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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Key West Beach Club - Ocean Front Unit

One of Two Pools at Key West Beach Club

Key West Beach Club at Sunrise

This is one of those Just Listed but not by me blogs. The newly listed property is Unit # 107 at Key West Beach Club Condominiums located at 1500 Atlantic Avenue in Key West. For the uninitiated the Beach Club Condominiums are unlike any other condo development in Key West. The condos are located right at the beach front. If you had legs long enough, you could dangle them over the edge of the balcony and wiggle your toes int the the sand. The coral reefs protect the Keys from roaring waves. Instead of hearing roaring tides crash ashore you will only hear the gentle lapping of the waves. Wouldn't that be a nice sound to put you to sleep by every night.

Unit #107 is located on the first level of the western building at Beach Club. The listing agent shows that this unit has 1550 sq ft of living space including two bedrooms, two baths, a remodeled kitchen, living room and dining area. The living room and master bedroom each have dead-on killer views of the Atlantic. The master bedroom with en-suite bath is extra large and extra nice.

This is how the listing Realtor describes this property:
"Fabulous oceanfront view and location in one of Key West's finest gated communities; The Key West Beach Club. This beautiful, sunny 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo with full length balcony comes fully furnished including a kitchen stocked with everything needed to cook and serve fine meals. Turnkey for vacation rentals or for the pleasure of the new owner. Extra large jacuzzi tub in master bath, large walk-in closet, bonus area at entry, renovated and upgraded kitchen including granite countertops. The parking space is conveniently located next to elevator and close to unit. Two oceanfront swimming pools, gym, covered entertainment areas with grill, tennis court and downstairs storage unit. This condo is earning vacational rental income."
The Beach Club was built to be and became the premiere condominium development in Key West. Most of the original owners that purchased when the buildings were built in 1987 still own their units. There has been little unit turnover during the past twenty odd years unlike most other condominium developments in Key West. That is important to consider because it means the condo association has a solid financial foundation. The buildings and grounds are professionally managed and very well maintained. (Some places in Key West have hit the skids. The buildings and the grounds in some developments are showing the signs of financial strain.)

It used to be that there was never a unit for sale at the Beach Club. There just has not been a big turn-0ver of units like there are at other developments. So when a new unit goes on the market it is cause for attention. Unit #107 is offered at $1,250,000. Unit # 107 has been rented as a vacation rental. The unit is professionally managed and the monthly rental rate charged is $6,000 to $9,000 depending upon date. CLICK HERE to see the listing info on this unit and to view some really great photos.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a viewing of this property or send me an email at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. There are currently 4 other units available at the Key West Beach Club. Let's take a look at all of them and that may help you pick your new home in Paradise.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

This Will Sell in a New York Minute

611 Southard Street Unit # 3 offered at $434,900

Everybody knows what a New York Minute is, right? I checked the URBAN DICTIONARY for a readily understandable definition and read this:

Approximately 36 seconds, as opposed to the normal 60 seconds in a minute

"So would you do her?"
"In a new york minute."

When I first saw the new Hollingshed House listing at 611 Southard Street Unit #3 I knew instantly that it would sell in a New York Minute. This is how the listing agent describes this property:

"Wonderful property with EXCELLENT rental record. Transient License included! One block from Duval. Totally renovated in 2008. Wood floors, new Kitchen and bath. Professionally decorated."

This very same Hollingshed House unit was listed for sale on December 12, 2006 and sold (closed) 39 days later. That is a New York Minute in Key West real estate speak. And I think the current asking price, location, and Transient Rental License will create the same buyer response in our current market. Here is why: This Hollingshed House unit is a bit larger than a typical Shipyard Condominium unit. The Hollingshed House unit has just one bedroom whereas most at Shipyard fit two bedrooms into the same square footage or less. The Hollingshed House pool is shared by only a couple of other units whereas Shipyard pool is shared by half of New Jersey at any given moment. This second floor unit has a balcony which provides views of the comings and goings on Southard Street as people make their treks to Duval Street and beyond. Unit #3 is offered at $434,900.

Sarabeth's is located across the street. Fast Buck Freddie's is a block away at the corner of Duval and Fleming Streets. Starbucks, Rick's, Sloppy's, and tons of bars and feederies are located to the north. You will find some fine dining establishments to the south including La Trattoria, Antonia's, 915, Martin's, La Te Da, and Denny's. (I went there once. That was enough.) There is live theatre at The Waterfront Playhouse and The Red Barn. The Tropic Cinema always has something you will not see at the Regal Cinema in New Town. The Tennessee Williams Theatre is a jaunt so you will need friends or a taxi, but Key West has lots of taxis and lots of people who are very friendly.

