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Sunday, August 30, 2009

50 Seaside South Court -Key West - Bank Owned - Luxury Water View






50 Seaside South Court is something a little different for a Bank Owned home. The four story luxury townhome is located at the eastern end of the Island of Key West and has direct water views. And here is the feature that sets it apart from most other properties in Key West: it has never been lived in.

The listing Realtor describes 50 Seaside Court South this way:
"This 4 level luxury townhome has never been lived in. Features include; 2 car garage, 6 balconies, sun roof, elevator, laundry room and ocean views. Kitchen has granite countertops and brand new stainless steel appliances. Key West Seaside Residence offers plenty parking, 2 large swimming pools, a fitness center and clubhouse."

CLICK HERE to read details posted by the listing Realtor and view photos in the mls. But let me add a few thoughts of my own regarding Seaside as a place to live and offer some suggestions about this unit in particular.

This property has 2736 sq ft of living space on four levels. You will find the garage, laundry,and storage on the ground floor plus about 500 sq ft of courtyard space which you might use as a private garden. This space faces South Roosevelt so you will get some noise from passing traffic. There are east facing balconies on each floor. And then there is that private rooftop sundeck where only God and people in low flying airplanes can see you. I was there on Sunday around 6:00 PM to take some photos. There just was not a lot of traffic at that time at that location. I was expecting more. I was surprised.

There are ocean views from the master bedroom and livingroom. The kitchen is on the top level on the west side, and it has a vaulted ceiling and sunset views. The building is poured concrete construction and has Category 5 hurricane rated windows and doors.

I sometimes ride my bike out to this end of the island in the mornings--before it gets hot. The ocean is calm. The runners, roller bladers, bicyclists, speed walkers, dog walkers, and just people who enjoy a casual walk populate the esplanade from 1800 Atlantic east past Smathers Beach all the way down to the point where Flagler intersects South Roosevelt. I drove out there late Sunday to take some photos and was suddenly reminded of how sweet this end of the island is. I could hear the birds yelling at each other about a food find. The temperature had cooled and the sun was preparing to put on a show its night show at Mallory Square. And I thought to myself that I could live there. I took in that view and envied those that get to see it everyday come rain or come shine.

One of the reasons people move to Key West is to experience living life on this island. It sometimes amazes me that some people end up living in places without any outside space. Being cheap can really be foolish. I mean why live in Paradise if you have to live in a room with no view or a place with no space?

I looked at the buildings and decided they are appropriately designed and built. They don't look like the charming little cottages and big Conch houses that populate Old Town Key West. But they do mimic the essence of Old Town architecture without copying it. Ships chandlers built many of the grand old Conch houses in Old Town in the 19th Century. These grand new structures were built by 21st Century architects, engineers, and contractors whose job it was to design and build housing that can withstand our sometimes intense weather and the demands of modern day living.

Snowbirds may really find a place like this enticing. There are two swimming pools, a little corner grocery, and even a day spa withing walking distance. This unit has a two car garage so you won't need to worry about your car getting rained on. It has a private elevator to travel from floor to floor. That makes carrying groceries a snap. The area is totally secured and the grounds professionally maintained. So all you need to do is unpack your bags--that is, if and when they show.

50 Seaside South Court is priced at $1,100,000 or $402 per sq ft. That's for all new, never been lived in space with quality finishes and an ocean view.

But Wait! The place next door at 51 Seaside South is also available. Same size as 50 Seaside South. But it is priced at only $950,000 or $347 per sq.ft. for the same sized space and same view, but it has been lived in a bit. (The seller on 51 Seaside South will contribute $10,000 towards closing costs. 51 Seaside South Court is NOT bank owned!) CLICK HERE to read the mls listing info and view photos of this unit. I am sure that you can get a similar place in Miami for less. But then you'd be in Miami!

If you would like to see 50 Seaside South or 51 Seaside South, or any other of the units in this complex, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties in Key West Florida.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grand Bahmian - 1123 Washington Street - Key West





Just listed, but not by me, 1123 Washington Street is this Grand Bahamian Style home in the Casa Marina area near the beaches. This home was built (not renovated) in 2002 and captures the essence of island living.

The listing Realtor describes 1123 Washington Street this way:
"Stunning and Elegant home in the highly desirable Casa Marina neighborhood. Bahamian architecture featuring high ceilings, great porches and incredible finishes. Crown molding, chef's kitchen with designer cabinets and open floor plan. First floor master suite overlooking lush tropical yard, pool and spa. Dramatic staircase with vaulted ceilings adds an air of sophistication and brightness. An Exquisite Island Retreat for The Most Discerning Buyer!"
Let me add that this 1841 sq ft homes has three bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths and sits on a large 4973 sq ft lot (44.4'X 111'deep). CLICK HERE to read more info and see several photos of the interior and exterior.

