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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Distress Sale: 1800 Atlantic





Distress Sale: 1800 Atlantic Blvd #C122, Key West, FL
This is how the listing Realtor describes the offer: "PRICED TO SELL!!! Take advantage of the best priced 2 BR & 2 BA at 1800 Atlantic Condominiums. Located on the tropical courtyard of the complex, the unit offers a 1357 sq. ft. floor plan. Amenities feature a secure covered parking garage, heated beach side Olympic size swimming pool, hot tub, 3 lighted tennis courts & 24 hour. security. Condo fees cover water, sewer, extended basic cable TV, monthly exterminating, exterior building insurance & maintenance."

Owners at 1800Atlantic have a 15 day first right of refusal period for any resales. Tenant in place through March 2008 at $4600 mo. The monthly condo fee is $887.71.
CLICK HERE for more info on this specific unit.

The unit is located on the first level above the parking garage and has a courtyard view. It sits just above the trees so it is about as far back from the ocean and pool as you can get. CLICK HERE site plan and CLICK HERE for layout of unit. No interior pics are available. CLICK HERE to see the master bedroom of a similar unit. This is NOT a SHORT SALE. Make your best offer.

The property was purchased in June 2004 for $540,000. It was listed for sale in December 2007 at $478,000. The asking price was just reduced to $398,500 or $294 per sq ft. The unit does not have a Transient License and you cannot transfer a license to this unit. But you can rent the unit on a long term basis, do monthly rentals, or use it as your own private residence or second home.


CLICK HERE to checkout all similarly sized units without transient licenses so that you can compare the prices, views, interior finishes, etc. to determine if the unit listed here is a value to you. If it is and you would like more info or want to schedule a private showing, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com. Don't wait.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Don't Miss the Boat





This is a True Story! A few years ago a husband & wife team at a real estate office where I used to work went to the Ft. Zach Taylor beach to have a picnic lunch. They saw this woman wearing only a bathing suit running around frantically waiving to a cruise ship as it was sailing away from the Mallory Square Pier. The woman and her husband were passengers on the ship and had rented a scooter to see the island. They went to the beach and let time slip away. All of their clothes were on the boat, and it was headed toward Mexico. They asked the Realtor couple what they should do. My friend suggested that they stay in Key West a few days and then rent a car so they could meet the boat when it returned to Ft. Lauderdale. He said hey had missed the boat, and the cost of flying to Mexico would defeat the purpose of a cheap cruise.

The moral is pretty simple: Don't Miss the Boat! If you wait too long, the boat will probably have left the port and the cost for you to catch it may be more costly than if you had just played things safe. In other words, don't gamble on time or time may cost you more money in the long run.

How did you do in the stock market last week? Were you among the few that made money? Or did you lose some? Or a lot? I got out of the market because I could not stand the constant worry about what others were doing with my money. Real estate has traditonally been a safe investment because the market normally only goes up. Not down. Sometimes it goes at a slow pace and sometimes the pace is aggressive. Right now the market it Key West is going sideways, down, and up depending on the property type and location. Some very expensive properties are selling, several very low priced properties are selling, and a few moderate properties are selling. Most of all sales are negotiated prices, however.

We are seeing buying activity spurred on by short sale opportunities. I don't know how many of those will translate into actual sales that close. The lenders are now requiring short sale contracts be accompanied by proof of funds and a pre-qualification letter for any contract that is not all cash.

I just generated a new list of the homes that are always in top demand: Old Town under $1,000,000. CLICK HERE for the list. The list is real Old Town and covers only homes West of White to Duval and North of Truman to the Gulf. No Bahama Village, Meadows, Casa Marina, or any other area. This is the area that is always in highest demand. Checkout the list. There are a couple of well located houses at good prices. And there are some houses that are growing stale because they are over-priced.

If you see something that interest you pleas call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com. Thanks.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Money Makers?





