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Monday, June 28, 2010

Emma's Secret - 715 Emma Street # 4 - Key West

A second unit at the Emma Street compound was recently listed (but not by me) at a price I think is just tantalizing. The four unit compound was built in 2005 and each unit is slightly different but each unit has top of the line fixtures, amenities, and workmanship. I can't say that about a lot of properties in town. But this place is so fine that I invite would be buyers to call me to schedule a showing. Then we can do some comparison shopping so you can see for yourself how this place stacks up against similarly priced properties in all parts of Key West.

The listing broker describes this property this way:
"Stylish 3BD, 2.5BA condominium situated in a secured and private courtyard setting. Just blocks from Duval St & built as the owners unit 1995, it is in beautiful shape. Fine craftsman ship & materials throughout include Brazilian hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, granite counters, sub-zero refrigerator, Viking stainless gas stove and Bosch dishwasher & compactor. Lounge by the designer pool with waterfall surrounded by a tumbled brick patio. Enjoy the luxuries of modern construction with GE smart wiring, Hardiboard siding, , assigned off-street parking and storm shutters. Walk to local attraction, restaurants and shops. Just four units in the development."
The gated entry to the complex lets you know you have arrived someplace special and secretive. You can catch a glimpse of the water wall at the end of the property. But when the gate opens and your eyes travel down the bricked entry past the pool and finally view the water wall that looks like an ever changing mirror of water cascading down into a pool. A small courtyard separates the units and provides some shared and private spaces for each property owner.

This home is located at the far rear on the south side. It gets morning light which breaks into the kitchen and living room. All rooms have beautiful crown molding, rich real wood floors, and designer light fixtures. The kitchen is just gorgeous. You will not find a prettier kitchen for this price in this town. Period.

The third bedroom the listing broker refers to opens directly onto the kitchen so it can do double duty as a guest room, office, or a third bedroom if required. This bedroom has an entrance onto its own private rear porch. The two bedrooms upstairs have vaulted ceilings and separate ensuite baths. There is a beautiful stairway between the two floors that has a window that illuminates the stairway and provides a glimpse of the pool below. I don't recall having ever seen such a beautiful staircase in any home at this price point.

715 Emma Street Unit #4 is offered at only $459,000 or $408 per sq ft. This is not a short sale. This property was built and retained by the original developer. CLICK HERE to checkout the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos on this property.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 or send me an email at if you would like to schedule a showing on this really cute property. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Psst! Can you keep a secret? I have more photos I will share with serious buyers.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

728 Windsor Lane - Key West - Price Reduction

728 Windsor Lane in 2010

728 Windsor Lane in 1965

I think the little cottage at 728 Windsor Lane is one of the best buys in Old Town Key West. The seller just reduced the asking price from $260,,000 to $229,900. This house is still livable as is for a few years, but it really needs a redo. When I show a house like this I tell my buyers not to consider what it looks like now on the inside or the outside because when to redo is done, you won't be able to recognize the place. The good thing about a redo like this is that you don't have to worry about small rooms or inefficient layouts or lack of closets. All of those ills should be fixed in the renovation.

The house currently has two bedrooms, one bath, a living room and dining room, a small kitchen and separate laundry area accessed from the rear deck. The listing agent says the house has 654 sq ft of space under roof and it sits on a 1279 sq ft 1/2 block from the top of Solares Hill, the highest point on the Island of Key West and one block from the tippy top of Solares Hill. MAP. Many of the other properties on this block are of similar size. Many of those have been renovated. Most share the common dilemma this house faces: small building, small lot, no off street parking. Those three factors and the high cost of renovation in Key West have scared away many potential buyers from a place like this. I understand this but I think I have a somewhat good alternative on how to approach this property.

