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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Windward Park - Key West - Short Sale

Just listed, but not by me, 606 Truman Street Unit No. 2 in the Windward Park townhome complex. If the address seems familiar, it is. I wrote about this same unit a little over a year ago when it had just been listed by another Realtor at a higher price but also as a short sale. Those two listings caused a big stir. Several other agents got a chance to see the 'other' unit but not No.2. I was told that the owner received several very good offers on both units. As I recall the owner did not accept any of the offers. Maybe this time an offer will get accepted.

Windward Park was developed in 1988 as a compound of 13 town homes featuring Bahamian style architecture. Most of the town homes have first and second story front porches that overlook the huge heated pool and beautifully landscaped grounds. Each unit has a designated off street parking space. Entrance to the property is controlled via security gate.

This is how the listing Realtor describes Unit No. 2:
" Located in the stunning Windward Park complex located one block from Duval Street. This 2 bedroom/2 Bath unit has cathedral ceilings and a wonderful open floor plan. A great buy for the discerning investor. This property is a potential short sale and will be subject to lender approval."

CLICK HERE to view the mls data sheet on this property which is listed as a short sale at $362,250 or $288 per sq ft. I don't know what the interior looks like since I was unable to see it when it was for sale last year. If I were to make a sight unseen offer on this place, I would assume the worst and hope for the best. By that I mean plan on new kitchen cabinets and appliances, new French doors, new flooring, complete interior and exterior paint job. And maybe replace the air conditioning. This unit is 22 years old and most properties that age in Key West need a periodic update. This unit does not have a transient license.

Each unit has two bedrooms and two baths, washer & dryer, private outdoor space, main level and a second floor porch. The floor plans, however, vary from unit to unit.

Windward Park is located one block from Duval Street so it is near all of the great galleries, restaurants, nightlife, and attractions. The neighbor next door to the east is St. Mary's Star of the Sea Catholic Church. In fact both bedrooms look onto the church lawn. This town home sits back quite a distance from Truman Avenue. It's very quiet. And it is conveniently located near to everything that second home owners want.

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. By the way, I had the last arm's length sale in this complex. That was in January 2009.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

6 Tern Lane - Geiger Key - Bank Owned

The new Bank Owned duplex located at 6 Tern Lane on Geiger Key is a property that may appeal to a select group of buyers who want direct water access at an affordable price. The property is located east of Key West at Mile Marker 10. CLICK MAP. While I have not yet seen this particular property, there are two things I know about the area. First, the Naval Air Station located there. That means houses in the vicinity will always be subject to the noise of jets. Second, there is a desolate nude beach up there someplace. If either offends your sensibilities, don't read any further. (Please don't send me emails asking how to find the beach because I don't know.)

The listing Realtor describes 6 Tern Lane this way:
"The main house features a 3 bedroom 1 bath unit upstairs and a 2 bedroom 2 bath unit downstairs. Waterfront duplex located just minutes from Key West, this property is nestled at the end of a small private road with a private pool and hot tub."
The agent that listed this house when it sold in Mach 2006 for $699,000 described it this way:
"Own your own Waterfront Tropical Retreat & Nature Preserve! Located just minutes from Key West, this property is nestled at the end of a small private road. The main house features a 3 bedroom 1 bath unit upstairs and a 2 bedroom 2 bath unit downstairs. New pool has a unique coral rock waterfall, adjoining jacuzzi and Tiki Hut. Grounds surrounding offer a lagoon, tropical gardens, walking paths and covered sitting areas. There is a small beach nearby. This is truly all the Keys offers wrapped up in one property!"
Some buyer will look at this isolated waterfront property and see Paradise

And some fisherman will look at this photo and call it Home

6 Tern Lane is a duplex with a total of 5 bedrooms, 3 baths situated in 2051 sq ft of living space on two levels. The lot is a whopping 16,672 sq ft. The house was built in 1968. County property records show a new roof was installed in 2001 and other improvements added after the last purchase. The asking price on this Bank Owned property is $291,900 or $145 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to checkout the current mls datasheet and to view the current mls photos submitted by the current listing Realtor.

Below you will see some photos I found that show how this same property looked in 2006. Please note that the old photos are just that: old photos of what a house and grounds and pool looked like a four years ago. Do not assume that the place looks nearly the same now. The photos are offered only to entice potential buyers to take a personal look at the property to see the current condition.

