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Friday, September 23, 2011

507 Frances Street - Short Sale - Old Town - Key West

507 Frances Street - Old Town - Key West - Short Sale

I have written about 507 Frances Street before. Now it is being offered as a Short Sale at the asking price of $499,000. The listing Realtor describes this property this way:
"Prime location and great investment opportunity! Frances St is one of the most desirable Streets in Old Town Key West. This is a 3 Unit building. Two 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartments downstairs and one 2 bedroom 1 bathroom upstairs. Each unit has a separate water and electric meter. Total gross income $49,800. This property could be converted to a beautiful single family home. History shows that it served as one of the early school houses in Key West followed by a church. Just steps from world famous Duval St and the Seaport. Excellent for an owner occupant or as an investment. Many possibilities. This is a potential short sale transaction subject to lender approval.

This double gabled building appears to date back to 1870. Removing the front porch enclosures would reveal a classic style conch structure with three doors across the front upstairs and down
. The building is currently configured as three apartments. Each unit has a separate front and rear porches. Removal of the walls at the bottom of the inside stairs would create a unified living space. Then this former school house could become a Key West charmer.

The front porches are integral parts of the current usage. I recall the original exterior walls at front are still in place and doorways open onto the porches. (What you see from the street is not the original exterior wall. It is instead and enclosed porch. The original wall is perhaps six feet to the rear of the enclose porch.) An interior stairway provides access to the three units as currently configured. It works fine for the current usage but a new stairway could redefine the usage as a single family residence. The second floor units is very charming but it could be a wonderful master bedroom with en-suite bath and rear deck overlooking a new pool below. The ceilings could be vaulted and the whole interior spaces transformed into a very decent sized Old Town residence with a striking architectural style. Conversion of the enclosed porches to open porches would reduce the living area by about 300 sq ft but it would add a tremendous amount of charm to the facade.

The listing Realtor has a YouTube presentation that shows the interior layout that is quite helpful.

507 Frances Street is located on one of the best blocks in Old Town

You probably have strolled by, rode your bike past, or driven by 507 Frances Street and wondered what it is and then easily continued walking, riding, or driving. It gets noticed because of its atypical architecture, but then it gets ignored because of it. People can't figure out what it is or why it should interest them as a potential home in Key West. I'm here to shed some light on this property and perhaps create a little interest in it.

507 Frances Street (above) in 1965 with suggested changes by me

507 Frances Street intersects with Curry Lane in 2011

I found the Black & White Photo (above) that shows how this property looked back in 1965. Compare that photo with the color photo immediately below. The place has not changed much. You will note that I added some text to the Black and White Photo to suggest possible changes to this house because I think change is exactly what is needed.

The Red Doors on Caroline Street

701 Southard Street Key West - January 2011

302 Angela Street

507 Frances Street is one of six double gable houses in Key West that I am aware of. The others are located in the Meadows area, Petronia Street, and two familiar properties (the Red Doors on Caroline Street and an apartment building at 701 Southard Street), and the Angelina Guest House at 302 Angela Street. If you study 507 Frances and compare it to either the Red Doors or 701 Southard you will immediately see that Frances Street architecture is basically the same. That is, there are two buildings seemingly joined at a common point with the resultant double gable roof. 507 Frances is different, however, since the porches on Frances Street were enclosed sometime in the past - at least pre-1965. (When I first moved to Key West I was told many of the larger old homes had the front porches enclosed during World War II to house military personnel stationed here. That may or may not be true.) But these four properties share another interesting feature: they are all site-situated right at or very near the sidewalk. There is no front yard or fence to set the building off from the sidewalk.

Imagine the front porch enclosures eliminated and the interior ceilings vaulted

Imagine the rear with a pool and French doors up and down with second floor cantilevered deck

507 Frances Street was built around 1870. The public records show the current building as having 2107 sq ft of living space that is situated on a 38' x 50' lot. The house abuts Curry Lane, one of the slow lanes of Key West.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls database on this property. Please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or by email at kw1101v@aolcom to schedule a showing of this property. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.


Anonymous said...


Is there any off street parking and i'd love to imagine a pool but is there room for a pool on the 1,800 sq ft lot? Besides that great location and great price!