The red X marks the location of 728 Windsor Lane on Solares Hill in Key West

Key West Cemetery

Top of Solares Hill is one block to the west

Small neighborhood park is just around the corner at the end of William Street

Americans have gotten spoiled into requiring big rooms and grand spaces. Even when buyers are seeking bargain properties, most want to make something bigger and better out of what exists. Well, sometimes you can't get everything you want. Sometimes you must accept a little less to get most of what you want. I spoke to one contractor who looked at this house as a possible renovation project for a buyer. That buyer wanted so reconfigure the existing house and add a partial second floor at the rear. That buyer decided not to do the project because he couldn't make the house grow big enough.

The Key West Historic Architectural Review Commission (HARC) and the Planning Department for the City of Key West must approve such projects. All kinds of rules, building code requirements, and density restrictions must go into approving projects like this. A small house like this can take as much time to move through the bureaucratic jungle as a big project and some decide that the small house does not justify the investment of so much time and money if the end result is still just a small cottage.

What is wrong with a small cottage? Why does someone have to mess with something so quaint? Why not do something a little less daring and probably more certain of getting approval?

I'm not a designer or contractor but I came up with a plausible plan to renovate this house in such a way as to keep the historic facade intact but that would allow a new owner to totally redo the inside to create new living spaces that meet today's lifestyle.

My idea is to remove all existing interior walls, doors, and windows. Repair the foundation as necessary and reconfigure the house with a large bedroom with ensuite bath at the front. Create a new side entrance on the west side of the house with entry into the new living-dining-kitchen areas at the rear. A door off the kitchen would permit guests to use the bath without going into the bedroom area. The existing structure is a double sawtooth with an addition at the rear. I would remove the existing ceilings and create new vaulted ceilings throughout. New French doors would be added to the rear of the house that would open onto the rear deck and pool. I have seen similarly sized and styled homes have been renovated in similar fashion. Local contractors have done lots of houses like this. I cannot say everything I suggest will work or would get approved by HARC or the city planning department. And I cannot guarantee the price of the work. But this only a 650 sq ft property. I just have difficulty believing construction could go beyond $150,000.

Notice the double sawtooth roof
If a buyer purchased this property at the asking price and put $150,000 into it, that buyer would have a virtually "new" cottage style home in a great Old Town Key West location for about $380,000 or $581 per sq ft. What the buyer would not have is off street parking. But a lot of Old Town owners do not have it either. And the new owner would not have a guest room for all of his or her family and friends. I bet that it would be cheaper for a buyer to put his freeloading family and friends up at the Eden House on Fleming Street every year than it would be to add a second floor guest bedroom.

728 Windsor Lane is not a big house for starters, and you can't grow the house much larger. But you could immensely improve the structure and the space. The location is great. There is a neighborhood grocery 1/2 block away. Duval Street is three blocks to the west and the Historic Seaport is five blocks to the north. You could walk to just about any spot in Old Town in about ten minutes or less.

CLICK HERE to see the listing info sheet on this property. This property is rented and advance showing notice of at least 24 hours is required. 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. in Key West, Florida.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Young at Heart in Key West

Fairy tales, can come true,
it can happen to you,
if you're young at heart.

If you are gay and gray...
And if you,
should survive,
to one hundred and five,
look at all, you'll derive,
out of being alive!

And here is the best part,
You can live the rest of your life,
in comfort not strife,
in a place in Key West,
where you can build your last nest.

CLICK HERE to watch a quick news video about where old gay men and women are moving. Well, maybe not "old" because nobody is old anymore. They are just seasoned with salt and pepper hair (if they are lucky enough to have hair). The point of the video is that aging gay people need to think and plan where they will spend the rest of their lives.

A while back a gay Realtor friend and I were talking about all the cute gay boys in Key West. (A gay boy can be a guy in his 30s, dear reader.) He said all boys are cute when they are young. And for the most part they are. Age, life, strife, bad boy friends, bad girlfriends, bosses, too much food, too many drugs, too much booze, too many cigarettes, etc. can wreak havoc on what was once a cute boy. But just living life changes the way we all look and over time makes us less attractive than we once were, whether we are straight or gay. The point being: what sustains you after your youthful appeal is gone? Who will you turn to when your sixty four? Maybe the answer is not who you turn to but rather where do you live? Where will you feel comfortable in your declining years?