There was a segment on the TODAY SHOW last Friday about a San Diego couple that is suing their former Realtor for professional negligence among other claims. Buyer claimed "the agent was negligent in not telling them about other houses that sold for less, including one three doors away that has a pool and sold for $105,000 less and another that was considerably bigger that sold for $175,000 less." GO HERE to read the story or watch a clip.

We have a Realtor in Key West that advertises himself as a "Real Estate Expert". Even before learning of the above referenced lawsuit, I thought our local "expert" is setting himself up to be sued. I think he is telling the world that he is more competent, experienced, and able than other Realtors. If the "expert" Realtor makes an error, is he not subject to a higher standard of conduct and conversely subject to a claim for higher damages than a plain old garden variety Realtor?

I am not an expert and don't claim to be one. Period. That being said, CLICK HERE to checkout a few of the 77 duplexes and 3-t0-4 family units available on the Island of Key West. I went through the mls and selected these properties generally because of their price per sq ft, location, special features, or possible SHORT SALE (in some instances). If you are looking for an investment opportunity, now is a good time to consider buying a property in Key West. The fact is that most of these properties have not sold because the market is still very cautious. The price per sq ft is down considerably now from what it was back in 2004 and 2005. That could mean that the prices then were too high, or that the market in general is depressed now. Some of the units were purchased at prices higher than the current asking prices. I think some of these units are buying opportunities today.

Some of the properties would be great for an owner plus tenant situation. Others are just income producing units. But I invite you to checkout the list and see if one of these units interests you. If so, please contact me for more information. Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e_mail at kw1101v@aol.com.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dirty Deeds



Dirty Deeds

I attended seminar last week dealing with Short Sales. During the seminar the conversation eventually wandered to the topic of foreclosures and things foreclosed property owners can do. She told of borrowers who put bags of concrete down the drain just before they vacate their homes. The dry mix turns hard after a few days and the bank gets a huge mess. And her story reminded me of my own experiences and dirty deeds that I encountered during my years in banking. Here are a few:

Paper Widow: the widow of a major Denver newspaper publisher refused to pay her loan to the bank. I commenced foreclosure on her very expensive home. She called the president of the bank and asked him to intervene. I got called to his office and explained how far delinquent she was and that she refused to pay anything. I related how she told me she would drag our bank's good name down on the front pages of the paper. I was told to continue. Then I got a phone call from her son with whom I went to law school. He said his mother was "nuts" and asked for a small delay so he could repay the loan. I agreed and the loan was repaid.

Mr. Green the Vet: a Viet Nam paraplegic had a home loan that funded renovations to a 1960's era ranch home to make it suitable for the wheelchair bound vet. He refused to repay the loan, or any part of it. He threatened to go to the news media and plead his case about the big bad bank taking his home. I told him he had to repay the loan and could not live there for free. He dared me, and I foreclosed. When we got the house this person had managed to remove all the kitchen cabinets, appliances, all light fixtures, light switches and plugs, all bathroom fixtures except the toilets which were filled with ****.

Your the meanest man I ever met: I foreclosed on the house of a former bank co-employee (I did not know him). His wife cleaned her southeast Denver home so that it would shine and no one would think ill of her. But as she handed me the keys to her home she told me that I was the meanest person she had ever met. I had not made the loan to him, and I had tried to figure out a way to help him find a way to get it re-paid. But things did not work out.

I hate you Gary Thomas: we had a huge loan to a farmer in Western Kansas. He had several square miles under cultivation. He had loans with several different banks, but we had the mortgage on the home place, the barns, several sections (square mile sections of farm land), and UCC liens on his farm equipment. When he reneged on paying his debts, we started foreclosure. We held an auction on the home place and sold all of our collateral. Now the borrower had managed to keep his Beechcraft Bonanza away from my clutches along with some other toys. But his wife blamed the loss of the family farm on me instead of him.

