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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The End is Near!

The End is Near! At least it is for the small eyebrow house at 405 Frances Street in Old Town Key West. No, the house is not going to be torn down, but after months of being on the market, a contract has been signed and the owners and buyers await the closing on the transaction. CLICK HERE to see the particulars on this old house.

The house on Frances Street is quite similar to many other Old Town homes that have been lived in by generations of Key West residents. A few houses in similar condition are still available for purchase. And you might be surprised to read that there are buyers looking to purchase old relics like Frances Street. All of the Old Town houses are in the Key West Historic District so the rules of the Key West Historical Architectural Review Commission ("HARC")will apply. CLICK HERE to read and download the HARC Rules. If you are thinking of buying any house in Old Town, you really need to know the general intent of the rules.

Some of the more valuable houses in Key West once looked something like 405 Frances Street to some extent. When I show old houses to prospective buyers I suggest that they forget about the often cramped interiors and take a different approach. I suggest that buyers look at buying the house as a box with no inside walls. Let the designer or architect rebuild the house utilizing the existing exterior walls and maybe add an addition to the rear or side, HARC permission required. Existing walls go away and new functional living spaces emerge. The look from the street hides the new functionality at the rear.

People who buy old houses in Key West are basically buying a look, a lot, and a location. If the buyer is lucky, the buyer gets a nice looking old house, a decent sized lot, and a suitable location. We all know certain locations suck. We know certain lots are tiny. And certain houses are just plain ugly. 405 Frances is cute and has a great location, but the lot is tiny. So the buyer gets two of three. That's not bad.

I created a list of active houses in Old Town that I think might make for good renovation projects. Some of these properties have been on the market for a long time. Some may not be in good condition--the kind where a buyer would feel comfortable moving right in and sleeping and eating. Some may still seem to be priced very high given their condition. I would simply suggest that buyers take a look at the house CLICK HERE for a late addition: 630 Elizabeth Street just went back on the market. It is bank owned and it would make a great remodel project.

CLICK HERE to see the houses that I think might make for good renovation projects. It is my subject opinion. The only caveat I would add is not to let the asking price dissuade you from considering the individual properties. I think deals can still be made in this tight market. Some of the houses listed have very inflated asking prices in my opinion. The sellers either are living in La-La Land or they are just waiting to get an offer and think they will negotiate.

If you are one of the many buyers who has postponed making an offer on a second home in Key West and continue to hold to the belief that prices will continue to drop, I would simply urge you not to wait too long. The end of the down market is near. The supply of houses is drying up. The supply of houses in Old Town is really drying up.

More on the current market tomorrow. If you see something you like, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc, an affiliate of Christies Great Estates.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

715 Ashe - Old Town - Key West

Potential Dream Home in a quiet Old Town Location awaits a buyer. 715 Ashe Street is located one block west of White Street between Olivia Street to the south and Southard Street to the north. I give you the location because a lot of locals don't even know where Ashe Street is located. So how in the world can Conch Train drivers and moped riders ever find it. It's the next best thing to living on a slow lane in key West.

715 Ashe Street is a two bedroom, two bath home with a total of 1222 sq ft of living space that sits on a good sized 3055 sq ft lot. The interior has Dade County Pine walls and ceilings. Some of the walls have beaver board, an early variation on drywall. The walls I saw are in very good condition. The floors have been tiled and are also in good condition. The house seems level and several of the support piers have been replaced. There is even a new roof as of May first (or so). The owner has taken good care of this house. If I were buying the house, I would get permission from HARC to replace the jalousie windows with HARC approved windows that would make this little gem shine. The front porch needs some restoration to make it look like the other story book homes in the area. And there is plenty of room for a nice sized pool in the back. My advice: spend a few bucks and buy a cute house at a great price before all the deals are gone for good.

