Search This Blog

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Major Casa Marina Short Sales - Key West Florida

I have written about the two new houses located at 727 and 731 Waddell Avenue in the Casa Marina area on several occasions. The houses were built in 2007. 731 Waddell Avenue is located at the corner of William Street and 727 Waddell Avenue is located next door to the west. Both properties are now each offered at the short sale price of $1,799,000 or $642 per sq ft.

This is how the new listing Realtor describes 731 Waddell Avenue:
"Casa Marina Beauty...circa 2007, this solidly built home features impact windows, hardie plank siding, a custom kitchen, double decks off the front and back, first floor bedroom and bath, and a generous great room to stretch out and relax. The second and third floors all have bedrooms with bathrooms ensuite. Sitting on a large corner lot with plenty of convenient off-street parking, a heated pool and spa with an elegant water feature and a mature landscaping presentation all contribute to this terrific home and the Key West lifestyle. This is a potential short sale and may be subject to 3rd party approval."

Each house is virtually the same except for the floor plans which are flip-flopped. The listing Realtor shows the houses have approximately 2800 sq feet of living space on a 5000 sq ft lot. Five bedrooms and five baths are unheard of in Key West. These are houses that can actually accommodate owners with large families or friends. No more sleeping bags or futons will be required. No more over-crowded bathrooms to endure.

The size of these two homes really set them apart from other new construction in Key West. The physical size and interior living space is bigger than just about any other new property in all of Key West. The lots are large. The interior and outside spaces are well thought out and are user friendly. Each bedroom has its own exterior porch. CLICK HERE for more detailed information on these properties and additional photos.

The beaches are one block away and Duval Street is a five minute walk to the west. I took THIS PHOTO and THIS PHOTO this morning. Both pics were taken one block away from 727 adn 731 Waddell. Theses houses are close to everything but far enough away for you to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Casa Marina area.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or email me at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. We area an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? Will You Spend "It" in Key West?

When I found the photo above of a ship coming into Key West I was reminded of one of my very favorite songs ever, Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?". Of course the lyrics deal with one's desire to spend the rest of his or her life with that special someone. But if you think about the lyrics and add in how to spend the rest of your days, that melody may evoke that yearning that so many returning visitors to Key West have: to spend the rest of their lives in Key West.

We have our problems in Key West. If you follow the politics in any of the Key West newspapers, you know that our politics are always interesting and that some of our politicians even end up on the crime page. We have our bouts with bad weather. But most of the time the weather is just wonderful. When I tell people I actually enjoy the rain, they think I am nuts. But most locals enjoy the occasional bad days. Conch Trains and tourists on motor scooters honking their horns are my biggest annoyance in life. If you live someplace with problems worse than crooked politicians, an occasional rainstorm, or tourists who toot their own horns too often, maybe you should consider buying a place in Key West where you can spend the rest of your life.

I fell in love with Key West on my very first visit. It took me nine years to eventually buy my first place. I regret that it took me so long because each year I wasted trying to get the "best deal" prevented me from achieving my ultimate goal. When you consider how many years you may really have in the "rest of your life", how many thousands of dollars is it worth to you to get to the point where you can make your move here?

When somebody young and famous dies accidentally or because of some disease, I remind myself how fragile life is. When you are gone, you are gone. That is it. You get one shot. If you are religious maybe you get a second shot in heaven. But your shot on earth is over. If you are fortunate enough in life to be able to make choices, where will you spend "All the nickels and the dimes of your days"? Will it be someplace cold up north in a city filled with people, cars, commotion, smog or whatever? Or will it be in little Key West where you can walk from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean in about 30 minutes? Or where you can watch a dog ride a bike or some zany Key West character living his life out loud.

CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors MLS database. If you see a property that interests you, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. Let me help you make "the reasons and the rhymes" of your search to spend the rest of your days in Key West.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

922 Thomas Street - Bahama Village - Key West

The Old House at 922 Thomas Street in Bahama Village needs a new owner. It needs an owner that has vision, some cash, and a good contractor. And, oh yeah, a green thumb would be really useful. CLICK HERE to see the listing info and a couple of listing photos.

922 Thomas Street is a very modest two bedroom one bath house with 821 sq ft of living space. There is some new vinyl siding on the outside and a few windows have been replaced. But not all of the windows match, and though the house is perfectly usable as is, it could be so much more. The property is priced at $350,000 or $426 per sq ft.

