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Thursday, December 29, 2011

That Was The Year That was in Key West Real Estate

The end is here in Key West

I thought it would be fun to recap some of the properties that I wrote about in 2011 to see the price that was paid. I did not sell these properties. A photo of each property appears immediately below the address which appears in a blue address link. Click the address link to the particular blog so you can see what I wrote.

1012 James Street was a delightful small house with a pool and off street parking located across the street from Keys Energy. Asked $625,000 to start and then reduced to $535,000 and sold at $475,000.

233 Southard Street in the President's Walk addition to Truman Annex as hot property from the day it got listed. I think I showed it three times and some other realtor was there each time I showed the place. It was offered at $599,000 and sold at $562,500.

212 Angela Street was another really hot property. I wish there were more houses like this, and I wish I could have got one of my buyers to act quickly enough to buy it. This property was listed for sale on February 6th for $450,000 and went under contract five days later. The sale closed on April15th for $445,000 or 99% of asking price. I had several email and phone conversations with potential buyers who said they would think about it or would wait to look when they finally made it down to Key West on their annual visit. I told them at the time this property would not be available that long.


I called 817 Pearl Street the Love Shack and named it so with the kindest intent. The place is small but ever so cute. It truly was a love nest if ever I saw one. A lucky buyer snapped up this adorable cottage that was offered at $250,000 for just $220,000.

I invited readers to become my neighbor by purchasing 1424 Whalton Street in the Casa Marina area. The property was listed at $1,475,000 and sold for $1,375,000 or 93% of asking price in just 67 days on the market.

I referred to 1107 Fleming Street as an "old house" because the interior spaces reminded me of the compartmentalization apparent in old homes built around the turn of the last century. I know that some present buyers won't even consider a really "old" house because of that factor. This particular place had a rich rich history, partly based on a former owner. The property was initially offered for sale in February 2010 at $1,750,000 and reduced to $1,250,000 and eventually sold in June 2011 for $980,000. This was a really big house and somebody got a great property for a very good price.


I loved 405 William Street the day I first saw it in 1987. I made a lame-brain offer on it and two adjacent properties that were owned by a previous owner. My offer was summarily rejected. A lesson learned on my part. Years later I am the listing agent on the same house which has been wonderfully updated. The asking price was $999,000 when first listed. It is now under contract and awaiting closing in February. The buyers considered a recently built home that looked like a Conch house and then declared they wanted the real thing and not a "fake Rolex knock-off". I have heard similar comments from other buyers looking for a neat old house who won't consider new houses that are built to look like the grand old Conch houses.

623 Grinnell Street oozes charm. I expected the newly remodeled house would go under contract right away and it did. Something happened and it was back on the market. A few months passed. The house was offered at $995,000 and sold at $925,000 or 93% of asking price ($571 per sq ft).


I thought the Bank Owned townhome unit at President's Walk would sell quickly, and it did. I prophetically wrote "He who waits to listen to the paint peel will not get this bargain priced bank owned unit. If you want to buy this place, you need to act sooner rather than later." The unit was fully furnished, had a transient license, and was offered at just $470,900. It sold for $533,333 or 113.25% of the asking price. Smart buyers need to seize the day to seize the bargain. 550 Porter Lane needed some fix-up work and it needed a nasty old tree out back removed. Otherwise, this was a money-maker.

1327 White Street was another Bank Owned property. This time it was a big Conch house with a lots of nice features, a large pool, off street parking, but it was missing kitchen appliances. The house was offered at $995,500 and sold for just $925,000 or $383 per sq ft. That was a bank robbery.

405 Olivia Street sits across the street from the Ernest Hemingway House. It was Bank Owned and was initially offered at $450,000 then reduced to $410,000. It sold at $381,000 or $276 per sq ft. It had a good sized lot but it needed a lot of work on the inside. I showed it several times and each time I did I gained an appreciation for the amount of work and money I thought it would take to fix the ills of this old place.

1505 Pine Street was one of several The Meadows of Key West homes which were listed by Preferred Properties. A lock bank foreclosed on all of the unsold homes. The homes were originally built to be sold at $1,695,000 to $1,995,000. All became Bank Owned. 1505 Pine Street was offered and sold at $825,000 or $505 per sq ft. These units were terrific buys. I think the buyers that bought here made very smart purchases.

I often write about homes in the Casa Marina area. The house at 1203 Von Phister had some of that special Key West magic that makes certain houses so damned interesting. This house was offered at $1,695,000 and sold for $1,550,000.

901 Thomas Street was one of three homes located in a small Key West compound offered for sale during the past year. The houses share a common pool and a small rear courtyard area. Otherwise, the houses are owned in fee simple. The house itself was adorable and had a successful history as a legal vacation rental. It was offered at $499,000 and sold at $450,000.

1001 United Street is a newer Key West house that needed a bit of updating. It was offered at $537,000 and sold for $500,007 or $316 per sq ft. The house was huge and a little different than what most buyers expect. The buyer got a good deal in my opinion.