715 Ashe Street is offered at $549,000 or $449 per sq ft.

CLICK HERE to read how the listing Realtor describes this property and see more photos and information on 715 Ashe Street. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a showing of this home. It is tenant occupied, so 24 hour advance notice to view the home is required.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stressed to Excess in Key West

One of the things living in Key West has taught me is to be more patient and not to let little things upset me so much. Following Conch Trains continues to stress me, however. I take evasive action any time I think I'll have to follow one more than a block or so. Getting stuck in a traffic jam in Key West (translated: sitting at a stop light for a couple of minutes) stresses me. People that are not handicapped that have handicapped windshield emblems and that park in handicapped parking stress me big time. And people and businesses that put up signs to prohibit the public from parking in the public right of way don't' just stress me: they p*ss me off.

Conch Trains bring business to our town. Not to me and not to most of the people who live here. But they are good for Key West. So I tolerate them. And try to avoid them.

Traffic jams here are not like they are up north in America in places like New York City, or Los Angeles, or Atlanta. I was in Atlanta a couple of months ago. It took us 45 minutes on a Saturday night to drive six blocks. We were on a six lane (one direction) road. I'd be nuts if I had to live through that every day. How do you readers cope with that?

There is a local Key West resident that drives a big rugged truck that exudes his "manhood" to no end. He has one of those handicapped parking permit that he hangs on his windshield mirror when he pulls into a handicapped parking space. I watched him do this one day. He got out of his big rig and strutted someplace in the small shopping center. He is no more handicapped than I am. I don't know the guy personally so this isn't a me vs. him issue. There is a real handicapped person that uses that same handicapped parking space regularly. His van is outfitted with a special lift that helps him get out of his van in his wheelchair. The guy with the big rig took the real handicapped person's parking spot.

There are a lot of older people in the Old Town area that have handicapped parking signs placed in front of their homes. I get it. I understand parking is tight in Old Town. But the streets are public. Giving certain people special treatment isn't right unless they really are handicapped. And being old is not a handicap.

Finally, I have to criticize property owners that put up signs or erect barriers that keep the public from parking on the public streets and right of ways. The photos above show a sign placed in the public right of way next to a Casa Marina area town home warning potential parkers not to park there. The neighbor across the street has grass planted in his public right of way, and he erected metal poles to prevent the public from parking on the right of way.

There is a new deli on Truman that just put up signs inside the deli and on the side of the building that state "CUSTOMER PARKING ONLY UNAUTHORIZED VEHICLES WILL BE TOWED AWAY AT VEHICLE OWNER'S EXPENSE". And in smaller letters at the bottom there is a spot for the police department phone number. The signs look like something the city would put up. That's the point I guess. Put up something to prevent someone from doing something that they have a legal right to do.

I guess in the scheme of things if this is all I have to worry me, I've got it pretty easy. If I had to move back up north I don't think I could handle it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Big Bad George

I'm not going after the former President!

Last week I urged my readers to quit their jobs, move to Key West, and become an "I used to be" by purchasing a great little property at 811 Fleming Street (CLICK HERE). That property went under contract on Wednesday, so you are outta luck on that one.

But, fear not, there is another opportunity awaiting some sharpie with an athletic background, or a resauranteur, or maybe just someone with a good business acumen. I'm talking about the new listing at 19269 Bad George Road on Sugarloaf Key. CLICK HERE. This is a Preferred Properties listing.

The listing agent describes this property thus: "Great opportunity to have your own Restaurant, Sports, and Leisure Club with large pool and hot tub on a private 2 acre lot complete with 3 clay court tennis courts. 150 seat Restaurant and Bar for SRX license capability. Also, two residential apartments with a renewable transient license. Many improvements have been made including 2-zone A/C in restaurant. This property is only 15 miles away from Key West!"

The restaurant includes both inside and outside dining and a separate sports bar area and poolside service. Many improvements have been made including two zone air conditioner in the restaurant and the enlargement of the kitchen with a $25,000 hood.