1123 Washington Street is listed at $1,195,000 or $649 per sq ft. Listen-up! This is a real bargain at this price and at this location. There just aren't very many nice three bed and three bath homes with beautiful pools that are located in good locations in Key West. I just created a "comprables list". The list only includes similar homes in the Old Town and Casa Marina areas. CLICK HERE to view the list so you can do your own comparison shopping. I have written about some of the homes on the list before.

I live a block away. I love this neighborhood. It is convenient to everything. But for the most part it is really nice and quiet. I can bike to the gym or Fausto's Grocery on White Street in about two minutes. The beaches are a five minute walk. I can get to the airport in about five minutes by car. On July the 4th I could watch the fireworks shot off at Higgs Beach from my pool. Key West is a great place to live. And 1123 Washington Street is a house you can pretty much move right into.

If you would like to see 1123 Washington Street, or any of the other houses on the list above, or any other house in Key West, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties in Key West Florida. Our office is an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Friday, August 28, 2009

1021 Washington Street - Casa Marina Estate Property - Key West




In a place like Key West where there are so many "one of a kind" properties, it sometimes seems silly of me to tout a listing as being one of a kind. But I must on 1021 Washington Street which is located in the Casa Marina area of Key West. There is not another property like it.

Look at the photo above. Look at it. It just shouts "Old Florida!" Old Florida before the invasion of the hordes of snowbirds, the colonization of South Beach, the gayification of Fort Lauderdale, and the gentrification of Key West.

The pre-World War II architecture is so simple and elegant. The listing Realtor describes 1021 Washington Street this way:
"Remarkable Casa Marina Estate like no other! Stately historic residence situated on a massive 27,000 + sq. ft. of land, one of the largest residential estates in Key West, on the corner of Washington Street and Whalton Street. Beautifully maintained and lovingly cared for over the course of 74 years by the same family. Totaling 6 lots laid out in an L shape with 4 consecutive vacant lots facing Whalton Street that can be divided. 3 structures in total which include the main historic home, guest house and 3-car garage. Gorgeous meandering gardens and lush landscape manicured to perfection and irrigated by 6 wells. Rare opportunity with many possibilities for development or subdivision."

I live a half block from this house. I drive past it every day. It is like having a private park located across the street. Something pretty and graceful that has a timeless beauty never to be touched. But then the Realtor suggests the property could be "developed". Heavens No! There must be some buyer out there that will see this beautiful property for what it is and has the money to preserve it just as it is.

This CLICK HERE is a photo of the side yard at 1021 Washington that was taken from the house next door to the north. And CLICK HERE to read all of the listing information and view lots of interior and exterior photos of this great estate property.

I have written at least a gazillion times about the charm and convenience of living in the Casa Marina area. We are close to everything. But we are not living in the midst of it all. We are near the beaches. We are within walking distance (it's a 10 minute walk at least) to Old Town. We are five minutes to the Key West International Airport. And we are five minutes to any of the three shopping centers. There are several gyms, many galleries, the Dairy Queen, a pre-school and an elementary school within three blocks. Louies Backyard and Salute on the Beach are two minutes by foot. If you can afford this place, which is offered at $4,500,000, you might have a yacht (or at least a good sized boat). We got several convenient marinas that are also located nearby.

If you are looking for an estate property such as this, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, 0r e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. in Key West, Florida. Our office is an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. I live nearby and I would love to welcome you to the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

728 Windsor Lane - Old Town - Key West






If you are a potential buyer that is looking for a "small" project house, I may have found the house you are looking for. You may have driven by or walked by this house before and thought "cute" but decided it is too small or needs "too much work". Let me suggest that any buyer that wants a small house in Old Town with a pool keep an open mind and consider 728 Windsor Lane.