In the last twenty years it became almost okay to be gay in many cosmopolitan areas of America. That is not necessarily true for what I'll call the 'red states'. In those areas gay people need the approval of the rest of society to even be tolerated. There are still those who think gays are sinners that need salvation.

Every year across America (and now the world) when we have gay pride parades where the drag queens, muscle boys, leather men, and Polo boys come out to march in unison as family. God made florists, interior designers, hair stylists, and boys that march in parades and ride on floats so the rest of us can appreciate the finer things in life.

The thing is that for many gay people it is the gay community that is the closest thing many of these single, older people have to family. In Key West we call it One Human Family.

Gays that are approaching, are at, or are past retirement age need to consider where they are going to spend their final years. Think about it. Where do old drag queens end up. Or old leather muscle gods that are no longer gods and certainly look foolish in leather. What nursing home or assisted living facility welcomes queenie old men? Who will these people dine with on a daily basis? Will they be welcomed, tolerated, or scorned?

Key West does not have any gay retirement housing that I am aware of. But the community of Key West does not have anti-gay bias. This is a place where it really is okay to be gay. If you are a straight reader I question whether you can appreciate how wonderful it is not to have to conceal who you really are when you are at work or at a function. When I was in business up north in America I did not lie about my life. I just did not share it with others. That is not right. But so many gay people have to do that-even now, in the enlightened years. The military may be ending the don't ask, don't tell policy, but it still exists in much of American life. Keep your personal life a secret to get by. Don't wear costumes and march in parades to let your co-workers or neighbors know that you prefer the company of men (or women if you are a lesbian). Is that any way to live? Is that they way you want to spend the rest of your life?

I learned so much about acceptance after I moved here. I saw a town and people that really did not care about the fact that I was gay. The cashier at Faustos on White does not care. The cook behind the deli case at Dion's (where you can get the best friend chicken in Key West) doesn't care. Wes at Truman and White Chevron doesn't care. He wants to fix your car. The guys at Strunk Ace Hardware do not care. The contractors and landscapers that want your business do not care. They want your money! All of these people live their own lives and mind their own business. There are a few exceptions like the guy with the guy with the FAGS DOOM NATIONS sign below. But I have not experienced any negativity in the years I have been here.

CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database. If you are gay and should survive to one hundred and five (or even seventy five), consider Key West as the place to spend the rest of your life in comfort and not stress, where you can build that final nest. My name is Gary Thomas and I am a Gay Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida, where it is okay to be gay. Please consider contacting me to help you make your fairy tale dream of living the rest of your life in Key West come true. And here is the best part, it can happen to you.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

1115 South Street - Casa Marina Area - Key West

I have written about 1115 South Street a few times. I have shown this house several times. It has not sold. I think this is a very nice house in a very good Casa Marina location. I think the new asking price of $790,000 makes this house worthy of a second look by potential buyers that looked at it when it was priced as high as $1,285,000 and also makes it worthy of a first look by new buyers.

Let's start with the location. 1115 South Street is located in the Casa Marina area of Key West. Click the MAP to get a sense of why I think this location is so great. You come to Key West to enjoy the outdoors. We are on a little island at the end of the road. It takes time to get here. So not everyone comes here. Plenty of "boat people" as I call them get off the cruise ships and take Conch Train rides or rent scooters or bikes to do a Gilligan three hour tour of Key West only to get back on the big boat and head elsewhere.

People that stay a little longer in Key West learn to love the island for its simple beauty. I went down to Higgs Beach this morning to take some photos for you. Of course the memory card on my camera maxed out so I didn't do what I planned. 1115 South Street is a five minute or five block bike ride from the beach. You can do as I did this morning and go down there and watch the beach sweeper manicure the sand for today's beach goers. Later in the day the volleyball players will show up and their sweaty muscles will glisten as they strain to smash the other side. Others will either rent a chair or bring their own from home and find a place to work on that Key West tan. Some regulars have skin that looks like leather. Newbies pale by comparison. But they all enjoy the day in the sun as they watch nothing much happen. You might go over to Salute on the Beach and have a cheap but really good meal. Try the anti pasta platter. You can't beat the price and the food is great. The views are free. Or take a picnic lunch. If you lived in Key West, you could do that daily.

