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Friday, October 30, 2009

1019 Flagler Avenue - Casa Marina Area - Key West

1019 Flagler Avenue is now offered for sale at $650,000 or $130 per sq ft. You cannot build a house in Key West that cheap. I'll grant you that it is not the prettiest of houses but that is why God created gay designers and architects. They can turn ugly into sassy with the snap of their fingers.

This is how the listing Realtor describes 1019 Flagler:
"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'm not so sure I would call it "stately" at present. And a retreat it is not. But the place is really big and solidly built. CLICK HERE to view the mls listing sheet and photos.

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. The result is godawful ugly.

This property has a covered off street parking plus a vintage garage. The kidney shaped pool is very attractive but it looks a bit dated. The rear yard needs yanked into the 21st century just like the house. The pool are garden area could be so much more without a huge expenditure of money.

I think the price reduction is a signal that the seller is now ready to sell. The asking price of $650,000 makes this property very competitive. If you are looking for a project house in a good location, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties in Key West, Florida.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

511 Frances Street - Old Town - Key West

Just listed by Preferred Properties (but not by yours truly), 511 Frances Street in Old Town Key West. The front porch is open and inviting. There is a chair on one side and a big swing on the opposite side. The porch provides a great view of the front yard with the white picket fence and the pretty houses that have been updated over the years.

CLICK HERE for an aerial view of 511 Frances Street. You will note it is located on the eastern edge of Old Town Key West. The 500 and 600 blocks of Frances have some of the most expensive and most photographed homes in Key West. The location is still within an easy walking distance to all of the attractions of Old Town but it is far removed from the zaniness. Maybe that it is why this location attracts buyers with money. You will note that 511 Frances Street abuts Carey Lane (one of the prettier little lanes in Old Town). The aerial view also shows the size of the lot which is pretty big for Old Town: 5,062 sq ft or 53' frontage X 97' depth.

This is how the listing Realtor describes 511 Frances Street:
"Built in 1983 is a true replica of a Key West old town home with the luxuries of today located on one of the very best blocks in Old Town. There are three large bedrooms separate from one another with unique style bathrooms, his and hers offices off the living room, and an a separate artist studio off the pool. There is a wonderful serene outdoor covered dining space for those large dinner parties surrounded by lush landscaping and gentle lighting. The interior is Dade County pine with vaulted ceilings and molding throughout. Located two blocks from the Seaport."
511 Frances Street is offered at $1,649,000 or $729 per sq ft. The house house has 2263 sq ft of interior living space. But it is the pool and rear deck where the real Key West style of living occurs. CLICK HERE for more detailed info and photos of this property.

If you would like to see 511 Frances Street, or any other house in Old Town, please call me,Gary Thomas, at 305.766.2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. We are the lower Florida Keys exclusive affiliated of Christie's Great Estates.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

907 Elizabeth Street - Old Town - Key West

Just Listed (but not by me) 907 Elizabeth Street in Old Town Key West. You know the neighborhood. Seven Fish Restaurant is on the corner at Olivia Street (CLICK HERE).
It's an easy to walk to St. Mary's Sar of the Sea Catholic Church CLICK HERE up on the opposite corner on Truman Avenue. Duval Street is two blocks west. The new Old Town Gym is a three block walk east of Elizabeth. The Coffee Mill is a couple of blocks beyond that. The point is the location is really convenient for the second home owner who wants proximity to everything. And here is the best part: this house is listed at $625,000 or $406 per sq ft. CLICK HERE for an aerial perspective of 907 Elizabeth Street. I even noted the location of Seven Fish to help the viewer.

This is how the listing Realtor describes 907 Elizabeth Street:
"Just an easy stroll to Duval Street, this is a lovely Conch House built in 1928 with two bedrooms and two baths, living and dining rooms with high ceilings and a nice eat in kitchen with Viking gas range and new refrigerator. Laundry room, 2 zone central air, a covered rear sitting porch that leads to a bricked patio and loggia with many mature palms and flower beds, and room for a pool."
The 1540 sq ft house sits on a very large lot (3275 sq ft or 25' x 131'). The house has the obligatory white picket fence. But the front has an electric gate that opens onto bricked off street parking CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE for more detailed information on this listing and to view more photos of the inside and outside.