Political Ever-Green Loans: big banks make "evergreen" loans to politicians. An Evergreen Loan is a loan that is continuously financed by the lender rather than repaid. No Clean-Up requirements are usually associated with Evergreen Loans, meaning there are no contractual obligations requiring periodic payments on the outstanding debt. Typically made under specific terms, it is also a de facto condition in renewing short term loans, where the loan is renewed without any reduction in the principal amount. They were made to both political parties and to the highest elected officials in the state. I filed suit against the former director of the regional transportation district, the former lieutenant governor, the former director of the Denver Symphony, you get the picture. My experience was that lots of politicians like to use other peoples money for their own ends. Just you try to get one of those loans. I dare you.

I feel the earth move under my feet: I foreclosed on single family home at the base of Lookout Mountain just west of Denver. Lenders usually don't get to see the inside of a property prior to foreclosure so the banker uses his best judgment to decide how to handle each case. This foundation of this house was also a retaining wall for the mountain and the foundation had slipped and caused the house foundation to shift downward. I was able to trade the banks interest in this house for another property without any structural problems and everyone ended up okay in the end. But that was pure luck.

California One Action Rule: a California resident and borrower had borrowed money from our Colorado bank. He defaulted on loan and we foreclosed our security interest on the loan (a hotel in Palm Springs, Ca.). But we had a deficiency amount still owing so we sued our borrower in Denver District Court. He appeared and defended. We got judgement. He appealed and the Colorado Supreme Court upheld our judgment citing language in our loan documents stating that Colorado law would govern the documents and transactions. I then sued him in California to enforce our foreign judgment. He defended and lost. I remember the California Supreme Court ruling stating that we did what seemingly could not be done under California law: we got two shots at the apple so to speak. He got clever and bought a house in Coos Bay, Oregon. I sued and foreclosed his interest in the house.
The borrower was a former attorney who thought he could use his wiliness to avoid paying his debt. He lost.

The Usual Suspects: our borrower was a home builder who defaulted on loans to several big banks. He did not pay a lot of subcontractors, and he had lots of enemies. He and his wife divorced. I was convinced that the divorce was a sham. I later learned it was anything but a sham. I got an anonymous phone tip that he was going to receive $100,000 in cash on a Friday at his attorneys office in Lakewood, Colorado. I had our outside counsel get a writ of execution issued and got the sheriff to appear at the attorneys office on the day and time. Sure enough the money was there and the sheriff took it. Our borrower went ballistic. No one ever did that to him before. We spent 4 or 5 days in court arguing over what we did, but we won. A few months later the cover story in WESTWORD, a Denver weekly newspaper, was about the murder of our borrower and the discovery of his body at the Cherry Creek Reservoir. My bank was the only lender to get any money out of this crooked builder.

The Crying Game: another attorney I knew from my days practicing law became the owner of a bunch of industrial banks in the Denver metro area that were known as the Presidential Banks because each bank was named after a former President. The attorney borrowed money from several commercial banks in Denver including ours. He defaulted. He made a quick trip to Florida where he got a drivers license, registered to vote, bought a house and declared his homestead. He returned to Colorado and filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. We took him to task and objected to the fraudulent bankruptcy filing. We had him in tears on the witness stand during one of the hearings. He eventually found some money he forogt he had and paid us off.

I didn't inhale: a Mexican national pulled a big kite on our bank--about $500,000 in 1982. I got a prejudgment writ of attachment on his penthouse condo that he owned free and clear in Vail. The court appointed me a receiver for the property, and I took an itemized inventory of all personalty found in the unit--including a stash of marijuana. Later we entered into a settlement with him through his attorneys and got ownership of the condo and the contents. But the attorney made sure to disavow any ownership of the marijuana that was listed in the inventory filed with the court. We sold the condo very quickly. All cash. Total recovery of our loss.

My favorite story is about the REO I called Cujo Oreo. READ IT HERE.

Borrowers do some crazy things when they cannot repay loans or unsecured debt. I found it much easier to deal with people who were open and honest when they fell on hard times. I was even able to get my bank to lend new money to good people if they had a way to use it to earn money to pay us back. It worked on several occasions. But most borrowers get scarred and run away and hide or blame their banker for their woes.