Many people that work in Key West live in the Sugarloaf Key area. It is 15 miles from Key West. Sugarloaf is also the location of many second homes for people that live up north in America. Not everyone wants to get in the car and drive to Key West every morning to go to the gym or play tennis. And not everyone that lives up there has a pool, although most live on canals or have water views. It looks to me like there is a captive audience of locals in the Sugarloaf area that would use a facility like this.

If you are thinking of relocating to the Keys and want to have something to do, you owe it to yourself to take a look at this property. To see this property please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Together We Have It All

Style. Grace. Warmth. Whimsy. Charm. Together they add up to quite a package when you are talking about a person or a house. Of course if you are talking about a person being at the right place at the right time is pretty important. And if you are referring to a house, location is most important! Don't we know it.

The new listing at 1108 Fleming Street has just about everything a discerning buyer could want. This is how the listing Realtor describes 1108 Fleming Street: "Beautifully appointed historic home on one of the most prestigious streets in Old Town Key West. Three bedroom conch house with guest cottage, inviting pool and off street parking. Open floor plan with high ceilings, french doors overlooking lush tropical yard. Large master suite with office area, family room with vaulted ceilings and bright, airy rooms. Deep lot goes through to Curry Lane with off street parking accessible from the lane. The quintessential Key West hideaway for the discerning buyer."

The last time this property was on the market it sold within a few days of being available. Times are more difficult today than they were then. But this old house is better and more cheerful than it was then. The house is bright and cheerful from front to back and bottom to top. Every room is different, but the entire place flows evenly and with purpose. The great room at the rear of the main house invites you out to the pool. The guest cottage at the rear invites you to come in and get cozy. You know you are in an old house. But everything inside is new so you are not fearful that something will break and cannot be fixed.

1108 Fleming Street is located at the far end of Fleming Street. It's a good six or seven minute walk to Duval Street and about the same time to get to the Historic Seaport. There are two convenience stores down on White Street and a couple of nifty restaurants within two blocks. Curry Lane runs behind the house and that is where the off street parking place is located.

The master suite is located on the second floor. There is a little sitting room or office outside the bedroom. There is a small set of French doors that separate the two areas. A little tag is affixed to the door handle. It reads: "We may not have it all together. But, together we have it all." This house has it all together in spades. What a perfect little Key West home. Style, grace, warmth, whimsy, charm, and location. (And off street parking!) 1108 Fleming Street is offered at $1,295,000 or $807 per sq ft. This is a really neat house. I don't think it will last long, even in this difficult market. CLICK HERE to read more info on this house and see more photos.

CLICK the following tags to see individual photos of the house: Kitchen, Guest Cottage Bedroom, Guest Cottage Exterior, Master Bedroom, Master Bath, Office off the Master Bedroom, Stairway.

1108 Fleming Street has Style,Grace,Warmth,Whimsy, Charm, and Location.If you want to have it all, please call me, Gary Thomas,305.766.2642, to schedule a showing. Town is very busy right now. Sales results for this month ought to be pretty encouraging.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

726 Fleming Street - Old Town - Key West - Transient License

There is a new listing at 726 Fleming Street in the very heart of Old Town Key West that may interest you second home buyers that want a place you can rent to help pay part of the cost to buy the place. The listing agent, who is not located in Key West, and so far has not complied with our listing requirements and supplied any photos of the property, says this about the property: "LOCATED IN THE HEART OF KEY WEST!! THIS 2 BEDROOM, 2 BATHROOM BUNGALOW WITH HIGH CEILINGS HAS ONE OF THE FEW TRANSIENT RENTAL LICENSES!! DO NOT MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO OWN THIS SPECIAL PROPERTY. NO NEED TO HAVE A CAR, WALK TO EVERYTHING! PRICED TO SELL." CLICK HERE to see all of the agent supplied information.