CLICK HERE to view the mls listing info on this property. Do your comparison shopping and you will likely agree with me that this property will sell in a New York Minute. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Phones are Ringing Off the Hook !

The Wall Street Journal ran a piece today on Queenly Restorations and chose a house in Key West for inclusion. CLICK HERE to see the house as shown in the Wall Street Journal.

The house the WSJ presented is a listing of Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. (that's where I work). I wrote at least two blogs about the particular house at 1307 Truman Avenue. CLICK HERE to view the mls listing info and to view more photos of the property. This house is a short sale and it is under contract at this time.

They (whoever they are) don't make houses like this anymore. It is a grand old dame, that is for sure. It has high ceilings, large rooms, a stately presence on Truman Avenue across from Bayview Park. The house was totally and tastefully renovated. The 4426 sq ft home was offered for sale at $1,750,000. It is presently under contract. The WSJ did not mention that in the nice little piece they did on queenly restorations. The phone has been ringing off the hook all day with people asking for more information on the property. While the queenly restoration at 1307 Truman may be gone (if the contract closes), there are still some really nice homes available at good prices.

CLICK HERE to search the Key West mls to do your search for homes in Key West. If you see a property you like, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or email me 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 Chrisite's Great Estates. (There are a lot of old queens still left here. Don't fret.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pelican Landing Penthouse - Key West Waterfront - Short Sale

The listing Realtor for the Pelican Landing Penthouse unit said it all when he wrote
"Current owner's loss is your gain! Here is your chance to buy a 4 bedroom waterfront income property on the edge of Old Town. This is a very large penthouse unit in a newly renovated building. Access to boat slips included! This is a potential short sale transaction that may be subject to third party approval."
The current owner purchased this property at the height of the real estate boom and paid $1,250,000 for the property. The market turned down and at about the same time the building underwent a major renovation (with jackhammers). Revenues were down and vacancies were up. That renovation was only recently completed.

The unit is located on the north side of the building so it is the furthest removed from the street traffic as it passes at the corner of Eisenhower at Truman. Pelican Landing is located across the street from Bayview Park, the main park for the City of Key West.
This unit would make a really nice permanent home for someone wanting a water view with a boat slip but it would also make a great getaway property for an investor that wants a waterfront property with a real water view with all the amenities I will mention below for a great price.

This unit has a transient license and is currently managed by the on site manager at Pelican Landing. The main floor area includes large living room with access to huge rear deck that overlooks the Garrison Bight Marina and the Pelican Landing boat slips below. Deep water access is at the back door and sunrises are available every morning from the living room and the very large master bedroom that also has the stunning early morning sunrise views. The kitchen and dinging area on the first floor. A second bedroom and bath have a "lockout" capability. There is an interior stairway that leads to two additional bedrooms and baths on the fifth floor. These two bedrooms have their own front balcony that provides an incredible view of Old Town, the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west and you can sort of see the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Al fresco tanning is added gratis.

If you are a buyer with a large family or you have a lot of friends, this may be the place for you. There is a nice sunny pool at ground level that overlooks the marina. Each unit has access to the boat slip and boat slips may be rented separately to provide income when guests or owners are using them. The lockout provides ability to rent the single bedroom nightly even while the owner is using the rest of this very large unit.

This property is priced offered at $650,000. The seller is obligated to pay about $70,000 for an unpaid special assessment to cover its proportionate share of renovation costs. This amount will be passed on to any new owner. CLICK HERE for more detailed info on this unit and to view listing photos.

If this sounds like a property that you would like to own, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or email me at for more info. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Don't wait too long. This will not last now that the cat is out of the bag.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Don't Fret - Still some Low Priced Deals in Key West

Don't Fret!

I get calls and emails from buyers that want to purchase only bank owned properties or properties priced under $300,000. Having worked in a major bank and having sold lots of bank owned assets during a previous economic downturn, I know that all bank owned assets are not deals. I do understand budget buying and setting realistic shopping constraints. With that in mind I did a quick search for residential properties on the Island of Key West priced under $350,000. (I believe in the power of negotiation and have a reasonable expectation that a buyer may be able to acquire any of the properties for $300,000 or less.)

CLICK HERE to see the list of properties that I culled out from the mass of somewhat uninteresting and maybe undesirable properties priced under $350,000.

