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Thursday, October 28, 2010

1110 Curry Lane - Old Town - Key West

1110 Curry Lane - Old Town - Key West

Curry Lane looking east toward White Street - a world away

The delightful home across from 1110 Curry Lane to the east

The rear entrance to a larger home fronting on Fleming Street (west of 1110 Curry Lane)

The home immediately east of 1110 Curry Lane

For most of us fortunate enough to live in Key West year around, we live life in the slow lane every day. We don't have skyscrapers. We don't have big stores with escalators. There are no Interstate Highways. Our rush hour usually lasts five minutes or so. Many of us transplants have learned to live with less and certainly feel the need to buy less. We are not deprived but we are content. Our lives are simpler than before. No matter our religious beliefs or our political persuasion, most of us subscribe to the notion of One Human Family. For Key Westers who actually live on a lane, life is more slow and much more quiet.

Just listed, buy not by me, 1110 Curry Lane is an ideal example of the perfect cottage located on a quiet little lane in Old Town Key West. This Old Town gem is tucked away on one of Key West's slow lanes between Frances and White Streets. The cottage has been lovingly restored to maintain the character you would expect in a custom restoration.

The listing Realtor describes 1110 Curry Lane like this:
"This charming Old Town home is tucked away on a pleasant, quiet lane and was awarded a STAR from Historic Florida Keys Foundation for renovation. Dade County pine walls, Georgia heart pine floors and great attention to detail. The open floor plan and mature landscaping create a wonderful indoor/outdoor lifestyle in a lush tropical setting. There are two bedrooms and two baths. Serious cooks will appreciate the kitchen's utility with a commercial range, stainless steel appliances, and soapstone countertops. River rock decking surrounds the lagoon pool and the outdoor shower provides a cool, refreshing rinse in summer. Neighbor-freindly front porch & off-street parking."
Neighbor-freindly front porch & off-street parking

1110 Curry Lane is offered at the price of $875,000 or $767 per sq ft per sq ft for this 1207 sq ft treasure that sits on a 2321 sq ft lot. If you bought this house you could walk to Duval within 5-7 minutes. Same for the Historic Seaport. Or your job if you have one and it is located in Old Town. There are two convenience stores within a two minute walk as well. You won't hear the noise of Harleys roaring down your street or the clang of a trolley car filled with tourists passing buy snapping photos, because they never get near the house. All manner of motor vehicles pass by the entrance to Curry Lane on a daily basis but normally only people who live on the lane actually drive a vehicle there. Even your creditors will have difficulty finding you. You see, life on a slow lane has lots of advantages.

CLICK HERE to checkout the mls datasheet and accompanying photos of this charming cottage. If you are looking for a quite place to call home in Key West, this may be the place you have been hoping you would find. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule an appointment to see this hidden gem. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Give me a call and let me show you how slow life can really be in Key West.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Casa Loca

Casa Loca - 535 Petronia Street - Old Town - Key West

My Google translator says that "casa loca" means " crazy house". I'm not convinced about that. I'm sure someone may provide us with a more clarified translation after reading today's blog or perhaps by someone who is really familiar with the new listing (but not mine) located at 535 Petronia Street in Old Town Key West. The listing agent describes the property this way:
"Large and Luxurious with almost 2000 sq. ft and furnishings suited to Architectural Digest, Casa Loca is perfect for the discriminating homeowner who wants to enjoy the finest Key West has to offer. This transiently licensed property has been renovated with a modern touch all while retaining its classic styling. Home enjoys a wonderful split floor plan with a very private ground floor master suite overlooking the heated pool and outdoor shower. Guests will love their treetop wing, complete with sitting room and full bath. The main floor features an open floor plan with breakfast nook, den, dining suite and half bath. This home also has the perfect front porch for having that morning con leche. Home is offered completely turn key."
I found and old photo in the Monroe County Property Appraiser's shoebox of this same property that was taken in 1965. The original house was built in 1889. Sometimes it's almost hard to believe one place can look so much different.