726 Fleming Street is located one house to the east of Love Lane. Love Lane is situated east of the Monroe County Library at the corner of Elizabeth and Fleming Streets. William Street is just about 125 feet east of the property. If you are familiar with those landmarks, you have a pretty good idea of the location. If you remember the house that was the subject of the This Old House renovation a few years back, 726 Fleming is right across the street to the south.

According to the listing agent, 726 Fleming Street is 792 sq. ft and sits on 1743 sq ft. lot. The asking price is $595,000 or $751 per sq ft. I have not been inside, but the house looks tidy from the street. You cannot beat the location. And the existence of a transient license which permits the owner to rent the property just like a hotel room for 365 days per year is a genuine bonus.

Please call me to see if this property meets your needs in a second home in Key West. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 to schedule a showing. I took some potential buyers past the house yesterday afternoon and there were people looking at that time even though there is no for sale sign on the property or photos in the mls.
This property probably will not last the week.So you better move quickly.

Friday, April 17, 2009

6 Havana Lane Old Town Key West - Short Sale

This week the Obama Administration opened the door to travel to Havana just a bit. I'm thinking it's going to open pretty wide fairly soon. I think such a move will be positive for both Americans and Cubans. The exchange of commerce and ideas doesn't hurt anybody. Key West already has a brisk tourist trade by ferry from Ft. Myers. I assume there will probably be a similar Key West-Havana connection not to far into the future. But I have a better idea: buy a vacation retreat at 6 Havana Lane in Old Town Key West. Forget the 90 miles to Cuba bit. It's less than a 9 minute walk to Duval Street where you are still (technically) in the United States, most people here speak English (except at the Winn Dixie checkout register), and the American dollar is still accepted.

This is how the listing Realtor describes 6 Havana Lane in Old Town Key West: "This Conch style home in the heart of Old Town Key West has been beautifully renovated from top to bottom. Step behind the front door into a private oasis complete with a heated swimming pool and three - yes that's correct - three off street parking spaces. Immaculate home with Central air conditioning, updated kitchen, and three bedrooms. The third bedroom is located on the second floor with its own private bath making this the ideal guest suite. French doors on the first floor in the kitchen and living room open to covered porches leading to the private courtyard. All just steps from world famous Duval Street, shopping and restaurants."

6 Havana Lane is located in the southeast part of Old Town near the corners of Truman Avenue and White Street--just about 1/1 block to the west. It's near Truman but not on Truman. If you blink when you are driving on Truman, you'll miss the turn. That means few tourists will be riding down the street and certainly you'll never see a Conch Train.

The county records show that this two building property only has 1021 sq ft of living space and that there are 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The lot is 2915 sq ft per the tax roll.

6 Havana Lane was recently converted to a Short Sale. The asking price was reduced from $869,000 to $699,000 or $685 per sq ft.

If you are looking for a Key West retreat and are among those that feel now is the time to buy before prices start to go back up, you may want to take a look at this property. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 to schedule a showing.

Oh, if you think the price is too high, consider this: another realtor listed 1020 Southard Street a couple of days ago. It was listed for sale at $1,975,000 or $670 per sq ft. It is now under contract. In less than 3 days.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Quit Your Job, Move to Key West, and Become an "I Used to Be"

I sometimes tell people that I used to an attorney. Sometimes I tell them I used to do commercial loan workouts for banks. And sometimes I tell them I used to work for the Resolution Trust Corporation - the former government agency that got us through the last financial crisis. Last week the owner of my gym, Sam, and I were talking about some locals and he referred to them as "I used to Be's." "What?" I asked. He said just about everybody that moves to Key West "used to be" something more important where they came from. They came to Key West to live their lives and took up jobs that were either more fun, more fulfilling, or maybe jobs that just kept them busy so they could live life in Key West. Like death and taxes, living life in Key West beats the alternative.