CLICK HERE for a look-back at what this house looked like in 1965. CLICK HERE to see it from a different angle.

If you are looking for a second home in Key West and would like to see 907 Elizabeth Street (or any other house) please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc.

Monday, October 26, 2009

615 Grinnell Street - Old Town - Key West

The very charming house tucked off the beaten path at 615 Grinnell Street (Rear) just got a lot more attractive. I have shown this property several times and I think it is poised for a quick sale. The reduced asking price is now $685,000 or $538 per sq ft. This is how the listing Realtor describes this home:
"Tucked away down a quiet Old Town lane is this lovely, renovated historic home. Three bedrooms plus a loft/office, high ceilings, quality finishes with an open floor plan for comfortable island living. Lush tropical lot, inviting pool and porches make this a Hidden Island Oasis in one of the best neighborhoods of Old Town Key West."
You can't see this house from the street. It is actually located at the tail end of the little lane mentioned above. The house has a wrap around porch on two sides. The pool and deck are on the third side. The north side abuts the adjacent lot. All three "public areas" are very neat and nicely landscaped. The owner recently added a gate to permit off street parking inside of the grounds. The lot is fairly large (approximately 50' x 60').

This is definitely a Key West house. You won't find one like this in the burbs, wherever you are. All of the rooms open to the outside. CLICK HERE to see the view from the kitchen looking toward outdoor dining and the pool. (There is even a small building that is just aching to become a poolside bar.) While none of the rooms are huge, they open onto each other and the vaulted ceilings and multitudes of French doors that open to the outside make the outside feel like it is part of the inside. CLICK HERE to read more detailed information on this listing and view several very good photos and even take a virtual tour. Speaking of tours: Grinnell Street dead ends on the Key West cemetery. You won't be seeing Conch Trains or Trolleys dragging tourists down the Grinnell Street. Most locals avoid it because they can get where they want more quickly. So if you are looking for peace and quiet, this street is one of the better addresses in Old Town.

This is not my listing. But don't let that stop you from calling me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or contact me by e-mail at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Our office is the exclusive Lower Florida Keys affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. It's Fantasy Fest Week in Key West. If you owned 615 Grinnell Street you could walk one block to join the People's Parade CLICK HERE on Friday. On Saturday you and your friends could walk four blocks to join in on the craziness on Duval Street. And on Sunday morning you could walk one half block to 5 Brothers CLICK HERE for a couple of shots of Cuban coffee and some Aspirin.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

639 United Street - Key West Charmer !

I showed 639 United Street last week. I had not been inside for a few years. The last time it was offered for sale it got purchased right away. I sort of remembered how cute it was -- how it meets the needs of a buyer that wants to buy that "Quintessential Key West Cottage" (the personification of idyllic living space in our little town). Well, I just fell all over myself again. This house just about everything a buyer could want - except the location.

I'll discuss the property first and then the location. 639 United Street is a 1350 sq ft main house with guest cottage. There are a total of three bedrooms and three baths. The lot is deceptively large (31' x 118.5') . The front yard is fenced and gated. The front porch belies the truth of this non-traditional shotgun style house. You see the actual entry is made into the living area midway through the house on the west side. The front of the house is where two of the bedrooms and bathrooms are located. The bedroom configurations are therefore larger and more user friendly. (See interior photos.)

The living area (kitchen, dining, and livingroom) open onto the rear of the house and have views of the pool and guest cottage where that third bedroom and bath are located. There is a side gate on the east side of the house that provides access to the rear area for the poolboy or guests staying in the cottage.

The  living room has a big vaulted ceiling that makes the entire space seem larger. The Dade County Pine walls are artistically painted. The kitchen opens onto the living area so the cook is always part of the action. There is an indoor dining area but there is dining space by the pool as well. Oh, and the outside is wired for tunes. The pool gets lots of sunshine but it is also nestled by some tropical foliage so users can get the tan but not get baked if they don't want to. CLICK HERE to see some excellent photos that really showoff each room and living area.