6 Tern Lane as it appeared in 2006

The pool at 6 Tern Lane as it appeared in 2006

The pool, spa, and grounds as they appeared at 6 Tern Lane in 2006

A place that has this much to offer at such a low price (by Key West standards) deserves a look by a potential purchaser that wants space, seclusion, a pool, water access, and an affordable price. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to arrange a showing. I am a buyer's agent at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc., and I would love to work with you to find your place in Paradise.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

903 Thomas Street - Key West - Back on the Market

903 Thomas Street Key West - Classic Eyebrow House

The outdoor living area at 903 Thomas Street overlooks the cool pool !

This is what I refer to as the Cool Pool !

Vaulted ceiling in the bright and cheery kitchen that overlooks the cool pool as well

As soon as you cross the threshold and enter the Eyebrow house at 903 Thomas Street, you know you have walked into a home that was restored with love and attention to detail. This is no cookie cutter, could be located anywhere house. This is a true Key West classic. This is how the listing Realtor describes this home:
"Charm and price make this exceptionally well renovated cottage in the heart of Old Town a best buy and a must see. With 3 bedrooms/2 baths plus den/office this classic eyebrow home is in a gated compound with three single family homes lushly landscaped with an outdoor shower, shared pool with waterfall, off street parking, all new plumbing, electric, and HVAC. This is the perfect investment or your personal tropical paradise not to be missed. Seller is licensed Florida Realtor - not listing agent."
This place is captivating. The owner did the restoration himself several years ago. But the place looks as fresh today as it did then. The house is laid out like many Key West houses with the bedrooms at the front and the living area at the rear overlooking the pool and garden area.

Downstairs there are two bedrooms on either side in front. The bedroom on the left has an armoire built into the wall. What a beautiful piece of furniture and an equally novel way to use it. This was an OMG for me. The bedroom on the right is bright and cheery. The center hall leads back towards the kitchen with a vaulted ceiling. Unfortunately, the photo I took of the kitchen does not show the height or equally clever use of space. Rats!!! Just to the left is a separate office area (not a bedroom) and the downstairs bath. The dining area and living room wrap around the kitchen which is open to the living room. But the real kicker is the covered outdoor room that overlooks the cool pool with its adjacent bar and grill area to the north. There is a private garden and outdoor shower area on the right side of the house. Since this is an eyebrow house, there is a second floor where the owner located the master bedroom and bath. Everywhere you look, outside, inside, first floor, second floor or just the stairway, you can tell that his home was lovingly restored and made better than before.

This house is technically a condominium because the pool and some of the rear area are owned in common with the two other cottages that are adjacently located. Each of those houses have their own separate private outdoor spaces as well. Here each homeowner maintains his/her own residence as in "fee simple" ownership. The common areas (including pool and deck) are maintained the the association. There are several similar type of condominium, townhome, and compounds in the Old Town area of Key West. 903 Thomas Street has its own private parking space.This just happens to be one very precious home that is oh so charming and that is now priced to sell. The new asking price is just $525,000.

903 Thomas Street is located two blocks from Duval Street and just one block west of the Ernest Hemingway House at 901 Whitehead Street. If you watch JEOPARDY, you would have known that address (Hemingway and Key West are frequent clues).) One block to the north you will find two competing eateries, Blue Heaven and La Creperie which is a new addition to the corner of Thomas and Petronia. La Creperie is so cute and the food is good. Santiago's Bodega is one block further west on Petronia. Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park and the coolest beach in Key West is a five minute bike ride.

CLICK HERE to view the mls listing information and to view 15 photos of this home. Better yet, 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. 903 Thomas Street is a lot of house for the money. You owe it to yourself to take a look - with me!

Monday, December 27, 2010

1800 Atlantic Condominium Unit C-333 - Key West

Looking for a good price on a nice unit at 1800 Atlantic Condominiums in Key West? Then consider Unit C-333 that is now offered at $300,000. (New price.) This unit is not bank owned nor is it a short sale, but this unit is the lowest priced unit available.

The listing Realtor describes Unit C-333 this way:
"Great price at one of the most desirable oceanfront condominium complexes just a few blocks from Old Town Key West. This 1347 square foot, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo is on the 3rd floor with a beautiful ocean view from a spacious balcony that spans the entire length of your unit. Enjoy all the fabulous amenities 1800 Atlantic has to offer including gorgeous landscaping by Raymond Jungles, beachfront pool and spa, tennis courts and more. Updated tile floors, bathroom and kitchen complete the package in this move in condition home. Call today because this is not a short sale and won't last long!"