After I moved here I met all kinds of people that had exciting former lives up north in America. If you have been thinking of moving to Key West and can't figure out how to do it, the little deli at 811 Fleming Street may be your ticket to life in Key West. 811 Fleming Street is a commercial property downstairs that has a lovely second floor owner's apartment. The lot is 23.75' wide and 100' deep. I think there is room for a pool behind the property. That's another issue for another day.

This is how the listing Realtor describes this property: "Fantastic Opportunity to own a commercial property and a money making business with a fabulous second story apartment in a great location. Flexible zoning allows for many uses while the property is situated in one of the best neighborhoods the island has to offer. The property has undergone many recent upgrades, including a full renovation of the one bedroom and one bathroom apartment. Parcel offers a deep lot and generous backyard to be used in conjunction with a commercial or residential use. Takeover and expand the existing convenience store/deli, Flora and Flipp, or bring your own ideas to the table!"

CLICK HERE to read more detailed information on this 1372 sq ft two story building located on a 2323 sq ft lot right smack dab in the middle of guest house row in Old Town Key West. Located on just this block are Equator Resort, Oasis Guest House, Curry House, Coconut Grove Guest House, and Coral Tree Inn. CLICK HERE to read about why one writer calls this block "the gayest street America". I've stayed in the guest houses there. And there are numerous other guest houses within a three block radius. Before moving to Key West I stayed at the Oasis several times and remember going to the deli to buy sandwiches so I could run back to the pool and get my take-home tan.

I am a firm believer in the theory of relativity when it comes to the denizens of guest house row: the place relatively close to the guest house is more likely to get their business than the place further away. Why walk a mile when you can walk a block and get exactly what you want. There is a captive audience in that location.

If you are thinking of running away to Paradise and want to look for a place to live and or work, please think of using me as your Realtor. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. I left reality 15 years ago, moved to Key West, and I have never regretted it. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642, or e-mail me at You, too, can tell your friends "I used to be...."

Monday, April 13, 2009

730 Fleming Street- Old Town - Key West

If you read my blog regularly you know I'm really fond of William Street and Fleming Street. Well, the house at 730 Fleming Street CLICK HERE sits at the axis of both streets. So it enjoys a really great Old Town location just right for being close to everything. The front porch is also a great site to sit and watch the world go by. CLICK HERE to see a photo of the house from the 1970's. Hasn't changed. That's the beauty of old houses in Key West.

The property at 730 Fleming Street is currently listed for sale at the asking price of $1,050,000 or $500 per sq ft. The listing Realtor describes the property this way: "On the corner of Fleming and William Streets in the Heart of Old Town. Two homes totaling five bedrooms and three baths. The main house has four bedrooms and two baths, wood floors and walls, central a/c and a great room overlooking the beautiful gardens with room for a pool. The guest cottage has one bedroom and one bath plus a loft and its own private patio area. Off-street parking. Plans for renovation are available from one of Key West's award winning architects." There is a total of 2100 sq ft of living space on a 5112 (76' x 67') lot. You can't beat that location or the simple charm of this classic property.

I did a quick sampling of houses on Fleming Street and this house is the least expensive on a price per sq ft basis.

If you are thinking of buying a second home and like the Old Town area, please give me, Gary Thomas, a call at 305-766-2642. Let's take a look at this old house and see if it works for you. Add a pool and you may have the home of your dreams.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Really Big - Short Sale - Key West

There is a really big short sale at 1418 Leon Street in the eastern section of the Casa Marina area of Key West. For the reader unfamiliar with the area, this house is located just north of Flagler Avenue and just east of White Street. It is a very short distance to the beaches to the south, Old Town to the north and west, and the shopping centers and airport to the east.