639 United Street is offered at $790,000 or $585 per sq ft. It does not have off street parking. And it is located on what I call a feeder street. United Street is a somewhat busy street during the daytime. At night the traffic is infrequent. There is commercial activity across the street and there is a trailer court a couple doors to the east. But Duval Street is only two blocks to the west and South Beach is only a five minute walk to the south. A week ago I wrote about the property just to the south of the guest cottage (622 Louisa Street). CLICK HERE to see the pool there. 622 Louisa is a little grander, I will grant you that. It's got a better location, I'll grant you that. And it is priced $500,000 higher.

Fantasy Fest started last night. The King and Queen were crowned and town is full of party-goers and some potential buyers. If you are looking to purchase the nearly perfect Key West getaway place, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. We are an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bank Owned - 1318 Duncan Street - Key West

A few years back when the cost of single family residential housing in Old Town Key West got to be nearly prohibitive for all but the super rich, several larger old properties and some former apartments were converted into condominiums. As the market heated up even those units started to get quite expensive. Such was the case of the four unit complex at 1318 Duncan Street. The main house was quite large and got divided quite naturally. The larger downstairs unit (1188 sq ft) became Unit # 1. The upstairs unit is 750 sq ft. It became Unit # 2. Two other cottages in the rear that are located on the south side of the large and sunny pool became Units 3 and 4. (Both units are owned by another person who rents each as long term rentals.)

The real estate market turned south. And the two units in the main house turned Deep South. They are now bank owned and they are unwanted. They have been on the market since July 2009. I have shown them a couple of times. The downstairs is large and inviting. It was offered for sale in 2007 by the former owner for $849,000. That owner used it as a legal long term vacation rental and was quite successful with it. The same former owner tried to sell the upstairs unit in 2007 for $475,000. That owner rented it as a long term rental. The market took a downturn and the bank foreclosed.

CLICK HERE to see the current mls listing info provided by listing Realtor along with current photos of the downstairs unit which is now listed for $260,000. CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE to see what the pool and kitchen looked like when it was marketed for $849,000 IN 2007. (Remember, those two photos are two years old.) It is the same place. It's just another typical bank owned foreclosure-almost.

CLICK HERE to see the listing info on the upstairs unit which is now priced at $195,000.

This is the issue as I understand it: The condo association became defunct after the former owner stopped making condo association payments. The association did not have sufficient funds to pay building insurance and make other necessary payments. The bank owner is left with an asset that cannot be financed by another bank because of the defunct condo association.

I discussed this matter with the listing real estate broker about a month ago. I was told the bank owner would prefer a cash buyer that would take both units and let that buyer deal with the condo association difficulties. I believe the bank owner would sell both assets at a discount to a cash buyer.

The downstairs unit has a large private deck off the dining room and the use of a garage CLICK HERE. The interior needs painted and cleaned. The pool and deck area is quite large and very attractive. In better days this place was a showplace. It can be again.

If you are a cash buyer please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to arrange a showing on these two units. I would recommend that a serious buyer engage a local real estate lawyer to prepare any offer to purchase this particular property.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Let's Celebrate!

People that read my blog are usually looking for a deal. I sometimes think we fail to appreciate how we get to certain points in our life and how the actions of people around us can make our lives richer or worse for wear.

I just concluded another short sale from hell. My buyer made an offer in on a nice Key West cottage last February. Eight months later it closed. I won't bore you with all of the drama in between. But it is over and my buyer got a great deal.

I want to give a shout out of Thanks to Scott Forman of Real Estate of Key West. He was the listing agent. He represented the seller. Scott was always there to help and to do his part. He got exasperated by the foot dragging at the Big Bank far away with a seemingly endless stream of new negotiators that just had the loan re-assigned to them. "Please re-fax the entire file to me and don't call me for two weeks." But Scott hung in and did what he needed to do.

I never met the seller. I'm pretty confident that this experience was pretty painful. It is for so many people. Thank you for being a gentleman.

I also want to give a shout out to Monica Hornyak at Chicago Title in Key West. She's a trooper. She goes through this "change this, do that, get me a new HUD", etc. every day. Her persistence and ability to keep things organized and moving made this one deal get done. She does the same thing every day. Thank you Monica.

My buyer relied on a lender he knew at Bank of America. This guy was terrific. He was organized and efficient. If only he could be cloned! Thank you Mike Black.

