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Friday, July 30, 2010

1420 White Street - Key West - Grand Conch House

1420 White Street Key West

I have only been inside the grand Conch House at 1420 White Street once, and that was several years ago when it was offered for sale at the price of $2,695,000. The inside had been carved up. The interior stairway between the main floor and second floor was removed so that the upstairs could be used as an apartment. The large side yard on the north was sold away and a beautiful new home built thereon. The garage at the back had been made into an apartment years earlier, and it was legally separated from the main house. Despite the loss of the side yard and garage properties,the main house still stands as an anchor in the Casa Marina Area of Key West. It is now offered for sale at the short sale price of $495,000 or $190 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to checkout the mls listing info and view more photos of this property.

This is how the listing Realtor describes 1420 White Street:
"Casa Marina Area! This 2-story 5 bedroom, 3 bath home has over 2600 SF of living area. It sits on a large corner lot and is within walking distance of the beach. The separate guest quarters on the second floor of the house is not currently accessible but could be renovated to make the house one grand home again. This is a potential short sale that may be subject to third party approval."

But that's not the end of the story. The garage at 1133 Von Phister Street (rear of 1420 White Street) became a "cottage" and was sold in May 2005 for $749,000. The 648 sq ft building has two bedrooms, one bath, a nice little kitchen and living room. There is a second smaller building that is part of this parcel that could possibly be incorporated into living space in some way or perhaps be demolished to make room for a pool. 1133 Von Phister Street is now offered for sale as a short sale at the asking price of $299,000 or $441 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to checkout the mls listing info and view more photos of this property.

This is how the listing Realtor describes 1133 Von Phister Street:
"Short sale. Quaint cottage in the Casa Marina neighborhood. Two bedroom one bath residence has off street parking and an additional 126 sq ft CBS building in rear of slender but deep lot. This building does NOT have its own electric, water or sewer accounts. New owner will need to establish utility accounts/services. This is a short sale & will require approval by seller's finance companies."
1133 Von Phister Street Key West

I think somebody with money and vision need to take a serious look at these two properties as one project. The main house is one of the prettiest houses in Key West. It deserves a better fate than it has been dealt. The cottage portion of the deal may be more difficult because it will be hard for someone at the big bank up north to understand that it lent so damned much money for a garage that someone called a "cottage".

A smart buyer might buy just the cottage at 1133 Von Phister Street. Other than not having its own water, sewer, and electric lines, it could be dolled up quite nicely. It will cost $20,000 +/- to put in new utilities to the property. Throw a few thousand bucks and some fairy dust at this place, and you have yourself a nice little cottage in the Casa Marina Area of Key West for about the same price as a condo.

Or an investor might just buy the parcel and wait for one of the three neighboring properties to buy it. The big house at 1420 White Street is just a big house without room for a pool. It has a very small back yard and really needs the space occupied "cottage". The house next door to the north on White Street is absolutely grand. It would be more grand if it had a garage and off street parking. And the house next door on Von Phister Street CLICK HERE could also benefit from having covered off street parking or possibly use the property as a guest house. 1133 Von Phister Street could make a nice income rental property for several years until one of the three neighbors decides to bite the bullet and buy the property. Because 1133 Von Phister would make any of the three adjacent properties more valuable.

There is some renewed construction going on in Old Town and Casa Marina areas. I sincerely think buying these two properties as one package makes an immense amount of sense. There are two separate owners and different lenders, however. Doing one short sale will test your patience. Doing two might send you to the hospital where you will end up a patient. But the reward of redoing a big grand old house and having either a guest house or garage and a pool may be the kind of challenge you are looking for.

If you would like to take a look at either or both of these properties, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty,Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

1125 Von Phister Street - Casa Marina Area - Key West

Do you know the difference between Boca Raton and Key West? Key West is not Boca. Thank God! We have better weather year round. We don't have freeways and interchanges. True we have a traffic jam of tourists on Duval Street, but that helps the rest of us live here. We have real people that live in real houses in real neighborhoods. Key West has a rich history and people who are born here or who move here on purpose love just living their lives each day. The way I look at life, you get one shot at it and you ought to spend it where you want to be and do the things you want to do. If you have an jerk for a boss, you quit your job. Life is too short to deal with morons. And if you don't like where you live, you ought to do something about that too. If you put everything you want to do in life until a later date, what happens if you don't make it there?

