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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Plight of the Living Dead

I don't want to start something that I cannot finish. Whenever you talk about religion, politics, race, and other sensitive issues on which almost everyone has an opinion, you open yourself up to criticism and maybe more. But what the heck, this is America where everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. As long as you are not a Commie.

I grew up in the 1950s when Commies were everywhere. We knew they had to be stopped or they would takeover the world. We saw menacing photos of millions of Commies and their missiles that threatened our very existence.

If you are an original baby boomer like me you must remember "duck and cover" as a way of avoiding total nuclear annihilation by diving under your wooden school desk and waiting for the nuclear bomb to explode and clear so that you could return to normal life.

I may be wrong but I think the horror movies of the 1950s were an allegory of our collective fear of the Commies. We watched monsters mutate and take on horrible existences that threatened our way of life. These monsters were seemingly unstoppable. It was as if nature had turned against us. We became the prey of the dead and the near dead. Animals and insects mutated into hideous creatures that tried to eat us. And just plain natural crud like "The Blob" oozed out of nowhere and slimed its way into our small towns and engulfed everything in its path. Our lives were doomed, forever. But at the end of the second reel a hero would emerge and save the day and kill all the monsters.

I was at the gym on the morning of 9/11. The guy at the front desk yelled out two planes had hit the World Trade Center. I knew instantly that accidents like that do not happen. I jumped on my bike and sped home talking to God all the way. I was home in a couple of minutes where I turned on the TODAY Show where I watched in disbelief as the first tower collapsed and then the second. As I think back on the images I saw then, I remember similar images from the movie "Armageddon" when New York City was being destroyed. It was like life was imitating art only it was not a movie. It was really real. It was unbelievable. It was like the worst nightmare I ever had, but I couldn't wake up from it because I wasn't asleep.

I saw with my own eyes but listened to the talking heads trying to give meaning to what we had all just witnessed. Life as we knew it was over. But this time there would be no hero at the end of the second reel.

If you are like me and have become so accustomed to hearing news reports of wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, mine collapses, mass shootings, you may have been de-sensitized by the initial BP oil rig explosion. But as the days wore on and the oil kept gushing out of the ocean and wildlife started dying, I finally realized we have a huge mess on our hands. I thought for sure it would be over by now. I was confident someone would do something heroic. Where is Superman when we really need him?

My blog is about Key West real estate. I try to give potential buyers good, real time information on various types of properties for sale in Key West. Sometimes I reminisce about life as it used to be when we were a kinder, gentler nation. We were, you know.
And sometimes I try to impart a little perspective that whatever the catastrophe du jour is, there will always be a better tomorrow. It does workout that way in the end. Well, at least the turmoil goes away and we get on with our lives. Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment with constant "Breaking News" flashes of things that really are not news but merely re-hashed images and often conjecture created by talking heads trying to be first as opposed to being correct. Sometimes the "Breaking News" is just garbage "content" between commercials.

The mess in the Gulf is slowing tourism along Florida's Gulf Coast. Some local weatherman irresponsibly predicted the oil will get caught up in the Loop Current and will send oil toward the Florida Keys. Some other talking heads spread rumors that the oil will wind its way into the Bahamas and or up the eastern coast where it will bring further calamity. I guess anything is possible. I don't know what will ultimately happen. Nobody knows. Making predictions and scarring the hell out of people is so wrong. But I do feel comfortable in predicting that things will be okay in the end. The Russians did not attack us with nuclear weapons. The North Viet Namese did not take over all of Asia after we left. The oil spill will be dealt with. The American Economy will surge again.

Every summer real estate sales in Key West slow to a trickle. The buyers go back up north where it is cooler. The sellers who were greedy and didn't sell when the buyers were here either fire their Realtors or reduce the asking price on their over-priced trophy houses (or over-priced shacks). Hurricane season just started. You can bet that CNN and all the rest of the news channels will have satellite trucks here as soon as a named storm heads this direction. Some bonehead weatherman will be standing in our streets or pointing to his map warning of our impending doom. Bet on it.

Use the current uncertainty of the stock market, the oil mess, the bank mess, the economic mess, or hurricane season to be your catalyst to purchasing a place in Key West. Sellers who need to sell their houses need to have buyers. Use the collective calamities to your advantage.

I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at Let me help you take advantage of the plight of the living dead.


Anonymous said...

Amen on all counts. I watched a CBS national interview with the gov over the weekend. The B-roll video was of sludgy oil and spoiled beaches, meanwhile the live shot was of pristine sand and water. But that video, cut in by some careless soul, made it look as though the oil were right there with the gov. So bad.

Anonymous said...

LOL - I HAD to laugh at the 'breaking news' CNN caption! Where do you get all the marvelous pictures and ideas?!
Love your blog and this is one of your best yet!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the living, the dead or the somewhere in between, what's your take on this whole idea of there being some "ghost" foreclosure inventory that banks aren't putting on the market yet? I've heard/read about that happening in some markets. Also heard that in some of these cases and in some actual situations in Key West that banks are letting homeowners who are in default stay in the homes until foreclosure inventory comes down before evicting and selling. At least that way the utilities are paid and the home is, hopefully, maintained. Thoughts?

Gary Thomas said...

I search the Monroe County Clerk's website weekly to checkout new "Certificate of Title". This is how banks take title to foreclosed properties.
I (and you) can see what properties have been foreclosed and then compare or check those properties against what is placed in the mls.
There are definitely properties that seem to sit on the sidelines for a while before they go in the mls.
You need to understand that there are so many properties nationwide that it takes a lot of organization to get the "inventory" of foreclosed properties secured, prepared for sale, and then marketed.
I don't know that there is so much of plan to withhold properties from the market as there is to manage them effectively.
As for letting old owners stay in property as "caretakers" is not something new. We did the same thing when I was managing foreclosed properties years ago.

GO HERE: to SEARCH OFFICIAL RECORDS. Use the tabs to search CERTIFICATE OF TITLE and limit your search to specific dates. Otherwise, you will be wasting your time.

You can also search LIS PENDENS the same way only this search will show you what new properties have been introduced to the foreclosure process. These foreclosures usually take months and filing lis pendens is only the start of the process.


Anonymous said...

Thanks. Very helpful.

Anonymous said...

Gary, what do you know about 1425 White Street? I see it's back on the market after just being sold last year. Seems a big audacious of the owners to list it at $3 million in this market!

Gary Thomas said...

Dear Anon: The house at 1425 White Street is phenomenal. Good things cost big money.

Remember when Kenny Chesney bought then decided to sell his $5.7 million Caroline Street home early last year? This may be a similar situation. Both houses are great properties. People change their minds.

By the way our office has an even more expensive and more stunning property for sale two blocks further south at 1617 White Street. Asking price is $3,995,000 and that price does not include the guest houses. That place is Phenomenal as well.


Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the luxury of changing one's mind about a $4 million purchase!

I'd take the home at 1617 White any day.

I'll be surprised if 1425 White fetches more than $2.9 unless they hold onto it for a really long time and wait for a turnaround.

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog!

Anonymous said...

Looks like the number of foreclosures has bumped up recently and a national survey is out saying the bottom won't happen until 2011. Between oil, hurricanes and homeowners who have been holding out for a recovery, there might be more bargains in Key West later this summer.


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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.