Before you start to chime in and saying "Gary you have lost your mind!" consider this: the lot is huge for Old Town (58' frontage X 139' depth), or 8004 sq. ft. CLICK HERE to view a not so good photo that shows the depth of the property. There are two fences. The first fence at the back of the house is covered in green vines. The actual property line extends another 50 or 60 feet beyond that fence to the barely visible fence at the the very rear. The lot is enormous and the property size is where I see potential. There is plenty of room to greatly expand the current house, add a pool, put in some off street parking, gate the driveway and put up a white picket fence in front. But it is that space to the rear that just really intrigues me. There is room for a corn crop for now and hold the ground for future development.

Also you need to consider the neighborhood. I took some photos of the adjacent properties to help you both recognize the location and to see who the actual neighbors will be. Next door to the south CLICK HERE is the Bethel AME Church on the corner of Thomas Street and Truman Avenue. There are two single family houses just west of the church CLICK HERE whose small backyards abut the rear portion of 922 Thomas. They currently have no room for a pool. But someday the owners of those houses may really wnat to have a pool. The property immediately south of 922 Thomas Street CLICK HERE is a smartly remodeled home that is owned by a judge. (Notice the bricked driveway.) There are three additional properties directly across the street that are equally smartly remodeled. CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE, and CLICK HERE to see these properties. Each of these properties are as nice as almost any property you would see in Old Town. At least half of the homes on this block have been nicely redone.

I know there are buyers out there looking for project properties. 922 Thomas Street has a lot of upside potential in my opinion. The house is tenant occupied so we need at least 24 hours notice to schedule a showing. I think this house is definitely worth a look. If you would like to see this house, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty in sunny Key West, Florida.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1115 Georgia Street - Key West - Priced to Sell

The modified eyebrow house at the corner of Catherine and George Streets was just put back on the market after taking a bit of a rest during the price adjustment in Key West housing. The house was listed on and off for a couple of years and was even featured on one of those "help me swell my house TV shows". The "how to guy" is that overly big muscle guy with the shaved head. He painted some rooms, moved some furniture, and re-located the owners' parrot to the rear deck for the final "reveal". None of his tricks worked.

Today 1115 Georgia Street is priced to sell at $599,000. This is NOT a SHORT SALE.)The 1992 sq ft house sits on a corner lot of 3894 sq ft on the eastern edge of Casa Marina near the southern edge of Old Town. The main part of house has 2 bedrooms and baths plus what the listing Realtor calls a third "satellite bedroom/bath" (I'd call it a guest unit). The house has a real nice pool and covered off street parking. All of this is available for only $599,000 or $301 per sq ft. This is how the listing Realtor describes Georgia Street:
"This historic home sports 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. The third bedroom and bath is a satellite bedroom/bath, which is very private and access is up the outdoor spiral stair. Centrally located at the corner of Georgia & Eliza, the entire property is fenced in for your privacy. With a pool, car port and lush landscaping."

Let me tell you why I think this house did not sell before and why it is a good value today. Besides the obvious price difference (previous price was $1,075,000), the biggest detractor may be the neighborhood. There is a church across the street and the White Street shopping area is a block away. So people who go to church are present one day a week or so. Big deal. The church members aren't there partying all hours of the day and night.

Faustos Food Palace(complete with on-site genuine butcher) is a block away as are several coffee shops, a couple of gyms, dog store, tile store, paint store, hand job car wash, a couple of gas stations, and the best chicken in all of Key West at the Quick Mart. Bayview Park CLICK HERE is one block to the north. It has tennis courts, kids playground, an old fashioned bandstand, and lots of grass and trees where you can walk your dog and meet your neighbors. Elementary and middle schools are withing walking distance. Old Town is a quick bike ride and the shopping centers are an easy jaunt. The ocean is a clean shot down White Street about six blocks to the south.

CLICK HERE to see the photos of 1115 Georgia Street provided by the listing Realtor and get some more details on the property. Better yet, please call me, Gary Thomas,305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of this house. It is priced to sell now. Compare it with other houses similarly priced and you will appreciate the value I now see in this house.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shangri-La in the Florida Keys - SOLD

James Hilton created the mystical place called "Shangri-La" in his novel Lost Horizon. That term has become synonymous with paradise; a totally remote utopia isolated form the rest of the world.