This house has a very valuable City of Key West transient rental license which means the owner can rent the on a daily basis-much like a hotel room. An owner would not rent it that way because the turnover cost and time does not make economic sense. But the ability to rent the place everyday provides more opportunities to rent than a place where only one rental per month is permitted which is the case in most of Key West.

Better than me trying to explain to you the earning power of this house, see for yourself. CLICK HERE to checkout the property manager's website for Casa Loca. After you have looked at the great photos and description of the property, take the time to look at the Reservation Request at the bottom of the page. That area shows a series of calendar months. The days dates where advance reservations have been made are marked with a Red X.

The primary reason people buy houses like this is to have a great place in Key West that they and their family and friends can enjoy. This house has a great Old Town location and the photos certainly make the place look inviting. You would be close to everything and still removed from the fray.

The secondary reason people buy houses like this is that somebody else gets to help the owners pay for it. Casa Loca is offered for sale at $1,295,000. That is quite a bit more than the other transient licensed homes I have recently written about in my blog. I would encourage a serious buyer to do some real serious comparison shopping. Cheaper price does not always mean better value. I'm not saying this place is superior because of how wonderful it looks or the potential rental income it could produce. The asking price is about $500,000 higher than the most expensive of the other transient licensed houses I have mentioned of late. But those places probably do not generate the level of income that this place is capable of generating because of its features and location.

I need to mention a fact that potential buyers sometimes overlook when they start to realize all the money they can make by owning a place like this: if they rent it they can't stay there. They can stay there, but they can't rent it. It is a Catch 22. But a good one. I guess. Maybe that is why it is called Casa Loca-it is crazy.

CLICK HERE to checkout the mls listing datasheet and to view listing photos of 535 Petronia Street. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, if you would like to see this property or any other transient licensed homes in Old Town Key West. 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.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

727 Waddell Avenue - Short Sale - Key West

727 Waddell Avene in the Casa Marina area of Key West

I have written several blogs on the two new homes at 727 and 731 Waddell Avenue in the Casa Marina area. The houses are nearly mirror images of each other. The layouts are reversed and some interior finishes are a bit different. Otherwise, they have the same basic design and construction elements, amenities, and upscale Key West location. The original asking price for each was $3,300,000 in October 2004 (pre-construction price). Over a protracted time period both became short sales. Today the Key West mls revealed that 731 Waddell Avenue sold at $900,000. The selling agent is Cory Held from my office. Congratulations to Cory and her buyers.

Today's blog isn't about what sold, however. Instead, it is about the remaining house at 727 Waddell Avenue that is still available. CLICK HERE to checkout the mls datasheet and the listing photos. It is offered at $999,000 as a short sale.

The main level of 727 Waddell Avenue has a formal entry hall that leads to the great room, kitchen and informal dining area located in the back one half of the house. Up front there is a den or fifth bedroom with bath that also serves as a main level guest bath. A beautiful stairway leads to the second floor landing. The master bedroom is on the second floor at the front of the house. The second floor also has two additional bedrooms on the rear. Each bedroom has en-suite baths. All three bedrooms on this floor have decks. The laundry room is also located on this floor. There is an additional (fourth) bedroom and bath on the third floor. This is not a tiny space, either. Five bedrooms and five baths are unheard of in Key West. This home can actually accommodate owners with large families or friends. No more sleeping bags or futons will be required. No more over-crowded bathrooms to endure.

Formal entry that leads to the great room and pool beyond

The size of this home really sets it apart from other new construction in Key West. The physical size and interior living space is bigger than just about any other new property in all of Key West. The lot is very large. There is a big grassy front yard with white picket fence and off street parking for more than one vehicle. The interior and outside spaces are well thought out and are very user friendly. The front and rear landscaping has matured nicely. This property has an exceptionally large and beautiful pool plus a spa. The deck is very large and provides lots of room for sunning or entertaining.

