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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cigar Maker Cottages Galore - Key West

I've told this story before: I tried to buy a guest house in Key West for several years and was never able to get the deal I wanted. I always tried to lawyer the deal to protect myself and also to get the very best possible deal. I failed time and again because sellers in Key West will not make warranties about old houses and the improvements they may have made (legally or illegally) over the years. In good times sellers want more and more money. In bad times sellers want as much money as they can possibly get. So I wasn't all that successful as a buyer back then.

In late 1989 or 1990 I came to the conclusion that it might make more sense to simply buy one of those cute little cigar maker's cottage (Conch house) I had seen that was priced around $100,000 way back in 1987. My Realtor (Mitzi) told me "They are all gone Gary" or words to that effect. My heart sank again. My stupidity and greed had again prevented me from getting any deal--not just the best deal.

I eventually got a terrific property at bargain price, but it was with the advice of my Realtor, Mitzi, and my determination not to be stupid any longer. It was a big and beautiful guest house in a great location. I was able to leave the snow and cold of Colorado and move to Key West.

Key West is peppered with cigar maker's cottages in all areas of Old Town, Bahama Village, and The Meadows. There are a few cottages in the Casa Marina and Mid Town areas as well. Many of the original structures are gone, and most of the surviving structures have been renovated in some form. I created a sampling of such houses that may appeal to second home buyers. CLICK on Any Address to see the house at that location. 622 Southard Street,525 Louisa Street, 814 Simonton Street, 711 Elizabeth Street, 712 Southard Street, 610 Olivia Street, and 412 Louisa Street.

Please note that although the houses look quite alike, each is different is size, location, land size, and degree and quality of renovation. Some are "cherry" and others are just average. I did not include all cigar maker's cottages because not all interest me.

If you are in Key West or are traveling here in the near future, you need to go by new Gato Village Pocket Park behind First State Bank on Simonton Street. A group of residents is constructing a replica facade of a historic cigar maker's cottage. The facade will be the same as a small frame house that stood in that location from 1897 until 1945. Local contractor Bruce Neff (pictured above) and his wife, Patricia Madiedo (descendant of the owner of the original cottage at that location) are constructing the facade together with the assistance of various individuals and businesses in Key West.

If you a looking to purchase a home in Key West and think that a cigar maker's cottage might meet your needs, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to arrange a showing. Don't let this current buying opportunity pass you by.

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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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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.