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Friday, August 5, 2011

840 Olivia Street - Old Town - Key West

840 Olivia Street with two off street parking spaces
Even the listing Realtor says this new listing at 840 Olivia Street needs a little TLC (maybe short for Tools, Labor, and Cash) but he adds:
" Great location for a house you can move into tomorrow. Needs some TLC but has all the potential for a really nice home. New windows, updated appliances and new A/C units are some of the desirable features of the property. Off street parking for two cars and room for a small pool are definite pluses. Anyone interested in an Old Town location at a affordable price should seriously consider this property."
This property is a new listing of Preferred Properties (that's where I work but this is not my listing). I got to take some photos of the house yesterday and want to share my thoughts with you about this Key West property. I remembered the house from several years ago when I showed in while renovations were then in progress. That was at a time when everything in Key West was selling like hot cakes. It was a time when the demand for houses in Old Town was so high that owners started cutting big houses into smaller parts and turning them into condominiums. Those 'condo conversions' are today sometimes difficult sells. Most buyers want a real house that they can own outright and not worry about condo rules regarding pets or neighborly supervision of what one can do in one's own home.

I remembered this house because it is located across the street from the Key West cemetery and partly because it was not a total rehab. By that I mean the house wasn't jacked up and new piers added and made perfect. It did not get the Key West Conch cottage kitchen or designer baths or kewl pool. Instead, it got things that the basics including new windows, new siding, new storm shutters-all things that reduce windstorm insurance and minimize maintenance repairs. Maybe the prior owner-redeveloper got it right in deciding not to go all out on his then renovation. A lot of buyers refuse to even consider buying a house that overlooks the cemetery. I have people who refuse to look let alone think of buying any property with a cemetery view. So keeping the costs manageable and doing things that were necessary instead of everything one could do (and spend thousands of extra dollars in the process) may have made good business sense.

A few years ago I wracked my brain trying to figure out why so many houses on Olivia Street always seemed to be for sale. I thought and thought and then realized that Olivia Street is about the longest continuous residential street in the Old Town area. It starts on the western most edge of the Bahama Village section and then runs one-way easterly to the very end of Old Town at Eisenhower Drive. That's about 15 blocks. Below is an aerial photo of Old Town taken in 2006 that shows 840 Olivia Street marked by an "X".

I dug deep into the old shoebox and found a very ominous photo (below) of 840 Olivia Street taken back in 1965. Could the 'shinings' in the photo be denizens from across the street? The house was built about 1892 and got a second story sometime after 1965. I am confident our present day HARC would not permit such an addition today. I'm not saying it is bad, but it is not in keeping with the other one story Conch Cottages located on Olivia Street. That second floor and the added space helps give this house value but the historic integrity is missing. Sad face:(.

840 Olivia Street as it 'appeared' in 1965 complete with apparitions

This house has just under 2,000 sq ft of living space on two floors (1188 sq ft to be exact). Downstairs there is a good sized front porch where you can look over to the cemetery. You enter into a hallway that actually opens into the living room to the left. The result is lots of light in this space from windows in front, the left and right. The updated kitchen is at the back. A steep staircase takes you to the second floor. The master bed and bath are at the rear and two other bedrooms are at the front. They share a bath. There is a off street parking large enough for two cars and a decent sized back yard.

Living room

Recently updated kitchen

Master bedroom is at the second floor rear

Room for a Pool?

Rear side yard looking to the off street parking and beyond

This property is tenant occupied and rents for about $2400 per month plus utilities. A lot of locals live in shared living arrangements like this. A single person can pay $800 per month plus a a share of the utilities and get a clean place to live in a convenient location. Many locals do not have cars but instead rely on scooters, bikes, or feet. A buyer that is looking for a property that he or she or they could update sometime in the future for personal use should consider a place like this because you an buy it now while prices are still affordable. The place can throw off predictable income to service a new mortgage while you wait until it is time for you to redo the place the way you want.

A forever unobstructed view

CLICK HERE to to view the Key West mls database on this property and to view listing photos. You can see photos I took if you CLICK HERE. This property is offered at $474,000 or $399 per sq ft. The listing agent is out of town next week and I am showing this house for him. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule an appointment to see 830 Olivia Street in Old Town Key West. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.

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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.