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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Let's Buy a Guest House in Key West

Catchy name for a place to stay, eh! Maybe the GAYWAY MOTEL isn't your vision of the kind of guest house you envision owning, but I have a property that just might fit the bill. The Victorian House at 806 Truman Avenue in Old Town Key West is looking for a new owner. I think this place could "go gay" or stay "straight" and still be a good "buy".

The listing Realtor describes 806 Truman this way:

"***PRICE REDUCED*** Elegant and spacious historic home with three transient rental licenses. Great sitting rooms, formal dining room, five bedrooms, five full baths and two half baths including a beautiful 1/1 guest cottage. Dade County Pine, elegant architectural features, high ceilings and a new kitchen with high-end appliances. Wonderful outdoor lanai, separate heated pool and heated spa, off-street parking for two vehicles and lush tropical landscaping. An opportunity for a beautiful single family home or maintain as a vacation rental with great rental income. Property generated $175,000 in gross income in 2010. The Victoria House is an Historic Gem in the heart of Old Town Key West."

Here are the basics. 806 Truman Avenue is now offered at $1,895,000. The main house was built in 1918. The total square square footage is 2651. The property measures 57'x175' or 5729 sq ft. Click GOOGLE MAP for a aerial perspective of the property and its proximity to Duval Street and other Old Town destinations. Use the toggle switch for a ground view as well. Then recall what I have written before about the value of location when owning a guest house in Old Town. A lot of first time travelers come to Key West without a room reservation. Owning a really attractive property that is easily seen by unprepared tourists could put extra money in an innkeeper's pockets on those few nights when all rooms are not reserved. This property is not offered "furnished", but I suspect it can be purchased fully equipped. There are just three transient rental licenses even though the property as five bedrooms. An owner could live on the property I suppose and give up significant revenue for 365 days per year. The better option would be to purchase two additional transient licenses to take full advantage of the earning power of this great property.

CLICK HERE to view a slide show of photos I took of this property a few weeks ago. I had shown the property when it was for sale several years ago, but I forgot how delightful. This place is in just wonderful condition. Every surface is clean. Really clean. I only noticed one area on the second floor rear deck that needs some wood repair. Otherwise, everything on the inside and outside is highly maintained. I was particularly impressed with the quality of the furnishings (which I noted are not included in the offering) and the fixtures in the bathrooms. Nothing is Home Depot "cheap". To the contrary, all fixtures are high quality and durable. The result is that a new owner will not have to be doing repairs. The third floor has a fire suppression system plus rear stairway to the ground floor for easy access to the pool or as an emergency exit.

There is another place in town that was for sale a couple of years ago. It was my poster child example of what I would not want to own as a guest house. It had a lousy location off the beaten path surrounded by low income apartments . It had no pool and, in my opinion, no charm. It appealed to low budget travelers. I often see tourists dragging their luggage down Truman heading toward that place. Maybe they arrived by bus. I'll bet they took full advantage of the coupons for budget dining as well. I can't imagine working all year long to spend one lousy week in a Key West when you could do just the opposite.

I can imagine being delighted at the prospect of staying at 806 Truman. Each of the rooms is different and delightful in its own way. Each room has a private bath, television, and lots of charm. Each has immediate access to a private or semi-private porch or deck. Being able to sit outside and dream about living in Key West full time is part of vacation therapy. I'm sure we have all dreamed of living in a favorite vacation spot. I know I dreamed of living in Laguna Beach, Palm Springs, LaJolla, the South of France, and parts of Italy. I had to "settle" on Key West and have never regretted it. The important thing is that guests have private outdoor space to relax and unwind.

I think the Victoria House could be a very good candidate for a conversion to a gay guest house and maybe a name change. It has a great location and all the amenities that would appeal to gay travelers.

While there are only five guest rooms, this place is not "small". The rooms are large and the entire property seems quite large. Nothing is cramped nor compromised. One does get the feel of being the guest in a grand large old home. And that, Dear Readers, is the point of staying at a guest house instead of a motel on the boulevard or an economy guest house off the beaten path.

CLICK HERE to checkout the Key West mls datasheet and to view listing photos of this property. This property is currently managed and rented as a single home with guest cottage on a weekly basis. Seeing the property requires advance notice and planning so that guest vacations are not interrupted. If you would like to see this property or any other property in Key West, please consider working we me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or by email at I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.


Anonymous said...


I looked at this property with Rudy when it was listed at the higher price. At that time it DID come furnished. Maybe that has changed due to the lower price.

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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.