Friday, January 25, 2008

627 Southard Street Old Town Key West, Fl




Just Listed: 627 Southard Street Old Town, Key West, Fl. This 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath has 2590 sq.ft of living space and is situated on a 3497 sq ft lot at one of the best locations in Old Town. The property is offered at $1,500,000 or $580 per sq ft. CLICK HERE for more info.

The house next door at 631 Southard Street sold in April 2006 for $2,250,000. CLICK HERE TO SEE PIC. That house was a superb renovation. It was originally priced at $3 million and eventually sold far below its true value I believe. I had a client submit an offer of $2.7 million cash which the seller turned down.

Just across the street at the corner of Elizabeth & Southard is another splendid house that is only 13 years old, so it is not a renovation. It was likewise price at $3 million and did sell at $2,680,000. CLICK HERE FOR PIC. This is a great home in a great location and has been featured in many publications.

I mention the surrounding homes because they reaffirm the value of this location. The house at 627 Southard is classic Key West Greek Revival architecture. The lines are beautiful. The architectural details are not visible from the photos, however.

The listing agent describes the property this way: "Distress sale! Bank says bring all offers. Best location in Old Town! Second floor completely remodeled - top of the line. All new foundation and sills. New central air two zoned central air. First floor ready to be finished. Complete set of plans available, including plans for third floor apartment. This is a potential short sale that may be subject to third party approval." The owner purchased the property in 2005 for $575,000. There is a $1,350,000 loan. I do not know the extent of the renovations and how much it will cost to complete the house. But that figure will surely weigh on any potential purchaser's mind. And the present lender will have to take the costs to make the property habitable into consideration when it evaluates any offers. I think this house is one of those buying opportunities some people dream about.

This property is a major risk-reward situation. The risk is buying in this devalued market and taking on a renovation project. The reward comes when the market bounces back because the house itself has the bones and location to justify the work necessary to revitalize the property. The construction business is way down right now in Key West and I think a well financed homeowner may be able to hire a good contractor at a good price.

My comments are based on suppositions I know. But this is a killer house in a killer location. Somebody will buy it. Time, price, and terms are the variables that will make up this deal. There are current comps a couple blocks east on Southard that could support a substantially lower offering price.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

720 Eisenhower Drive Key West, Fl





720 Eisenhower Drive is not your typical Key West "Conch" house. The architecture is historic, the renovation is totally up to date and on the spot. And the grand residence is one of a kind for Key West or any other world class destination.

This is how the listing agent describes this property: Jefferson B. Brown, Florida Supreme Court Justice, built this mansion on its current site in 1889. Now completely restored, this award-winning 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath masterpiece could be expanded with approved plans for a garage and guest apartment and a third floor living area. Everything in the home is custom built and is controlled by a smart home system including the HDTV projection theatre room. Grand ceiling and door heights reveal historic beauty and design details at every turn. The downstairs master suite opens to the pool area and is complete with an enormous master bath. The lot occupies half of a city block. The pool is surrounded by an extensive lawn with off-street parking. Everything you could imagine and far more.

720 Eisenhower Drive is a 4200 sq. ft home that sits on a huge 12,675 sq ft lot. It is offered at $4,975,000 or $1185 per sq ft. CLICK HERE for more info and lots of pics.

The neighboring properties are quite nice as well. Last year I wrote an item about Paradise Harbor. CLICK HERE for pics and current listing info on the units as they now exist. Scroll down the pages. The properties are looking great and in an "up" market they would be gone. They are waterfront in a town with hardly any waterfront properties. Across the street in the 1500 block of Petronia is another development brand new single family homes. This is what I wrote last year CLICK HERE. Nothing has sold. Yet.

The house next door at 718 Eisenhower is just about as nice. It was on the market and priced at $4.5 million, but it has been withdrawn. CLICK HERE to check it out.

In a good market it would take a while for the right buyer to come along to purchase this property. It would take deep pockets, a love of the historic architecture of the house, a respect for how the house sits on the lot and blends with the surrounding properties, the appreciation for the quality workmanship and materials used in the renovation, and an understanding that what seems like a high price today may in fact be a real bargain in a few years. Markets rise and fall. We are in the depths of a bad market now. But the market will surely rise and a one of a kind house like this will always be appealing to those who appreciate the very best.