Extra large pool and spa

Large grassy yard and white picket fence

This home has a limited view of the Atlantic Ocean which is a little more than a block away. Higgs Beach a five minute walk to the south. And Duval Street and all of the excitement is a five minute walk to the west. Louie's Backyard is perhaps two minutes away by foot. Key Westers can buy beach club memberships at the Casa Marina Resort which provides full use of all facilities including the gym, spa and also get discounts on food and beverages.

Casa Marina area is close to everything but far enough away not to be in the middle of it all. The streets are broad and quiet. The trees are tall and announce the sea breezes as they pass over the island. Homeowners can be anywhere they need to be within a few minutes foot, bicycle, scooter, or car.

Now that we know what 731 Waddell Avenue sold for, we might imagine that 727 Waddell Avenue could sell for about the same price. If you are looking for a large home in Key West and the size and amenities of 727 Waddell Avenue meet your requirements, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. I live in the Casa Marina area and love it. You are close to everything but located far enough away that you are not a part of it on a daily basis.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

1006 Southard Street - Old Town - Key West

Just listed (by a new Realtor and at a much better price) 1006 Southard Street, Old Town, Key West. This charming property was previously listed by an agent in my office at $869,000 in 2007. Today's new price is an incredible $599,000 or $504 per sq ft.

1006 Southard Street is a charming renovated cottage in the historic district. The cottage is secluded down a shady bricked walkway. There is a bedroom and bath downstairs and the master bedroom with ensuite bath is upstairs. French doors open from the bedroom, living room, and spacious vaulted kitchen to a decked swimming pool. This cottage home has lots of Dade County Pine and historic details, yet it has been modernized with a new roof, well-appointed kitchen and pretty baths.

The house is 1188 sq ft and sits on a 2833 sq ft lot. The house sits to the rear, not the front, of Southard Street. So you cannot see the house from the street. That adds additional privacy for the homeowner. You are a five minute walk to Duval Street or the Historic Key West Seaport. And you are a two minute walk to Five Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop where you can get your morning con leche, Michael's Restaurant where you can get your steak fix fixed, or Mangia-Mangia Restaurant to get your pasta fazooled. I'm a big fan of Five Brothers inexpensive fare, Michael's very expensive steaks, but I'll pass on Mangia Mangia. But that's me. Lots and lots of people like Mangia Mangia.

5 Brother's is half a block away

Mangia Mangia is one block west

Get your steak fixed here

CLICK HERE to details on this little charmer and more photos as well. Note the Dade County interiors, the open and eclectic feel that this house exudes, and the utter charm of the pool and garden. You won't be spending all of your vacation time tending to fixing things and working on the yard. There is something to be said and cherished about minimalism.

Season is just around the corner. If you are looking to buy a place in Key West where you can nurse your suntan in the winter, this kewl Key West cottage may be just what you are looking for. If you want to see it, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. It's not my listing, but I'll be glad to show you this place and others in the Old Town area so that you can see for yourself why I think this place will sell quickly at the new, lower asking price. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda - But Didn't !

Talk about mid-life crisis and the road not taken, how about the lost opportunities that people (buyers and sellers) regret day after day after day for years into the future. In a little town like Key West you can drive by that house you could have bought for a great price but didn't because you didn't like the seller, you didn't like the deal, you think you coulda bought the place cheaper, etcetera. As a seller you wish you wouldn't have been such an ass, that you had been more pragmatic, that you would have accepted an all cash offer with no strings attached instead of holding out to get more money which in fact you did not get. Life's lessons in real estate: woulda, coulda, shoulda, but didn't!

