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Thursday, June 30, 2011

1501 Pine Street - Bank Owned - Key West - Bargain!

1501 Pine Street - Key West - Bank Owned - $825,000

Just listed, 1501 Pine Street, in the Meadows Area of Key West. This is the last of eight units that were completed in 2007 just as the housing market was tanking. The homes were originally built to sell at $1,895,000 or higher. The buying public did not buy. A local Key West bank ended up owning six of the units. The buying public resisted again and feared future price erosion. Last year I sold the original model unit that had been foreclosed upon by a different lender. Then the remaining bank owned properties started to sell. The two bedroom unit at 1501 Pine Street has never been offered for sale. Now it is offered for sale at $825,000. The listing broker describes 1501 Pine Street like this:
"Last One! This stunning home is part of The Meadows condo association. Newly built in 2007 with top of the line materials and craftsmanship, this home features soaring 11' ceilings in the living area. The kitchen is top of the line with s/s appliances, beautiful granite and solid wood cabinets plus a wet bar in the living room. The bedrooms are en suite with impressive architectural details including crown molding, high ceilings, porches and solid wood doors. A private, gated drive leads to the carport and a separate entry to the pool area. Completely fenced and beautifully landscaped, this home is also perfectly located. Bank Owned and easy to see!"

The home at 1501 Pine Street is part of The Meadows Condominium Association which is comprised of eight homes. Each home is located on a fee simple lot. The association exists to provide access to rear carport parking via gated driveway and management of storm water runoff. Each homeowner pays his or her individual property insurance and maintenance expenses.

The homes were built with top of the line materials and craftsmanship. This home features soaring 11' ceilings in the living area and kitchen. The kitchen has top of the line stainless steel appliances, beautiful granite and solid wood cabinets. A two story turret is an adjunct to the kitchen and is configured as ahome office. There are lots of windows in the kitchen so your cooking will not be a chore but a dream. There is also a wet bar in the living room. The floors on the first floor are travertine marble. The stairway and second floor bedrooms have wood floors. The master bedroom features a second turret. The ceiling is vaulted so that room has an especially large feel, yet the turret makes the space so cozy. The master bath includes a double vanity, shower, Jacuzzi tub, separate water closets, and lots and lots of closets. The master bath is just opulent. I challenge you to find any more luxurious bath in Key West for less than $2 million. You won't find one.

Architectural details including crown molding, extra high baseboards, soaring ceilings, top of the line kitchen and bath cabinetry, the finest Kohler bath fixtures, two story porches and solid wood doors. The wood doors on the first and second floor front are massive and of the highest quality. The 8' sliding doors that separate the living area from the pool are hurricane impact resistant to 155 mph that open wide to let the outside become part of the inside. A private gated driveway leads to the carport and a separate entry to the private pool and spa area. Each home is completely fenced and beautifully landscaped. This home is located on a corner lot so it has lots of separation from the other nearby homes. CLICK HERE to view a slide show of this particular house.

Bayview Park is located two blocks to the south

The Garrison Bight is located one block to the east

This home is located in the Meadows area of Key West. Bayview Park (two blocks to the south) has an old fashioned bandstand, public tennis courts, basketball courts, and lots of green space for community events. The White Street arts district is a five minute walk to the west. The Garrison Bight Marina is located one block away to the east. Duval Street and the Historic Seaport are each a five minute bike ride. The three large shopping centers (large by Key West standards) are five minutes by car. The Key West International Airport is five to seven minutes depending on traffic.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet. I really think this last unit will sell quickly. The reasons to hesitate are gone. The other units are now owner occupied and potential buyers who feared price collapse can now see price appreciation in the near future. If you are interested in seeing 1501 Pine Street in person or want more information, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or by email at I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties (listing brokerage) for this property.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

830 Simonton Street - Old Town - Key West - Arts & Crafts Classic

830 Simonton Street - Key West

The Perfect Perch for People Watching

I have written three previous blogs about the architectural gem at 830 Simonton Street. The first time was when the bank had a "for sale by owner sign" on it (I submitted a great offer to the the local bank which countered back at full price); the second time was when the house was listed with a local real estate agent; and the third time when after sold (at a price less than what my client had offered).

