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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Very Affordable Key West Condo - Bank Owned

1010 Grinnell Street -Unit No. B $159,900 Bank Owned

The new Bank Owned condo listing at 1010 Grinnell Street Unit No. B is very affordable at just $159,900. The listing broker describes the place this way:
"Detached Condo That Feels Like A Single Family...Private Enclave Off Master Bedroom With Decking And And A Place For Your Green Thumb, Wood Floors, Your Own Washer/Dryer, Close To Downtown And Steps From The Pool."

I was a bit skeptical because the property is located so near the corner of Grinnell and Truman. Click GOOGLE MAP to checkout the area. (Use the toggle switch to get a street view.) The condos are located near a lot of commercial activity. When I entered the property, I was surprised how quiet it was and how nice the common area looked.

I think that the unit may actually be larger than 573 sq ft stated in the Key West mls listing CLICK HERE. An interested buyer needs to verify the size before making an offer. Be that as it may, the unit itself is a good sized two bedroom home with a large private rear deck off either of the two good sized bedrooms. The two negatives that I see with the unit are the shared kitchen and living areas and the placement of the washer and dryer in the hallway between the living area and the bedrooms. But for $159,900, that is no big deal.

Combination Kitchen and Living Room

Living room looks out to the pool


I looked at the outside of the building with a critical eye. The roof is new; there are new gutters; the siding is in good shape; the deck needs power washed but almost every deck in town needs power washed; the pool is decent sized; and the common area provides nice separation between the three buildings that make up this four unit condominium complex. It looks like one wall unit a/c has a leak. Leaks can normally be repaired or you buy a new a/c which is probably cheaper.

Private Deck need power washed

I think this unit is a bargain at the asking price. Contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at kw1101v@aol.com if you would like more information on this unit. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. This unit is not for everyone. But it could definitely work for a local looking to purchase a nice clean home at an affordable price. Don't delay because this place will sell soon.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Key West and The Hundred Dollar House...


As we all know Key West is located at the very end of U.S. 1. There is a sign at the corner of Whitehead and Fleming Streets where tourists take pictures of themselves as proof that they have reached the end of America. Having a town located so far away has always meant that things cost more here because everything costs more if you have to haul it or fly it or sail it to Key West. At least that is the logic retailers, restaurateurs, and gas station owners use to justify their sky high prices. Housing costs weren't always high in Key West. But ever since the gays started spiffing the place up in the 1970's, prices have gone up and up. Rare is the opportunity to buy an old house in Key West for a cheap price.

I found a couple of instances of old houses that were moved from one location to another for prices that astound me. The first is an old house previously located on Simonton Street across the street from the famous Peggy Mills house which later became the ultra chic Gardens Hotel. The second is a house that was moved this month from near the Key West cemetery to the White Street business district.

509 Southard Street many years ago

Handwritten on the back of photo - Freddie Deon sold me this building for 100. It was across from Peggy Mills. I couldn't move it so let it go. He moved it to 509 Southard Street and it is now excellent photograph store next to Porter Allen Insurance Co.

509 Southard Street today is now a cafe that is attached to the Pegasus Hotel at the corner of Duval and Southard Street.

The second example is the house that was that is no more that was replaced by the house that got booted out of Key West's cemetery to make room for more tombs. Read on.

The old house at 1018 White Street had seen a better day.

This old house at 819 Olivia Street was built in the 1890's. Normally messing with an old house in Key West is verboten.

The Key West Cemetery surrounded 819 Olivia Street on three sides. The cemetery has run of space for new graves and tombs. That fact made it easier to get permission to relocate 819 Olivia Street to another location. The house was reportedly sold for only $500 to a local who then had to move it.

Preparations were made at the location of the former falling down house at 1018 White Street which was razed. The lot was prepped for the arrival of the soon to be relocated house from 819 Olivia Street.

Locals recognize piers as being the foundation upon which most homes in Old Town are built. In this instance, new footers were dug to bedrock and new piers were poured so that the relocated old house could be placed upon and secured into the piers. The interior of the house will be updated, utilities connected, the outside spiffed up, and landscaping installed.

Last week the house was uprooted from its old perch and moved down Olivia Street for the four block ride to its new home. Key West's finest blocked intersections along the route and diverted traffic as the house inched its way to the new location.

Here it sits between a cake shop and Sandy's Cafe waiting to be spiffed.