And I want to congratulate my buyers. They got a nice house and I think a great deal. I know they were getting edgy because of the time delays. Most buyers do. But I am hopeful their new Key West cottage will become that getaway place they dreamed of owning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shark Key - Bank Owned - Waterfront

Listen up! The very large waterfront (by Key West standards) home at 35 Sea Lore Lane on Shark Key (just up the road from Key West) just got a lot more affordable and a lot more interesting. This property is Bank Owned and the seller is serious about selling. This is how the listing Realtor describes this property:
"BANK OWNED One of a kind Shark Key residence on arguably the most picturesque setting in the community. Enjoy the only home nestled along the waterline of the turquoise swimming lagoon & sandy beach together w/ panoramic views of sunrise & sunset. Strategically situated to take advantage of H2O on 3 sides & privately located at end of culdesac on oversized lot. Elevated single level floor plan takes advantage of views & Gulf breeze through French doors to porches that grace each end of the home. Comfortable living w/ open spaces surrounded in windows, fabulous ceiling heights, convenient kitchen appointments & ensuite baths. Fabulous value for this extraordinary waterfront setting now being offered with a 30ft BOAT SLIP at SUNSET MARINA."
35 Sea Lore Lane was completed in 2009 so it has the latest home features that today's home buyers are looking for. The 3157 sq ft house sits on a huge 21,736 sq ft lot over looking Florida Bay to the east and the Shark Key swimming lagoon to the west. The two story home has four bedrooms and 4 1/2 bahts. CLICK HERE to read more detailed information and view photos of the interior and exterior.

For the uninitiated Shark Key is surrounded by water but it is not navigable. All of that water and no place to go. The bank owner is now offering to include a 30' boat slip at Sunset Marina (that's about a $140,000 value). That sweetens the deal quite a bit. 35 Sea Lore Lane is now offered at the reduced price of $1,699,000 or $538 per sq ft.

If you would like to see this bank owned property 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. in Key West, Florida.

Monday, October 19, 2009

809 Washington Street - Casa Marina Area - Short Sale - Key West

A few months ago I wrote about a short sale at 809 Washington Street. It got some comments after the sale here (and elsewhere) because there were other units priced higher that were also listed for sale. That unit sold for $775,000. It was a short sale.

Preferred Properties (that is where I work) has another unit at 809 Washington Street (Unit #102) that is now offered as a short sale at the asking price of $795,000 or $424 per sq ft for the three story 3 bed 3 1/2 bath 1876 sq ft townhome. This is how the listing Realtor describes this unit:
"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. This townhome comes with one bricked off-street parking space. Close to Duval Street but in a very quiet residential neighborhood. Potential Short Sale may be subject to third party approval. Owner/realtor but not listing agent."
Even though this small development was not completed until 2007 the landscaping is lush and mature. The front is maintained by the homeowners association and it looks really great. 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 private 8' x 13'pool and garden area at the rear. That area is lush with greenery and the pool is so cool and inviting.

There are a couple of other units available in this same development but they are priced higher. If you are considering a town home as an option to a single family residence, CLICK HERE to compare all other three bedroom three bath units priced at $795,000 or less. There are others priced much higher. It pays to compare size, location, and price. I think you will find that 809 Washington #102 offers a lot of value for the asking price. CLICK HERE for more information and photos of 809 Washington #102.

I live in the Casa Marina Area and I love it. Houses in this area are close to the beaches and close to Old Town. Many full time residents live in this area 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. 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.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Don't Be a Cry Baby!

At the bottom of almost every blog post I leave a comment as to how to contact me either by phone or email. I actually do get emails and phone calls from prospective buyers. I respond and we sometimes meet in real life. Most of these potential buyers have a dream of owning a place in Key West (why else would they contact me!). And most of those potential buyers have developed their own perspective of the Key West real estate market.

The Key West Association mls website is open for anyone to use. CLICK HERE. It provides lots of easy to access information on all real estate listings. You might even become so proficient that you might think you don't even need a Realtor to help get the deal done. You would be wrong. Nothing is simple in life or real estate. And cute little Old Town Key West can be very complicated sometimes.