Preferred Properties (that's where I work) recently listed the great house located at 1125 Von Phister Street. I call big impressive Key West houses "great houses" because of their size and importance. But in the instance of 1125 Von Phister "great" is an appropriate adjective that describes a very beautiful home in a great Key West neighborhood. I know the neighborhood well because I live just a few doors away. I love the neighborhood and you will love this house. This home is owned by a local family that recently purchased a business outside of Key West. This is not a distress sale of any kind. But this great house is a great value none the less. It is offered at $1,299,999.

The listing Realtor describes 1125 Von Phister Street this way:
"Located in the Casa Marina Area of Key West, is this elegantly renovated 4 bedrooom 3/5 bath with lush tropical landscaping. Some of the outstanding features are the hardwood floors, cherry cabinets, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances,wrap around porches, reverse osmosis system, landscape lighting and irrigation paved pathways and driveway, large rear deck for entertaining and beautiful pool with water features. Just 3 blocks from Higgs beach and minutes From Duval."

This house is large: 2352 sq ft under roof plus lots of covered porches and outdoor lounge area. The lot is 4621 sq ft. The house was extensively renovated a few of years ago and a large addition was built at the rear that now houses the combined kitchen and great room downstairs and the master bed and bath upstairs. The rear lounge CLICK HERE and deck area, pool, and bath house with outdoor shower were also new additions. There is a bricked driveway that could accommodate two cars but parking is not an issue in this area anyway. The surrounding houses are single family and most have off street parking.

Downstairs you will find an inviting guest room/den/office CLICK HERE with a full bath that can be accessed from the formal entry hall or from the guest room. The entry hall leads to the rear with large ceilings and lots of French doors that open the inside to the outside. The kitchen sits off to the right.CLICK HERE

Upstairs you will find two good sized bedrooms with real closets. The front bedroom opens onto the wraparound second floor porch. These two bedrooms share a bath. Then at the rear is the the third or master bedroom. It has a vaulted ceiling that adds lots of volume to the room. The owners had a special cabinet built to provide extra storage space. CLICK HERE to view. The master bath is just beautiful. CLICK HERE.

The pool sits at the back of the property and gets lots of morning and afternoon sunlight. There is a bath house CLICK HERE and a separate outdoor shower! The outdoor lounge area is covered for the most part, but part is open to the beautiful blue skies.
This house shows attention to detail everywhere. I won't bore you with for-instances. Well, maybe a couple: hardwood floors (not laminates or engineered); coffered ceiling in the kitchen and great rooms; real operable storm shutters CLICK HERE that add grace to the house; custom built cabinetry, moldings and casements CLICK HERE that adds valuable storage space and interesting places to showcase your books and collectibles; totally unique switch plates (new to me!) CLICK HERE; old fashioned floor registers for air conditioning (mimics what you saw in your grandmother's house); and a killer front porch! CLICK HERE Lots of interior and exterior photos CLICK HERE.

You may or may not want me as your neighbor, but I am sure you will really like this house. 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. Our office is the Exclusive Lower Florida Keys affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Welcome to Paradise - Old Town - Key West

The asking price on the charming three bedroom (and three bath) home at 413 Frances Street was recently reduced to $850,000. The home is offered furnished. The original price was $1, 250,000. The listing Realtor describes the property this way:
"Price Reduced!! Fully Furnished Historic Home: Frances House is a beautiful, tropically landscaped, designer decorated, turn of the century 3 bedroom 3 bath Conch home located in the heart of Old Town Key West. Careful care was taken of this full renovation winning a historic preservation award from the Historic Florida Keys Foundation. Frances House is extremely well appointed with locally built, hand crafted, custom island style furnishings. This is a great income producing property that has an excellent history as a monthly vacation rental. Price includes a website and all furnishings. Heated pool with waterfall, Off-street parking for 2 cars, Granite counters, Stainless appliances, Hardwood floors, Storm shutters, Sun deck/patio."
When you enter the front doorway your eyes are immediately drawn to the Dade County Pine walls and stairway to the second floor by the sign over the stairway entrance that reads "Welcome To Paradise". This house is the embodiment of what would-be home buyers dream of in a Key West house. The Dade County Pine is a given. The almost rustic appearance is intentional. The lack of some finishes was an artistic choice and not an excuse to finish something. (The owner has meticulous records of all the remodeling work that was done that will convey to the new owner. ) This house has what discerning second home buyers want: lots of charm, off street parking (for two cars), a pool, and nothing that needs fixed. That's almost Paradise in itself. CLICK HERE to read the mls listing details and to view more photos of this home.