3325 Pearl Street is a bank owned townhouse located near the east end of the island. A lot of properties in this development have either sold as short sales or as bank owned foreclosures. This is a development where many local Key Westers live. This is not a vacation destination. This unit is priced at just $164,900.

818 Whitehead Street is a bank owned stand alone cottage located at the rear of five homes that make up the condo association to which this unit belongs. All Other Units In This Condo Are Still Owned By The Original Developer. Condominium Does Not Allow Dogs. This unit cannot qualify for any type of financing. That means you will need to pay cash. I have shown this unit on many occasions and most buyers like it but feel the size is the most limiting factor and not the requirement to pay cash. The unit has a main floor living dining area, kitchen and bath. A spiral staircase leads of the second floor loft bedroom that opens to the downstairs. There is no privacy but there is also no room for others. This unit is more like a very nice hotel room than a long term living situation. This unit is now offered at $235,000. I think it will sell for less and that it could make a decent monthly vacation rental.

910 Simonton Street #4 is an Old Town condominium with a licensed transient rental license. This unit is located near the very busy intersection of Simonton and Truman. This is a budget rental that seems to always be full. It is offered at $299,000. This may not be your "dream home" but it might help you acquire it someday.

3685 Seaside South Drive #312 is a condominium located near the far east end of the island. It has a transient rental license. Seaside has a beautiful pool and other amenities that might attract an owner to use this for full time use. The current owner rents this unit on a monthly basis. But it could be rented as a legal transient unit as well. This unit is offered at $299,000.

905 White Street is located on the edge of Old Town. This is a condominium with a transient rental license and it stays busy all the time. It is offered at $325,000. The listing agent reports this unit had "Gross '09 Income Was $33,500".

CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database. You may find your very own personal deal. If you see a property that interests you, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Strip Center - 1200 White Street - Key West

1200 White Street Strip Center Key West Florida in 1965

The same strip center in 2010

The strip center shown above is located at 1200-1206 White Street in Key West. Locals know the building by sight. Ugly sight. A sight that needs razed and rebuilt or renovated into something befitting the location. The asking price has been reduced to $999,000. CLICK HERE for more info and photos.

This is how the listing Realtor describes this property:
"A rare, mixed use strip center with adjacent parking lot on busy White Street in Key West. There are three commercial units and two residential units on this property. Property was formerly used as a bakery and has the potential to be opened under a similar use. White Street is the fastest growing commercial corridor in Key West, acting as a border of Old Town and New Town Key West.Owners may consider owner financing package. Included in sale 1212 White Street."
The property sits in the last block of commercial property in the 1200 block of White Street. All of the remaining properties situated to the south lead to the Atlantic Ocean and the beaches except for two small churches and a doctor's office that is located in a house. The commercial enterprises in the immediate vicinity include the Island Gym, a real estate office, a super expensive hamburger joint, a hand job car wash, Island Tile, Dog 30, a real estate appraiser's office, several yoga places, two gas stations that sell very expensive gas (must be imported or something), several art galleries and antique stores, several hair clip joints, a very confusing French restaurant, more art galleries, a travel agency, a few guesthouses, and Faustos Grocery. The National Weather Service is located one block to the south across the street from the old Key West High School that is used as an elementary school today.

Two parcels that are for sale that have a total square footage of 8147 sq ft according to the listing Realtor. The two properties have approximately 153'.26" frontage on White Street. The lots are 51'9" deep per the Monroe County Appraiser's website.

The adjacent parking lot at 1212 White Street is included in the offering

1223 White Street Key West Florida in 1965

The same location but all new and really attractive mixed use development in 2010

Cars enter on United St and exit on White Street
Look a the three photos immediately above. The black and white pic was taken in the 1960s and shows a one story CBS building (concrete block structure) that was used as a pizza parlor. That structure was razed and a new commercial /residential building with parking was erected in 2007. The new building is mixed use of commercial office space on ground level and residential apartments on the second. A nice bricked parking area and landscaping complete the parcel development. The property at 1200 White has about 40' less frontage but the lots are just about equal in depth. I think that a structure somewhat akin to the building above might work for 1200 White Street. The 1200 White Street lot size is smaller and a new building could not be as large as the one pictured.