If your pocketbook can't afford this property, don't fret. There are lots of very nice homes in all price ranges. CLICK HERE to conduct your own search to find your slice of paradise and then call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com for more info.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I See a new house in your Future in Key West




One of the advantages about growing older is that you can predict the future so much more clearly than younger folk. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I was an attorney and worked in the banking business in the 1970's through the early 1990's. I went through the Colorado crash. So I have real life experience in dealing with a depressed economy and a depressed real estate market.

I worked for the RTC (Resolution Trust Corporation--the federal government agency set up to clean up the savings and loan debacle) and managed problem real estate assets in a variety of locations across the country. So I think my observations about the present real estate situation in Key West may have some merit for those willing to read my thoughts.

The role of the RTC was liquidate the assets of failed S&Ls. The RTC actually facilitated the transfer of wealth from one group (the S&Ls and their subsidiaries and joint ventures) to third parties. In some instances the assets were extremely valuable and were sold for mere pennies on the dollar. The parties that purchased the assets did so at a time when the market was hesitant--just like it is today. They took a risk. But with that risk came the potential for huge reward. And those that bought the assets were rewarded handsomely.

I see the troubled times in Key West as being buying opportunities. Not across the board mind you, because some properties are still woefully overpriced. But there are specific properties in strategic locations that are now offered at prices below there real market value. And buyers who take the risk in this market at this time will be rewarded in the future for their real estate savy a few years from now.

Take this Classic Eyebrow House located at Campbell Courtyard. The street address is 617 Fleming Street. It sits at the back of the property so it is very quite and yet it is so close to everything that second home owners want in an Old Town property. And it has its own parking spot. This property is also a Short Sale meaning the seller is requesting the lender to accept less than par in the payoff of the mortgage against the property. CLICK HERE for more info and photos on this charming cottage at 617 Fleming Street, Old Town, Key West, Fl. It is now offered at $650,000 or $586 per sq ft. The house is two story, 3 bedrooms, two baths, and nicely appointed. There is a beautiful pool and gardens awaiting you.

Want to see this charmer? Give me, Gary Thomas, a call at 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com. This is a buying opportunity.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

709 Windsor Lane Key West, Fl





Yesterday I wrote about Short Sale opportunities priced below $700,000. Well, this is a Big Boy Short Sale and it is a buying opportunity for someone with big ideas and a big budget.

709 Windsor Lane is like an island within the Island of Key West. The street address of 709 Windsor Lane and a small pathway are all that a pedestrian will ever see of this huge property. Access is actually gained off Bakers Lane which is in the middle of the block between Southard Street and Windsor Lane and sits at one of the highest points on Solares Hill right in the heart of Old Town.

This is how the listing Realtor describes the property: "Short Sale!!!Priced Below Mtg Balance!Must move Now! Ideal Old Town location on a Double Lot, just 2 Blocks to Duval and the local grocery...Two Off street parking Spaces available for Purchase off this private lane! Features include: 3BR/2 Bath main home w/gourmet kitchen, separate Whirlpool in master bath, Cabana w/Kitchen and 1/2 Bath, Outdoor Shower, Pool w/built-in Jacuzzi and Decks Galore on every side of this Entertainment Mecca!Separate 1BR/1 BATH Mother-in-Law apt w/Separate Entrance. Home does need some addtl TLC: Tenting and Wood Floor refinishing...All offers subject to Bank Approval.Bring All Offers. See MLS#105978/Adjacent to Property...May do Package Deal...Owner is FL Licensed RE Broker." CLICK HERE to see adjacent property on Baker's Lane. It is not necessary to own both properties, but it would be nice to control such a huge piece of ground.