This is how the listing Realtor describes 1418 Leon Street: "Elegant & Luxurious Architect's Dream Home in the quiet and exclusive Casa Marina East neighborhood of Key West. Designed by award- winning, nationally acclaimed architect Michael Miller. Top quality finishes including American cherry wood floors, custom moldings, and dramatic marble floored entry. High ceilings, designer kitchen, bright and open floor plan flows to large Lanai with lush tropical gardens, large flagstone terrace and an inviting heated pool with waterfall. Private guest cottage and second floor bonus room add to privacy and comfort. Off-street parking for 2 vehicles. Widows walk with tree-top view and romantic sunsets. An Exquisite Property Showcasing the Best of Island Living. Short sale subject to lender approval."

This home is listed at the asking price of $1,995,000 or $663 per sq ft for the 3007 sq ft house. It sits on a large 6334 sq ft lot. (The property was originally listed for $3.6 million.) CLICK HERE to read more detailed information on this listing and view some great photos that show the features of this remarkable property.

I realize (sadly) that there are not a lot of buyers for a house in this price range. But for those of you that can swing a deal like this: listen up. The lender on this property is local. I expect that the local lender would be able to respond to a serious offer promptly and without all that fuss and delay we have heard so much about.

This property really is a big deal. If you are in the market for a great Key West property is a very comfortable location and you have the cash to make a significant purchase, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing. This is not my listing, but I know how to get you in the door. If you are looking for a place in Key West, but maybe not as large a place as this, CLICK HERE to search the real Key West Association of Realtors mls database. No one will call you and no one will track your whereabouts on the Internet. If you see something you like, send me an email at and let me know if I can help you buy a place in Paradise.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

809 Washington Street #101 - Casa Marina Area - Short Sale

Unlike a lot of short sale properties where the buyer and seller have to play this guessing game of whether the lender will or will not accept a short sale "offer", the lender on the new three story town home at 809 Washington Street #101 CLICK HERE in the Casa Marina area of Key West has already approved the short sale of $899,000.

This property is a listing of Preferred Properties (but not my listing and I have no "inside information" that I am disclosing or withholding. The listing agent describes this property this way: "Bank approved price! Perfectly situated in the heart of the Casa Marina district is this truly beautiful 3-story townhome. Cathedral ceilings and custom-cut Carlisle Lumber pine floors welcome you to this quality home perfect for year round living. Bright & open great room, gourmet kitchen with stainless Viking appliances & granite counters, spacious bedrooms with en-suite marble baths and private balconies. Fenced for privacy, this elegant townhome boasts a private bricked patio with native tropical landscaping, relaxing heated pool & a rear entrance. This townhome comes with one deeded, bricked off-street parking space. Close to Duval Street but in a very quiet residential neighborhood. Potential Short Sale subject to Lender approval."

809 Washington Street #101 is listed at $899,000 or $479 per sq. ft for this 1876 sq ft property. The lot is 1900 sq.ft. The front is maintained by the homeowners assocaiton and it looks really great. The trees and shrubs are already green and lush. Like so many Key West houses, this place is built with the indoor and outdoor living areas in mind. The interior living area looks out to the pool and garden area at the rear. That area is lush with greenery and the pool is so cool and inviting.

I recently showed this unit. As I stood in the Viking equipped kitchen and looked out to the pool, I did some mental gymnastics and compared this property with other high end condo and town home developments constructed during the boom days. I still love The Meadows, but not a unit there has sold. The Santa Maria is sleek but you are basically buying a motel room for the hotel operator to generate lots of income (in my opinion). The Steam Plant isn't finished yet so we'll have to wait to see how it fares. The Sea Isle Townhomes are now being rented as luxury vacation rentals and none of the six that were built has sold.

There are three other units for sale in this same development and they are offered at slightly higher prices: 807 Washington #103 CLICK HERE is offered at $1,800,000; 809 Washington #103 CLICK HERE is offered at $1,675,000; 811 Washington #103 CLICK HERE is offered at $1,650,000. The sizes vary a little on these units, but not by much. That is why I think 809 Washington Street Unit 103 may be a good deal for a buyer looking for a good amount of new space in a quiet Casa Marina area location.