I've written this same theme before, but today's version is fresh. There are always life lessons in real estate. I want to share some recent sales about properties that I wrote about in this blog and which I thought might make a good home for a reader. (Just because I write about something does not mean I think it is a good deal. Sometimes I write about absolute crap and hope that you, the reader, can look at the property and see for yourself that crap is crap and just because it might have a high price does not turn it into something else. And just because some house is priced really cheap does not make it a bargain. If you have to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix something, maybe there is a reason no other Einstein bought the property.)

The new pricing paradigm in Key West real estate is tighter and much more realistic than in years past. Sellers who want or need to sell have generally reduced the asking prices to amounts that a knowledgeable ready, willing, and able buyer would be willing to spend. And the availability of cheap money provided at taxpayer expense is making purchase money very easy to obtain. Buyers who buying homes in Key West at this time are getting better price values and cheap financing. People who want to buy but who sit on the proverbial fence are missing out. These are the places you missed: (CLICK the blue hyperlink).

1415 Olivia Street Sold for $1032 per sq ft. That is pretty high. Very small getaway "house" on a good sized lot in The Meadows.

120 Angela Street This place is absolutely a fantastic deal. Great two bedroom, two bath condo with many upgraded features, top quality new construction, pool, parking and I think a good location. It is located in Bahama Village and too many buyers scoff at the idea of even looking there. This property was a short sale. The place sold for $363,000. You cannot buy this quality in Old Town for anything near this price. Smart buyer. Very smart.

711 Georgia Street This was a bank owned property. You will remember that someone removed the very fancy high end stainless steel kitchen appliances (kitchen cabinet pulls, hot water heater, toilet paper holder for Pete's sake). This is a lot of house in a very quiet Meadows location that sold for just $375,000.

1021 Fleming Street Another bank owned property located on one of the best blocks in Key West sold went under contract within a couple of days of being listed. This house has so much upside potential. It was listed for only$321,750 but sold for $400,000. I had a buyer. So did ten other Realtors. This place is like found money. There is an incredible upside potential on this house. Congratulations!

2309 Flageler Avenue the house I called The Glass House I normally don't go for modern houses or houses located on Flagler, but this place was so outstanding that I had to write about it. This beautiful home with exquisite garden sold for just $407,500.

915 Eisenhower Drive I wrote about the former home of Sally Rand several times. It was first offered as a market sale. Then it became a short sale. Finally, It was a bank owned property. I wrote an all cash offer for a cash buyer when it was a short sale. Time wore on the issues got very complicated. The mortgage lender went out of business and this property fell through the cracks so to speak. After a very lengthy time period a new lawyer finally got the property foreclosed and it became bank owned. I want to Congratulate the new owners who will be moving here soon. I represented them in this transaction and I am so happy they got this great old house at a fantastic price.

712 Southard Street This well located two bedroom two bath home with an incredibly beautiful pool and a great Old Town location was originally offered at $1.2 million. It sold at $635,000. (I had a cash buyer offer a lot more than that a year ago. They went on to buy a delightful home in Old Town.)

3632 Sunrise Drive This Sunrise Canal waterfront home was bank owned and is located a couple of doors to the east of Jimmy Buffett's former Key West estate. This property is huge and has a great waterfront presence. The place would be great as a permanent home for a large family or a getaway place for a buyer with lots of family and friends. I don't know who bought it, but the buyer got it for a great price of $750,000.

You shouldn't buy just because prices are cheaper and mortgage money is cheap. If you have been thinking of buying a place in Key West you ought to at least give the matter some serious consideration. Look for value in the property (present condition, location, long term appreciation potential). I've had a lot of regrets about properties I could have bought but didn't. I drive past them all the time. It doesn't get any better - ever.

If you are considering purchasing a place in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Don't end up being a woulda, coulda, shouda, but didn't.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

1104 Angela Street - Old Town - Key West

1104 Angela Street - Old Town - Key West - Pretty in Pink

One of the great things about living in a small historic town like Key West is the knowledge that more things change in life the more the houses tend to stay the same.