1115 South Street has been on the market for quite a while. It was listed in later 2008 at $1,285,000 and the price was periodically reduced to the current $790,000 or $420 per sq ft. The 1881 sq ft two story home has two bedrooms and two baths. The downstairs is just great. You enter off a great bricked front entry into a great room with very tall ceilings. The place has a feeling of real importance. The rear half of the main floor is the kitchen and dining area. This house has got to appeal to foodies that want to create the ultimate meal day after day in the chef's kitchen. There is a side deck where you grill and dine al fresco. But the pool area at the rear is just so damned beautiful. (I didn't take any pics of my own. Let's go visit so you can see for yourself.) A full bath is also (and I must add oddly) located downstairs.

Upstairs there are two bedrooms. The master is not overly large nor impressive. But it is not bad. It is just a bedroom. The second bedroom is oddly shaped and it shares the second floor bath with the master or uses the downstairs bathroom. The current bed and bath configuration are odd. But for the price and location, I think a smart buyer will snap this place up and hire a talented architect and builder and come up with a different way of utilizing the extra large and unused second floor attic space over the kitchen living area. There is plenty of room to correct the ill conceived present configuration. The new pricing makes a renovation affordable. When you see that pool and see the downstairs you will immediately understand why I like this house at this price.

Potential buyers need to understand that most of the homes in the Casa Marina area are priced much higher. There are few homes available in the Casa Marina area for sale at the moment. The house at 1115 South Street has so much to offer at a very good price. If the house were perfect, the house would cost more. Buy it, fix it, and make out like a bandit.

CLICK HERE to view the mls listing information and to view more interior and pool views of 1115 South Street. 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. in Key West, Florida. If you lived in Key West you could go over to Higgs Beach every morning to watch the sunrise on a new day in Paradise. Whereas if you live in New Jersey you can't. Life is full of choices.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Family Home - 201 Virginia Street - Key West

The really big and nicely appointed family home at 201 Virginia Street in the Bahama Village area of Key West is offered as a short sale at the asking price of $699,000. I showed it shortly after it was listed in January 2008 at the then asking price of $1,149,000. It was obvious then that thee asking price was too high given the declining market and the fact that this home is located across the street from public housing. The price has been steadily reduced to the current amount. The property has been under contract twice and, obviously, neither deal closed. The listing agent notes that "Update:Short Sale Approved at $600,000". Some agents do not reduce asking prices to reflect approved short sale prices acceptable to lenders. Doing so often invites future and seemingly endless short sale approval drama. If you were to purchase this home at $600,000 the sold price per sq ft would be $267 and that is very low for any house in Key West, let alone a recently built house with all the features in this one.

I showed this same property a few weeks ago. The inside is the same. The outside is looking a little worn. The paint job is starting to show that the painter may not have been a professional. I took the blog photos this morning. The fence looks especially bad. But if a poor exterior paint job and location near public housing bother you, do not read on. If on the other hand you are looking for a big family home with lots of really nice features, continue to the next paragraph.

This 2250 sq ft 3 bedroom, 3 bath home has big rooms, tall ceilings, superior finishes and other features you will not find in a house for the same asking price in Key West. The corner lot is even large: 3737 sq ft (43' x 87'). The bonus to this home is the third floor eagle's nest which is the access to the widow's walk where you can see the Atlantic Ocean just a couple of blocks away. This widow's walk is the perfect place to mark and photograph the Truman Annex redevelopment project.

Downstairs you will find an extra large great room which combines living and dining areas with the kitchen located at the rear. French doors open from there onto the covered back porch that overlook the pool. A full bedroom and bath are also on the first floor. Two master suites with very large bathrooms are on the second floor. You won't see any of the sibling fighting over who gets the bigger bedroom because all of the bedrooms are made for real sized people. Note the rear second floor covered porch CLICK HERE.