There is a real need for nice new office space with parking in the Old Town and Mid Town areas. If you are an investor or developer looking to acquire a development parcel such as this, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or Phil Wilson, 305-394-4105. We are both full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Phil Wilson has extensive commercial sales and leasing experience. Together, let us help you find your investment opportunity in Paradise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2301 Linda Avenue - Bank Owned - Key West

2301 Linda Avenue is the large corner property above with huge pool

2301 Linda Avenue is a Bank Owned house located on a very large lot just off Flagler Avenue in the New Town are of Key West. You can't miss seeing this property. It's distinctive profile is a testament to the hip 60's architecture that can still be seen all over the land. In Key West the architecture is just more in your face!

This property was listed previously and then some flaws in the legal description were found. Those issues are now corrected and this property has just been re-listed at a very attractive asking price of $359,900 or $121 per sq ft. The house has 2980 sq ft of living space and sits of a huge but irregularly shaped lot of 11,930 sq ft.

The listing Realtor at Preferred Properties describes this property this way:
"Huge lot! Incredible buy! Unique A frame architecture in midtown Key West. Great potential for a large estate style home. Lofted ceilings, pool, covered parking. Being sold as is. Bank owned."
This property has covered off street parking, a huge sunny pool, and is priced to sell quickly.'
CLICK HERE to checkout the mls listing sheet and to view more photos of 2301 Linda Avenue. The home is zoned Single Family-2.

If you are one of the many bargain basement lookers that want a good deal on a bank owned property, this may be your baby. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or email me at if you would like to see this property. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. This property ought to sell very quickly.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

613 William Street - Old Town - Key West

613 William Street Old Town Key West as it appeared in 1965

613 William Street Old Town Key West in April 2010

Just listed, but not by me, 613 William Street in Old Town Key West. The listing Realtor describes this classic cottage this way:
"Wonderful Old Town Cottage in excellent condition with 10+ ft ceilings, hardwood floors and Dade County pine walls throughout. The floor plan of this home is two bedrooms, one bath and open living/dining /kitchen downstairs with French doors opening to the rear yard. The third bedroom and bath are on the second level. Located on one of the most desirable blocks in Key West this charming home has a rocking chair front porch and a back porch with retractable awning overlooking the beautifully landscaped bricked courtyard. The rear yard measures 22 feet by 22 feet and should accommodate a small pool."
This 1130 sq ft house is priced at $799,000. CLICK HERE to see more detailed info on 613 William Street in the mls listing page and to view photos of the interior and rear garden. I agree with the listing agent that this is one of the most desirable blocks in Key West. This block has a combination of similar cottage style houses plus eyebrows and great Conch houses. Some homes have postage stamp lots while others have huge rear yards with delightful pools and gardens. Much of this block of William Street has large specimen trees that provide ample shade.

The famous Solares Hill Grocery (now called Charlie's Grocery) is located near the summit of the hill (elevation 18 feet) at 648 William (corner of William and Windsor Lane). It's the only store or commercial enterprise for several blocks. The Key West Writer's Compound is around the corner on Windsor Lane. The compound was established in 1976 and was once the winter home to writers including Richard Wilbur, John Ciardi, John Hersey, and Ralph Ellison. Across the street from 613 William Street is the home of the late Shel Silverstein. Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage Aux Folles among many) revamped the big grand Conch (Greek Revival) at 626 William Street. It is offered for sale at $3,499,000. Our office has a smaller less expensive and just delightful mid-level priced home at 628 William Street offered at $1,095,000.

The Historic Key West Seaport is three blocks to the north. You can moor your yacht or catch a ride on one of many boats that take fishermen fishing or tourists touristing. You can catch sunset while sipping champagne or beer. You can dine at the A&B Loster House or eat it raw at the Half Shell Raw Bar.

Duval Street is a five minute walk to the west. You can walk north or south and travel to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean within 15 minutes walking time in either direction. If you go north you'll see Sloppy Joe's but it you go south you may not make it past La Te Da, it's that damned intriguing.

Most people who want to buy a place in Key West envision a house like the one just listed at 613 William Street because it has what people want in their Key West dream home. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 if you would like to see this home or any other house in Key West. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Key West Open House Event

Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West is s joining forces with the
National Association of REALTORS
® by participating in the National Open House Weekend on April 10-11.
The event is designed to offer buyers the convenience of touring dozens of homes for sale in one weekend.

Sunday, today, is the last day of the Key West Open House Weekend. The April 30 deadline for the federal homebuyer tax credit is quickly approaching. Homes need to be under contract by that date and the sales closed by June 30 for buyers to take advantage of up to $8,000 in tax credits.

Many Key West REALTORS® will participate in this Open House event. Preferred Properties will host ten of our listings on Sunday. If you are out and about this weekend, please stop in to see our homes. Also checkout the homes other REALTORS® are hosting. The inventory of houses is dwindling. Help it dwindle a little faster.

