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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...."


Anonymous said...

The Captain says:

Oh, Gary, you're good. You don't just sell property, you sell the dream. How many of us here in KW reading this post feel an inner resonance? How many of us in cyberspace just feel like chucking it all, donning some flip-flops and making KW our home? You really struck a chord. Thanks for the post.

Captain out....

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, but how many dreams have been dashed too? Paradise is where you make it and that can be in a sunny climate, a winter retreat, the city, the country, anywhere your hearts desire. Or, as Dorothy said, (and I am paraphrasing here) ...if it isn't in your own backyard....

Anyway, excellent job Gary. You can make Key West sound exciting.

flipper said...

Ya, you hit the nail on the head Captain. I live very far away from Key West and in fact just this past weekend the snow finally disappeared from my front yard. Since my initial visit 7 years ago my dream has been to own a second home in there. Last year I started reading Gary's blog to develop a better understanding of what's happening in the KW market and have found it to be a very informative and honest source of real estate info (thanks partly to the great feedback by you and other readers). But I have just come to realize that Gary does such a great job of communicating the essence of the place that reading the blog helps to keep me feel connected in some small way until I make my next visit, or until the day that I decide to permanently trade my shirt and tie in for shorts and flip flops. Thanks Gary.

Anonymous said...

You know flipper - right now is the best time to get a deal in Key West. Gary does an excellent job making everyone feel that Key West is their dream destination.
No shoes, no shirt, no problems....sounds like Key West is calling me.....

Gary Thomas said...

Thanks for the kind comments.

Somebody liked this place enough to put it under contract. Congrats!



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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.