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Monday, December 29, 2008

Don't Wait Too Long!

A week ago today I could drive either direction on Truman between Simonton and White Street in less than two minutes--even if I had to stop for a red light at Windsor Lane. On Friday it took me ten minutes. They're back! The "Wish I lived in Key West!" bunch. The people who return year after year and who ruminate "I wish I would have bought when prices were lower. I got priced out of the market".

This is true: twelve years ago I met a nice couple from New York who have been coming to Key West since in the late 1970's. They come to Key West at least twice a year and always stay at the Marquesa Hotel. They typically rent bikes and scout out potential homes to purchase as part of each trip to Key West. They eventually wrote a couple of offers back in 2002 and 2003 but their tenacity to getting the best of every deal prevented them from getting a good deal. The market continued to go up, and then we all know what happened to property prices across the country and right here in Key West. I saw that couple riding around last week on their bikes and making notes about a house on an Old Town street.

A couple of months ago I wrote about the slowness of the Key West market and how very little was selling. In a few days I will do a little report on what transpired in December and how the year 2008 did as compared to recent years. But I can give you a sneak peak. Sales are up. There is a lot of activity. A lot of the cheap stuff is getting bought up (bank owned properties and some good short sale properties). A couple of really big grand houses are under contract as well.

Preferred Properties hosted ten Open Houses yesterday and each host reported a big turnout of lookers. Well, we always get lookers. Looking is cheap entertainment. But several of the lookers are actually in town with the intention of buying a place in Key West. I know they all won't buy. Just like the couple from New York will probably never buy. But some will buy, and they may be buying at or near the bottom of the market.

I know there are going to be more foreclosures because I read the Monroe County Clerk's records a couple of times each week to see what properties are being foreclosed upon. So I accept the fact that we are not at the absolute bottom of wherever we are headed. At the same time I can appreciate the fact that the people who have property for sale right now really want to sell--for whatever reason. And there are some very attractive properties on the market.

The property I hosted at yesterday's Open House was a grand house located at 416 Elizabeth Street. It is offered at $3,900,000 so it is out of the price range of most buyers, but would-be buyers came to look nonetheless. The "oohed" and "aahed" at the place and told me how absolutely enchanting it is. The thing is there are smaller and much less expensive properties on the market right now that could evoke the same feeling of enchantment. People who dream of moving to Key West don't think in terms of how much their home will cost. They think about the type of lifestyle they can live.

CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database to find your new home in Paradise. If you see something you like, I'd appreciate it if you would consider using me to help you. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at Don't wait too long!


Anonymous said...

Can you please post the link to the Monroe County Clerk's Office where you check what properties are being foreclosed on?

Gary Thomas said...

I can't link to the page but you can go to the site: Search online records, then search lis pendens, then search by date.

Anonymous said...

The Captain says:

I agree with you Gary, the market is starting to show an ever so slight uptick. Much of it is, as you say, low end stuff but some very nice properties have just gone under contract as well. Examples: 1525 Grinnell dropped in price from $899k to $690k and is now contingent. The home itself is so-so, but you can't beat the location. Also, 701 Elizabeth (which you posted about -- twice). Nicely located and a decent house. Originally $990k, then $879k, then $750k, now under contract. The prices are certainly good compared to what they were in 2007, but will they be so good compared to what 2009 will bring? Not even the Captain knows.

Captain out....

Anonymous said...

No one knows but everyone is looking for a bargain - and the bargains? Sure, a few but they just aren't there yet No, real estate hasn't hit bottom yet and with credit as tight as it is now and cash buyers still on the fence I know why so many realtors are holding second jobs in Key West.

Gary Thomas said...

Captain, I showed 701 Elizabeth to 3 different couples the week the price dropped and there were reportedly two contracts that week, but only one got accepted.

I know all about 1525 Grinnell. It proves what I have said before about working with an agent like me who is a full time realtor that knows what is going on rather than someone who has a real job and does real estate part time.

There are not a lot of choice properties out there and timing is everything.

That's why I said Don't wait too long!



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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.