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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Gardenia House - 906 Georgia Street - The Meadows - Key West

Sometimes we overlook the obvious. We forget to notice simple things that make our lives richer and more meaningful. I drive by certain locations on a near daily basis and see other places weekly or monthly. If I see construction I usually take notice of a property, but otherwise I let houses pass through my mind as I maneuver the streets of Key West going from place to place. Yesterday, I had to stop and take notice of a place I passed so often that I failed to see (or smell) the beauty that I shall call The Gardenia House.

This property is located at 906 Georgia Street in The Meadows area of Old Town Key West. CLICK HERE for a Google Map aerial view of the location. Use the Google toggle switch to zoom in and out and also see a street view of the area. Georgia Street at this location is extra wide for some reason. Olivia Street to the north is a one way street as are all of the east and west streets in this area of town. The house is located a block north of Bayview Park so you can go walk the dog, play tennis, read a book, or participate in some community activity on a daily or as required basis. There are several gyms, Cuban sandwich shops, art galleries, and assorted shops located nearby. But this location itself is very quiet and unassuming. That is until you stop to smell the fragrant gardenia that welcomes you home.

906 Georgia Street as it appeared in 1965

The white picket fence and artfully decorated yard set off the simple architecture of the arts and crafts style bungalow. That architecture is typical of a good portion of The Meadows area which does have other more traditional Conch style houses as well. While many potential buyers love the the architecture of two story Conch houses, the reality of growing older and having to climb staircases all day long wears thin. All of this 1746 sq ft house is located on one level. No stairs.

When you pass through the front door you enter the large and very inviting great room that spans the living and dining areas into the chef's kitchen. The room has lots of windows so the interior has many view of the beautiful grounds on the outside. This place has so much cheer and beauty it is hard to imagine not liking it.

See what I mean?

Three bedrooms and three very atypical bathrooms are located on the south side of the house. One bedroom at the front could alternatively be used as an office or study. The master bedroom with en-suite bath is adjacent to the living area while the third bedroom is located in the recent addition to the south. (It has it's own private entrance which allows guests to come and go at will.) The pool area is at the rear where the skies are large and create a wonderful background to contemplate life.

The front bedroom (or den or study) has an adjacent bath

Master bedroom has an en-suite bath

The cottage bed and bath are pure genius

The listing Realtor describes 906 Georgia Street this way:
"The Gardenia House, built in 1936, is a 3 bedroom, 3 bath historic home located in the Meadows neighborhood of Old Town. It is a classic home filled with Dade County Pine and loads of light streaming in through many windows to the large open living and dining area with professional kitchen. There are 2 bedrooms with baths ensuite adjacent to the living area. The newest addition contains the third bedroom and bath and separate entrance. The private backyard has a large deck with heated pool complete with bench seating, spa jets and a water feature. The front porch is perfect to watch the world go by. The home is set back from the street on a large corner lot surrounded by tropical gardens with fruit and flowering trees and shrubs."
CLICK HERE to checkout the Key West mls database on this property and to view more listing photos. This property is offered for sale at $995,000. I really think this house will appeal to buyers in my generation that want peace and quiet and lots of really nice living space on one level. There is room for the kids and grandkids and space for the dogs to lounge in Paradise.

If you want to see The Gardenia House please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305.766.2642 or contact me by email at I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Imagine yourself sitting on the front porch watching nothing important happen for the rest of your life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

550 Porter Lane - Presidents Lane Townhomes - Bank Owned - Key West

This new Bank Owned listing will likely go under contract in a New York minute because of the location, price, and value that this baby offers to potential second home buyers. The listing agent's mls description tells all:
"BANK-OWNED Presidents Lane 2/2.5 Townhouse with covered parking. Steps away from Duval Street and Old Town Key West shops and restaurants. This property comes furnished"
This is how the same unit was described (and photos taken) in 2007 was listed at a much higher price by a different agent:
"As you enter this lovely town home you are greeted with the view of a comfortable and inviting vacation home. Features include a phantom screen door for the front door, colorful custom kitchen countertops, and newer appliances, tile floors on the first level, solid oak stairs and oak flooring on the second level. A new awning has been added at second floor rear balcony. This homes comes fully furnished ready to be rented if desired. A covered assigned parking with extra storage is included."
(Photos from 2007 mls listing and are not current!)
I have written about Presidents Lane Townhomes before as it has recently had several units go on the market. Even though each unit is very much alike as far as size and room configuration, each is different as to location, decoration, owner motivation to sell. That is why I think Unit 550 Porter Lane will sell so quickly-it is priced to sell now at just $470,900. There may even be a bidding competition to get this unit. The mls datasheet does not show that this unit has a transient license; however, the 2007 mls datasheet showed that it had one at that time. CLICK HERE to see the Key West mls datasheet on this property.