The listing Realtor describes 728 Windsor Lane this way:
"If you are a ready-to-act buyer who has been waiting for the chance to live in the charm district of Key West, this may be the house that causes you to take immediate action. While small, it is difficult to find a home in this area for under $300,000. The house has a great private shady yard. On the weekends, you can look forward to Operation Recharge. Sleep in on Saturday morning, drink your coffee, and relax. In the afternoon, jump on your bike and ride around and enjoy the tropical ambiance. As the sunsets,take a stroll down to Mallory Square and witnesses Key West's most famous sunsets!It's thrilling to live so close to the heart of KW music and entertaining district.There is some work to be done but for the size the price is a fit!"
CLICK HERE to read the listing info and view photos of the house. The house is only 654 sq ft. It presently has a living room,2 bedrooms, one bath and a kitchen. I guess you could call this a modified "eyebrow" house with a sawtooth addition. CLICK HERE. There is a recent addition to the rear that houses the laundry area. The lot is 1279 sq ft. 728 Windsor Lane is offered at $270,000 or $413 per sq ft.

A house like this will likely require total renovation. I'm no builder but I would expect the house to need some pier replacement, new joists, demolition and total renovation of the interior, new windows and doors, new electric, plumbing, and HVAC. The good thing is that the small size ought to keep the renovation costs somewhat contained.

The rear yard is surprisingly large. There is room for a real pool. The seller owns the adjacent property and will provide easy access for a backhoe to remove dirt and coral to keep the pool construction costs economical. CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE to see photos of the rear yard as it presently exists.

I have been in several old houses like this over the years. I always tell buyers to forget about what the inside structure or room configuration looks like today. Your architect and builder are going to rip it apart and will come up with a new house designed for today's living and put it inside of the four walls that presently exist. They'll probably wrap a pretty bow on the outside and end up getting a historic preservation award. Little gems like this mean so much and become so valuable once all the hard work is over.

728 Windsor Lane sits on Solares Hill in the Old Town area of Key West. The location is about a five minute walk to the shops and restaurants on Duval Street. The Historic Seaport is an equal distance walk. There is one little corner grocery about one half block to the east. And if you are afraid of cemeteries, the Key West cemetery is one block to the east. Windsor Lane at this location is a one way street that gets its share of lost tourist traffic. Most traffic is from locals and bicyclists. 728 Windsor Lane sits across the street from the Key West Writers' Compound which I have written about before. The former inhabitants of the Writers' Compound didn't settle on this location by accident. The red "X" on the aerial photo (above) marks the location of 728 Windsor Lane.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, if you would like to schedule an appointment to see this little cottage. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc.

Monday, August 24, 2009

See Click Fix



I have added a link above to a website that may interest some readers. http://www.seeclickfix.com/ is a citizen powered 811 service (non-emergency govt issues). With it, people can report problems that others can fix, or the local govt can keep tabs on.

Okay citizens of Key West, click and fix our city and country government. And our Monroe County School Administration. While you are at it, give President Obama some much needed help in getting the Public Option into health reform. And finally, would somebody get some government money to repave A1A (South Roosevelt Blvd.) from the airport back into Key West. SeeClickFix!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thank You Joe



I want to share a moment with you. Just one moment. It speaks loudly about the kind of people some people are.

Yesterday afternoon my buyer and I were doing the final walk thru of the house my buyer and his wife closed on today. She had to stay at home and tend to important matters up north. And he came down to take possession of the new, but very "old" home in Old Town Key West. We had looked at many houses over the past two years. They made several trips. They decided the house on Ashe Street was to be their place in Paradise.

The seller (Joe) explained the intricacies of the old place. He related the histories he discovered as he rebuilt the house over his years of ownership. I won't bore you with the details (even if I could remember them). The seller's gentle tone spoke loudly as he educated the buyer about the lore of the house, the neighbors, and the quaint little Key West neighborhood that most vacationers don't even know exists.

I can see you sitting there reading this and thinking lots of people go through the same experience all of the time. Some do, that is true. But what happened next is something I will always remember.

The seller had a large shopping bag filled with papers related to the house, the Sandborn map,"historical" documents, and a disc containing hundreds of photos (historical and recent pics he took that documented the renovations he made). Then he pulled out a small rectangular box. No labels on it. You wouldn't think it important. He held the box in one hand and gently patted the top with the other as he said "These are the historical artifacts I found in and under the house over the years....They belong with the house." My buyer got a twinkle in his eyes as the seller placed the box in my buyer's hands. My buyer promised "They will stay with the house"as he acknowledge the importance of the gift. In that very instant my mind darted to the final scene in "To Kill a Mockingbird" when we get to see the box of treasures Boo Radley had saved over the years that chronicled the young lives of Jem and Scout.

Little things can mean so much. Thank you Joe.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't Get Left at the Stable



I have been writing about the Key West real estate market improving. I see incremental improvements. Piecemeal. Anecdotal events. Individual deals that happen. And I try to piece them together to see a bigger picture.