Yesterday, Laurie McChesney of Preferred Properties sold Shangri La in the Florida Keys for $3,250,000. CLICK HERE to see the property Laurie described this way:
"Shangri La in the Florida Keys! This secluded Sugarloaf Beach estate sits on five lush acres & offers a private, stunningly beautiful white sand beach. (460' of ocean/beach frontage)The main house combines island style and interior comforts with the natural beauty of the outdoors. The master bedroom & one guest room open to wrap around decks and offer panoramic vistas of the ocean, palm trees and the beach. Soaring ceilings with a dramatic artistic sculpture anchors the living area. This estate offers a relaxing yet elegant island lifestyle. Ancillary buildings include the guest room/office, a double garage and an equipment pavilion all connected by wooden covered walkways. One of a kind!"

If you are hoping to buy your place in Paradise CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors MLS database. There are still some nice homes left for sale but not as many as there used to be. Time waits for nobody, not even in Paradise. If you see a property that you like, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. Preferred Properties is an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Congratulations, Laurie!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Will "History" Repeat Itself ----- 1124 William Street - Key West

1124 William Street just got re-listed for $1,200,000 or $671 per sq ft. It is a new house constructed in 2007 at the corners of Amelia and William Streets just south of the rear of the church grounds of St. Mary's of the Sea Catholic Church and School. I mention the location for starters because it is the location, I think, that is driving the new pricing on this house and the fact that an almost identical house at 929 United Street (listed by Preferred Properties) SOLD on June 15, 2009 for $1,000,000. Will history repeat itself at the 1124 William Street house?

1124 William Street was originally listed at $1,950,000. 929 United Street (a bit larger 1900 sq ft house on a somewhat larger lot) also originally listed at $1,950,000.

The listing Realtor describes 1124 William Street this way:
"This gorgeous home was recently completed in 2007 with no expense spared. The property features High ceilings, detailed crown molding, Brazilian Cherry Wood Flooring, Viking Stainless Steel Appliances, Granite Counter Tops and a Full Laundry Room. The property comes with wrap around porches, great for reading and relaxing in the tropical island breeze and is only steps away from Duval Street."

I suggest you CLICK HERE to see photos and get specific details on 1124 William Street. Now compare, CLICK HERE the specific details and photos of 929 United Street).

929 United Street is history. The buyer got a terrific bargain in my opinion. It is the same basic house as 1124 William Street with those same uber-expensive tiles, light fixtures, Viking appliances, and other amenities that so many buyers want. All of the bedrooms in each house have individual private porches or balconies and private baths. Both houses were built on corner lots and have similar outdoor landscaping features including the white picket fences, lush landscaping, sprinkler systems, outdoor lighting, and beautiful pools. Both are challenged a bit by their location. United Street is busy in the daytime and is near a school. 1124 William Street on the other hand is on a real quite street but the view from the house is of an ugly six foot CBS fence that encases the St. Mary's parking lot and school playground. CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE to see.

If you would like to see 1124 William Street please contact me,Gary Thomas, 305-76-2642 or e-mail me at to schedule a visit.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

3632 Sunrise Drive - Key West, Florida

I moved to Key West a couple of days before Christmas in 1993. I had been here many times on vacation but usually hung out around familiar Old Town locations. I got invited a party at a fancy Casa Marina estate on my first visit, but that was my one and only foray outside of Old Town. A few days after Christmas I made my first visit to one of the homes on the Riviera Canal. The house was on the Old Island Restoration Foundation annual Christmas House Tour. I had to use a map to find the place. I got there and was absolutely amazed.

Today's blog is not about that house. Instead, I want to share information on 3632 Sunrise Drive which the listing Realtor describes thus:
"Prime Riviera Canal location with sensational views of the protected mangroves. Privacy and location features a poolside cabana and wet bar, 15' X 30 heated pool, privately situated hot tub with canal views surrounded by beautiful palms and gardens. The 4 bedrooms and 3 baths include a guest bedroom and bath and a second story master bedroom with views of the canal a large walk in closet and beautiful bath. Kitchen with walk in pantry and loads of storage with access to the outdoor covered bar b que area. Tile and wood floors throughout, 3 zones of central air, covered car port, two gated driveways, glorious gardens all around with bronze landscape lighting and an 8 zone irrigation system. Driving by won't do."