The house was renovated several years ago and it reflects all that was current then. Meaning it needs to be redone. But this property is huge and it sits on a very large sunny lot in a very good location. The house has 3353 sq ft of living space and sits on a 6285 sq ft lot. It is priced at $1,250,000 or $373 per sq. ft. I haven't been in the house for a couple of years but I recall that it primarily needs cosmetic updating rather than structural repairs. So money spent would be going towards making pretty as opposed to making habitable. There is a big difference. Structural repairs are always more expensive in my opinion.

I see this property as an opportunity for someone with vision and some cash to turn a moderate investment into a significant estate-type property. A smart buyer can leverage himself into a very big property. Emphasis is definitely on smart. CLICK HERE for more details and photos.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, at 305-766-2642 or email me at kw1101v@aol.com for more information.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Short Sales in Key West




Short Sales in Key West. Can you believe it? This is the town where 3 years ago every property seller had the nerve to demand up to $1000 per sq ft for just about every piece of property in this town. It didn't matter where the property was located or its condition. The high price per square foot was imputed because of its being located in Key West.

Times have changed. There is a lot of inventory of homes that are either owned by banks or properties that are somewhere in the foreclosure process. I have assembled a list of properties for those adventurous souls who want to play Let's Make a Deal with the bank.

A Short Sale is a listing where the seller tells prospective buyers that the seller may be willing to sell below the fair market value of the house if the lender will accept less than payment in full of the mortgage held as security for the home and forgive any further indebtedness on the part of the borrower (seller).

Lenders usually are not willing to accept less than payoffs at par, but these are unusual times. Foreclosure rates are high across the country and Florida has an especially high rate of foreclosures in both numbers and percentages of homes being foreclosed. Most of the homes on the click list are in the New Town area of Key West, but there are a couple of Old Town homes included as well. spend some time going over the list. You may find a property that really interests you.

CLICK HERE for a list of Short Sale properties in Key West priced under $700,000. Each house shown in the photos is in the Short Sale pipeline.

If you are considering purchasing a more traditional type home or condo and don't want to play Let's Make a Deal with the bank, CLICK HERE to checkout all Key West mls listings and then give me, Gary Thomas, a call at 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com. I'm no Monty Hall. I won't leave you holding a pair of Jockey Shorts as a consolation prize.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mangrove Mama





So I was driving back from Winn Dixie yesterday around 10:30 AM and got a view of this huge monster in the mangroves by Bay View Park. Since I don't drink, I knew I wasn't
"seeing things".

I went home and got my camera to go back and see if the monster was still there. And heavens to Nessie it was.

New York artist Cameron Gainer's sculpture of the Lochness monster was positioned Saturday near the corner of Eisenhower and North Roosevelt Boulevard. The piece is part of Sculpture Key West 2008.

That's part of why living in Key West is such a blast. You never know what you are gonna see. Ever. Everything is always different. Even the guy in the Jeep is oblivious to the Mangrove Mama.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

627 Elizabeth Street Key West Open House Sunday




OPEN HOUSE Sunday January 20th 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM 627 Elizabeth Street in Old Town Key West.

Classic cigar maker's house in prime Old Town neighborhood that is near completion. Completely renovated with new second floor addition that is the master bedroom and en suite bath that overlooks the new pool and deck.

The house will be approximately 1369 sq ft under a/c when complete and will have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. Everything, I mean everything, is new. The entry and hallway are unlike any you have seen in a similar cigar maker's cottage: the hall is vaulted to the ceiling. The ceiling of the great room is also vaulted so the room feels especially large. The kitchen is at the rear of the house and opens onto the new deck and the pool. CLICK HERE for more info.

The house is offered at $1,375,000. The renovation is expected to be completed in about 60 days. So stop by and take a look-see.

There are lots of homes available in the $500,000 to $1,500,000 price range. CLICK HERE to conduct your own search and if you see one or more that tickle your fancy and want to take a closer look, call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v.aol.com. Who knows you may be able to purchase your home in Paradise for a lot less than you thought was possible. Now is the time to buy in Key West.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Poseidon Adventures in Real Estate



Way back on January 4, 2007 I wrote an item on this blog about Real Estate Cycles. GO HERE to read the item in full. But the gist is that there are a series of "events" that make up a "market cycle" including: euphoria, denial, recognition, panic, hope, and finally capitulation. I think we are in the capitulation phase right now in Key West.