I live in the area and I love it. Houses in this area are close to the beaches and close to Old Town. (See the vintage aerial photo above taken in 1920 to see how close to the beaches all of the area is. The little cluster oh buildings at the upper right of the photo is where 809 Washington is located today.) Real people with real lives live here whereas much of Old Town is not owner occupied. Most of the houses in the area are priced over a million dollars so the prospect for long term appreciation on your investment in the Casa Marina area home will likely prove successful in years to come. The streets are wide and parking is not an issue. You can get to the airport or out to Searstown or the Winn Dixie in about 6 or 7 minutes. Most of the commercial activity in the Casa Marina area is limited to White Street and runs only three blocks south of Truman. We've got a sweet little ocean front restaurant called Salute on the beach where you can wine and dine al fresco while you watch the sunset.

If you would like to see any of the townhomes listed above, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I'd be pleased to show you around my neck of the woods. Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. is the exclusive lower Florida Keys affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Going Up?

If you are among the potential buyers who have learned to search the real Key West Association of Realtors mls website (CLICK HERE), you may have noticed that a few properties have recently had price increases. That is not a typo. Price increases.

Take 623 Fleming Street as a case in point. I wrote about 623 Fleming in January when it was just listed for sale at the then asking price of $895,000. Everything I said about it then still holds true. Except the price. Now it is priced at $975,000 or $554 per square foot. And since I'm incredibly lazy, I'm just going to copy and paste what I wrote then.

"It had to happen. The "For Sale By Owner" attempt did not work. The house located at 623 Fleming Street was offered for sale by the owner for the better part of last year. The house won the Debbie Award in 2004 for Rehabilitation (Tom Pope was the architect). I showed it several times during the year. I like the house and the location a lot. It does not have off street parking. It does not have a pool, but the owner told me he had HARC approved plans (which may have expired) that would permit a small pool. Nothing in Key West is assured unless it is in writing! And then it may be negotiable.

Here is how the new listing Realtor describes this Key West property: 'Great Old Town location! Renovated two bedroom and two and one half bath Conch house. Loaded with coveted Dade Co. pine and also featuring many modern details such as a beautiful kitchen with granite counter tops, crown molding and a central vacuum. Awarded the HARC Excellence Award in 2000. The exterior features the quintessential front porch, a side yard, and decked back yard.'

The house has a really attractive street presence. There is a big grand old dame of a house located just next door to the east that is currently on the market. CLICK HERE to see the house next door to the east at 426 Elizabeth Street offered at $2,195,000. Next door the the west is The Campbell Courtyard Condominiums. This property was developed in the early 1990s and is a mix of renovation and new construction. The Ambrosia Guest House is located directly across the street. And The Marquesa Hotel is located at the corner of Fleming and Simonton Streets. I mention the neighbors to help the reader appreciate the prime location.

The house at 623 Fleming Street now offered at $975,000. The house is a 2 bedroom 2 bath with a generous 1760 sq ft of living space -- all in good condition and very livable. It sits on a nicely landscaped lot of 2060 sq ft lot in a prime location. It has just about every bell and whistle most second home buyers want (except the off street parking and pool)."

CLICK HERE for more info and photos of 623 Fleming Street. If you like what you see and want to see it in person, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or contact me by e-mail at Better think seriously about buying now before everybody gets into the act and start to raise prices!

Last week I commented about a particular person with a real estate license that actually increased the asking price on a short sale property. Well, a few more short sale properties have had the asking prices increased as well. And there have been regular houses in good areas that have had price increases. Not many, but enough to take note. 623 Fleming Street is a real sweet house.There are only a few such well located sweet houses available. As the market on such properties decreases through sales, it is logical to expect prices to increase. If you think prices will continue to stay low, think again.