CLICK HERE to checkout the mls datasheet and listing photos on this third floor unit that is located three units from the Atlantic Ocean.

1800 Atlantic Condominiums are located at the edge of the ocean. There is a private beach but most people prefer the huge pool and spa. The interior courtyard is a true hidden oasis. To some the exterior of the complex looks cold and foreboding, but the interior is lush and vibrant. The complex has tennis courts, covered parking and storage, and 24 hour security.

If you would like to see this unit before it is gone, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Open House - Sunday - Key West - 1502 Petronia Street

If you love the look of the old houses of Key West but you want all the bells and whistles of the 21st Century luxury home, drop by the Open House I am hosting on Sunday, December 26th from 12:00 to 3:00 at 1502 Petronia Street in The Meadows of Key West.

This home is the only two bedroom unit available, and it is a doozy! This home is located on the corner and it has a lot of privacy and great view from the second floor front porch where you can sit and watch the incredible Key West sunsets every night. Only One house sits across the street. That house takes up the entire block. See MAP below.

The house above isn't old at all. It was built brand new in 2007, and it has never been lived in. It is one of three properties that are owned by a local bank that are listed by Preferred Properties. All three properties are offered for sale at just $825,000. The other two homes are three bedrooms and they are located on Pine Street.

The home at 1502 Petronia Street has a luxurious feel you won't find in other homes in this price range. There is a reason for that. This place was meant to sell just under $2 million. The market has changed since the construction began on this home. But all of the amenities and features have not. Included in this home expect to find travertine marble floors on the main level and real hardwood floors on the second floor. Other features include custom kitchen with top of the line stainless steel appliances and custom cabinetry; beautiful crowned moldings and high baseboards; 11 foot ceilings in the living area and soaring ceiling in the master suite with turret and the most beautiful bathroom in Key West; private pool & spa, and carport. CLICK HERE to checkout the mls datasheet and to view more photos.

Please take 15 minutes out of your day and drop by to take a look at what you could be your dream home in Paradise. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you can get for your money in today's Key West real estate market.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Next Year Spend Christmas at South Park

812 South Street - Key West

Christmas is always wonderful in Key West. I went to Winn Dixie yesterday to buy some groceries, and the guys behind the meat counter were really nice. A department manager walked up to me and asked if he could help me. The cashier smiled and another lady bagger (not bag lady) came up to bag my groceries. She was really pleasant and wished me a Merry Christmas with a broad and genuine smile. After I signed the credit card chit I asked "Am I in the right place? Everybody is so nice today."

It is catchy in Key West. Many of the houses are decorated as are some bikes, scooters, cars and trucks. You will see Santa hats all over the place. It's Christmas in Key West. If you play your cards right, you might have a place here next year.

Just listed, but not by me, 812 South Street #4, a one bedroom condo at South Park. The listing Realtor describes the new listing this way:
"Lovely second floor unit at desirable Southpark Condos. 1BR/1BA with new kitchen, living room and wonderful deck overlooking the pool and gardens. This unit has hardwood floors, central AC/heat and new wiring. Southpark offers a large heated pool, storage and laundry facilities and assigned off street parking. A short 3 Blocks to Duval Street. Great Old Town Location !"
Assigned off street parking

There are only 16 units at Southpark condos and each has a designated off-street parking space. The four building complex has four units in each building with two units on the ground floor and two on the second floor (such as unit #4). The front garden is always superbly maintained. And the rear gardens and inviting pool are just too beautiful. (That photo is terrible. Maybe Santa will bring me a new camera.) Every time I show these units I can't wait until my buyers see the rear gardens and the pool.

My job is to sell real estate and not to put down other places that are for sale that are comparably priced because a buyer might want to buy there instead of here. As a buyer and a potential owner you ought to consider whether you want to own a place with a pool where you have a 150 or so fellow condo owners and tourists that can share the same pool and tanning space with you at any give time. South Park does not permit vacation rentals and there are no transient rentals-ever. The vignettes at poolside provide different places to sun or shade as you please. I sold a unit here earlier this year. When my buyers were walking by the pool they visited with residents and were immediately made welcome. It is that kind of place.

Private storage and washers & dryers located in cottage at rear

There is a cottage at the rear of the pool which houses individual storage lockers for each unit and there is a coin operated laundry for owners who do not have a washer and dryer in their own unit. (Unit #4 has its own washer and dryer.)