Since most people can't buy (or even rent) any place in Key West for $500, you will need to pay market price for the house of your dreams. CLICK HERE to search the Key West mls database. If you see something that interests you, please contact 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. Several of the houses I have written about in the past few weeks are already under contract. Don't procrastinate.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Easy Living in the Casa Marina Area

Vintage Photo of the Casa Marina Hotel

Most would-be second (or third or fourth) home buyers usually select the Old Town area of Key West as the target location for their potential new home. I understand the allure of the old houses, cute little lanes, and nearness to so many of the attractions that makes Key West such a wonderful place to visit (and live). The Casa Marina area of Key West offers a mixed variety of small, medium, and large homes plus a few estate type properties which share nearness to the ocean and perennial quietness as an extra bonus.

The Casa Marina area was developed a bit later than Old Town. Some of the houses are the traditional two story Grand Conch houses that we see in Old Town. But more are 1950's and 1960's vintage homes that have been updated and enlarged to meet the demands of today's lifestyle. Most of the homes in this area sit on lots much larger than you will find in Old Town. Many of the homes in the area sit back from the street in yards fenced for privacy.

701 Washington Street is protected from the street by lush vegetation

The home at 701 Washington Street is located two blocks north of the Casa Marina Hotel and just two blocks east of Duval Street. That location offers the best of both worlds because you can walk to the Casa or on Duval Street in about five minutes. But this house offers so much easy living that you may not find a need to go anywhere else. The listing broker describes the property this way:
"Lovely Spanish style home in the Casa Marina District was completely renovated in 2009 with the highest quality materials, including a new barrel tile roof with roof terrace. All floors are natural stone and hardwood, the baths have granite and onyx throughout and there are many suntubes which provide natural lighting. The family room doors are custom 8' Mahogany bifolds and open to the lovely pool area. With custom windows, doors and iron gates, there are too many details to mention here. This beautiful estate is a must see!"
Game room at the east end of the house overlooks the pool

701 Washington Street sits on a large 10,600 (l00'x106') lot at the corner of Vernon and Washington Streets. It offers 3488 sq ft of living space on one level. There are several living areas including a formal living room, game room with vaulted ceiling, and a family room that is adjacent to the kitchen. The windows and doors in the living areas were custom made in Honduras and offer windstorm protection to to 155 mph.

Custom made windows and doors

The master bedroom suite is at the rear and includes a separate sitting room, office, bedroom and en-suite bath with sunken tub, shower, and the necessities. The master suite is larger and much more plus than many condos near Old Town. A door opens from the master suite to a spa located just outside the door-the perfect spot for late night relaxation.

Game room on the left and family room to the right

The house has a total of four bedrooms and five bathrooms. Each bedroom is large and unique in design. The bathrooms feature a variety of high bath fixtures, tiles, marble and other hard surface materials, and dramatic light fixtures.

The extra large and very sunny pool runs north and south and can be entered from the game room to the east, the family room to the west, or the master suite to the north. A spiral staircase provides access to the rooftop sundeck. CLICK HERE to view photos I took of this property.

While they still may not putt on the grounds at the Casa Marina, the hotel is still an integral part of life in Key West. You can purchase a membership to the Casa Marina beach club and use the gym, spa, and beach as often as you want. I recently sold a home in the area to a doctor and his family who joined the club. They are delighted with the decision because it enhances the easy living lifestyle in the Casa Marina area.

If clubs aren't your thing, nearby Higg's Beach is free. Doggie Beach is one block from 701 Washington Street and Louie's Backyard and the After Deck Bar are located next to the beach. Salute` on the Beach is a much cheaper place to eat and the views are always interesting. Being able to go wherever you want whenever you want is priceless.

Louie's Backyard on the left and Doggie Beach on the right

Higg's Beach is free and very inviting

The pier off Higg's Beach

Salute` on the Beach

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and to view lots of listing photos of this wonderful property. 701 Washington Street is offered at $2,495,000. If you would like to see this property please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Reality, Inc. I live in the Casa Marina area and know how easy living can be there. Take the time to find out for yourself.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Artist's Retreat - 809 Virginia Street - Key West



The kewl pool at 809 Virginia Street
Just listed by Preferred Properties (that's where I work, but this is not my listing) 809 Virginia Street in Old Town Key West. If you like the avant garde, read on. The listing broker describes this unorthodox home this way:
" Completely renovated by an artist/designer, this classic Key West cigar maker's cottage has wonderful style. The living area opens to a very private pool surrounded by lush tropical foliage. French doors and windows fill the house with light from the front porch to the back of the house. Light wood floors, high ceilings, an open staircase to the loft and the two bedrooms all have the charm factor. Great old town location."
The front room
When you walk inside you kinda feel like Dorothy, only this time instead of knowing your not in Kansas, you know you are in some place very different. The front room is currently used as a bedroom and art showcase. The vaulted ceiling, blank walls, and gauze curtains unlike anything in Kansas, for sure.