Since June first there were seven closings on houses that sold at or over $1,000,000. They include 52 Cannon Royal (Preferred Properties)$1,725,000; 811 Southard Street $2,500,000; 929 United Street (Preferred Properties $1,000,000; 924 Flagler Avenue (Preferred Properties) $1,250,000; 906 Southard Street $1,420,000; 1020 Southard Street $1,975,000; 1021 Johnson Street (Preferred Properties) $1,800,000. The average price per sq ft on these homes was $608. I was heartened to see my company (not mine personally) represented one side of four of the seven transactions or 57%. Not bad.

But here is the news that I found really exciting. Seven homes priced over $1,000,000 went Contingent or Pending since August first: 6 Lopez Lane $1,395,000;1425 White Street $2,950,000; 3820 Eagle Avenue (Preferred Properties) $3,250,000; 1119 Von Phister Street $1,895,000; 503 Noah Lane (Preferred Properties) $2,695,000; 1020 Von Phister Street (Preferred Properties) $1,299,000; and 906 Johnson Street (Preferred Properties) $1,769,000. My office is participating in four of the seven sales as listing or selling agent. 906 Johnson Street is the biggest giveaway. It will skew the numbers downward because it is priced so low. I told you it was a deal. Why didn't somebody that I showed it to buy it from me? Alas! Enough about me.

Compare the August 2009 numbers on single family homes (above) to August 2008 in which there were ZERO homes priced at one million or higher that went Contingent or Pending.

Just as interesting is the flurry of real estate activity since August first. There were 40 properties (excluding the properties above!) that went Contingent or Pending. The majority of these Contracts are short sales or bank owned properties. I don't recall sales activity this brisk even in 2004 and 2005. Seven of the 40 Contracts are at the Key West Golf Club or 17.5%. What a difference a couple of months can make.

You can lead a horse to a deal, but you can't make him sign the contract. If you have been thinking about buying a place in Key West, now may be a good time to act. CLICK HERE to search the real Key West Association of Realtors mls website. If you see something you like, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. (that company above with all of the sales). We are an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. Don't get left at the stable thinking about what could have been.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

622 William Street - Old Town - Key West - Short Sale





Here is a great property to keep your eyes on. 622 William Street is located on one of the very best blocks in all of Old Town Key West. And it is now a short sale. I think it is aggressively priced to sell at $750,000 or $538 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to read the mls listing data and view photos of the interior and that pool!

The listing Realtor describes the listing this way:
"This Charming Property Was Lovingly Restored A Number Of Years Ago To Include The Historic Conch Home And Two Pool Houses. The Main Home Has Natural Dade County Pine Walls And Ceilings And Tile Or Wood Floors Throughout With A Master Bedroom Upstairs."


I showed this home about six weeks ago. The interior walls and ceilings are natural and unpainted Dade County Pine. The home has a rich and warm old feeling about it. It has not been all gentrified and slicked up. The kitchen is at the rear and overlooks that wonderful pool in the foreground and the two separate cottages at the rear. Some buyer that just insists on putting in a new kitchen could do it here, but the existing kitchen works just fine.

(I had an inspection on another house on Friday. The certified home inspector commented that the kitchen was old. It is the same age at 622 William Street. Even inspectors are getting critical of this 15 or 16 years old. Perhaps it is time for a new City of Key West Commission whose sole purpose would be to save kitchens!)

To me dealing with the interior of 622 William Street is a no brainer. A new buyer could gut and paint and whatever else he or she or the decorator decides. It is the rear area with the pool and two cottages that make this Old Town home such a buying opportunity. The photos in the mls listing CLICK HERE show the pool area and cottages from several angles. We Key Westers spend so much of our lives outside. This space is just wonderful as is, but a new owner could just as easily go native and do a total renovation on this outdoor space.

There is a spiral stairway between the cottages at the rear that leads to the tree house type sundeck. What a great feature. This is what buyers want. Something so damned precious and unique. And what a place to get an all-over tan.

622 William Street is a short sale. It is in my opinion a buying opportunity. You cannot beat the location. Jerry Herman of Hello Dolly fame redid the house next door CLICK HERE to the south several years ago. And the late Shel Silverstein lived next door CLICK HERE to the north. This particular block has some of the finest homes in Key West. There is a mix of large conch homes and smaller cottages with a mix of medium sized homes added.622 William Street is one block from the top of Solares Hill. The location is close to the Historic Key West Seaport and all of the attractions of Duval Street, but it is far enough away not to be part of the hoopla. This is a real residential neighborhood--accept for the little corner grocery store at the end of the street. That means you are never too far from a con leche, a gallon of milk, or a loaf of bread.