Monday, April 6, 2009

1322 Thompson Street - Mid Town - Key West

This is how the listing Realtor describes 1322 Thompson Street: "Captivating Key West home is the result of collaboration between designer & artist Debra Yates, renowned landscape architect Raymond Jungles & the current owners. The outdoor space is perfection with a spectacular pool with mosaic mural waterfall, large dining pavilion & meandering paths through the exotic tropical gardens. The interior has a style of simple elegance with cool white walls, travertine marble floors & an abundance of windows & pocketing glass doors. The 2 bedroom 2 bath main house has an open living space and a large master suite that opens to its own private porch and adjoining sundeck. The separate guest cottage is bright and consists of a bedroom & bath. Enter the gate of this private oasis and you may never want to leave."

Let me add this: it is better than that! CLICK HERE for more detailed info and lots of photos of the property.

I've shown 1322 Thompson Street twice in the past three weeks. It is one of those places that just knocks you over when you enter the property. I was stunned by the pool and gardens. And I fell in love with the simplicity of the design of the interior spaces. The living and dining areas flow into the kitchen which is a step down. That step breaks the visual continuity into two separate yet contiguous spaces.
The sliding glass doors in the living room open onto the pool area and that makes outside seem to be a part of the inside.

The master bed and bath is just killer. Oh, WoW! The bath picks up on the mosaic by the pool and elevates the shower to an art statement. Unbelievable. Your friends are going to want to come and shower with you when they see this space. (That could be a good thing or very scarry, depending on your friends.) The bedroom again is very simple. The covered outside lounge just off the bedroom looks more like Bali than Mid Town Key West. What a pad! There is a separate garden on the master bedroom side of the house.

The guest cottage is located near the master suite at the back of the garden on the south side of the house at the rear of the private garden on the master suit

The asking price on 1322 Thompson Street is just $875,000 or $564 per sq ft for this 1552 sq ft home that sits on a large 5610 sq ft corner lot. Let me add that sometimes people from up north fail to understand the value of landscaping.

A yard designed and installed by Raymond Jungles is normally out of the price range for most buyers. So to be able to purchase a house with a yard he designed for himself ought to make a serious buyer really take note. The gardens are lush with specimen plantings and trees. The plants and trees are mature and beautiful.

This place is really pretty. The super chic modern interiors may not work for those with a yen for an Old Town Conch House. But if you are open to new ideas and want a really beautiful place to call your home in Key West, please call me,Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642. Let me show you this truly remarkable property.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Good News on the Home Front - Key West

Kudos to two fellow Realtors - Doug Mayberry and Bob Cardenas. Doug listed the big manse at 708 Eaton Street (next door to the former Calvin Klein House) for $2,675,000 and Bob produced the buyer that purchased the house on Friday for $2.4 million. CLICK HERE to see what the fuss is all about. Congratulations to both of you.

I used to own and live at 511 Eaton Street when it was known as Eaton Lodge. I sold it in 1995 but I know what the street sounds like during the day and at night. My place was about 125 feet east of Duval so I got to hear the noise from there as well.

I must admit that some days the noise can get annoying. Not all day. Tourists on motor scooters honking their horns for no reason at all. Or Choppers with no tail pipes making as much noise as they possibly can-on purpose so that you'll look at the old dude's hog. But that awful racket can be heard on side streets like William just as well.

But most of the time, and especially in the dog days of summer, the traffic is intermittent and not bothersome.

Some of the finest homes in Key West were built on Eaton Street and they were owned by some of the town's richest folk. (That's still the case today.) The sale of 708 Eaton Street is a re-affirmation of the staying power and value of grand old homes in the Old Town area of Key West (it sold for $724 per square foot and it is a big house - 3316 sq ft in fact). There are some nice big old houses still left on Eaton Street and several not so expensive places as well. CLICK HERE to see what you can buy on Eaton Street.

If you are looking to find a place in Key West please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 or e-mail me at Don't wait too long to buy at historic low prices. Local banks are lending on single family home purchases.


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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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.