I have often written about the historic sales season for Key West real estate that coincides with the regular tourist season. It has always worked the same way. Sellers list their homes for sale at the start of tourist season in hopes that their property will be exposed to the widest audience of potential buyers during that time frame. Tourist season begins at Christmas and ends at Easter. The Buyers disappear after Easter. Or so it seems. So the sales season is about 120 days long and sellers desirous of getting a deal done must do his best to get it done within that time frame.

This season things are very edgy. It's like The Poseidon Adventure in Real Estate. The world as we know it has turned upside down. We know the path to where we want to go is filled with formidable obstacles and treacherous waters. If we make a mistake we stand a good chance to sink with the ship. And even if we make it through the obstacle course, chances are good that we will have scars and memories that will never go away.

At the bottom of almost every blog entry I provide a link where buyers can search the Key West mls database. Buyers can see the same basic info that Realtors get to see. And see it in real time. What you can't see are the daily entries of new listings, price reductions, contingent sales, pending sales, solds, and expirations. But I can. And the number of Price Reductions that are happening is alarming. There are not just a few. There are a lot--everyday. It's like the sellers are finally coming to the realization that we are near the end of the first month of our sales season and that if they have not been getting any positive action on their property that maybe, perhaps, probably their sales price is too high. "Duh!" to quote Homer Simpson.

Yesterday for example one Broker/Owner reduced the price on four separate over-priced properties the Broker/Owner owned and this time included language that each individual may become a "Short Sale" requiring lender approval (shorthand for loan forgiveness) to get the deal accomplished. I specifically recall showing one of these properties in the early summer of 2005 when it was priced just around $1 million. Today it was reduced to $395,000. And it isn't even worth that much. I think the Broker/Owner has finally capitulated.

Yet there are still Realtors listing properties at prices that are out of touch with reality. You will note that I normally recite the price per square foot when I discuss a particular property. That is so the reader can compare other properties to make an evaluation of the real value of the particular property I am discussing. There are a few properties that are so well located and so perfectly done that they may qualify for an astronomical asking price, but the emphasis is on the word "few".

It will be interesting to see how the asking prices shake out during the next three months. The properties that are selling right now are following the traditional Key West sales pattern for years gone by: high end, very low end, and very well located and well priced Old Town homes. The stuff in the middle just languishes. If the market cycle theory holds true more and more sellers will capitulate and that, in turn, will drive more and more prices downward.

The Key West Association of Realtors is conducting a seminar today on Foreclosures. Imagine that. I managed foreclosures for a two major Denver banks for years. It will be interesting to see how much real world knowledge the lecturer can impart in the discussion. It will be equally interesting to see what kind of crackpot questions some of the Realtors come up with. They always do.

608 Angela Street Key West, Fl




Just Listed: The Philip Burton House at 608 Angela Street in the Heart of Old Town Key West, Florida.

Situated atop the much desired Solares Hill of Old Town sits this elegant single level conch classic has been extensively renovated and enjoys a pool and off street parking. Historically significant, built 1890, and the former residence of Phillip Burton this home welcomes you with a classic wrap porch, 12 ft ceiling heights, restored original windows and Dade County Pine walls and ceilings throughout. A thoughtful floor plan with 3BD/2BA and a fabulous open living area right off the tile pool and spacious patio. Finished in fine materials including Brazilian wood floors & brand new kitchen with stainless steel Viking appliances. Truly a signature Key West property known for its original natural Cypress siding and picket fencing. CLICK HERE for additional photos and more detailed info on this classic property.

The house is offered at $1,650,000 or $974 per sq. ft. The house is 1694 sq ft and sits on a 4118 sq. ft. lot near the top of Solares Hill. Yet it is only a two block walk to Duval Street. Additional info on 608 Angela Street HERE.