In just about one week the "population" of Key West will nearly double in size. Fantasy Fest will begin and thousands of wanna-be-Key-Westers will make their annual pilgrimage to pretend in paradise. And you can be your very last red nickle that a bunch of them are planning on looking at (and maybe buying) the dream home that eluded them before. Many have made plans to come down here and buy while the prices are low. They plan on waving cash in front of desperate sellers in hopes of snagging a trophy of a house be it big or small.

In the past week I have had two different people contact be about one particular house I wrote about some time back. I sent both the info they requested and we talked on the phone that property in particular. One person had a friend actually look at the house. Then we talked some more. The potential buyer advised a trip is coming up in early November and that he or she would look at the house then. And I said something like "Fantasy Fest is coming up in a week. This house will probably be bought. You need to tie it up now before someone else gets it." I don't try to pressure people, but I do encourage them to be realistic.

There are some incredible deals on really large houses. If you are a million dollar buyer you can get a lot of house for the money these days. There are some good deals on smaller houses. Most of those properties are livable but most would be good candidates for a remodel.

I could be terribly wrong on my prediction that we are going to have a lot of "real" buyers in town during the next two weeks. If I am right the "inventory" of unsold homes will drop dramatically and there will be a lot of cry babies boo-hooing over the fact that they missed the opportunity to buy into their dream.

CLICK HERE to search the real Key West mls website. This is the site owned by the Key West Association of Realtors. If you see a property that you like, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 or by e-mail at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc., an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. We have some great estate properties in case that is what you are looking for. And there are still come very cute little cottages left. Some may need some fixing. Don't wait too long. Don't be a cry baby!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Opportunity Knocks - 1317 Reynolds Street - Key West - Casa Marina Area

The 1203 sq ft ranch located at 1317 Reynolds Street is priced right and it is a good candidate for an extreme home makeover. I showed this house two weeks ago and at first was put off a bit by the knotty pine walls and the dark atmosphere of the place. But as I explored the house more I got it. The "it" is the location and the building. Not the structure as it exists today but rather what it could become after a renovation.

A lot of the charming Key West cottages were probably not quite as charming before they had the interior walls rearranged and pools and gardens added. I tell buyers not to accept existing floor plans because you can make your house what you want on the inside. Of course it costs money to tear down existing walls and to relocate them. But the end result can often turn cramped quarters into deluxe digs.

The lot at 1317 Reynolds street is 46'.25 x 90' or 4162 sq ft. The front yard is presently covered with lots of vegetation and there is a paved off street parking space. The rear has an elevated deck and there is both a hot tub and a fish pond. The rear also has tropical vegetation. I think the ground floor area would permit the expansion of the house either as a ranch or by adding a second story. Perhaps one could even demolish the house and build a fresh new place on the lot.
New construction is usually less expensive than renovation. The house was built in 1948 so it would be necessary to determine whether the house can be demolished.

The house is located across the street from the Reynolds School CLICK HERE. I believe that school is used as kindergarten through grade two. The front of the property is a drop off point for parents taking the tots to school. The house is also less than a five minute walk to Higgs Beach CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE. just four blocks to the south. The location is an easy bike ride to the shops on White Street and Duval Street four blocks to the west.

1317 Reynolds is not a short sale. It is offered at $375,000 or $312 per sq ft. This is how the listing Realtor describes the property:
"Nice Casa Marina CBS home on a good sized lot and located in the X500 flood zone. The house is currently configured with 3 bedrooms and 1 bath, a nice kitchen with wood cabinets and a good floorplan. There's a nice rear yard currently with a spa but if you'd prefer there is room for a pool. Well priced for the area and you could live in it as is or renovate. Off street parking for one car."
CLICK HERE for more details on this house and to view photos of the exterior and interior.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to see 1317 Reynolds, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. I live in the Casa Marina area and I love it. You will too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

815 Eaton Street - Old Town - Key West - Short Sale

The very cute two bedroom Key West cottage located at 815 Eaton Street is offered as a short sale at the asking price of $325,000. The listing Realtor describes the house this way:
"Happy home. Quaint wrap around people watching porches frame this whimsical and romantic gingerbread Conch cottage. Lots of natural light and windows. Lovely Old Town neighborhood between William and Margaret. Relaxing retreat just around the corner from the historic seaport, orange and gold sunsets, tall ships, great food, tasty drinks and lively entertainment. Walk or bike to everything fun and interesting. Duval Street art and culture just a hop, skip and a jump! Excellent location for fun-lovers. Beautiful wood floors, 5 ft side yard, nice sized back yard. Pretty little front yard with a white picket fence. Huge cistern would be a great wine cellar."
The house has 725 sq ft of living space and was updated a couple of years ago. There are nice new floors and the kitchen looks relatively new. The second bedroom probably works better as a place for a child or as an office. It would be difficult to use as a full time bedroom.

