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Friday, February 8, 2008

Same Time, Next Year

Same Time, Next Year is a play by Bernard Slade which tells the story of a couple, married to others, who develop a relationship in which they meet each year at a country inn and spend a weekend together. The relationship evolves into emotional intimacy over the course of 24 years, and they become much more than clandestine lovers. Though they only meet once a year, they become important parts of one another's lives.

I'm a firm believe that people are creatures of habit. They go back to the same place to year after year because of the good times they once had. And so when would-be second home buyers ask me about buying a place they could legally rent to help pay for the cost of purchasing their little piece of Paradise, I always suggest the Shipyard Condominiums at Truman Annex.

All but a few of the units are basically the same: Your basic 680 sq ft 2 bedrooms with one bath and two sets for French doors that open onto a downstairs deck or an upstairs balcony, assigned off street parking, and a large community pool. The units are an average 12 years old, and many have been part of a rental pool for several years. So many of the units have undergone individual upgrades or renovations over the years. On the outside the units look today liked the way they looked 12 years ago. But inside each is surely different.

Owners in Shipyard can obtain a vacation rental license to rent the units for a week at a time. Several property management companies manage and rent units for absentee second home owners. They typically charge a management fee of 20% of the rental income plus pass along cleaning and other charges as agreed between the owner and the property manager. Some owners have their own websites and manage their properties and have a local person take care of the check-in and cleaning. Different owners have different ways of handing their investments.

Shipyard has always been a successful rental operation because of the amenities it offers (size, pool, parking, close to Old Town and a walk to the beach, and value).
Renters know what they are getting and return year after year. And if they like a particular unit or location, they are inclined to want that unit every year.

I always suggest that buyers keep an existing property manager in place if the company runs a successful program with respect to the property being purchased. A good website, promptness in repairing any problems, promptness in remitting income to the owner are key issues to consider. But if they exist, don't mess with something that works.

The condo fee on a 680 sq ft units is $550 monthly (fees vary based on sq footage) and includes Cable, Exterior Building Maintenance, Building Insurance, Common Area Maintenance, Pool Maintenance, and Security. The Security is a big selling feature to absentee owners. The condo owner needs to purchase liability insurance and contents insurance for the inside of the unit as one would for renting an apartment.

CLICK HERE for a more detailed list of each unit currently available for purchase along with many photos of the respective properties. The asking prices vary greatly on because of size, location, quality of upgrades or renovations. These units can be a good investment if purchased at a realistic price. They have to be treated as an investment in order to throw off the income to service any debt. (That means no freebie stays for your friends and relatives--especially during Season, Christmas, Fantasy Fest or the Boat Races. Mark my word: after you tell your friends and family you own a place in Key West you are going to be soooooooooooooo popular!)

Since these units are typically rented, it is necessary to have an advanced appointment to see them. Most companies require at least 24 hours notice, and sometimes that is not enough. If you are planning to come to Key West and want to see one of these homes, make a call ahead of time so that appointments can be scheduled.

Please call Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at for more info. If you buy one of the Shipyard Condos you can tell your Key West neighbors "Same time, next year" and mean it.

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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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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.