CLICK HERE to read more details, see lots of photos, and see where 3632 Sunrise Drive is located on the hot-linked map. If you do a Google Map search, you will see that the land across the Riviera Canal is mangroves. That means there are no nosy neighbors to annoy you. And there never will be. The mangroves are protected. CLICK HERE to see the Riviera Canal as it flows behind 3632 Sunrise Drive to the right. CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE to see what the mangroves and wildlife that inhabit the mangroves may look like. CLICK HERE to see how one nearby Riviera Canal owner spent this morning. Those mangrove views at sunset are what amazed me the first time I saw them. And they do the same thing each time I see them.

3632 Sunrise Drive is a 2448 sq ft ranch with 4 beds and 3 baths situated on a 9794 sq ft lot (97.5'[canal frontage] x 100.48'). The house is priced at $1,395,000 or $570 per sq ft. The new price is a reduction from the previous $1,575,000.

If you like 3632 Sunrise Drive you might also want to checkout the house right next door at 3700 Sunrise Lane. CLICK HERE to see the $2.3 million house next door.

CLICK HERE to see the home that local architect Matthew Stratton of Bender & Associates designed and that was recently featured in Architectural Digest magazine. The point of looking at the this house is to appreciate that all three houses have that same priceless mangrove view, are located less than 500 feet apart, but that 3632 Sunrise is offered at a more affordable price point.

If you want a nice house with a place for your boat in Key West, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of 2532 Sunrise Drive or 3700 Sunrise Lane. They are priced just a little under a million dollars apart, but they are located next door to each other. And remember the view is the same as that big house in Architectural Digest.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

809 Sawyer Alley - Old Town - Key West

I learned something new this morning. I have been mistakenly calling 809 Sawyer Alley "809 Sawyer Lane". I checked the Monroe County Property Appraiser's website CLICK HERE to find out the details on this house and that is when I learned the correct name. There is no street sign to advise what the name is.

The Property Appraiser's records show the house sits on a nice 50' x 53'(2650 sq ft)lot. The three bedroom three bath house has 1650 sq ft of living space on two floors and was built in 1919.

The listing Realtor describes 809 Sawyer Alley (Lane) this way:
"Historic Key West home located on quiet lane just steps from the Historic Seaport. This 3 bedroom, 3 bath home features include Dade Pine walls, hardwood floors, fireplace, pool and an upstairs balcony with treetop views. Walking distance to all Key West attractions and restaurants. Great vacation home with large monthly rental income potential."

I have shown this lovely home many times over the years and it is one of my favorite Key West houses. The asking price was recently reduced to $995,000 or $692 per sq ft. The asking price is less than the owner paid, but this is not a short sale. But I do think the price is a signal that the owner is ready to sell it. CLICK HERE to see more details and photos of this house.

The house is located at the foot of the Historic Key West Seaport in an area filled with unique homes built by ship chandlers or craftsman. Those houses were built to last and they did. Some of the houses are big and boastful. Others are meek and unpretentious. They exist sometimes side by side. CLICK HERE to see the simple cottage on the corner of William Street where Sawyer Alley is located. That cottage is next door to 809 Sawyer Alley which appears to the rear of the photo. (The listing Realtor told me the owner is a little old lady who has lived in the cottage for years. That cottage is her castle today and will be somebody else's dream cottage in the future.)

The house has a required white picket fence and it even has a bricked driveway. The front porch is most inviting, as is the one of a kind front door with round window. Inside the house your eyes are drawn to the right where the really functional fireplace is located. And just beyond is the stairway to the second floor bedrooms.
At the back of the living area is a doorway to the downstairs bedroom with en suite bath. Off to the left is the Florida room with French doors that open onto the bricked deck and large swimming pool. Back inside is the kitchen that looks to have been updated in the mid 1990's. It works and looks fine. It is the one thing a new owner might want to fuss with. But "fuss" is the operative word because it works fine as it is. The present owner has maintained this house very well.

There is an exterior spiral stairway to the second floor deck and interior "landing". There are two bedrooms (each with bath) on that floor. The views of the historic neighborhood are just great.

The pool is totally private. And there is even a private outdoor shower. That is a "must" in Key West.

This house does not have a transient rental license. But a new owner could rent it as a vacation rental on a monthly basis. It has what just about every returning seasonal renter wants: quiet, location, cleanliness, a beautiful pool, off street parking, and charm for days. Never underestimate the value of charm. Why come to Key West to stay in a the equivalent of a cardboard box when you can stay in a house the oozes charm.

CLICK HERE to see some photos I took of the exterior of the house and the neighboring properties. 808 Sawyer Alley or Lane is so quiet and unassuming you can't find it without a map or a Realtor like me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Snap! Thud! Ouch ! ! !

