelt Boulevard.

(I used to own Eaton Lodge at 511 Eaton Street. I know the guest house business and I know the value of owning a beautiful and historic property on that particular block.)

The property was the home of Dr. Thomas Otto and was named for his artist son, hence the name "The Artist House".

The rooms are large and most feature original fireplaces, crown molding, high baseboards, and period finishes that transport the lodger back to a grander era.

The Artist House is priced at $2,599,000. It has six licensed guest rooms. This beautiful property could be yours and you could fulfill your dreams of being the next Bob Newhart--but you would just be living in Paradise instead of New England.

More info: Please call Gary Thomas 1-305-766-2642

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Why is now a great time to Buy in Key West?

Key West Cemetery

How many of you readers were buying tech stocks and every offering in the year 2000? What happened to your investment?

So many people took a bath when the market took a dive. But then that seems to always happen.

And how many of you readers rue the fact that you failed to buy the Conch Cottage when it was available for less than $100,000 and then $200,000 and later $500,000?

Prices on Conch Cottages and every other type home in Key West on an annual basis from 1993 onward until 2005. The market started to stagnate. Then Hurricane Wilma knocked the entire island for a loop. Prices then started to go down.

What makes a downward price market a "a great time to buy in Key West?" you ask.

Those that missed the opportunity the first time around can profit from their reluctance to part with their money.

I say that current sellers in Key West have 3 1/2 months left of prime selling time. The traditional selling season is Christmas until Easter and it coincides with the tourist season. Most hotels reduce their rates immediately after Easter because the high end tourists stop coming to Key West and we get a more economical crop of vacationers. And those vacationers are usually not looking to buy an expensive second home.

So now is the time for all serious sellers to get real in their pricing. And I think it is happening to some extent. More sellers are reducing their asking price because buyers are refusing to pay. Two years ago almost every home in Old Town was being offered at $1000 per square foot or more. Today, you can buy a nice home in Old Town with a small pool for $599,000 or less. 1110 Petronia Street was originally priced at $749,000 and now is $599,000.

There are numerous nice homes in Old Town priced in the $500-$600 per square foot. There won't be another Key West and they can't grow the existing one any bigger. So I recommend that buyers take advantage of the price slump and buy now. Even if you do not get the house you want for the very lowest price ever, getting the house you want in the location you want is easier now than it has been in years. Buy!

Oh, the reason for the photos of the Key West Cemetery. Some folks shy away from even considering buying a house with a view of the cemetery. I take the contrary opinion. The skies are bright, open and inviting. And the neighbors are quite quiet. No big structure is ever going to be built there to obstruct your view.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Remember Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger in Paradise"?

It was written about the cheeseburgers at the Dennis Pharmacy at 1229 Simonton Street--just two blocks from my office.

It's gone, at least for now. Dennis Pharmacy is being transformed into Marine Bank. Pics of Dennis Pharmacy in mid 2006 and this past week are attached for those who care.

There was a recent article in the Key West Citizen stating that the Dennis Pharmacy is looking for a new place of operation. Stay posted.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Real Estate Market Cycles--Key West

I am an attorney by profession and still maintain my license in my native Colorado. I worked for the largest bank in Colorado and did "commercial loan workouts"-- I managed the collection of problem loans, bankruptcies, litigation, and the sale of bank owned real estate.

Denver was a "boom town" in mid 1970s until 1982 or so. Then the oil market crashed and the boom went bust overnight. Property values plummeted and there was a glut of homes to sell. The economy was also paying the cost of the Viet Nam War. The Prime Rate went as high as 18% and that made the cost of permanent residential loans almost impossible for new homeowners.

I then went to work for the RTC-- Resolution Trust Corporation. The government agency set up clean up the savings and loan debacle. The real estate projects got larger and the associated legal problems more complex. The economy still had not healed and we had to work hard to sell huge volumes of real estate without giving it away. Although the RTC did give away a lot of its assets.

Since traveling to Key West for the first time in 1984 I watched as prices grew on an annual basis--usually beating the national rate of inflation. In the early 2000's the rate of increase approached 20 - 30% per year depending on the area of town. I wrongfully believed that Key West was immune from the economic woes of up north because of the scarcity of real estate, the limitation on constructing new real estate, the height restriction on buildings in Key West, and the fact that so many baby boomers are always looking to purchase a second home in Key West.

But Hurricane Wilma occurred and caused a lot of damage most of which has been repaired, but the fact that we got hit scarred some people. And others reacted to the slowdown up north and that translated in to a major correction in the real estate market in Key West. The amount of homes for sale went up, and number of sales went down. The sellers who were used to pushing buyers to the limit met their match. Buyers stopped buying unless they perceived the property to be a deal. The sellers that had to sell, dropped their price or the property did not sell. Many "sellers" took their property off the market hoping that prices would rise again.

I don't know where the market in Key West is going to go this year. The number of properties for sale is not as large as a year ago, and the prices have been lowered pretty much across the board. But some sellers still have unrealistic expectations about what their homes are worth.

Numerous writers have discussed the Real Estate Market Cycles. So I am not creating any new theory here. Depending on which writer you cite, there are between 6 to 13 events that make up a market cycle. Here are the basic six:

1. euphoria
2. denial
3. recognition
4. panic
5. hope
6. capitulation

As the number of foreclosures rise in Key West, I think it is safe to say that our market is at least in the "panic" phase and may have passed into the "hope" phase. Some sellers have reached the "capitulation" phase and dropped prices or taken other actions to try to minimize their losses.

I have advised sellers who had to sell to set a realistic price on their property. The internet has made it possible for people to see in real time unfiltered information as to what is available at what price and what similarly property recently sold for. Buyers have turned the tables on the sellers and buyers are now in control. So pricing correctly is necessary if a seller has to sell in the near term.

Likewise, I have advised buyers (and they are out there) that now is an excellent time to buy. Location is still the critical value when picking a property. But price is now almost as important. And the term "price" is more than the asking price. It includes other considerations that make a deal acceptable to a seller such as closing date or being able to pay cash and taking out the "financing contingency". More on that at a later date.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

New Year's Eve Key West 2007

New Year's Eve at the 801.

Thousands lined Duval Street on New Years Eve. And yesterday, New Year's Day, the streets were bear. The weather was great,but I think many were in bed nursing their hangovers.


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.