Please CLICK the blue hotlink below for more information and photos of each property.

626 Grinnell Street - Old Town - $1,395,000 hosted by Frank Kirwin

511 Frances Street - Old Town - $1,575,000 hosted by Cory Held

1502 Petronia Street -Meadows area - $975,000 - hosted by Laurie McChesney

905 Elizabeth Street - Old Town - $1,495,000 - hosted by Everett Watkins

1315 Eliza Street - Casa Marina area - $1,495.000 - hosted by Walter Schmida

419 Porter Lane - Truman Annex - $899,000 - hosted by Terry Wilson

625 Louisa Street - Old Town - $619,000 - hosted by Bob Elkins

712 Southard Street - Old Town - $749,000 - hosted by Everett Watkins

1412 White Street - Casa Marina area - $799,000 - hosted by Laurie McChesney

628 William Street - Old Town - $1,095,000 - hosted by Dan Skahen

Each individual listed above is a Realtor or Broker at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Our office is the exclusive Lower Florida Keys affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

404 Grinnell Street - Old Town Serene Sensation - Key West

404 Grinnell Street - Old Town - Key West

The listing Realtor, not me, describes 404 Grinnell Street this way:
"Sensational designer renovation in the heart of the Historic District. Dade Co pine is used throughout this master craftsmans' four bedroom, three bath home from the kitchen cabinets to the custom cabinetry in the living room. The marble and granite bathrooms have beautiful hardware and details that make this home irresistible. The house opens through tall French doors to the covered porches and Chicago brick patio that surrounds the 35' swimming pool with water wall of coral and shells. Lush tropical plants and off street parking make this the perfect island retreat."
Sensational is an understatement. I fell in love with this house as soon as I walked inside the front door. I showed the property last week and did not take any photos as I hoped my buyers would snap up this great property themselves. The house did not meet their needs, so now I am free to tell my readers what I think about this Key West charmer.

If you live in Key West or have gone on house tours here you may recognize the names of the design team that renovated this home - Blair Gordon and John Alvarado. Their homes are unmistakable. Local architect Guillermo Orozco completed the design team. Guillermo said "Special attention was given to ensure a sense of serenity and privacy. All spaces open out to the back garden and pool area."

Many houses in Old Town rely on Dade County Pine walls to be a major focal point in the interior design. Some designers would have taken the design cue and would have settled on building another quintessential Key West Cottage. This design team too this home in a different direction.

The wood walls and other natural materials used in the design merge the indoors with the outside. All rooms on the ground floor open onto the outside. And what an "outside" it is. To quote Guillermo, "serene".

Two sets of French doors open from the living room onto the rear covered porch where a separate covered outdoor living space looks down upon the pool and gardens. A set of windows open from the kitchen onto the porch. That opening provides a nifty space where the cook can see and hear or be a part of what is going on outside.

Look at the photo at the top of this page and note how you are brought down three steps to the Chicago bricked terrace at the garden and pool level. The third photo shows the transition from the outdoor living space to the garden level from a different perspective. The pool is cool and the greenery is lush, private, and almost exotic.

I borrowed some photos that Guillermo Orozco has on his website that show off some of the creative details incorporated into this home. I borrowed others from the mls listing presentation.

My comments follow.

404 Grinnell Street sits behind a traditional white picket fence and has a gated entry to the bricked off street parking space that leads to the most traditional front door.

The entry is the first signal that this home is really something special!

Note how informal the living room is and how the French doors lead your eyes to the outside.

The custom stairway leads to the two upstairs bedrooms that share an incredible bath.

Back downstairs you will note how the design elements flow between room to room, from stairway to the kitchen as well. The wide window in the photo below is where the kitchen is located. That wide opening sets the tone for this informal living space where again the inside becomes part of the outside.

The master bedroom (pictured below) with vaulted ceiling is just a knock-out!

The Master Bed and Bath are in newly constructed addition at the rear. Each room opens to the outside but it is the bath that makes you want to jump out and into the spa or pool for a late night dip before you go beddy-bye.

404 Grinnell Street is a 2204 sq ft home located on a 4762 sq ft lot. CLICK HERE to see the mls listing details and to view more photos. It is offered at just $1,325,000. This place, Dear Reader, is a great buy at that price. There is just one place like this in all of Key West. There are many great conch houses and cottages. One person or family is getting an opportunity to be the owner of this serene sensation.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 if you would like to see this home with a buyer's agent. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.


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.