"You can only not fall before you run off the edge of the cliff, not after."

A sale of the large home at 44 Floral Avenue in the Key Haven section of Key West was posted in our mls late yesterday afternoon. CLICK HERE to see the 3650 square foot, three story house with four bedrooms, five baths, two car garage, pool, tiki hut waterfront home that SOLD at $890,000 or $245 per sq ft. The public records show that the seller purchased the house in January 2005 for $1,800,000.

As of today there have only been four single family homes sales in Key Haven since January first. CLICK HERE to see what sold and at what price.

I don't know the particulars of the sale at 44 Floral, and it really doesn't matter, because that sale is only illustrative of what I have been telling my buyers which is that houses are listed for sale for one reason: to get sold. Some sellers are highly motivated (like many short sellers) and others just need to sell like folks getting divorced or a personal representative settling an estate.

There are still some wacko sellers out there. Sellers with huge edifice complexes. They are typically people who did a lot of creative things to their properties, spent a lot of money on designer kitchens with Viking or Subzero appliances, ultra expensive glass tiles, imported light fixtures, travertine floors, Ipe decks, of whatever. They think their design sense justifies a price per square foot far in excess of what similar houses in the same area have actually sold for. They will not accept the fact that a new lender will not loan new money on a house that will not appraise for a ridiculous amount no matter how chic the kitchen or master bedroom and master bath look. I am not saying or inferring that all houses priced at a high dollar per square foot are over-priced. A lot of the best homes in Key West are priced very high on a per square foot basis because they are truly unique, have a superior location, and were superbly built or renovated.

I always loved watching Road Runner cartoons. I always hoped against hope that Wile E. Coyote would smarten up and not get done in by the smarter Road Runner. But Wile E. never got it. He never learned his lesson. He always broke the cardinal rule "You can only not fall before you run off the edge of the cliff, not after."

If you are looking for a second home or a new primary residence in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. You can also contact me via e-mail at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc in Key West, Florida. I'll do my best to keep you from falling off the cliff.

Monday, July 13, 2009

1717 Atlantic Boulevard - Key West, Florida

Do you want to buy a nice house near the ocean that has a big yard, a big pool, lots of outdoor space, three bedrooms, a covered outdoor living area, a new kitchen and that is affordably priced? The listing Realtor at Preferred Properties describes 1717 Atlantic Boulevard this way:
"This home is Key Wests living at it's best with fantastic outdoor living surrounded by a Privacy fence. In the back there is a massive yard and large pool complete with 2 covered Lanai areas and lush tropical landscaping. The interior of the home has been renovated to reflect the style of the mid-century modern era. Open living/dinning area off a new large kitchen. Master and second bedroom have french doors opening to the pool with outstanding bathrooms. 3rd bedroom is more forward and very private. You are just two blocks from one of Key Wests best beaches and within walking distance of the children's park and the Dog park. Two minutes from the famous Duval Street."

CLICK HERE for more details and to view several photos of 1717 Atlantic Blvd. which is offered at $599,000 or $489 per sq ft. The house has 1224 sq ft of air conditioned interior living space. The covered lanais greatly expand the perceived living areas be cause they are so well done. And that pool is just killer. The entire property is enclosed so the grounds are very private. But the house is within an easy walk of either Smathers Beach to the east (about three blocks) or the Higgs Beaches to the west (about six blocks). The three shopping centers are less than five minutes by car as is the world famous and now painfully dull Key West International Airport.

I created a quick list of other three bedroom single family homes with a pool under priced $600,000. I think comparison shopping is a good thing. CLICK HERE to shop and compare. I have shown several of the comparison properties. I would advise any smart shopped to look beyond price and how dazzling the pool may look. I suggest that you checkout square footage (under air), outdoor living space, and try to determine how recent any improvements to the house may have been made. And if you are thinking of snickering at Atlantic Blvd also consider the location of the houses on the comparison list. If one of the properties interests you, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or email me at

Friday, July 10, 2009

1019 Flagler Avenue - The Big House - Key West

The listing Realtor describes 1019 Flagler Avenue this way:
"This large 3bd/3ba house is situated on 2 lots totaling 9100 sq. ft. The home has multiple entrances which allows this property a wide variety of uses. Corporate retreat, large family home or a very stately single family residence. Each bedroom has its own bath and the living room and kitchen open onto a very large covered lanai which overlooks the very private pool and back yard. There is off-street covered parking and a detached garage. There is also a commercial rental (Doctor's office)downstairs for additional income."