Some lucky person is going to own this great property. If you are looking for a special place in Old Town Key West you owe it to yourself to see 622 William Street. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to set up a showing for you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Key West - The Meadows Town Homes - Now Bank Owned





Preferred Properties is now the Listing Broker for The Meadows Townhomes in Key West. I have written about these beautiful properties before. Eight units were designed and built to sell just below the $2 million price point. They came onto the market a little after the Key West real estate market started its decline.

Each of the remaining units is now priced at our under $975,000. Each unit has hardwood floors on the second level and travertine floors on the ground floor. The stunning interiors were designed by by Pascal Delisse. The rooms are spacious and provide utility,quality workmanship, and top of the line finishes. The buyers I have shown The Meadows drop their jaws when they walk into the master bath in the two bedroom unit. Each unit has over 2000 square feet of living space plus a private pool, spa, patio and a second floor porch. Of course each unit has a "gourmet kitchen with custom cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. The front and rear of each unit has indigenous landscapes by Scott Montgomery. Each unit has a covered private carport that is accessed through a secured and gated driveway.

These units are now bank owned and have been priced to sell. The uber-luxurious 2 bedroom is priced at $975,000 or $568 per sq ft. The 3 bedroom units are each priced at $925,000 or $568 per sq ft. If you are a buyer that looked at The Meadows before but were hesitant to buy, now is th etime to take a second look.

Please click any of the addresses below to see the listing information on that specific unit.

1505 Pine Street

1509 Pine Street

1502 Petronia Street

1506 Petronia Street

These properties have all of the features second home-owners want in a vacation home without the stress of having to do any expensive or time consuming remodeling. If you are looking for a second home in Key West, place call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com to schedule an appointment to see any of these units. Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. is an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How Gay was My Villa?



It's a free world (at least it is here in Key West) where people can and do just about anything and everything they want. We all seem to get along. And except for some do-gooders that sit on some public commissions, we all try to stay out of each others "business".

One of the really great things about my job is that I get to see inside so many Key West homes. Some places amaze me. I go home and start to clean, or paint, or redecorate. Others make me feel pity for the sad souls that live in helpless hovels. I have been inside more than enough places that reek of urine but that are inhabited by human beings. I have had to move sideways through rooms filled with years of accumulated trash. And I wonder what in the world is wrong with the people that live there.

I have been in multi-million dollar properties that exude an ambiance most of us can only dream of. But more regularly I get to see some really nice homes that are comfortably decorated with Key West flair. You can't by flair in a store, but you know it when you see it. Many of the chicest of homes are gay owned have the look and style buyers want. But then the buyers get the drama of trying to negotiate with royalty.

And there have been a few occasions I have shown houses that are just a gay as gay can get. The most memorable gay house was located in the Meadows area. I showed that house several times a few years back. It had the obligatory statue of David near the pool. There were statuettes, oil paintings, charcoal prints,and etchings of nude and semi-nude males throughout the house and garden. Every square foot had some form of art that paid homage to the naked male figure. After months of not being able to sell the house, the listing Realtor finally persuaded the owner to store some of the artwork off property. A few years later when that same house was for sale again I actually noticed what terrible shape it was in. The naughty artwork from before had distracted my attention from the condition of the property itself. But it did the same thing to my potential buyers because nobody was ever interested in seeing that place a second time.

One gay man asked me to look at his house to discuss listing it. Key West was in the height of the real estate boom.I might have got the listing had I not told him to take down the huge and virtually nude portrait of himself that hung above French doors leading to the back yard.

There was also that time I was in a really nice home located at the dead end of a Key West lane to discuss listing the house. The owner and I were standing in one of two master baths discussing the features of the house when I spotted it. The DILDO! I lost my voice and the ability to put words together. Decorating with dildos is a no-no.

I have seen enough mannequins dressed in drag or adorned in leather posed in the corner of a room or next to a window that I don't even take a second look anymore. But my buyers do.

Mannequins are one thing. Slings are another. I wrote in my blog about "The War of the Roses" house. I showed it several times. The name I gave the property was derived from the ordeal the two gay owners were going through in the split of their personal lives and their real estate investments. But I had to laugh at the extra bedroom that was set up as a dungeon complete with sling. Most of my buyers did find that room very interesting.