The main floor has the entry hall with living room and dining room on the right side of the house. A full bath is on this level as is the kitchen with center island. A full bedroom is located at the back of the house. It has French doors that open out onto the pool area. The downstairs living space would be great for a buyer that wants all the Key West charm but who doesn't want to have to climb stairs to go to bed. Upstairs there are two very good sized bedrooms and full bathrooms. CLICK HERE to see photos I took of the interior.

This home would make a great vacation rental. In fact it has been used that way for the past couple of years. The location is near the Historic Key West Seaport. Duval Street is a five to seven minute walk. The Old Town Bakery is a block away. Blossoms Market is a block away down Elgin Lane.

Please give me, Gary Thomas, a call at 305-766-2642 if you would like to see this house or any other home in Key West. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. If you play your cards right that "Welcome to Paradise" sign will be hanging in your entry hall very soon.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

900 White Street - Old Town - Key West

It is getting harder and harder to find houses and condos in Old Town priced under $400,000 that actually look really nice and that have more living space than a large shoe.

The condo at 900 White Street (Unit #2) has 1042 sq ft of living space plus 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The original craftsman style home was made into condos a few years back and this nice looking unit is now available at $325,000 or $312 per sq ft. This is how the listing agent describes this Key West property:
"Striking three bedroom, two bath condo is one of only three units in an authentic Craftsman Bungalow. Spacious living/dining room, large cook's kitchen, gleaming wooden floors and high ceilings. Private yard, hot tub and sitting porch. High end renovation with many special touches. Entrance on Olivia Street."

I must confess I have not been inside but I think this one is definitely worth taking a look at. CLICK HERE to review the mls listing data sheet and to checkout the listing photos. If you are looking for a nice place that appears to have been thoughtfully renovated and you do not require a pool, let's go take a look together.

Yes White Street can be busy at times, especially around rush hour. (That's from 4:45 to 5:15.) After then traffic is intermittent and decreases as the night grows older. Traffic on the weekends is very moderate. I think a place like this is worth looking at several different times so you can judge for yourself whether the traffic would cause you not to want to consider it.

Consider the location for another reason: proximity. 900 White Street is located on the corner of White and Olivia. One block to the south you can get the best fried chicken in Key West at Dion's. Two blocks to the south you can get your morning con leche at Sandy's Cafe, or walk across the street to Faustos to do some quick shopping. Three blocks to the south is Island Gym where you might run into me. Of course you could walk just one block north and hit up a couple of galleries, take a yoga or spinning class, or maybe indulge in some Cuban food at Jose's Cantina. A couple blocks further and you could dine at Cafe Sole, but bring a big appetite cause they have big forks and spoons. 900 White is perhaps a 10 minute walk to some of the nightlife on Duval. Check for Adam's apples!

If you would like to see 900 Whiter Street (or any other place in Key West, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 . I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Let's see if the shoe fits!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stay Out ! or Welcome to Paradise !

It was maybe fifty years ago, but I still remember watching Robert Frost read his poem "MENDING WALL" on a Sunday afternoon program called Omnibus. 'Good fences make good neighbors' he quoted, and then he questioned why.

Gates, likewise, keep people out. But look at the gate above. Does it say 'stay out' or does it offer an invitation to solace within?

I have always been a questioning sort of person. I try to fit in and obey the rules. But my nature causes me to challenge those same rules and the question why. I grew up and became a lawyer. I never was a lawgiver, though.