I have shown this property to several potential buyers. I think this property would make a wonderful renovation project for someone that wants a really large house on a very large lot in the Casa Marina area that has the potential of becoming an estate type of property. Here is my take on this house.

The Monroe County Property Appraiser shows this house as having 3256 sq ft of living space (this is in conflict with the mls listing) and sits on a 9160 sq ft lot (90.25' frontage X 101.5' depth). Records show the house was built in 1938. The house was originally built of Indian Block, a man made material used in several of the larger Key West houses. There is a newer addition to the front where it appears the original first and second floor porches were enclosed with concrete blocks and 1960's or 1970's era windows and door were installed. There is also an addition on the east side with a "disco" bedroom and bath. The Florida room on the ground level has iron bars on the sliding glass doors that open on three sides. All of the windows are shuttered. The downstairs front portion of the house is now used as a doctor's office. The second floor space includes a sitting room, bedroom, large bath, nanny suite, and an office.

This house is the kind of place where the buyer could rip out the interior and rebuild from the exterior walls inward. Designers and architects do this all the time in Old Town where cute but cramped cottages are converted into comfortable living spaces.

The Monroe County Library (Historical Department) does not have any historic photos of 1019 Flagler that show what the property looked like before the porches were encased in concrete. The Indian Blocks are no longer visible on the west side of the house, but it is visible on the east side. That makes me think a new owner might have wide latitude in developing a design plan for this property. One plan might be to re-interpret the house with Indian Block and retro fit front porches on the main and second floors giving the house a traditional look. Or perhaps one could use the existing CBS stuccoed facade CLICK HERE and create a contemporary structure that would also fit into this eclectic neighborhood. HARC will definitely have a say in whatever design gets approved, but I can't see how they could dictate one style over another given what has happened to this house already. That is just my opinion, however.

The listing Realtor only has a couple of photos of the pool area. CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE. The courtyard has brick pavers and mature landscaping. There is even a 1930's vintage garage CLICK HERE at the rear corner of the property. The pool and landscaping are beautiful, but dated. There is a flagstone barbeque for example. That's a relic of the fabulous fifties. CLICK HERE to see the details submitted by the listing Realtor as well as other photos of this property.

Our office recently sold the house across the street at 1028 Flagler Avenue. CLICK HERE. It is in the process of a getting a major face lift. The sales price before face lift was $1,637,500. I understand the face lift is going to take over a year to accomplish. A very well known Key West architect lives in the houses immediately to the west of 1019 Flagler Avenue. CLICK HERE. A famous writer lives across the street on the corner. CLICK HERE.

1019 Flagler Avenue is located just a couple of blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. There are neighborhood stores about six blocks away. The Casa Marina Resort is two blocks to the west. Old Town is an easy bike ride. The Key West International Airport (I just love that name) is five minutes away. The area is quite at night. And like all of Key West, it is clean and safe.

1019 Flagler Avenue is offered at $899,000. It has been listed for sale for 582 days. If you are looking for a renovation project and would like to see this property, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. I live in this neighborhood and I love it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

726-728 United Street - Bank Owned - Key West

BANK OWNED! Sometimes good properties get foreclosed on because the owner does not have the time or money to complete a project. The owner gets caught behind the proverbial eight ball. A foreclosure gets started and the owner can't raise enough money to complete the job. A potentially good project becomes a bank owned reo asset. It happens all the time.

In a rising market like we had in Key West a few years ago, renovation projects were working because there was a continual flood of people that wanted to buy a second home or a condo in Key West. So many properties were purchased during that time that a lot of "work force housing" disappeared. The business model was simple: buy an old dump, fix it up to maximize monthly cash flow, and then flip it.

726-728 United Street is located on the edge of Old Town Key West, a couple of blocks east of Duval Street. It is located immediately next door to AT&T's Key West service yard complete with building and parking lot CLICK HERE. There's a trailer court across the street CLICK HERE. There is a burned out house next door CLICK HERE to the east. You could say this property is challenged. A bit.

The listing Realtor describes 726-728 United Street this way: "The four units are located in three buildings and feature bamboo and travertine floors with a shared pool and hot tub.1-2/2 and 3-1/1's. Call for a private showing. *BOA Pre-qualification must accompany all offers or proof of funds if cash." BOA means Bank of America. CLICK HERE for the detailed info supplied by listing Realtor.