Gary Thomas said...

Pool setbacks are 5 feet from rear and 5 feet from the side. I think there is room for a cocktail pool, but not for much bigger.
There is no off street parking, but remember this is a big house residential neighborhood. This is, i think, the only apartment in the area. You won't need to fight over on street parking.

Anonymous said...

Is a short sale price typically the lowest price the bank will accept?

Gary Thomas said...

Some buyers negotiate a price lower than the asking price.

Banks review contracts, order a BPO (broker price opinion) to get a third party broker's opinion of value, compare the BPO to the contract price. If the contract price fits into an acceptable paradigm, the bank will then order an appraisal to verify the value of the property as compared to the contract price. If acceptable, the bank will approve the short sale.

If the contract price is too low, the bank may tell the listing agent or short sale negotiator a price that is acceptable to the bank.

Short sale negotiations have become much easier than they were a couple of years ago. The main thing that draws them out is the seller not having all financial data available for the lender.

Some sellers will negotiate down from the asking price. Some will not. Some have attorneys or accountants that counsel them. Some rely on their Realtor. As a result, no one deal is like another. One size does not fit all.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading the latest round of "lurking shadow inventory" articles in various publications. Gary, have you seen an uptick in potential foreclosure activity in Key West, which may keep prices low and/or subdue the recent positive uptick in sales and prices?

Gary Thomas said...

I think we may have had a worse summer than normal and it has nothing to do with shadow inventory or threats of hurricanes. It has to do with the do nothing Congress and primarily the Tea Party and the Republicans.

The public is so scared about what is happening that they are following the lead of those in power and they are doing nothing.

There is a huge demand for what we have to sell and most buyers are holding back-afraid to act because they don't know what the morons in Washington are going to do next.

I remember when Lyndon Johnson was President. He got the Republican Congress to "reason together" to help pass the Civil Rights Act, Medicare and Medicade, many programs that hallmarked his vision of a Great Society. I'm no Johnson fan, but he got things done by getting both sides to co-operate. Nearly fifty years later many want to un-do what was done then. I think our country is better for what we did, but it costs money to do things. Things that create jobs. And money to create ridiculous, sometimes, insipid nonsensical bureaucratic rules. We do the same stuff locally. Rules are the fodder of government workers.

507 Frances Street went under contract two days after it went in the mls as a short sale. It sat on the mls for months on end at a too high a price, unnoticed. The words
'short sale' spurred a lurking buyer into becoming an active buyer because that buyer perceived he or she was going to get a bargain

Everybody wants a bargain. They buy when they see tangible signs of seller weakness like conversion of a property to a short sale or when they see some really nice house has become a bank owned property. Weakness means it is okay for bottom feeders to attack.

There is no shortage of buyers. They are like lurking everywhere, waiting like sharks for the next blood letting, waiting for the next short sale conversion, the next bank owned doozie, the next divorce sale I hate your ass so much I don't give a damn how much I lose price drop.

If Washington cleaned up its act and showed some actual leadership, this economy would take off. Interest rates are low. Demand is high. People would buy like crazy if they perceived that the carnage is over. But they can't believe it because the Tea Party and many Republicans keep stoking the madness machine.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like we may have to wait til the election of 2012 to see any improvement in the real estate market.

Banks are sitting on the money but won't lend; people are afraid to invest; there isn't enough inventory priced to sell and the economy is in the tank. Sounds like a bleak picture all around.

Anonymous said...

Inventory priced to sell is a good point. Gary, when do all these properties that have been sitting on the mls for years finally come down in price or get taken off?

Anonymous said...

As long as the listing agreement is extended by seller and agent, KWAR could care less how long you have a property in the MLS. Extending dates easy--or let expire, wait a few days--put same property in MLS with a new list number. Old trick to fool public into thinking listing property is brand new to the market. Many games played and only realtors can see listing history of a specific property.

Gary Thomas said...

"Old trick to fool public into thinking listing property is brand new to the market." Stop trying to create controversy where there is none. This property was newly listed by a new agent at a different real estate company. The new short sale price got potential buyers off the sidelines and somebody will hopefully end up getting this great property.

Some people love to do nothing more than stir things up just to have others pay attention to their existence.



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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.