A hallway leads you to the second room, a smaller bedroom, which precedes the bathroom. Then you suddenly emerge into the large rear end of the house. A big bright kitchen is to your right and a small staircase takes you to a landing where the living room soars up to the rafters. This area is bright and alive and the space is filled with the art and sculpture. If you look out the Fench doors you will see a secluded pool and deck and of course you want to go outside. But it you turn around to look down into the kitchen your eyes are drawn upward to the loft that runs a good portion of the length of the house. Now how did I miss that? Do you go out or do you stay inside? What a delicate dilemma.


The pool is lovely. It's plenty big for Key West. There is room for sunning and reading under the shade. There are bricked side yards on either side of the house. One has an outdoor shower which you will come to love if you buy a house in Key West. Really!


Back inside you see the stairway to the loft spaces. Yes, plural. The sleeping area is located toward the front. Two skylights let daytime sunlight fill this space.


It is the rear of the loft that is the big draw for this space. Look at the photo just below because it will help you understand the simplicity of design that makes this space so damned appealing both as a design element and as functional living space.


Viewed from below the vertical slats in the loft are something akin to back of a sofa or perhaps a headboard.

When we look at the same area from the other side we see a "built-in" bed or whatever-you-want-to-call-it. I sat on these fluffy pillows and came up with all kinds of fun things one could do here.

The view from the loft looking down to the kitchen and living area is so inviting.

The house has lots of niches for storing stuff or showing off possessions. No space was wasted. CLICK HERE to view a slide show of this wonderful property. You will be amazed.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls database and to view listing photos of this property. This property is offered at $699,000. If you would like to see 809 Virginia Street or any other home in Key West, please consider contacting me, 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. Hey, don't worry about this place being too far out. It's close to everything.

Monday, July 25, 2011

1301 Whitehead Street - Key West - Papa's "Other" House

1301 Whitehead Street as viewed from the United Street side looking south

Covered off street parking

Wrap-around front porch

Just listed, but not by me, 1301 Whitehead Street in Old Town Key West. The listing agent describes this old beauty this way:
"Hemingway's last rental home in Key West before moving into his estate a few blocks down the street. This classic early 1900's two story bungalow with charming entry and wrap-a-round porch is located adjacent to the Southernmost Point at the corner of United and Whitehead Streets. The historic home is filled with light and features large rooms with high ceilings and heart of pine floors. An enormous second level studio has a glimpse of the ocean. The oversized lot has a sunny side yard with decked pool, storage shed, and a big rear yard and off-street parking. In addition there is an unfinished attic for expansion potential. Historic and very Key West."
Glimpse of the Ocean from the second floor

Officer Housing at the Naval Air Station

This home is located one block from the Southernmost Point and directly across the street from the gated entrance to officer housing at the Naval Air Station. During the daytime you will see tourists passing by on foot, bicycle, scooter, auto, Conch Train, and maybe even skateboard. The tourist traffic starts to slow down before sunset and virtually ends thereafter. Having officer housing located across the street means no noise from those neighbors and that property is always immaculate. The listing agent mentions "a glimpse of the ocean" from the enormous second level studio. I took photos of the house this morning and I could see the blue sea from the first floor front porch. Mind you, the view was still a glimpse, but it was still the ocean.

Living room with dining room to the right

Dining room - notice the rich wood floors

The Kitchen

This home has 1980 sq ft of living space on two floors. It sits on a very large lot 5250 sq ft lot (52.5'x98.7') . There are three bedrooms and three baths. Besides the Hemingway connection, this house has just about everything a potential old house home buyer is looking for: good location, large size, historic character and charm, notable architecture, a sunny pool, off street (covered) parking, and room for expansion. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls listing datasheet that has lots of photos of the inside and outside.

The pool is located on the north side of the property

Click GOOGLE MAP for an aerial perspective of 1301 Whitehead Street and then use the toggle switch to get a street view of the area.

1301 Whitehead Street is offered for sale at $999,000. If you would like to see this home or any other property in Key West, please contact me, 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, Florida.

Disclaimer

The information on this site is for discussion purposes only. Under no circumstances does this information constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities, assets, real estate, or otherwise. Information has not been verified, is not guaranteed, and is subject to change.

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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.