But wait! Read this description of the same property last year before it was foreclosed: "Extensive renovations have been done with new kitchens, travertine and bamboo floors. Added bonus' are the pool and hot tub. All the units are in great shape. 1-2/2 and 3-1/1's. Upstairs and downstairs apartments at 726 pay $1350 each per month. Rear cottage at 728 pays $1450 per month. Front apartment at 728 pays $2100 per month on a short term rental basis. Exterior may need some finishing touches to your taste. The commercial use next door is a positive... most of the time it is quiet."

726-728 United Street is now listed for sale at $535,000 or $210 per sq ft. (That price is down from the original asking price of $625,000 when it was listed in December 2008.) The three buildings have a total of 2547 sq ft of mostly remodeled living space. The buildings sit on a large 5,0000 sq ft lot. The tenants are gone. So a new owner can start doing whatever repairs and upgrades he or she deems necessary. It's going to require more than a coat of paint and the installation of some cabinets. Somebody removed fixtures, air conditioning equipment, electric panels, etc.

Do me a favor. Put on your thinking cap and imagine the property with the downstairs front porch restored. Install shutters on the windows. Redo the entrance next door and sprinkle it with some fairy dust. Install brick pavers in the driveway (I assume that space is a driveway) and put up a white picket fence. Mend the fence on the west side of the property and clean up the swimming pool CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE. Use your imagination to envision the potential of this four unit compound.

If you are looking to buy a small investment property like 726-728 United Street, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

1800 Atlantic Condominiums - Key West Florida

There are a total of 14 units available for purchase at 1800 Atlantic Condominiums in Key West. The aerial photo above together with the photos of the pool and gardens ought to entice you to consider this oceanfront resort type property as a potential second home purchase. In addition to that fabulous Olympic sized pool and spa are the beach, three private tennis courts, garage parking, on sight property management, and 24 hour security. 1800 Atlantic is close to the Key West International Airport, Smathers Beach, and three shopping centers. It is quick jot down to Duval Street and all the craziness.

Smathers Beach is located about 60 seconds west of 1800 Atlantic. CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE, and CLICK HERE to see why it is so popular. At Smathers you and your friends can play volleyball, participate in all kinds of water sports, or just work on that killer tan.

CLICK HERE to checkout the two (only two remain) SHORT SALE units. However, there are 12 other units still available. CLICK HERE to view the remaining 12units. It is really important to read the listing Realtors comments. Many of these units have TRANSIENT RENTAL LICENSES which means you can rent the unit on a daily basis, everyday, for 365 days per year. Some units may be rented as VACATION RENTALS which is different. The City of Key West allows owners to rent a unit one time per month for up to days to one vacationer. The renter can stay one day, one week, or all month. But the unit can only be rented one time during that month. So having a Transient Rental License might make your rental of a unit more profitable than having a unit that only permits use as a vacation rental.

There are three other important factors to note. Each factor may influence pricing and value. (1) Location. Look at the aerial photo again. Note that the road to and from the airport (Bertha Street a/k/a South Roosevelt Blvd.) runs adjacent to Building "C". Most units that front Bertha Street are priced a little less expensively than other locations. Units that have the best views are usually priced higher. Units on the top floor have vaulted ceilings so they may seem larger. (2) Remodeled. Some units are "virgin" and look the same today as when they were built over 20 years ago. Others have been remodeled. Some have been tastefully redone. And some less so. (3) Transient License. The existence of a Transient License does not in itself me you will make money right away. Some units have dormant licenses that the owners maintain to preserve the license, but have not used. If you want to make money, you need to consider buying a unit that has a rental history. Please note that most units are 1357 sq feet in size. However, a few units are larger. So compare size, because size matters in real estate just as it does in real life.

Only two units have actually sold and closed at 1800 Atlantic as of today. CLICK HERE to see those units. But there are three units under contract right now. The number of available units is pretty large. There may be some sellers getting a little anxious to sell what with the dog days of summer and potential storms heading this way.

If you are thinking of buying a second home in Key West and want to have it help pay for itself, please consider using me, Gary Thomas, to be your Realtor. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties in Key West. You can reach me at 305-766-2642 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

917 Southard Street - Old Town - Key West

Potential home buyers in Key West fantasize about what their lives in Key West will be like once they move here. Some buyers have big dreams of owning a grand old home in Old Town. Others are satisfied with owning a cute little Conch Cottage on a quiet little lane. Some buyers may dream about the ocean for fishing, diving, swimming, or tanning on the beach. Some buyers may relish in the thought of no more sidewalks to shovel,icestorms to cope with, or horrendous heating bills. Others look forward to being able to live outdoors just about every day of the year. Some buyers even dream of avoiding confiscatory state income taxes. (We don't have them either.)