A few weeks ago I showed a house I had written about in my blog. The owners have left town and the place now has a long term tenant that has turned the place into his own comfortable gay love nest. I say that kindly. The tenant is as sweet as he can be. The place is immaculate. Let's just say the walls of the master bedroom and master bath are decorated primarily with photos of naked gay porn stars. I think it would be very difficult for a normal straight couple to imagine living in this house because of the huge collection of gay porn photos and other gay decorations throughout the house and near the pool. God, I must sound like some prude!

Call me old fashioned. I grew up in the 1950s when gay decorating was -- different. But what the heck. This is Key West. It is okay to be gay here, and it is okay to decorate your home or garden anyway you want.

If you are thinking of buying a place in Key West and are looking for a gay Realtor, call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or contact my by e-mail at kw1101v@aol.com. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. Living life in Key West is just great. I could care less how you decorate your villa as long as you are happy. However, sometimes it might be a little easier to sell the place if you hide your porn and stow away the dildos. lol

524 White Street - Old Town - Key West - Short Sale





I have not been inside 524 White Street since it was just listed as a short sale. I disclose this because 524 White Street was previously listed by Preferred Properties in January 2007 at the asking price of $1,150,000. CLICK HERE to view that mls listing info and photos of the "then" condition. The 2007 listing described 524 White Street this way:
"This is a comfortable Historic house with large, bright rooms, crown molding, 9' ceilings and Dade pine floors. The kitchen features glass faced cabinets, stainless appliances including 2 wine coolers, porcelain farm sink and a gorgeous subway tile backsplash. The downstairs bedroom is currently set up as a library and offers a wall of built-in Poplar wood cabinets with hookups for computer and television. Beautiful French doors lead from this room to the back deck with a very deep heated cistern pool. The downstairs bath has Brazilian slate tiled floors and shower. Up the original wood staircase are 2 bedrooms and a full bath with clawfoot tub. Offering 2 zone central air and offstreet parking...this is a wonderful house."


Two and one-half years later things on the inside and the outside could look differently.

The current listing Realtor describes this property this way: "This is a potential short sale. Beautiful home, remodeled, large space with small pool. Off street parking, too!" CLICK HERE for more current listing information and current photos.
I drove by the house Friday afternoon to take a couple of exterior photos. The architecture is so attractive and somewhat a-typical as compared to many Old Town Key West homes. The landscaping in the front is a tiny bit overgrown and the house could use a new coat of paint. But those are the things new homeowners usually like to do on any house-no matter how "au courant" it is.

524 White Street is a short sale and it is offered at $525,000 or $311 per sq ft. I am a firm believer in comparison shopping so I created a list CLICK HERE of other homes in the Old Town, the Meadows, and the Casa Marina areas now offered at $525,000 or lower.

While you are doing the comparison shopping take a look at this house just around the corner down Curry Lane CLICK HERE. Curry Lane is private and cute and all the things I write about life on the slow lanes of Key West. But the houses' sizes and features are fairly similar. Except for the over $500,000 price difference. (I am not disparaging Curry Lane. I am saying that 524 White Street might be a buying opportunity for the right buyer.)

If you are interested in buying a nice sized home in Old Town with a pool and off street parking, 524 White Street might just meet your or exceed your expectations for the price. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing. This place is tenant occupied and requires a 24 hour notice to show. CLICK HERE to search the Key West mls on our Association of Realtors website. The info on the Association's website is in real time as opposed to other sites that may offer stale listing info or that may attach trackers to your computer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Are We There Yet?




People ask me if we have reached the bottom of the real estate market or if I think we almost there. It's like a kid asking "Are we there yet?". The uncertainty of the market drives some would-be buyers half nuts. They want to buy, but they don't want to pay too much. They want the deal of a lifetime without having to worry that someone else may get a better deal by waiting a little longer. It's like sitting in a hospital waiting room. You expect the worst and hope for the best. I guess more people prefer some finality over more uncertainty.

The chart above was borrowed from The Catherine "Cathy" Chaudemanche Team at Keller Williams Realty on this same topic. CLICK HERE to read that concise and very well written essay on real estate market cycles. The writer asked the same question as I did, but more artfully: "Which Real Estate stage are we in today?" I don't know when she wrote her piece but she gave an anecdotal account of where she perceived her local market at that time. She perceived her market was still in the Despondency and Depression stages.

I have been writing for some time now that most of the inexpensive properties have been put under contract. Those properties include numerous short sale houses, condos, and town homes in the Mid Town, New Town, and numerous Stock Island communities. Bank owned properties all over the Key West area seem to go under contract soon after they being listed if they are priced correctly and marketed properly. Bank owned properties that do not sell right away may have some underlying problem that continues to make the individual property difficult to sell. Finally, some upper-end properties are selling very quickly because of their inherent perceived value (location, design, construction, amenities, price, etc.) as compared to other similar properties.