The listing Realtor describes 201 Virginia Street this way:
"Incredible value awaits the smart buyer for this recently built quality home. Top of the line finishes are used throughout including stone and wood floors, granite countertops in the kitchen and baths and wind impact windows and doors. The home has an up to date floorplan with an open living/dining and kitchen opening to a covered porch and stunning pool with water feature. Also on the main level is a guest bedroom and bath. Upstairs are two oversized master suites both with walk-in closet, and bath with separate tub and shower. One of the master suites includes a large loft area with stairs to a rooftop widows walk with spectacular panoramic views of Key West and the waterfront."

CLICK HERE to see the listing information and listing photos of 201 Virginia Street. Better yet, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 to schedule a showing of this very nice family home that is priced to sell. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Friday, June 18, 2010

316 Peacon Lane - Old Town - Key West

Just listed by Preferred Properties 316 Peacon Lane near the Historic Key West Seaport in Old Town Key West. If you read my blog regularly you already know that I'm like Lady Ga Ga about the slow lanes of Key West. Peacon Lane is one of the more user friendly of the lanes because you can actually drive a car into and out of the lane. (Some lanes require that you park your car on the street and walk to your house. I like those really slow and quiet lanes, but some owners have this need to be near to their cars.) Click the MAP to see the location of Peacon Lane. It's easy to miss if you are not looking for it. As a result most tourists miss it and don't drive that live on Peacon Lane residents to distraction with senselessly beeping scooter horns.

The listing Realtor describes this Peacon Lane home this way:
"Elegantly renovated two story Historic home on one of the most desirable Key West Old Town Lanes just 2 blocks from the Seaport. All Dade County walls and floors were painstakingly removed sanded and hand finished. On the first level you have one ensuite bedroom, grand kitchen, dinning and living room lined with French doors leading to a great backyard and cocktail pool. On the second level you are greeted by another guest ensuite bedroom, laundry area, and a large master suite with vaulted ceilings and a small terrace. Room for one off street parking and many scooters."
I showed this new listing and was immediately taken by the clean lines of the entire house. The Dade County Pine restoration makes this place look new unlike so many old Key West homes. For the buyer who wants the look of old and comfort of old but also wants a new house without the faults of an old place that needs lots of work, this may be the place you have been looking for. The hard work has been done and done correctly. Bring your decorator or channel your inner HGTV Design Star and finish this home off the way it reflects your tastes. Instead of spending months overseeing carpenters and painters, you can oversee your boat located a short two blocks away at the Conch Harbor Marina.

The Key West Historic Seaport area has some of the great restaurants in Key West and all are within a very short walk of 316 Peacon Lane. One of my favorite restaurants is the A&B Lobster House which is a two block walk. There you can sit outside at waters edge and get a great seafood dinner as you watch the yachts bobbing in the water as night descends on Key West. Less expensive but very tasty and and Key West to the extreme are the nearby Turtle Kraals and the Half Shell Raw Bar. Pepe's is on Caroline but the wait is forever. My favorite diner food in Key West is always served fresh at Harpoon Harry's. (You really should try it. But if you live in Key West, you already know it's a great place to eat good food at an affordable price.) And B.J.'s Fish Wagon is on still on Caroline where you can dine next to the parking lot.

Fast Buck Freddie's Home furnishing store and Half Buck Freddie's Bargain store are located on Caroline Street. Also on Caroline Street is Key West Accents where you can find some very nice objects and furnishings for your new home on Peacon Lane. The entire area around the Seaport is always abuzz. Tourists come and go all the time to take to the sea or go shopping or dining. Some end up at the Schooner Warf Bar-that's the place where the big dogs hang (as well as a lot of locals). Others end up over at Dante's where they can tan and party like it's still college.

If you lived at 316 Peacon Lane you'd hardly know about all of the nearby hubbub because the house is so insulated by the location. CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE, and CLICK HERE to few of the nearby houses on Peacon Lane. It doesn't any more charming than this. Imagine sitting on your front porch having coffee and watching nothing happen. In Key West!

