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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Recognizing a Real Estate Bargain In Key West

I just Googled "recognize a bargain" and up comes this incredible blog written by fellow Realtor Dan Melson from San Diego. CLICK HERE to read the item in full. It is worth your while, especially since I agree with what he says. lol!!!

The premise of his treatise is that his services as a Realtor are valuable because he has years of experience that enable him to help a buyer find a genuine bargain.

Melson says "The ability to recognize a bargain property is a valuable skill. If you disagree with this, what reason do you have for looking at properties before you buy them? Why don't you simply pick out the cheapest property that meets your specifications on MLS, make an offer, come to an agreement, and pay the price, all sight unseen? Remember, you're claiming that the ability to recognize a bargain does not have value. Why would you want to take the time to look if there's no value in it?When there are ten thousand identical items in a warehouse or on the grocery store shelves, you grab one and get on with your life. You might look at the label to make certain it was manufactured to fill the need you have. You don't bother opening the box - if it's defective, you can just exchange it for another. They're all interchangeable."

Then he comes up with a terrific and easily understandable exposition: "But that isn't the case even on everything in the grocery stone. There's a reason they wrap meat in transparent plastic - so you can see the piece of meat you're buying. To view the cut, how much fat is on it, how large a piece of meat it really is, how fresh it is - in short, the value of the meat. If you know what good meat looks like, you've seen people that have no clue as to what to look for choosing crummy meat that you've just rejected. It happens most of the times when I'm at the meat counter, as a matter of fact. It's why the grocery stores keep putting out bad cuts of bad meat. Somebody who doesn't know any better will buy it."

Public access to the Key West Association of Realtors' mls database is open and free to the public. No need to get sign up with a Realtor to get access. Simply CLICK HERE and you can search all real estate listings from Key West to Key Largo. But using the database only gets you a list of properties.

I often add tags like "bargain", "value", or "locational value" to attract readers looking to find great buys. But I agree with Dan Melson that bargain and cheap price are not the one and the same. Tags only attract attention. I try to provide an explanation of why a particular property is a bargain or why one location is better than some other location so that a potential buyer will see the merit of my position and appreciate the value of my experience. I know I have written on several occasions that everybody in Key West is an expert on real estate, because everybody knows what every piece of property costs or sold for, and now who is losing his home in foreclosure. But knowing the price of a piece of property is only the start.

I've written before about one of my best (or worst) learning experiences that occurred almost 30 years ago. I had a bunch of cash and wanted to buy a new (actually old) house on Clermont St. Parkway in Denver. The house looked like something out of a storybook. I made a low bid, all cash offer which went down with a thud. The seller refused to even respond. I went around my Realtor and called the seller up. I offered to pay full price. He said I was an idiot and said he would refuse to sell even at full price. I got the message. And ever since then I have counseled buyers from making the same mistake. If you see something you really like and want to own, make a good faith offer. Low ball offers are fine on run of the mill condos, but if you want to buy something that is really special, treat the seller with respect or you run the risk of losing the ability to buy the property like I did.

There is a lot of junk for sale in the Key West real estate market. A few years ago people were fighting to buy that junk. Now many properties sit vacant--either foreclosed upon or even abandoned knowing they will be foreclosed. There are some good deals to be made on these types of properties. For the most part they are functional. They are not the types of houses that people up in America dream about owning as a second home in Key West. But they can provide good, decent shelter and now at a more affordable price. And there are the occasional properties that come up that are very well located, or have all the bells and whistles, or maybe circumstances require that they be sold quickly and at a huge discount. Both types of properties can be bargains. But it takes experience and knowledge to know the difference between a cheap house that costs too much and an expensive property that is being offered at a very reasonable price.

I encourage would-be buyers to checkout the mls listings CLICK HERE. Get a feel for what is available and what the asking prices are. If you see something that interests you please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at

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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.