I have noticed a resurgence of an almost buying frenzy starting to occur on some properties. Places that sold within the past few years for high prices that get listed as a short sale or bank owned property often go under contract within days if not hours of being listed. Many Realtors have clients waiting for that too-good-to-be-true buying opportunity.

Something else has just started to happen: price increases. There have not been enough increases to call it a trend, but there have been enough to note that not all properties are being marked "down".

Reuben Concepcion of Keys Financial sent out his take on the market a couple days ago. He said:
"The Federal Reserve left the key Fed Funds rate unchanged today. However, that’s not the important part of the story.

The Fed has been purchasing hundreds of billions in long term treasuries and mortgage backed securities this year as part of an effort to drive down long term interest rates – i.e. MORGAGES, and therefore help the real estate market recover.

They announced this program will come to an end by early October and will not be extended.

Rates have been artificially subsidized to the lows we’ve seen this year largely as a result of this government buying. Therefore, expect upward pressure on long term mortgage rates in the near future.

Additionally, the “positive” (not as terrible) economic news coming out (lower unemployment claims, etc) is helping the stock market rally, which also creates upward pressure on mortgage rates by moving money back into stocks and out of bonds."

I have been fortunate to have some "all cash" deals and some traditionally financed deals during the past year. I would love to see the low cost money continue, but I realize it probably will not.

If you read my blog regularly you have seen that I have mentioned many really nice properties that once sold at high prices that are now offered at significantly lower price points. I usually refer to these types of properties as buying opportunities. Sometimes I even call them bargains (as compared to previous prices or as compared to similarly priced properties that I subjectively view as inferior or too highly priced). Some readers and commentators may feel the Key West market will continue to fall. I don't know the answer. Nobody does. I monitor the County Clerks records and I know that more foreclosures are on the horizon.

What I do know is that the Island of Key West has a finite amount of permanent housing. Real buyers are now purchasing as opposed to sitting in the waiting room. If you look again at the above chart I think the Key West real estate market is somewhere between Hope and Optimism. There are enough indicators that we are no longer in the Despondency and Depression stages.

If you believe we are on the road to recovery and want to buy a place in Key West, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at kw1101v@aol.com. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database. Get your place in Paradise.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

631 Southard Street - Old Town - Key West






Here is another real deal. The problem is you need to be kind of rich to afford it. But there are still lots of rich folks in America and some of them are looking for homes in Key West. If you are among that lucky bunch, you might want to consider 631 Southard Street that was just listed for sale at $1,995,000 or $785 per sq. ft. The listing Realtor describes the property this way:
"Elegant, Sophisticated, and Luxurious Historic Home on Solares Hill in the Heart of Old Town Key West. Fully renovated and restored with an eye for perfection and quality. Beautiful kitchen with Jenn-air and Fisher & Paykel stainless steel appliances. High ceilings, hardwood floors, bedrooms with bath ensuite,laundry room, and open floor plan with finest details throughout. Huge tropical lot with lush vegetation, heated pool, spa and outdoor living room with privacy galore. Newly renovated guest cottage CLICK HERE offers glass tile shower room, open floor plan for easy tropical living. Off-street parking, full house generator, wrap-around porches and custom made Ipe' shutters. A Luxurious Residence in the Heart of Historic Old Town Key West."

This house is such a charm to show. The downstairs combined living-dining areas work so well for the relaxed Key West lifestyle. The French doors look out onto the gardens and pool. And unlike a lot of older Key West homes, the view is bright and cheerful on all sides. That corner location provides nice morning light on the east and the extra large yard provides sun for the pool and gardens. CLICK HERE for more details and some great photos of this special property.

631 Southard Street is located at the corner of Southard and Elizabeth Streets--just two blocks from Duval but only one block from 5 Brothers CLICK HERE to the east or Sarabeth's CLICK HERE and Nancy's Secret Garden that is hidden at the rear of Free School Lane CLICK HERE. Fausto's Food Palace CLICK HERE is a two block walk and the Key West Cinema CLICK HERE and The Red Barn Theater CLICK HERE are about three minutes away by foot. (The Waterfront Playhouse CLICK HERE to see a "chick play" is about a ten minute walk because you have to walk through hordes of tourists!) The Historic Key West Seaport CLICK HERE is five minutes by foot. So you see you cannot beat the location. The house is near everything important.