830 Simonton Street was built in 1943 and photographed in 1965

830 Simonton Street as it appeared in September 2010

830 Simonton Street post-renovation 2011

The new owners have totally renovated the house at 830 Simonton Street, and it is now listed for sale at $749,000. The rejuvenated house has just about everything a second home owner in Key West could ask for: classic architectural design and exquisite updating; location near the top of Solares Hill: a new pool; off street parking; and an attractive asking price. The listing broker describes the property this way:
"Handsome first class renovation just completed! Meticulously detailed throughout, this 3BD/2.5BA Conch house has it all. Classic Dade County pine walls & floors, new kitchen with granite counters, fresh stainless steel appliances, new sparkling bathrooms, and even a new cocktail pool. Bricked & remote controlled gated off street parking, wonderful relaxing front porch & outdoor shower. It is absolutely perfect!"
Comfortable great room expands the living area through the kitchen

Dining area and kitchen blend harmoniously

Ina Garten would love this kitchen and so will you!

Third bedroom becomes a home gym

Relocated laundry room is now a tiny bath off the home gym

Retractable awning shades the kewl pool

Gated and bricked off street parking for two small cars

The new owners modified the existing floor plan by moving a couple of walls and making the rooms more functional. They jazzed the place up with subtle features like the bright white trimmed bay windows in the dining room which show off the Dade County Pine walls. They included modern additions like the kitchen cabinets that blend the old with the new. Instead of three individual rooms with individual purposes, the new great room is a tasteful re-purposing of space which enhance the original architectural simplicity. There are two spacious bedrooms with en-suite baths plus a half-bath off the third bedroom which is used by this owner as a home gym. There is even 24 hour a day video surveillance so you can see your house from anywhere in the world. I was taken by the addition of the cocktail pool and the creation of an off street parking space. A white picket fence and lush landscaping complete this property. CLICK HERE to view a progressive photo history of 830 Simonton Street.

CLICK HERE to checkout the Key West mls datasheet and to view listing photos of this great property. This place would be perfect for a couple that want a Key West getaway place. There is room for family or friends. It is within easy walking distance to all of Old Town. This property would make a great vacation rental.

If you would like to see this great property, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

604 Grinnell Street - Short Sale - Old Town - Key West

604 Grinnell Street - Short Sale - Key West

Just listed, but not by me, 604 Grinnell Street, in the Old Town area of Key West. This 968 sq ft Key West cottage has been completely renovated. It is a one and one half story cottage located in the heart of Old Town. The first floor is the living and dining area that opens onto the kitchen and breakfast bar. There is a large bedroom with jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. The second level is a nice sized loft. The lot is 1472 sq ft or 32'x46' which means there is no room for a pool. The listing Realtor describes the property this way:
"*Short Sale* Recent renovation on this wonderful Conch Cottage located in the heart of Old Town, make this a special investment. The first floor includes a large living/dining room, open kitchen with breakfast bar, master bedroom and large bath with jacuzzi. This is a potential short sale transaction subject to lender approval."

Just as in the case of 1421 Eliza which I wrote about last week, I think this place will go under contract very quickly for the obvious reason that it is cute and has the look so many features second home buyers want; it has a great Old Town location within easy walking distance of everything; and it is priced at just $368,000. There are a couple of obvious 'negatives' I must mention: it is on a small lot and has no off street parking nor room for a pool; it is located immediately adjacent to 5 Brothers Sandwich Shop; and a prospective buyer will have to live through the short sale approval process. Irrespective of the negatives, this place ought to sell very quickly. CLICK HERE to see the Key West mls datasheet for details.
604 Grinnell Street (above) was built circa 1889

604 Grinnell Street in June 2011

You will note that the mls description says the cottage was built in 1933. I found the old photo (two above) with a notation that states the house was actually built in 1889. Look at the roof and you will see scuttle, a hatch that allowed warm air to escape through the roof. The scuttle is still in place. The jalousie windows and galvanized fence are gone and have been replaced by decorative shutters and a white picket fence.

The 600 block of Grinell Street ends one block to the south at the Key West cemetery. That means the block does not get as much tourist traffic as most Old Town blocks. I recall showing another house in the same block earlier this year. We stood out in the street for about 30 minutes or so discussing how picturesque the block is and how quiet the location is.

If you lived at 604 Grinnell Street you could walk to the Historic Key West Seaport or Duval Street within five to seven minutes. The Studios of Key West arts building on White Street is five minutes to the east. Nearby neighborhood restaurants include Cafe Sole, Mangia Mangia, Michael's and Azur.
Historic Key West Seaport is just a couple of blocks away

Mangia Mangia is a little over a block to the west

The Studios of Key West is just two blocks to the east

If you have been waiting for an affordable Old Town cottage with a great location, don't let the moss grow under your feet on this one. If you snooze, you will surely lose. 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.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Key West - Short Sale - Private Pool - Bargain Price

419 United Street #2 - Key West - Short Sale

If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive Key West getaway with its own private pool and a convenient location near the beaches and Old Town night life, you just might want to take a look at the condo at 419 United Street #2. The unit is one of four in the four unit building that was converted to condos in 2005. This unit is located on the ground floor at the rear. Access is from the rear just off the private pool.