Rules, like gates and fences, set boundaries. There are lots and lots of rules anymore. Too many for my way of looking at life. It's almost as if everyman (and woman) needs a personal lawyer to help them make their way through the day lest they end up violating some well intentioned law or rule that is supposed to make us appreciate our "freedom" as Americans.

You can look at the current economic environment in the United States (and the rest of the world) as being terribly scary and foreboding. There will lawgivers who will tell you why you should erect a fence around your house to protect yourself and your money from the doom and gloom that surely lies ahead.

Many readers of my little blog watch the Key West mls on a daily basis. They are on top of new listings, price reductions, and properties that get sold. I do the same thing. It is my job. Some readers may see the number of bank owned properties and the price reductions as an omen of things worse yet to come, perhaps even as a reason to hold up inside their fenced yard with gate tightly secured.

I can predict with absolute certainty that the real estate market in Key West will be worse in the next couple of months because it is always terrible in the late summer and fall. Businesses all over the island hurt during this time period. They offer "specials" to attract business. Restaurants revamp their menus. Water sports businesses cut rates. Gyms reduce membership prices. It is how they get by. But when season hits the old prices will return, on that you can rely.

I see new listings and price reductions differently. Selling real estate is not a sport. It is a business and sellers put their property for sale because they need to. Need to sell does not mean a seller is acting out of desperation. Some people get divorced; some people die; some people get transferred to another location; and some people really are desperate. Banks are not people, on that we can all agree. Banks sell because they want money and not houses. Whoever the seller and whatever the reason, a new property or a new and lower price make buying a house in Key West a buying opportunity. Buying the right property at the right price is the challenge.

Please look at the photo above again. Why is it that so many people who come to Key West as tourists start to view this little island as the place they want to spend the rest of their lives? Why do people who live here defy building codes and HARC rules by adorning their homes (and gates) with simple expressions of how much they love this place?

I see the gate as an invitation to enter the home of someone who loves where he (or she) lives. It is up to others to construct walls (or deliver the law or rules) about why you should not buy a home in Paradise at this time. Maybe never. There are plenty of well intentioned people who will tell you the major law of real estate (location, location, location) and admonish you not to consider any house the lawgiver defines breaking that law. This town is full of people who live their lives very contently in nice houses on streets that the lawgivers would never, ever, consider worthy of parking their rears.

I think now is an excellent time for people that have dreamed of owning a home in Key West to make the move. Prices are down and interest rates on mortgages is down. Take advantage of the situation while it still exists. CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database. If you see a property you like, please consider using me, Gary Thomas, as your Realtor. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Don't let the lawgivers stop you from fulling your dream.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Domestic Tranquility in Key West

I wrote about the new listing at 3632 Sunrise Drive in Key West last year when it was then offered for sale at the asking price of $1,395,000. It did not sell and now the property is Bank Owned.

First let me tell you that this house has been maintained and has not sat uncared for. The inside is nice and clean. The gardens are verdant. And the pool invites you to drop trousers and dive in. The guy at the bank did go and removed the smoke detector batteries, however. You can't have a bank owned property without hearing the incessant chirp of unappreciated smoke detectors.

3632 Sunrise Drive sits at the eastern edge of Key West. MAP (The map incorrectly identifies Sunrise Dive as Riviera and it places this house in the wrong location. But trust me. Google is wrong and Gary [on this point] is correct but the general location is accurate otherwise.

The canal provides boating access to the Atlantic Ocean right from your backyard. And the backyard here is just beautiful. The 30' x 15' pool is the focal point. A lovey pool house with wet bar (and shower behind) sits to the west of the pool. Tastefully landscaped gardens are located to the east (irrigated and lighted). Some large palms flank either side of the pool. And lush mangroves sit on the opposite side of the canal. The setting is just like out of a David Hockney painting except his ain't L.A. Thank God!