The owner advised me that there is room for an 8' x 14' pool at the rear of the property and that the pool could be built to code setback requirements. (CLICK HERE to see what an 8'x 14' pool could look like.) The house needs a little re-working in my opinion (not because it needs fixed but because it could function better as an escape place with pool).

CLICK HERE to see the mls listing information and photos. The listing Realtor (no relation) created a virtual tour that really shows the charm of this little place. CLICK HERE to take the time to take that tour. It is worth it.

This house does not have off street parking but it has just about everything else a second home buyer wants (minus the pool).

This house is offered as a short sale. The listing Realtor told me that the lender has already agreed to the asking price and that a closing may be able to occur within 60 days or so.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment to see this house or if you would like more information, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Casa Louisa - 622 Louisa Street - Key West Charmer

I tell buyers all the time you can never tell what is behind the facade of some of the houses in Key West. Preferred Properties just listed Casa Louisa at 622 Louisa Street, and boy did my remarks ever hold true. Gee Whiz!

622 Louisa Street is located at the upper end of the Duval corridor about 1 1/2 blocks east of Duval and 3 blocks from the Atlantic. So it is close to where vacationers want to be without being right in the mix. And that is the point. The place is quiet and serene and just so relaxing. When you enter the formal entryway CLICK HERE you know this place is "apart" from the typical Conch house. You look to the right and see the great room that is flanked by four sets of French doors that open onto the side and rear decks and pool area. Off to the side is the snazzy kitchen CLICK HERE and adjacent dining alcove CLICK HERE. Both look out toward the black bottom pool and waterfall and the newly constructed guesthouse with en-suite bath.

Off to the left of the front entry is bedroom is the master bedroom with en-suite bath. This space is large and inviting, but cozy at the same time. So many places in Old Town "make do" and end up having small spaces to actually live. Not the case here. The second bedroom is located opposite the entry hall and it also has an en-suite bath. Everything in every room is "done". Correctly.

When I saw the black bottom pool with the waterfall CLICK HERE my jaw dropped. Just awesome. The lot is very large for Old Town. The decks are large and provide ample room for sunning. Imagine that, a place with a large pool with shade and also sunshine. So many places have one or the other. Not this place. Oh, there is also a tented dining pavilion CLICK HERE. There is off street parking and a formal bricked entry path that leads guests to the front door. The places is not ostentatious, but boy is it gracious.

I would really like to show 622 Louisa Street to a buyer that wants the best. This property is used as a long term vacation rental and it generates substantial income during the year. Because of that, advance notice is required and viewing may be somewhat limited. Casa Louisa is offered at $1,299,000. CLICK HERE to view the detailed listing information and see some great photos of the property. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to arrange a showing.

There is just one problem owing a place like Casa Louisa: if you want it to make money you can't use it. You need to share it. This property may be legally rented as a vacation rental for a period of twenty eight days or longer. The advance reservations in place convey with the property.

I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc., an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. Let me help you fulfill your dream of owning a place in Paradise. CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database.

Monday, October 12, 2009

906 Johnson Street - Casa Marina Estate - Short Sale

One of my very favorite homes in Key West just became a short sale. Some buyer is going to own one of the very best houses in all of Key West for a fraction of what it is worth. They don't make houses like this anymore. And you could not duplicate this house if you were to try to build a new one. The cost would be prohibitive.