Access to Unit #2

This way in >>>

Private Pool for the owner of Unit #2

This unit has two bedrooms and one bath in 660 sq ft of living space. That is about the equivalent to many condo units at Shipyard Condos. The difference is, this condo is located in an old Conch House that has been converted into condos. Instead of over 100 units that share the common pool, the owner of this unit is the only owner that uses the pool. Oh, and the price of this unit is significantly lower than any unit at Shipyard. This unit does not have off street parking as do units at Shipyard.

This property is offered as a short sale at the asking price of $299,000. Condo fees are $515 per months and include building insurance, building maintenance, water, sewer, and trash removal.

The owner of unit #2 owns the ground at the rear of the building and obtained approval form the other condo owners and then permission from the City of Key West to construct the pool. The pool has its own water meter and electric and the condo owner is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the pool. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos of this property.

419 United Street is located two blocks from South Beach and just a few blocks from Ft. Zach Taylor Beach and State Park. It is 1/2 block to Duval Street where nearby you will find the hip French bistro, Banana Cafe, and numerous coffee and tea houses. LaTeDa and 915 are nearby as are dozens of other places to eat and drink in all price ranges. The Green Parrot is just a couple of blocks to the north on Whitehead Street.

Banana Cafe is just 1/2 block away from 419 United Street

Green Parrot is a few blocks north on Whitehead Street

If you would like to see 419 United Street #2 please contact me, Gary Thomas. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. This place is worthy of your consideration.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

1001 United Street - Key West

View from the widow's walk at 1001 United Street Key West

The house at 1001 United Street #B really does have a view of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact it has one of the very best 'tree top' views I have seen in all of Key West. The three story attached house has a widows walk with 360 degree views of Key West. I was just captivated by the sights. My prospective buyers contemplated cocktails and sunsets forever.

View of your pool from your widow's walk!

The listing Realtor describes this property like this:
"This bright and airy attached three story home, with palladium windows and French doors, has a private deck with access to a pool shared with three other homes. An extra full bath with shower is located outside off the deck. High ceilings and an open floor plan throughout the first floor create a feeling of spaciousness. Two bedrooms and two baths and laundry are located on the second level with French doors opening to an upstairs balcony overlooking the pool and deck. An exterior spiral staircase winds its way to the third floor light-filled artist's studio with half bath. The staircase continues upward to the widow's walk with incredible rooftop vistas from sea to sea. There is off-street parking with framework for a canvas cover."
Dramatic natural light from three directions

Paladin style French doors on three sides of the spacious great room

Private deck near the pool

Imagine the Key West tan you could get here!

Spiral staircase leads to the third floor and incredible widow's walk

This house is attached to the house in front and a second stand alone house is located next door to the east. The three houses share a common pool seen above. This shared pool arrangement is similar to several other homes built in the same area built nearly 30 years ago. This house has 1583 sq ft of living space on three levels. A large wrap around deck surrounds this house on three sides. The French doors open onto the decks on three sides. There is a large and private deck area off the living area. That deck extends to the dining alcove off the kitchen. The kitchen cabinets are original: 1983. The kitchen space is wonderful and this could be a very fun and relatively inexpensive redo. I think the whole house needs a fresh coat of paint, but otherwise this place would make a great second home.

Completely functional but a bit dated - could be a fun redo

The spiral staircase is located on the outside so it is not taking up valuable interior space. It provides access to the third floor which could be an office or overflow guest bedroom. That area would make a great artist's studio or writer's retreat. But it is the widow's walk that made me not want to go back to earth. What a view! What a price-$537,000!

1001 United Street is a five block walk to the restaurants and nightlife on upper Duval Street such as LaTeDa and 915 among many. South Beach is located at the end of Duval, but you could as easily walk to Higg's Beach or Rest Beach in about the same time-maybe ten minutes. The shops, gyms, and neighborhood hangouts on White Street are a five minute walk to the east.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and accompanying listing photos of this property. Better yet, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to arrange a private showing. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

So You Want to Buy a Guest House in Key West

Cypress House - Under Contract - $4,600,000

So You Want to Buy a Guest House in Key West! Join the crowd. There are lots of folks just like you. Folks that dream of leaving their lives up north and moving to Key West where they can live their life their way. I get it. I had the same dream.