CLICK HERE to checkout the mls datasheet and to view listing photos of this unit. Better yet please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to arrange your own private showing. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Maybe this time next Christmas you will have your own little place in Paradise.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

625 Eaton Street - Old Town - Key West

625 Eaton Street - Key West - as it appeared in 1965

625 Eaton Street as it appears in 2010

I watched the renovation that took place last year place at 625 Eaton Street for several months. The old Grand Dame just kept getting prettier and prettier every day. The property was listed for sale in January 2010 for $929,000. The asking price has been reduced to $697,500.

The listing agent on this lovely piece of Key West history describes the home like this:
"Historic Beauty in the heart of Old Town Key West. This 1889 home was once owned and lived in by the famous artist Stephen Avila and just recently was renovated by the new owners that purchased this property from the Avila family. The Historic preservation award has been given to this Key West charmer. Huge porches and Dade county pine accent this 3 bedroom 3 bath gem. Footsteps to Duval and all of it's wonderful restaurants and galleries."
I have not been inside since the work has been done. But I showed the house several times when it was listed for sale two years ago. I wrote this about the house then "I was captivated by this property the very first time I stepped inside. The rooms just take you back to another time. The rooms are gracious in their simplicity."

The newly restored front porch (lower level)

625 Eaton Street is a 1734 sq ft gem with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and all new interiors finishes and mechanical systems. But the facade of the house is the pretty much the same today as it was when it was built in 1889 except the porch has been restored, the shutters replaced, and the exterior freshly painted. And a cocktail pool has been added as well. This home ought to appeal to the purists who want a true Key West classic house on the outside but who also want the niceties of modern living and a great Old Town location. CLICK HERE to review the mls datasheet and to view listing photos.

If you are looking for a single family home in Old Town with three bedrooms and three bathrooms that is priced under $700,000 you really ought to take a look at this house. Please consider calling me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or contact me at I am a Buyer's Agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Key West - Casa Marina Area - Development Parcel

X marks the location of 1426 Reynolds Street in this old time aerial photo post card

1426 Reynolds Street Key West

A week ago I wrote about my buyers who had made very reasonable cash offers on two different Casa Marina area properties whose owners rebuffed the offers like miserly Grinches. My buyers decided to buy a lot and build new instead. And that got me thinking that there may be other buyers out there that know what they want and who may be interested in building their own dream home in Key West.

The photo below shows the newly built pool and gardens at the house my buyers built to defy the Grinches. (The garden is just a couple of weeks old. I kid you not.) There are several building projects under way right now but not as many as I have previously seen. It made me think a new owner might be able to build a new house on the 1426 Reynolds Street lot for a good price in this market.

Key West has a lot of very positive things about it as a place to live: normally incredible weather (not this week), great people (mostly), a harmonious place to live (always). What we don't have is land to grow, to expand. The State of Florida has imposed rate of growth regulations on all of Monroe County and that includes Key West. Those regulations limit the number to actual new housing units. In addition to setting standards for new construction and renovation), our building code regulates the density of all construction (renovation as well as new). And we have a height limitation so you won't see Skyscrapers in Paradise. It ain't ever gonna happen.

We get new construction by re-using old land. Old land in Key West normally includes building rights (retained from a prior usage), sewer and water connections already in place at the site, and electric service. That means an owner who has a set of architect drawn building plans can move rather quickly to getting building approval. If the lot is located in Old Town, the Meadows, or some parts of the Casa Marina area, HARC approval will probably be required as well. Good architects normally get plans approved without a lot of trouble if they follow the rules. Innovative plans can also make it through the process. I never say 'always' and I always say 'never' because good architects and good real estate attorneys have a way of getting things done.

1426 Reynolds Street is located a little over two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean in the Casa Marina area of Key West. This corner lot property happens to be a really big and a very vacant lot. There used to be a house on the lot and that makes the lot 'buildable' since the City of Key West recognizes the right to build a new house at that location. (There were two individual lots with one house on each lot. Both houses were razed.) One building right (ROGO) is offered at the asking price of $1,150,000 for the consolidated larger lot. Or the lots and building rights can be purchased separately.

The listing Realtor describes 1426 Reynolds Street this way:
"A rare find. A large double lot in the highly desirable Casa Marina area, close to the beaches and Old Town. The price includes 1 ROGO and conceptual architectural drawings for a 4 bedroom conch style home. HARC approved. The lot is zoned for 2 homes; 2nd ROGO is available at additional cost."
Photo shows the lot as it fronts on Waddell Avenue across from the Casa Marina Resort

The Casa Marina Resort is located a block further to the south. The block in between has always been a buffer between the hotel and homes in the area. I found an old time photo that shows the that block as it appeared shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis in November, 1962 when President John F. Kennedy came to Key West to inspect the American military that had been positioned in Key West in preparation of military objectives the US might have pursued. I took the photo just underneath looking in the same general direction a today. The building on the right is now the Fitness Center CLICK TO VIEW for the resort. The remaining area is an enclosed parking lot for hotel guests. The entire block is landscaped and still acts as a buffer between the hotel and private homes.