The Old Town area of Key West has been designated as a national historic district and houses in the district are supposed to be protected from changes that would significantly alter their street appearance. Now not everything stays perfectly the same. In recent years requests for change need to be approved by the Historic Architectural Review Commission (HARC) that is supposed to follow a set of guidelines that protects buildings from demolition or alterations that would change the character of the building in relation to its neighboring properties. But if we go back a few years and compare old houses that were updated before the HARC regulations went in place we may see a change or two on any given property.

The old house at 1104 Angela Street which has just been listed for sale, but not by me, is a good example of a simple Key West vernacular home that has stayed pretty much the same since it was built in 1933 - or maybe not. (The property records for Key West were lost in a major court house fired. During the Great Depression (the one before the one we are currently in) workers in the WPA reconstructed property records for Monroe County. Many of the houses had no actual documents that proved an actual construction date. So somebody decided to give all of those houses the date of 1933 as the date they were built. Let me just say that many of the neighboring houses were built in the late 1800's. Maybe this house was actually build in 1933. I doubt it.) Look at the Monroe Property Appraiser's photo below and compare it to the photo above and see if you notice any difference other than the house probably was not painted pink when the black and white photo was taken in 1965.

1104 Angela Street in 1965

The listing Realtor describes 1104 Angela Street this way:
"Picture perfect Key West cottage - picket fence, chicago bricked driveway, heated pool and lovely landscaped outdoor space for al fresco dining and entertaining. This two bedroom and two bath home has an open floor plan with new kitchen opening into a large living/dining room with vaulted ceiling and multiple sets of french doors to the pool area and bricked side yard. There is a spiral staircase to a sleeping loft which is included in the 1324 square feet of living space. Old Town Location is superb - Olivia Street between Frances and Ashe Streets."
This home has just about everything a second home buyer is looking for: two bedrooms plus two baths, a pool, off street parking, a good (and quiet!) location, a great price, and no work to be done. It is ready to move into so you can enjoy Key West's wonderful winter weather far from the freezing black ice in New Jersey (or wherever you live). This 1324 sq ft home which sits on a 43' x 63' (2709 sq ft) lot is price to sell sooner rather than later: $699,000. That is the key to selling Key West these days-smart pricing. CLICK HERE to checkout the mls listing datasheet and the accompanying photos.

CLICK MAP if you still can't place this old house. Then CLICK STREET VIEW for a view of the surrounding homes. Don't forget the scary Key West Cemetery is a block to the west. And the hoopla from Duval Street is several blocks away. Keep things in perspective and you will be content.

I remember when I would visit Key West searching for a place to buy. I would moan and groan at anything further than Margaret Street as being too far from Duval. Now that I actually live here I know for a fact that I hardly ever go to Duval even though my office is only 100' or so away. I go there when I need to but not because that is where people who live in Key West spend their waking hours. Duval Street is a destination or, for me, a point of reference. I mention time and distance to Duval for potential buyers to gauge the distance. That is all. If you are a homeless person or a street a peddler you might live your life on Duval. If you have a nice house in Old Town, you share your life with friends and family in your house or theirs. Duval Street is sometimes a place to meet, but not a place to live.

Neighborhood places near 1104 Angela Street include the Sunbeam Grocery on White Street where you can buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk, the Coffee Mill on Pohlankski Lane where you can do Yoga or dance, the Chevron Station on Truman at White where Wes will fix your car, Old Town Fitness at 1010 Truman Avenue where you can turn your fat to fit, and Cafe Sole on Frances Street where you can get fat again.

The Coffee Mill on Pohlanksi Lane is just a block away

Add VideoSunbeam Groceries & Deli is a block north on White
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Wes can fix your car at Truman & White Chevron

Cortney can make you lose weight or get buff at Old Town Fitness on Truman

Stop by Cafe Sole a block away on Frances and put the weight back on!

If you would like to see the house at 1104 Angela Street or any other property in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 or contact me by email at 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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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.