The amenities at Presidents Lane include nearby covered off street parking and a beautiful pool plus the beautifully maintained grounds of the Truman Annex and security. Frequent visitors know that Truman Annex enjoys a great location near Duval Street, Mallory Square, and quick access to Fort Zachary Taylor Beach and state park.

The Presidents Lane Pool - Unit 550 is located nearby

Unit 550 has a covered parking space - not all units do

Presidents Lane starts just behind the single family homes on Front Street in Truman Annex

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and Beach - a five minute walk from home

He who waits to listen to the paint peel will not get this bargain priced bank owned unit. If you want to buy this place, you need to act sooner rather than later. Please contact me, Gary Thomas, at 305-766-2642. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.

Monday, March 28, 2011

1004 Packer Street - Short Sale - Key West


I remember showing 1004 Packer Street (the three photos above) even before the paint was dry-literally. The Key West mls records show that this place sold in just 13 days on the market in July 2003 at the price of $640,000. This home was one of several new homes built in a small compound of charming houses built at that time. Two homes in the same development sold in the past two years - 1006 Packer with no pool sold at $500,000 in 2009 and the second at 1010 Packer with large pool sold in 2009 at $729,000.

I showed 1004 Packer Street in 2008 to a couple from the midwest when it was then offered at $799,000. There were two big dogs living in the house at that time. I love dogs but they ruled that house. My buyers liked the house and layout, but when we walked out the front door the gent said something like "Gary, this will never do." He pointed his finger at the parking lot across the street. It wasn't so much the lot that bothered him, but the business there: an adult bookstore. Since then I have made a point of telling potential buyers about the location. There is no sense in getting excited about a house if the location will not work. Key West has lots of places with difficult locations. Sometimes there are really great houses located next to or very near problem properties. That means great houses go unsold, get sold at a discount, or get sold to buyers who buy the value of the house and disregard the neighbor because they like the property more than they dislike the neighbor.

Today 1004 Packer Street is the offered for sale as a short sale at the asking price of $500,000. The listing agent describes the listing thus:
"Old Town home built in 2002 is a bright and sunny home 2 bedrooms, 3 full baths, crown molding, bricked off street parking and hurricane shutters. The 1st floor has rosewood floors and an open floor plan, great for entertaining. The large kitchen has granite counters with a breakfast bar and plenty of cabinets. French doors open to the private deck with pool and spa. 2nd floor has 2 bedrooms, both en suite, one with spa tub and soaring cathedral ceilings. 1600 plus square feet of living space with very generous rooms. This is a potential short sale transaction subject to lender approval. There are no appliances and photos are from previous listing."
The pool in better days

I showed 1004 Packer Street this weekend. It did not work for my buyers. They could see the scratched floors, dirty walls, and missing appliances. We did not bother going outside to look at the neglected pool with months of palm fronds lining the deck. This place did not work for them. But it could just as easily work for a buyer that likes the idea of buying an eight year old house with a big living area, a private pool and off street parking. So what if it needs painted and new appliances need to be purchased purchased. Most buyers paint over the previous owner's bad taste and smells anyway. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls database and more photos of the house as it previously looked. Just below you can see some photos I took this weekend of the house and the neighbors.

1004 Packer Street is visible at the right rear

This is "the" view from front gate at 1004 Packer Street

The kitchen is missing appliances and needs painted

Living room and dining area need painted
Neighbors across street

Let there be no mistake about today's blog: I think this house could be a very good buy for a purchaser who wants a newer house with modern building concepts, off street parking, a private pool, and who does not mind the quirky Key West neighborhood. I also think this location might work very well as a vacation rental. The location is a quick walk to Duval Street and the Arts District. If this fits your buyer profile, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to arrange a showing. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

901 Thomas Street - Old Town - Key West

If you are looking for a really cute Key West cottage with a pool and off street parking just a couple of blocks from Duval Street, the new listing at 901 Thomas Street may be the home of your dreams.