Click my TWITTER and view more photos of this beautiful Key West home. Learn more about this lovely Key West home by CLICKING HERE to review the mls data sheet and see more photos. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing on 316 Peacon Lane which is offered for sale at $999,000. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. Our office is the Exclusive Lower Keys Affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

511 Frances Street - Short Sale - Key West

511 Frances Street has been on the market since October 2009. The original asking price was $1,649,000. The price was reduced several times. Now the property is offered as a Short Sale at the asking price of $1,295,000 or $762 per sq ft.

I showed this house last week and was again impressed with the great location and the way the front invites you inside the home and how the pool area at the rear immediately summons you to the outside. This house has lots of street appeal but it is the pool area that has that Key West I Wanna Live Here! appeal.

Click the MAP to find the location of 511 Frances Street. The 500 and 600 blocks of Frances have some of the most expensive and most photographed homes in Key West. The location is still within an easy walking distance to all of the attractions of Old Town but it is far removed from the zaniness. Maybe that it is why this location attracts buyers with money. You will note that 511 Frances Street abuts Curry Lane (one of the prettier little lanes in Old Town).

Almost every stick of wood in this home is new as of the "renovation" in 1983. Only a few pieces of wood from the original structure remain. A new master bed and bath addition was added a few years ago. The interiors come off a bit sterile to me and I think some fairy dust is in order. But there is plenty of space (some 1700 sq ft of interior living space) to spruce up. The house has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. The living room is huge and it has three sets of French doors that open onto that incredible pool and deck area. There is already a covered outdoor dining area that overlooks the pool. And there is the cutest little fly fish hook tying cabin at the rear of the property. (Or whatever you want to use it for.)

The rear deck and pool is the star of this house. Too bad I don't have any pics that I took.

The listing Realtor artfully describes 511 Frances this way:
"Built in 1983 is a true replica of a Key West old town home with the luxuries of today located on one of the very best blocks in Old Town. There are three large bedrooms separate from one another with unique style bathrooms, his and hers offices off the living room, and an a separate artist studio off the pool. There is a wonderful serene outdoor covered dining space for those large dinner parties surrounded by lush landscaping and gentle lighting. The interior has pine walls with painted maghony molding, and vaulted ceilings Located two blocks from the Seaport. Off Street Parking."
CLICK HERE to checkout the mls listing information and to view more photos of this lovely home. Better yet, call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to arrange a showing of this property. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. This property is a listing of our office but not my listing. This house needs a buyer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1217 Petronia Street - Short Sale - Key West

This listing Realtor describes the charming home at 1217 Petronia Street this way:
"This beautifully renovated two bedroom Classic Conch home is located in The Meadows of Key West. The main living area features a cathedral ceiling, hardwood floors and a spiral staircase that leads you to a large sleeping loft with room for an office or sitting area. The very private yard includes a wraparound deck, heated pool and a separate pool cabana. This is a potential short sale transaction subject to lender approval. Owner is a licensed Florida Real Estate Salesperson."
This home 1507 sq ft home has two official bedrooms (downstairs at front of house), the second floor loft (quiet large), and the pool house which could be used as a guest bedroom and 2 1/2 baths. This home could function as a full time family home with room for the grown-ups and kids or as a great getaway house for buyers who want a place where they can relax with their friends and family. The main living area is at the rear half of the house where French doors open onto the covered patio. The pool and pool house lure the people on the inside to come outside.

This property was renovated in 1999. I'm not a builder or home inspector but the workmanship looked pretty thorough to me. The front of the house is very Key Westy cute but it is the pool area that really awes the viewer. This property is a short sale. It has been under contract twice before and unfortunate events prevented the first buyer from completing the purchase. A second buyer decided he could not wait for the lender to move as quickly as the buyer wanted. So now this property is back on the market.This is a lot of house for the asking price of $575,000 or $382 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to review the mls data sheet and to view photos supplied by the listing agent.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or email me at for more information. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Plight of the Living Dead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.