The listing Realtor describes the house this way:
"Very Private And Secluded Waterfront Home With Approx. 98 Ft Of Dockage, Pool And Landscaped Grounds. Screen Porch Off Great Room. Tile And Wood Floors. Kitchen With Pantry. Composite Decking Around Pool, Concrete Dock. Poolside Cabana With Water, Electric, Wetbar And Outdoor Shower With Hot And Cold Water. Sprinkler System, Outdoor Auto Mosquito Misting System. Fully Fenced And Electronic Gates."
The living and dining areas have great views of the pool, the canal and the mangroves beyond. The kitchen has those same inviting views. I don't know how the cook could manage to stay inside and work when the outside is so inviting. There is lots of room for a grill just in case the outside proves too tempting.

This house has a very nice master suite on the second floor and at least three additional bedrooms on the main level. An additional bedroom and separate bath are located near the kitchen. This are might work well for a live-in.

3632 Sunrise Drive is a 2448 sq ft ranch with 4 beds and 3 baths situated on a 9794 sq ft lot (97.5'[canal frontage] x 100.48'). I think this is one incredible home and it is priced to sell quickly at $749,000 or $306 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to compare this property to similarly priced homes in Key West.

CLICK HERE to checkout the mls listing information and to view photos. I created my own set of photos which you can see if you CLICK HERE. Better yet, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of this property. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. Promote your own domestic tranquility and move into this great Key West property.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

612 White Street - Old Town - Key West

Just listed, but not by me, 612 White Street in Old Town Key West. Take a look at the photos above and just imagine that the cute Conch House could be your new Key West home. It certainly has the "looks" to be considered. And while some naysayers will "boo hoo" the White Street location, I encourage people take a serious look at this little gem.

This is what the listing Realtor says about this home:
"Great house , central location in old town. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath upstairs, 1 bedroom and bath downstairs. Open kitchen to living room, great for entertaining."
Let me be a little more verbose. (I do that so well.) I previewed this house for a buyer who decided it wasn't for him. So I'll pass the info on to you. The house is much larger on the inside than it appears on the outside. The house has 1580 sq ft of living space and sits on a 26' x 90' (2425 sq ft) lot. The living room is downstairs front with a neat staircase located off to the right. A center hall takes you past bedroom number 3 downstairs right. A full bath is on the opposite side. A very large great room greets you at the back of the house where a large and cheerful kitchen, dining area, and comfortable living area share the space. A bank of new French doors let light flood in from the rear yard where you will find lots of room for that pool you want. And there is even an orange tree where you can mix your Screwdrivers or Harvey Wallbangers from freshly squeezed Key West oranges.

Upstairs there are two bedroom that share a large bath. I can just imagine someone blowing out the wall of the rear bedroom and making a nice sundeck to overlook the pool below. (I forgot to mention there is a decent sized space between the two properties to get a backhoe in to dig the pool. That ought to keep construction costs of a new pool within reason. And because the rear yard is so large, you should be able to get a good sized pool in the area.)

612 White Street is offered at $490,000 or $310 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to review the mls listing info and to view photos provided by the listing agent.

I took my own photos and you can see them if you CLICK HERE. The house next door to the north is the former office of noted Key West architect Tom Pope. This has to be one of the prettiest houses in all of Key West. The Key West Armory Building is on the corner of Southard and White. Lots of artsy people populate that building. A couple of weeks ago there was a showing of Rick Worth's art.

The neighbor to the east is former Navy housing which has only one White Street entrance (at Southard Street). The Navy property is quite large and is nicely fenced and landscaped. The Battleship Maine Cemetery occupies most of the rest of the block. It, too, is fenced and no public access is provided. There is no parking on the opposite side of the street. Although 612 White Street does not have off street parking, parking in this block does not appear to be an issue since most of the properties (except the Armory) are single family residences. The Island House gym is one block to the north. Blossom's Market is just beyond the Island House. Several small gyms and places to take Yoga classes are within walking distance. Lots of small intimate restaurants are within a five to seven minute walk as well.

I was totally surprised by how nice the inside of this house is. I think the small front yard could be dressed up a bit and the back yard could become something phenomenal. I did not notice any deferred maintenance on the inside or outside. Contrary, the inside is sharp and the outside was recently painted and looked to be in very good condition. Obviously, a new buyer will get a certified home inspection and not trust what boob writes on the Internet.

