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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Class Warfare - Key West

Class. As an adjective it means "of high quality, integrity, status, or style". I assume we all know class when we see it. I know that I usually prefer to spend more money to get a higher quality product rather than buying a cheaper product that may be of inferior quality,construction, or design. Objectivity gets skewed in favor of higher price. But then I try to find the highest quality product at the cheapest price and so that I can feel like I made money on the transaction.

I have written before about the great difficulty in comparing real estate in Key West based simply on price per square foot, yet I seem to mention that fact in almost every blog entry I write. Price is but one (very!) important element in evaluating real estate--especially in Key West. Other important elements are location, quality of construction, design, and livability. I am a firm believer that if you are looking to buy a house in Key West you must consider each of those elements. If the location sucks you better get the house for a really good price. If the house is in a good location and you can buy it cheaply, you may be able to remodel it and make it worth your while if you are willing to live through a couple of years of contractor hell.

A couple of months ago I wrote about the dramatic price reduction on the houses at The Meadows. Technically, the property is described as a condominium because each property shares in the common area maintenance, exterior building maintenance, building insurance, and pool maintenance. But each building is a free standing structure with one "party wall" which is only a second floor rear bedroom on either unit. Other than that, the properties are totally separate. The three bedroom units were reduced in price from a high of $1,795,000 and the two bedroom units were reduced from a high of $1,895,000.

CLICK HERE to checkout the single family houses, condos, and townhomes in Old Town and The Meadows area priced between $950,000 to $1,075,000. This price range is not entry level housing in most places in the U.S. but it is in the mid-range for second home buyers in Key West. I did not include houses south of Truman because I don't consider that area Old Town. And the fact is most second home buyers want to be in Old Town. (Many don't realize there are other very nice areas, but that's fodder for another blog.)

It is not appropriate for me to make negative comments about specific listings. But you can compare the prices, locations, architectural features and amenities between the properties and decide for yourself which properties appeal to your sense of class, style, value, or whatever.

I have shown about one half of the houses listed above. Some are listings of our office. If you are looking for an Class A property, I urge you to checkout the houses at 1509 Pine Street (CLICK HERE) & 1513 Pine Street (CLICK HERE) and 1502 Petronia Street (CLICK HERE) & 1506 Petronia Street (CLICK HERE)--The Meadows. I think these four houses kill the competition on quality of construction and amenities. I realize that some buyers will view the distance from Duval Street as a detriment. Well, that's why God created bikes, cabs, and feet. It's a 12 to 15 minute walk to Duval. If you plan on living your life on Duval, you should look for a place much closer.

But if you compare The Meadows houses to the nearby competition that is priced much higher, such as 719 Eisenhower (CLICK HERE) (across the street from 1506 Petronia) you will get an appreciation for the huge price difference. Granted Eishenhower is larger and has a boat slip, but it also costs and extra $1,350,000. Extra!!! Two other units cost more and one cost less. Also CLICK HERE to see the major Key West house directly across from 1502 and 1506 Petronia. It was listed for sale in 2008 for $4,975,000. Those houses would be your neighbors for sales comparison in years to come.

If you are in Key West or are coming soon and you are looking for a second home in the one million dollar price range, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at to schedule a showing of not only the houses at The Meadows but also some of the similarly priced houses listed above. Let the Class Warfare begin.

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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.