Ever since I made my first trip to Key West many years ago I noticed there were always several guest houses for sale. I started looking at the properties for sale and gathered the financial statements so that I could compare income and expenses to see which of the properties looked the most promising. Of course, I always wanted to buy the prettiest property or the one that I thought I could magically transform into the best place in Key West. What an ego I had back then.

Eventually I decided that I wanted to buy the Cypress House at 601 Caroline Street. It is located at the corner of Simonton and Caroline Streets - only a one block walk to Duval Street. The building itself is one of the most beautiful on the island. Hands down. When I made my written offer in 1986 the owner was the estate of "the former owner" who had passed away. The property had been on the market for some time so I was in no rush to submit an offer. However, when I finally made an offer another party made submitted one at the exact same time. The executor of the estate was the brother of the former owner. He called me directly one Saturday (by-passed the real estate agent) to discuss my offer which he told me was higher than the other offer. He was concerned that I had no hotel experience, and that I would not know how to run a guest house. The estate offered to carry a new mortgage on the property. I understood his concern. The estate ultimately sold Cypress House to the lower bidder because that buyer had real life hotel management experience. The next year the new owner passed away himself, and his estate has been running the property since then. I have written about mistakes and regrets I made in Key West real estate. Not getting the Cypress House is one of the Biggies! What a property it is. The asking price back in 1986 was about $565,000 if I remember correctly. I offered $535,000 and the guy who got it paid $525,000.

The Cypress House has been on and off the market several times over the past few years. It was offered for sale at $7.8 million in May 2008. The price was later reduced to $6.9 million. Most recently it was offered at $4.6 million. And this week it went under contract. I have no idea as to the contract price. If it sells at the asking price, the buyer would pay $191,000 per room (for 22 rooms as cited in the mls). Guest house and hotel rooms are normally sold on the number of rooms offered and not a on per sq ft basis. Just as with houses in Old Town, some places are grand and some places are 'dogs'. All command high asking prices. Smart buyers today know they are buying a business first and a lifestyle second.

Long time Readers may recall that I owned Eaton Lodge (511 Eaton Street). I purchased that property at a public auction held on the property in October 1993. The second big mistake I made in Key West real estate was selling it. Guest houses can make a lot of money. I fell prey to my own greed and took a quick profit instead of staying the course and making a bunch of money over a protracted period of time. Owning a guest house can be a lot of work. It can be a lot of fun. It can be rewarding or it can be losing proposition. Owning a guest house in Key West is like life everywhere: it is what you make of it.

There are only a few guest houses on the market at this time. They include Papa's Hideaway ($1,495,000), The Victoria House ($2,295,000), the Curry House ($2,950,000), The Duval Inn ($3,199,000),and Marrero's Guest Mansion ($4,450,000). The very real and very famous Big Ruby's is offered at $5,900,000 and Pearl's Guest House is offered at $9,900,000.

Papa's Hideaway $1,495,000

The Victoria House $2,295,000

The Curry House, $2,950,000

The Duval Inn $3,199,000
Marrero's Guest Mansion $4,450,000

Big Ruby's Guest House $5,900,000

Pearl's Guest House $9,900,000

I think the dead of summer is an excellent time to actually act on fulfilling your dream and buying a guest house. The American economy is still in turmoil and that uncertainty makes buyers reluctant to commit. If you are willing to commit, you may snag the opportunity while others stand on the sidelines. Whether you are a cash buyer or are financing the transaction, you will need a few months time to close the transaction. If you close a transaction in October or November, you will have a couple of easy months to learn the guest house business before season starts the day after Christmas. A well located and properly run guest houses stays packed through Easter and remain busy the rest of the year but at reduced rates.

Having a two to three month get acquainted session with a new business is the best training a new owner can have. You can learn how to make your business plan actually function, how to book rooms to maximize room revenues, and how to manage your staff.

Having a location near Duval Street is very important. Having a web presence is critical. Returning guests like be near the action. First time guests find a place to stay either by the Internet or drive-by. You would me amazed at the number of people who decide to drive to Key West without having a reservation. Knowing your market audience (gays, straights, budget travelers, or high rollers) is the key in getting new business. The lead time will enable you to work out our web presence and other marketing strategies.

If you want to buy a guest house in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas,305-766-2642 or by email at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Believe in your dream. You won't regret it.


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.