If you would like to see this house or any other property in Key West, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. If you bought this house you could be living life to it's fullest right here in Paradise.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

518 Catherine Street - Transient License - Old Town Key West

If you are looking for a second home in Key West and want a place with a full transient rental license that you can legally rent daily to maximize your rental income, you may want to take a look at 518 Catherine Street. You probably know the location without realizing where it is. This house is located about 150 feet east of La Te Da (on upper Duval Street) or about 150 feet west of Camille's on upper Simonton Street. CLICK MAP for aerial view. Location is important in owning homes and equally important in renting them.

518 Catherine Street is a two bedroom two bath single story Conch Style house with a nice pool. It is priced at $669,000 or $656 per sq ft. This is how the listing Realtor describes this property:
"Transient licensed Conch home located in the heart of Old Town. Lovely front porch and secluded new pool offer low maintenance outdoor living. Enjoy an open, airy floor plan with cathedral ceilings totaling 2 bedrooms & 2 baths. Great rental income producing property, with strong history and all future bookings to convey. Walk to famous Duval Street attractions, the Southernmost Point and area beaches."

CLICK HERE to review the mls listing information on this property and to view photos. The pool is described by the listing Realtor as a cocktail pool-meaning it isn't all that large. But it works!

Returning visitors will like the location near upper Duval Street. Night time is a lot more quiet on the upper end. There are lots of good restaurants, art galleries, and a few waterholes nearby. South Beach is an easy stroll and Flamingo Crossing is two minutes away for that late night ice cream attack.

If you would like to see 518 Catherine Street or any other property in Key West, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Our office is the Lower Florida Keys Exclusive Affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. Don't dream forever. You get one shot at life.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The House that Would Not Die

I remember driving home from work one late afternoon several years ago and saw what I thought was impossible: a house razing in Key West. Checkout the photo just below and you can see the house that used to sit at 1424 White Street in the Casa Marina area. As you may be aware you can't tear down old houses in the Old Town and in some parts of Casa Marina or the Meadows. Houses that have been officially designated as historically significant by the Historic Architectural Review Commission must undergo rigorous approval process before the structures can be altered. And only a few houses meet the criteria that would permit demolition.
1424 White Street as it appeared in 1965

1424 White Street as it appears in July 2010

Now look at the photo immediately above. Notice the striking similarity between the two and yet detect the differences. The obvious changes are the longer existent exterior stairway, the removal of the second floor porch "addition", and what appears to be replacement siding. Otherwise the porches and everything else looks pretty much the same. Or so it seems.

In the days that followed I watched the roof of the old house get hoisted into the air. Then piece by piece the old house was torn down. Room by room and stick by stick the house came tumbling down. Then bobcats moved in and tore up the earth under the old house. The site was clean except for the roof suspended in air. A new crew moved in and drilled holes in the earth for new piers. The crews began building the frame for a new house in the space under the roof. Weeks and months went by and finally the roof was lowered onto the new shell. Siding was attached and the exterior was painted. The old relic porch stoop was restored and given new life but the historic bases were kept intact and intentionally not repaired look. It is that old look that tricks the eye and makes one think the house itself is a relic when in fact it was "new" in 2003. Jessica Fletcher would have been proud of me.

This is how the listing Realtor (and owner) of this property describes 1424 White Street:
" Wonderful 2 Story Double Porch Classic. Originally built across town on Caroline Street. Around 1908 it was cut in half and pulled by mules to it's present location. Restored to nearly new in 2003, stone column porch supports and part of roof structure are original and were purposely not replaced in order to retain the the historic quality and character of the house. High End Custom Home Built by Local Award Winning Builder. Chefs Kitchen has gas cook top, oven, wine refrigerator, top of the line stainless appliances. Amazing Two Room Master Suite. Mature Jungle Like Gardens Surround the Heated Pool. The Property is Gated and Fenced. Long term luxury rental."

CLICK HERE to review the mls information package and to view photos of this home.