November 1962

December 2010

The Atlantic Ocean is a little over two blocks directly south of the property. Higg's Beach is located there and there are public tennis courts opposite the beach. Monroe County maintains another beach adjacent to the East. This section of beaches is where the annual July 4th and New Year's Eve fireworks displays occur. Smather's Beach is about a mile east and it is maintained by the State of Florida. Government in action!

The lot at 1426 Reynolds Street itself is very large by Key West standards. The public records show the lot is 100' wide by 115' deep. The public records show the rear "alley" was vacated and now belongs to this building lot which makes the entire lot buildable (subject to building code). The County Property appraiser shows the lot square footage as 11,612.50 which is at variance with the lot measurements the same county appraiser shows. (Go figure.)

The Key West is ripe for buyers capable of making deals happen. In a couple of days lots of potential buyers will start to arrive in Key West looking for bargains. Building a new house is not an alternative that appeals to most potential buyers but for those who are open to the concept, it is an option worth exploring. CLICK HERE to review the 1426 Reynolds Street mls datasheet.

If you are thinking about buying a place 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.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

820 Windsor Lane - Old Town - Key West

Preferred Properties (that's where I work) just listed a charming little house at the corner of Windsor Lane & Poorhouse Lane in the Old Town area of Key West. But you won't be poor if you buy this house located at 820 Windsor Lane which is offered at just $479,000. The listing Realtor describes the property this way:
"A sweet conch home in the heart of old town, this property offers historic significance and a great floor plan from which one can make improvements. The guest bedroom and bath are downstairs while the master bedroom and half bath occupy the entire upstairs. Features include high ceilings, Dade co. Pine walls and floors, spacious rooms and an open kitchen with breakfast bar. A private deck and a bricked patio provide more outdoor living. This home has a lot of charm and is a rare find in old town."

In his book The Streets of Key West: a History through Street Names J. Willis Burke says Poorhouse Lane got its name because "a poorhouse was once tucked away there". I found another of those old photos that show how this property looked like in 1965. Poorhouse Lane is denoted by the unpainted vertical fence on the opposite side of the house. See the photo below. Now look at a similar photo I took in December 2010 looking in the same basic direction. With the overgrown trees and cars it is hard telling it is the same place. But it is.

820 Windsor Lane circa 1965 - Poorhouse Lane is denoted by the vertical unpainted fence

820 Windsor Lane as it appears in 2010 hidden behind the foliage

820 Windsor Lane is a two bedroom two bath home that sits on a good sized 40' x 50' lot just across the street from the Key West cemetery. St. Mary's Catholic Church is located two blocks to the south at the corner of Windsor Lane and Truman Avenue. Bill Butler Park is a short one block walk at the west end Poorhouse Lane. I must confess the City of Key West ought to spend more time and more money to maintain this potential gem.

The Historic Key West Seaport is a five or six minute walk to the north. I mention that not because a lot of potential buyers have boats or plan to go on fishing trips or sunset cruises, but because there are many great restaurants there. I love Harpoon Harry's for breakfast and a lot of friends are wild about the Half Shell Raw Bar.

You can walk to Duval Street in about five minutes. The fact is you can be just about any place in Key West within ten minutes by car. You can be most places in Old Town by foot or bike in about the same time. And it is that convenience that makes a location like 820 Windsor Lane so appealing.

I have not been inside this listing yet, so I can't offer any more than provide the mls link (below). But I can report that the house has lots of street appeal. I remember another cottage located a block north on Windsor Lane. For years I would drive by that house and potential buyers would ask questions about that place or tell me "Gary call me if that place ever comes on the market. I will buy it right away." That place eventually got sold (before it even went in the mls as I recall). It was redone, and now it looks absolutely beautiful. That house is shown immediately below. I think 820 Windsor Lane has equal charm which is lurking behind all that foliage.

CLICK HERE to checkout the Key West mls datasheet on 820 Windsor Lane and to view more photos of the inside and exterior.

Better yet please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of this cute Conch Cottage. 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.


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.