The listing Realtor describes 901 Thomas Street this way:
"Immaculate renovated one level cottage in the heart of Old Town in a lushly landscaped compound of three single family homes. 3 bedrooms 1 1/2 baths, shared pool with waterfall, outdoor shower and off street parking make this tropical paradise the perfect setting for a second home getaway or investment."

The home is part of a three home compound created about a decade ago. CLICK HERE to see 306 Olivia Street and CLICK HERE to see 903 Thomas Street. Each of the houses and the ground underneath are owned in fee simple, just as most home owners own their homes up north. The three homes share a limited common area that includes a bricked courtyard, garden and pool. The "condo association" maintains the pool and courtyard, but otherwise the individual owners are responsible for the maintenance, insurance, and taxes for their respective properties.

The bar and grilling area are part of the limited common area

The 'third' bedroom is currently used as part of the living area

This 993 sq ft home is super clean and meticulously maintained. It is currently part of a monthly vacation rental program. The formal entry is at side near the front. The living area extends to the far rear where the third bedroom is currently used as part of the living area. There is a full bath adjacent to the left. There are two bedrooms at the front of the house that share a separate bath. The kitchen pictured immediately above is the heart of this lovely cottage home. Not visible is a rear door at the right rear that exits off to the pool. The exterior of this house is crisp and clean. It has a 'new' roof and gutters and the place looks like it has been freshly painted. 901 Thomas Street is offered at $524,900. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls database and to view more photos of this great Key West cottage.

901 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 that 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.

If you would like to see this sweet little cottage please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. 901 Thomas Street is a lot of house for the money. You owe it to yourself to take a look - with me!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

273 Southard Street - Presidents Lane - Truman Annex - Key West

Just listed, but not by me, a lovely transient licensed unit at President's Lane in Truman Annex. The listing Realtor describes this poolside unit like this:
"Turn key. Beautifully furnished 2 bedroom, 1 1/2 bathroom townhome with private parking located poolside in exclusive Truman Annex. This gated community is footsteps to the Atlantic Ocean, World-famous sunsets and countless restaurants and galleries. Your new home offers 4 decks and your own cobblestone paved backyard with a private entrance off of Thomas Street."

273 Southard Street is located in the center rear

This is the view just outside the front gate of 273 Southard Street

This unit is located at the east side of the complex and has first and second floor views looking toward the pool. The unit itself has 960 sq ft of living space on two levels. Downstairs you will find the kitchen and living area with French doors that open onto the rear deck. There is a half bath on the first floor as well. Upstairs each of the two bedrooms has a balcony. The unit has a the special Truman Annex transient rental license which permits owners to rent the unit on a weekly basis subject to rental guidelines. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls database on this property.

Truman Annex is located just two blocks east of Duval Street and has become the favorite destination location for many returning Key West visitors for years.

At $537,000 this unit is the lowest price such unit available at this time. A few weeks ago I wrote about a similar unit that was priced much higher. It went under contract within a matter of days. If you are looking for a place that you can legally rent and help reduce your mortgage expenses, this may be the place for you. Please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at I am a full time buyer's agent and Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

1800 Atlantic Condominium Unit A 208 - Bank Owned - Key West

Just listed, but not by me, 1800 Atlantic Condomium Unit No. A 208 which is a Bank Owned unit at an incredible price - just $272,250. This unit, like just about every other unit in the complex, has two bedrooms, two baths and occupies 1357 sq ft of space. It is located in the west building and has tree top views of the adjacent mangroves. The mangroves are protected. So the view you see today will be there forever. No need to worry about some new high rise being built there. It will not happen.

This is how the listing Realtor describes the property:
"Bank Owned Property in Key West in the sought after location of the A building in 1800 Atlantic condos. This unit has ocean views and bird sanctuary views. This is going to move fast so call for a showing today. The complex has an Olympic size pool overlooking the ocean, saunas, 3 tennis courts, one assigned garage parking spot and storage unit as well as security on site. 3% towards buyers closing costs available for qualifying buyers."

1800 Atlantic Condominiums have a great reputation. Guests return year after year because they know exactly what to expect. The love the ocean, the huge Olympic pool, three tennis courts, and proximity to Smathers Beach. The condos are close enough to town to bike but far from the madding crowd when distance is held dear.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this unit. Better yet please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at and request more information. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.


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.