Checkout the old fashioned doorbell and the custom door

The House That Would Not Die - 1424 White Street - Key West

The inside of this house is all about family and entertaining. The ceilings on both floors are high. The great room at the back of the first floor has a large family kitchen that opens onto the living space. French doors then open onto the back and rear side of the house. I mention this because so many homes are almost claustrophobic. This home is the opposite. Big spaces make for big living. Go back and look at the interior photos of the kitchen and great room. And while you are at it note the wood walls. Everything in this house looks "old" but it is new made to look old. The gentleness of the stairway and the second floor landing are so graceful. The master bedroom is located at the rear of the second floor. It's another good sized room with rear deck overlooking the backyard.

This 2392 sq ft home is located at the corner of White and Von Phister Streets in the Casa Marina area. It is offered for sale at $1,199,000 or $501 per sq ft. This home was built by one of the top residential builders in Key West for his family's personal residence. You can see the attention to detail on the outside and on the inside.

I live one block away and I love this area because it is close to everything. The White Street Pier and Rest Beach are a short four minute walk away. (That's where they shoot off fireworks at least twice each year.) Faustos Market is a few blocks to the north. They have a great little meat counter with in house butcher. The Dairy Queen and numerous small restaurants are in that area as well.

If you a looking for a special place in Key West let me show you 1424 White Street. Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Let me show you the house that would not die.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

1003 Casa Marina Court - Key West - Ocean Views

Even though our island is surrounded by water (yes, some people aren't convinced), most of the homes here do not actually have water views. Casa Marina Court is a two block long strip of homes with direct views of the Atlantic Ocean. The view from the house is pretty simple: public tennis courts to the right, Astro Land for the kids to the left, Salute on the Beach across the street, Dick Dock (CLICK HERE for a 1970s view of the pier) jutting out into the ocean, and the West Martello Tower (home of the Key West Garden Club) at the far left, and then the Atlantic Ocean. Casa Marina Court intersects Reynolds Street(CLICK HERE) where the Casa Marina Resort is located. White Street is the eastern terminus (CLICK HERE).

Most of the houses in this vicinity were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, although many have been remodeled in recent years. There is even new construction going on today (CLICK HERE). There are some landmark houses in the area that predate the 1950s such as the George Reynolds house at 901 Flagler Avenue and 924 Flagler Avenue that was built just before the great hurricane in 1939. There are still a smattering on period houses that have not been significantly updated and those houses tend to get purchased fairly quickly because of their location in the Casa Marina area. The Casa Marina area runs from White Street west to the Casa Marina hotel and meanders to the back end of the Reach Resort. The ocean is the southern boundary, and I consider either Seminary Street or United Street as the northern boundary for the area.

The listing Realtor describes 1003 Casa Marina Court this way:
"This large two story beautiful home is located in the lovely Casa Marina neighborhood with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. The first floor features an elevator at the foyer entrance, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, large living and dining rooms and huge kitchen which leads out to the rear downstairs patio with composite decking. The second floor features 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and a large separate office which is located right off the large upstairs covered patio. This home is great for both roomy living and entertaining."

I found an old photo of this property taken in the mid 1960s CLICK HERE. It appears the ocean fresh environment helped this house grow a second story. Most of the houses on this two block stretch are two story now. And most of the houses have sold at very high price levels because of the prestigious location and ocean views.

Most of the houses in the Casa Marina area are located on large lots. The house at 1003 Casa Marina Court is 5000 sq ft or 50'x100'. It is now offered for sale at $1,900,000. Perhaps a 5000 sq ft lot may not seem that large to folks up north. But in Key West that is a big space, especially compared to many Old Town lots. The streets seem wider in Casa Marina as well. In fact the whole area seems much less congested than Old Town. Many of the streets in the Casa area do not have paved sidewalks. But don't fret, 1003 Casa Marina has curbs and gutters and that million dollar view of the Atlantic Ocean. ( The former home of author Phil Caputo located at 1101 Casa Marina Court sold in July 2008 for $3,650,000. The house was 4406 sq ft of living space and occupied a 20,000 sq ft lot.)

CLICK HERE to review the mls listing info and see the listing photos of 1003 Casa Marina Court. Better yet, call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 to schedule a showing of this residence. 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. I live in the Casa Marina area and love it. Let me help you find your new home in Paradise.


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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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.