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Friday, December 12, 2008

701 Elizabeth Street - Heart of Key West

I have written about 701 Elizabeth Street before. What I said then stands. Except now the property is better. The new asking price on 701 Elizabeth Street is $750,000 or $410 per sq ft. The house was designed by Tom Pope and built in 1984 by Erik deBoer. Locals know both names as among the tops in design and construction. The house has 1830 sq ft of living space and sits on an odd shaped lot of 3520 sq.ft.

The new listing Realtor describes the property this way: "Excellent location on top of Solares Hill with a flexible living plan. The main portion of the property has 2BR, 2BA and beautiful reclaimed pine floors, large windows with louvered wooden shutters for easy light control and storm closure and an open living plan. There is a private covered porch and pool in the rear of the property. The smaller unit is a legal 1BR/1BA rental ideal for guests or income. Off street parking and priced to sell."

701 Elizabeth Street sits at the top of Solares Hill. No need for flood insurance here. But more than that the views from the master bedroom are just wonderful. The house is located two blocks from Duval and maybe three full blocks to the Historic Seaport. Seven Fish Restaurant is two blocks to the south. And there is a neighborhood grocery one block to the east. The Solares Hill neighborhood is filled with really big grand Conch houses and smaller cigar maker cottages, many of which have been renovated into quintessential Key West cottages. But some of the other houses retain there untouched in generations charm.

If you anticipate having a lot of company or more friends once they find out you own a place in Key West, this place may work for you more than you can imagine. The legal three story apartment could serve as an excellent private guest suite for your company. Everything in that unit is separated from the main part of the house. So your company can come and go and buy their own groceries and liquor so that you can live your life uninterrupted.

The new price is a great price on a great house in a really good location. This house has a lot of value, not because of its new lower price, but because of everything it offers. Please CLICK HERE to see more detailed info on the property and see additional new photographs.

Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at


Anonymous said...

The Captain reports:

Gary, with your permission I'd like to comment about the auction you posted about on November 10. It was today and there were 5 lower Keys properties on the block. Only one sold but more on that later.

First and more importantly, contained in the fine print of the Terms and Conditions of the auction were the following: ‘Except where prohibited by law, the Auctioneer may open bidding on any property by placing a bid on behalf of the Seller and may further bid on behalf of the Seller, up to the amount of the reserve price, by placing successive or consecutive bids for a Property, or by placing bids in response to other bidders.’” In short, shill bids were allowed and shill bids occurred. In other words, the auction was a scam. While some people were able to buy some modest Miami properties at reasonable prices, the vast majority of properties were bidded up (in some cases way up) by people working for the auctioneer. Thus, 3533 Flagler "sold" for $375k, 630 Elizabeth for $360k, 1 Coral Way for $285k and 3711 Duck for $200k even tho not one actual attendee made a bid on any of them. Thus, at auction end not one was under contract. (Expect them all to be back on the market soon). The only bona fide sale was 201 Coppitt Rd, #C204 for $47,500.

In other words, a complete waste of time for anyone interested in lower Keys properties.

Captain out....

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Gary Thomas said...

Thanks Betty.

Captain, where did you get your info? That is bothersome. The company that did the auction is a big national company. It makes no sense to spend the time and money to have an auction if the auction is not real. In fact, if what you say happened did occur, it may be a violation of Florida real estate statutes and possibly Florida criminal statutes.

I suggest you meet discuss what you learned with someone in the State Attorney's office. The auction was advertised nationally, in the state, and also in Monroe County. So the State Attorney in Monroe County could have jurisdiction to investigate a sale in Miami over property located here. At least that's my take on it.

Go get em!!!


Gary Thomas said...

Captain, another thought. If I recall correctly, the terms of the autciton permitted buyers to submit bids without being present. Could it be that the properties in Key West were purchased through such a non-attending buyer?

I had a man attend an open house back in May; he was in Key West specifically to look at buying properties owned by Countrywide and said he was looking to buy up to $10 million in Countrywide assets. Of course, he was expecting a discount.

It seems that the price paid for Flagler, Elizabeth and Coral Way were right on the mark as far as price.


Anonymous said...

The Captain responds:

The language I previously quoted is located in the auction brochure (page 174, middle of the page) and on their website. Read it, Gary. You are a lawyer. It is a disclaimer that allows them (the auction company) to bid on behalf of the seller (the bank). At the auction, there are "bidding assistants" who are part of the auction company who roam around the hall, blow whistles, point fingers and make all other types of gyrations that make it look like there are actual bidders but in reality are simply bidding up the price. In fairness, ocasionally there are actual bidders who join in but only AFTER the company has bid up the starting bid. For example, the starting bid for 3711 Duck was $69k. Before you knew it and without anyone actually bidding, the bid was up to $175k. As I stated in my previous report, except for the 201 Coppitt Road condo, NONE OF THE KEY WEST PROPERTIES ACTUALLY SOLD! The prices that you say are "right on the mark" were simply the bank's reserve price. Again, these properties DID NOT SELL! Not only did they not sell, NO ACTUAL PERSON made any bid on any of them. Whether any of these shenanigans are a violation of Florida law, that is for someone else to determine.

Gary, you say it "makes no sense to spend the time and money to have an auction if the auction is not real." Yes it does, it bids up the price so that no property is sold at a bargain. It also gets unsuspecting people to bid thinking others are bidding. It may not seem fair but it makes sense to the banks and auction company to maximize the prices and profits.

Finally, there purportedly was some internet bidding. A table of auction employees with laptops were located near the auctioneer. Ocasionally, they would indicate a bid. However, the vast majority of bids were made by the assistants roaming the hall and pointing to imaginary people (remarkably always behind where you were seated). As the crowd started to thin (around 5pm) you could more easily see their manipulations.

Captain out....

Gary Thomas said...

Captain, If you believe the auction was a fraud, you should pursue this matter.

Go to: to verify that the auctioneer is a licensed Florida real estate broker because the brokerage is responsible for complying with all Florida real estate laws in the sale of real estate.

If you believe the auctioneer committed fraud in the way it conducted the auction, file a written complaint. That is the only way to get someone with authority to do something.


Anonymous said...

Captain, I like the way you think.

Anonymous said...

The Captain responds to anonymous:

Thank you.

And not to belabor this auction situation, the reasions for my post were solely to inform the potential buyer. Like I stated previously, some modest Miami properties sold for very reasonable prices. For example, many Miami condos with a market value of say $90k actually sold to real people for $40 or $50k. Half price. Not unlike the Coppit Rd condo. It was refreshing to see young couples buying such properties (including SFRs for less than $100k) as their starter homes. In a larger sense, it was the market correcting itself without government intervention.

But for the "vultures" and "bottom feeders" (ok, ok, I admit it, I am one) looking for steep discounts on higher end properties, it was a bust. No half price deals. Only discounts of $10 or $20k.

I didn't mean to pass judgment on the auction company's "hustle." Only to expose it. Knowledge is power and notwithstanding the company's shenanigans, some people bought below market properties. They say there will be another auction in January. See you then.

Captain out....

Gary Thomas said...

For those who care: This house was a steal. I showed it many times over the past few months. It got better each time the price dropped.

It went under contract on Friday.

I'll keep you posted on the sales price.

What a deal! What a steal!



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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.