If this house is out of your price range, don't fret. There are lots of good properties available in all price ranges. Do your own search of all Key West listings by CLICKING HERE. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

523 Louisa Street Old Town Key West, Fl





Just Listed: 523 Louisa Street, Old Town, Key West, Fl. Heres the deal: Transient License! Great rental history on this cute story and one-half conch house renovated in 2000 with new roof in 2007. First floor contains open living/dining/kitchen with a bedroom and ensuite bath. Upstairs is two bedrooms with adjoining bath between. Small lagoon style, black bottom heated pool added in 2003. Turn-key property. Strong advanced bookings for buyer to start with immediate cash flow. Must see for investors.

The offering price is $1,195,000 or $1106 per sq ft for this 1080 sq ft house that sits literally just a few feet off Upper Duval Street. The property is very well maintained as you can see by viewing the additional photos CLICK HERE.

This property is less than a 5 minute walk to South Beach so your paying guests can go to a real beach without having to rent a bike, drive the car, or take a taxi. Likewise, since it is just off Duval, your guests can easily walk to all that Duval has to offer for dining and nightlife. And they won't get lost. This property is professionally managed and rents for $3200 per week during season (12-25 thru Easter). CLICK HERE to checkout the availability schedule. The numbers speak for themselves on this gem.

CLICK HERE to checkout all current Key West mls listings and then give me, Gary Thomas, a call at 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com to schedule a showing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

630 Eaton Street, Old Town, Key West, Fl--Commercial



Development Opportunity. Four years ago this property would have been sold the first day or so it was on the market because of the Location and Development Opportunity associated with this large property.

630 Eaton Street sits on a lot totaling 7898 sq ft on the corner of Eaton & Elizabeth in heart of Old Town. Just two blocks off Duval St. Main building is 4,750 sq ft wooden structure with 7 residential apartments. There is an additional 237 sq ft building fronting Eaton St. (A studio apartment.) Lot coverage & Floor Area Ratio (FAR) are within current limits for HNC-2 zoning which permits Single, 2 family residential units, churches, hotels, transient lodging, businesses, professional offices, and medical offices.

CLICK HERE for additional photos and more info on this development opportunity. This property has not been on the market since 1984.

CLICK HERE to search all Key West mls properties and then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com for more information or to schedule a showing.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Awesome Describes 1236 Washington St., Key West




One word describes 1236 Washington Street, Key West, Florida: Awesome.

A remarkable renovation in the renowned Casa Marina area featuring all of the requisite assets like: copious off-street parking, large pool, expansive master suite, 2 additional bedrooms with adjacent full bathrooms (and additional outdoor showers), larger than average lot size, immaculate attention to detail in every category. Upon walking through the front door, you are drawn toward a lush outdoor enjoyment area with Brazilian IPE Decking and the heated pool. The kitchen is open to the living area and features granite counter tops, wine cooler, and stainless steel appliances. Everything in this home has been updated and improved. It now has vaulted ceilings in the living room and 10 foot ceilings throughout. This house just feels comfortable, and yet, it is a showplace. I have to add that the photos of this house do not do it justice. Pic link is below.

I really like how all of the rooms open onto the outside--even the bathrooms. CLICK HERE for a pic of the indoor-outdoor shower that is part of the master bath. What an incredible bath. And the master bedroom opens onto a private area of the pool. Imagine going for a moonlight dip just before retiring. The house has a very contemporary Key West feel, but it is not "dated". There are many, many Key West houses that are renovated using the same materials that are "in" or "chic" at a particular moment, and this house avoids the cliche`. The color palette is subdued and will appeal to a wide audience of buyers. This plaza is hot!

The house at 1236 Washington is 1803 sq ft and sits on a 5656 sq ft lot and is priced at $1,649,000 or $915 per sq ft. It is located two blocks east of White Street and two blocks north of Flagler. During normal traffic you can be just about anywhere in Key West within 5 minutes. And the Atlantic Ocean is just a short 6 blocks to the south.

CLICK HERE for more pics and info on this awesome renovation, and then call me,
Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com for more information or to schedule a showing.

Disclaimer

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.