If the harbingers of doom and gloom haven't spooked you out of your mind, the compound at 1027 Howe Street in the Bahama Village area of Old Town Key West may be worthy of your consideration. When times are tight and people don't know what is going to happen next, probably the last thing they want to think about is making an investment in income property. There are enough talking heads on TV, bloggers, and other know-it-alls telling the rest of us what the S&P downgrade of America's credit rating means for the economy. The wild ride on Wall Street has got to spook anybody with any significant amount of money invested there. Wall Street thrives on turmoil because they always make money when the market goes up and when it goes down. They make off of people who panic and people who into rising markets. (I know that is an over simplification, but it works for my purposes.)
A reader who chooses to remain nameless recently commented on the woes of buying Key West real estate. Instead, he or she suggested that people reading my real estate blog buy silver. That's a great idea. Go to bed at night and sleep on your bars of silver. Snuggle in comfort next to the cold hard shafts of metal. Silver can bring extra comfort to you on the cold nights in February when you let it grow warm next to the mantle. In the hot months like July and August you can chill silver in the freezer for a couple of hours and then put the bars in a back pack which you can take to work or on short trips. The cold metal can help cool you down for a couple of hours. Yes, silver can be your friend and it can be a good investment too.
Or you may choose to buy a property like 1027 Howe Street for about half of what it sold for in 2004which the listing describes this way:
"Private compound in old town, completely fenced,large lot. Main house downstairs is a 1 bedroom ,1 bath, living room, kitchen, wrap around porch, dade pine walls, wood floors high ceiling, beautiful space. Upstairs is a 1 bedroom, Living room, bath, kitchen, upstairs front porch.Seperate 1 bedroom, 1 bath guest cottage.huge outdoor living space, room for a pool, and more. Potential short sale"Here are the details: The Monroe County Property Appraiser shows the property was purchased in October 2004 for $1,100,000. The Monroe County Property Appraiser's website shows that three residential addresses have been combined into one new legal description which as three buildings with a total of 1374 sq ft of living space situated on a 65'x80' (5133 sq ft) corner lot. The three original buildings at this location were destroyed by fire around 1970 so what is there today is of more recent construction.
This property just might work for that buyer that wants a private living space plus reliable monthly income without huge property management fees. I can envision a new owner keeping one unit for personal use and then renting the other spaces until such time as the owner decides to move to Key West full time. Typically one bedroom units rent for about $1200 per month (more or less depending on other amenities). In the future an owner may want to reconfigure the current two story two units into a single family residence and use the cottage for guests. There is room for a pool and gardens. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and to view listing photos.
1027 Howe Street is a short sale that is offered at $575,000 or $235 per sq ft. My experience has been that asking prices on short sale properties are negotiable just like market sales. Several months ago I wrote about another listing across the street at 1026 Howe Street. That property is still for sale, and it is still offered at $439,000 or $439 per sq ft. That property is a single family that was updated. I think a dollar for dollar comparison may show 1027 Howe Street as being a darned good opportunity on a price basis. Just below see some photos of the neighboring houses in this block. The City of Key West is progressing on the redevelopment of the Truman Annex waterfront park just a couple of blocks to the west. There is public housing a couple of blocks away. So you can view this location as being located in a nice neighborhood with a promising future or you can be dismissive of the area entirely.
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. Why think of sleeping with a piece of silver when you could sleep in Key West.