I represented some people that tried to buy this house back in 2004. My buyers offered $2.8 million cash and the then seller turned them down. The then seller eventually sold to the present owners for a lower price. Such is the fate of market timing. Greedy bastards sometimes lose even in an up market.

The present owner has put a lot of time and money improving this already superb home. If you are looking for a second home in Key West and want the lifestyle, the excellent location, and the amenities 631 Southard Street offers, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to arrange a showing. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc., an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dramatic Price Reduction - Casa Marina - Incredible Value



The asking price on 906 Johnson Street in Casa Marina area is now $1,769,000.

CLICK HERE to to read more about 906 Johnson Street. The "bank" has set this price. This is not wishful thinking. This is the opportunity for a buyer with big bucks to score a grand property at an incredible price.

CLICK HERE to do a price comparison for other similarly priced homes. I have written about some of these homes before. But at the new price of $476 per sq ft, the price of 906 Johnson Street is just too hard to beat.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing. Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. is the listing broker on this wonderful home.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Key West Real Estate Investment Properties






Some fool killed the Golden Goose. And most of the famed Money Trees in Key West got wiped out. But three investment properties in Key West just got a lot more affordable yesterday. I wanted to share those potential buying opportunities with you before someone else beats me to the punch.

I don't have any insider information on these properties other than the units are part of an estate that is liquidating some of the remaining assets. These properties are not short sales. Each property is located in the Old Town area and currently provide "workforce" housing.

919-921 Southard Street has three legal units and sits on a very large (5075 sq ft) lot on a great Old Town block. The listing Realtor suggest the property "could easily be converted back to single family for the creation of a wonderful estate. In heart of Old Town and midst of multi-million dollar properties! House sits on one side of Double lot which provides room for expansion. In Bank Trust. Sold AS IS; Current incomes are month to month as follows: 1. 2/1 Rear down $1100 2. 1/1 down $900, 3. 1/1 up $850. Owner pays water sewer, and garbage." The location is killer! I'd keep the facade and tear down everything behind it. I showed this property a year ago. This place could be a spectacular renovations and expansion. CLICK HERE for more info. This property is now offered at $650,000.

Locals and some returning visitors may know where 1130 Elgin Lane is located, but for everyone else it sits on a small one way lane Just west of White Street between Eaton Street to the north, Fleming Street to the south. If you know where Blossom's Market is on White Street, 1130 Elgin Lane is not far away. CLICK HERE for a pic of Elgin Lane. The listing Realtor says this: "Located on Cute little lane within walking distance of old town and Amenities! 4 units and an extra 832 sq ft. building for storage. Tenants pay all utilities except electric for storage. Month to month rentals: A. 1/1 $850, B. 1/1 $850, C. 2/1 $1200, D. 2/1 $1200 E. Storage. Upstairs 2 bedroom units are two story with bedrooms on 2nd level of units. Charming appointment. Sale subject to Bank Approval and sold AS IS. This is not a short sale or forclosure. Priced right!" 1130 Elgin Lane is now offered at $450,000 or $146 per sq ft. CLICK HERE for more details and photos.

915 Pohlaski Lane is across the lane from the Coffee Mill Dance & Yoga Studio just off Truman near White Street and directly behind the Chevron Gas Station. 915 Pohlaski Lane is the least expensive of the three properties. It is offered at just $399,000 or only $121 per sq ft. The listing Realtor described Pohlaski this way: "Established 3 Unit 2 story building with extra fenced side yard on small Lane just off Truman. All Tenants month to month. Great Location for local old town residents. Just a bike ride to Duval. Sale subject to Bank approval. Rents are month to month as follows: Unit 1: 1/1 down $765 tenant pays all util, Unit 2: 2/1 down $1200 owner pays sew/garb, Unit 3: 2/1 up $1300 owner pays sew/garb. Unit 2 is a nice size 2 bedroom, fairly modernized, Unit 3 exra large with the 2 bedrooms being a combination of 2 rooms each and 2 loft areas to either side of living area, one currenty used as a bedroom. Units 2 & 3 both have washer/dryers. All come with refrigerator and stove as is. Some tlc needed. Good income producer possibilities!" CLICK HERE for more details and photos.

If you are looking to purchase an existing income producing property in the Old Town area of Key West, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or by e-mail at kw1101v@aol.com, to schedule a showing on any of these properties. Since the units are tenant occupied, we must scheduled showings 24 hours in advance. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. in Key West Florida.

Disclaimer

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.