The listing Realtor describes 917 Southard Street this way:
"Old Town living at its best! This is a charming 3/3 that has been recently updated and renovated with new kitchen with granite and stainless GE appliances, Dade County pine and heart pine flooring, tankless hot water and much more. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the first floor with living room and a wonderful kitchen set off from the pool area. Upstairs there is a third bathroom and a large great room that's built for entertaining as well as two lofts that serve as bedroom/study. The great room leads to a large private rooftop garden overlooking the pool and a delightful porch overlooking the street. Great location just a few blocks from downtown."

CLICK HERE to get more detailed info on the house and to view ten photos of the inside and outside of this property.

917 Southard Street has 2339 sq ft of living space on two levels. It sits on a 2340 sq ft lot. So many of the nice Old Town houses have only two bedrooms but charm to spare. This house has three bedrooms, three baths, a beautiful pool, great roof top rear deck and that essential Key West front porch.The house does not have off street parking. This house was priced at $1,675,000 when it was first listed for sale in December 2005. The market overall has changed a lot since that time. The property is now offered at $1,050,000 or $406 per sq ft.

Mangia Mangia Restaurant is on the corner to the west. Michael's Steak House is around the corner. Five Brothers Sandwich Shop is a half block to the east at Grinnell Street. The Historic Key West Seaport is a five minute walk to the north and Duval Street is a five minute walk. The big old eyebrow house located at 906 Southard Street CLICK HERE(a larger house - 2224 sq ft - on a much larger lot and with higher end finishes) sold last week for $1,420,000 or $638 per sq ft.

Stop dreaming. Start doing. Somebody is going to buy this house. It could be you. You could be spending next winter with your feet on the second floor front porch and watching the tourists ride past your new home. You can listen to them say something like "I want to own a place like that someday." Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or contact me by e-mail at

Monday, July 6, 2009

1124 Eaton Street - Old Town - Key West - Bank Owned

Say all the bad things you want about Eaton Street being a bad location. I can hear the chorus getting ready to sing. Throw in that 1124 Eaton Street is BANK OWNED and is about as much "undone" as it is "done", and you have a really bad deal. Except all of those negatives are already priced into the asking price of 1124 Eaton Street. It is offered at only $156,420 or $121 per sq ft.

1124 Eaton Street is located one house to the west of the corners of White and Eaton Streets. That has got to be one of the busiest streets on our little island. Traffic does die down at night, but it is busy during the daytime. The house is located across the street from The Restaurant Store. CLICK HERE to see a view looking out of the second floor window.

Somebody started to do some nice renovations. The kitchen has been roughed in. There is a laundry room without any appliances. The living room has what appears to be new floors (as does the kitchen). There is even a powder room on the main level. Upstairs you need to avoid the hole in the floor. I'm not kidding. It is dangerous. But it can be fixed. There are two bedrooms-one at the front and one at the rear. And set in between the two bedrooms is a master bath that was really nicely done. The toilet and sinks are missing. I don't know if someone removed them or if they never got installed. But those are not big ticket items in either case.

The room sizes actually work. The house is bigger on the inside than it appears from the outside. Or so it seemed to me. I have no idea as to the condition of the plumbing, electrical, or anything else except I can say without equivocation the house needs tented. Termites have worked their way around this house over many years. The place needs HARC approved windows and door installed. The outside needs scraped, cleaned, and a new coat of paint applied. The roof should probably be replaced and with HARC's approval, the ugly lean-to carport replaced with something a little more suitable. I would add birkc pavers and some landscaping and re do the front porch. CLICK HERE to see what I think 1124 Eaton Street could look like.

CLICK HERE to see the detailed info an photos supplied by the listing Realtor. I think this house will be under contract later today. So if you are looking to buy a Key West fixer at a good price, don't scratch your head an analyze this to death. A property like this is either something you can do yourself and are willing to live with or it isn't. The location will never change, but you can improve the house.

If you are seriously interested in making an offer on this property, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642.


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.


Free Counter

Key West

Key West
You could be here!

Blog Archive

Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

My photo
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.