906 Johnson Street is a 3720 sq ft estate type property situated on a 10,750 sq ft lot located one block from the Atlantic Ocean. You can see the Atlantic Ocean from the master bedroom and master bath on the second floor. The main house has a formal living room with fireplace and an informal family room overlooking the rear terrace. The west wing provides living quarters for staff. There is a separate dining area that overlooks the large pool and outdoor kitchen on the east side of the property. The master bedrooms and master bath have ocean views. These two rooms are just elegant without being prissy. There are two additional bedrooms on this floor-one even has a terrace overlooking the pool below. There is a fully contained guest cottage with living room, bedroom, small kitchen, and bath. Off to the far west you will find another casita or writer's cottage with its own bath.

Entry to 906 Johnson Street is made through a formal gated entrance. Brick pavers encircle the entire property as do gardens filled with towering palms and assorted tropical plants. This place is a gardener's paradise. Every point is different; every point is a delight.

I created a photo album of photos that show the house and its relationship to the neighborhood. CLICK HERE to see those photos.

Preferred Properties is the listing broker on 906 Johnson Street which is now listed at the short sale offering price of $1,769,000 or $476 per square foot. Remember, the bank set the asking price. This is truly a great buying opportunity for a discerning buyer. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

La Casa Roja - 1403 Catherine Street - Historic KeyWest

Just listed by Preferred Properties Coastal Realty (but not by me) La Casa Roja at 1403 Catherine Street in Key West, Florida.

La Casa Roja is the kind of home that you would expect to see featured in Architectural Digest or Coastal Living magazine. It is of that caliber. But you lucky readers get to see it here in my little blog instead, keywestproperties.

CLICK HERE to see the before photo of this historic 992 square front home as it appeared five years ago with its white clapboard siding and chain link fence. If fit right into the neighborhood. But a very creative young architect and his partner bought the house and transformed it into a work of art. CLICK HERE to see the renovated property as it now appears. The six room house consists of the living room, kitchen, guest bedroom, guest bath, and master bedroom with en-suite bath. Other living areas include the outdoor lounge off the master bedroom, the open-air dining alcove near the pool, the bar off the kitchen, and the two story carriage house with upstairs loft. Each room or area is rich in architectural detail and quality construction. There is nothing "undone".

This simple little house is simply just that: a simple little house. But that is an understatement of grand proportion. It is elegant in its simplicity. The new wide oak plank floors were custom milled as were the extra-large crown molding and the extra-wide baseboards. New cedar doors were custom made. The original windows were restored to retain their character.

Doors and floor patterns in the original house were reworked to make the house flow efficiently. The relocated kitchen for example opens onto the hallway adjacent to the living room. The kitchen windows tilt and provide access to the covered outside veranda bar. I would not call this home a "party house", but it was certainly designed for an owner who loves to entertain in style. The kitchen is the heart of this home. And the several social gathering spots flow from or toward the heart of this home.

What was once the kitchen is now the master bedroom with its own private covered porch with hot tub. The master bedroom features two sets of pocketing French doors and screens which allow the room to open up to the back yard. Mirrored pocket doors conceal the generous ten foot long closet. Paneled wainscoting and coffered ceiling add depth and interest to this cozy retreat.

And then there is the two story carriage house. It's the perfect place to house your classic Key West car or the perfect place for your own gym, workshop, or studio. Upstairs there is a secret retreat that is just as simple and just as elegant as the rest of the main house. Some people skimp on things that are barely seen. Here, the barely seen is treated as a treasure for the very few.

I dare the reader to walk around the outside of this property and find something amiss or something not done. Every place you look you see solutions to everyday issues. Here is a "for instance": the front door hurricane panel was turned into a whimsical work of art and greets guests near the cocktail bar.

This is the kind of house a second home buyer should consider because the present owner designed the house and all of its components to standout from the crowd and function properly. It does. Indeed. Some readers may say "I could do that." Perhaps. But most of us see a home like this and admire it with awe. That is why I discerning buyer will seize the opportunity to own a property of this caliber.

La Casa Roja is offered at $1,299,000. If you would like to see this simply elegant property, please call me, Gary Thomas, at 305-766-2642. Some very lucky person is going to buy this little treasure and experience the elegance of living Paradise. Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. is an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

P.S. I have shown this charming home to several buyers that actually purchased a home from me. They ended up hiring the owner-architect of La Casa Roja to design the remodel of their new Key West property. My advice to buyers: save the trouble and hassle of months and months of construction. Buy the real deal now.


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.