One of my favorite houses to sell this past year was the former Bank Owned bungalow at 830 Simonton Street. A couple of Key Westers bought the place from a local bank. They did some necessary repairs, dolled the place up, and sold it for a profit. The sellers' asking price was $749,000. The property sold at $675,000 or $561 per sq ft for a lovely home. Great deal in my opinion.

The short sale at 735 Poorhouse Lane created a flurry of interest. The house was cute and had lots of potential. It needed some work but the asking price was certainly affordable: $469,000. The place sold at $415,000 or $409 per sq ft.

1114 Varela Street was another short sale, except it had something special that is not available in most homes: a transient rental license. This place was really cute and was initially offered at $700,000 and then reduced to $575,000. It sold at 550,000.

Another Bank Owned house at 912 Windsor Lane garnered lots of attention. The place was a royal mess. Still, I thought it was a terrific property for a buyer that wanted a fixer in a great location with lots of upside potential. The house was offered at $299,900 and sold for $310,000 or $238 per sq ft. Remember, this place needs major work!

911 Grinnell Street was yet another Bank Owned houses that was offered for sale at a terrific price: $399,900. I submitted an offer for a buyer. He did not get the property. He offered more for the same house a year earlier when it was a short sale. It sold for $450,100 0r 112.55% over the asking price or $347 per sq ft. The house has some locational issues but it is a great buy for a nice house with a pool in Old Town.

1006 Southard Street is a nice two bedroom two bath home located with a great location. Unfortunately, it sits behind another house, it has no parking, and it needed some work. It was on and off the market for several years and listed at varying prices - the top being $909,000 in 2007. After a succession of agents, it was listed at $575,000 and reduced to $499,000 and sold at $475,000.

319 Grinnell Street was another Bank Owned houses with lots of woes. I don't quite understand why so many would-be buyers think that bank owned is equivalent to 'good deal'. I used to manage bank owned real estate sales years ago. There is normally a good reason why properties become bank owned: either the property has something wrong with it or the owner has something wrong with his or her head and can't get a damned deal completed. Some owners are so pig-headed that they lose property that they think is so special. If it is ruining one's life it ain't special. It is a burden. The house at 319 Grinnell Street had lots of 'issues' that the City of Key West Code Enforcement should be aware of. The house was listed at $299,500 and sold at $308.059 or $326 per sq ft for a major fixer. The house and location have a lot of upside.


1025 Elgin Lane was such a good deal. It sold in a flash. It was a Bank Owned 'condo' offered at $249,900 and sold at $262,000 or about 105% of asking price. I had several potential buyers call on this. They wanted to offer less than the asking price to make the deal sweeter. I explained that the property was a condo by legal definition because of some shared common areas but the other condo was a similar single family home that was converted into a condominium to share the common outside area. I managed to get one buyer to finally offer full price. It was like pulling teeth. He did not get this great deal. Deals like this often have multiple offers and it is usually the buyer who offers the highest price and who has the least contingencies that gets a deal like this.


731 Waddell Avenue created quite a stir. The owner purchased it a year earlier as a short sale for $900,000 in October 2010. He got a wonderful new house at a bargain basis price. Opportunities became available away from Key West, and the owner put the house on the market in October 2011 for $1,425,000 and sold it in 21 days for $1,200,000. That is a $300,000 in exactly one year of ownership.


The little Bank Owned cottage at 626 Samaritan Lane was another big hit as far as interest goes. It was offered for sale at just $119,00. There were more than 10 full price or higher cash offers. The property sold for $165,000 or $308 per sq ft or 136% of asking price. The place had no kitchen, no bath, nor any finished interior space. It is located behind the Bourbon Street Pub which means I hope the new owner has ear plugs.

I wrote about 507 Amelia Street a couple of times over the past two years. I think it was initially way over priced when listed for $1,025,000 in 2008. The house had an extra large and sunny lot, off street parking for two cars, and excellent location just off Duval Street, and it was zoned to accept a value transient rental license. Smart buyers pounced when it was repriced at just $479,000 in July 2011. It sold for only $401,000.


Last month I wrote about six new condo listings at 616 Caroline Street. A smart one bedroom offered at $425,000 just closed at $415,000. Two other units are under contract. Three more are left. This, in my opinion, is the best buy in Key West right now for the buyer that wants a turn key place that can be rented occassionally to make a few bucks to help defray ownership costs. It beats the competition big time.

In the past couple of weeks I wrote about 811 Carey Lane, 920 Cornish Lane, and 1025 Thompson Lane. All three are now under contract.

People are buying houses again. And not just short sales or bank owned properties. Local banks have money to lend. Interest rates are still at historic lows. There is not a lot of inventory of houses for sale. If you see a place you really want to own, don't make a lame-brain offer that has no chance of being accepted. Make as clean an offer with the least number of contingencies to make your offer more acceptable to a seller.

If you are hoping to buy a place in Key West please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or by email at kw1101v@aol.com. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Gary. Your links don't seem to be working. Happy New Year.

Gary Thomas said...

Thanks. I fixed he links.

houses for sale Piscataway nj said...

Thanks for the information Gary. This blog is really a great help for people who are looking for new homes.
Nice sharing and keep posting.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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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.