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Saturday, March 31, 2012

1709 Washington Street - Key West

1709 Washington Street - Key West

Just listed by Preferred Properties (that's where I work but this is not my listing), 1709 Washington Street in the near MidTown area of Key Key. The listing Realtors describes this new listing thus:
"This charming historic home features two bedrooms, two baths plus a large eat-in kitchen, high ceilings with crown moldings and a wrap around porch. There is a spacious covered porch that functions as an outdoor living/dining room and opens to the sunny decked pool area. Easy to see."
The heart of this home

The covered outdoor living area

The single story home at 1709 Washington Street has 1017 sq ft of living space under air. It sits on a 52' x 94' (4862 sq ft) lot near the corner of Ashby Street. That's in the general area where Mid Town Key West begins. Most of the homes in this area are single family and most of those are owner occupied. The lots tend to be larger than Old Town so the density is much less in this area. This home is offered at $585,000. CLICK HERE to view the Key West Association of Realtors mls datasheet on this property.

Crystal blue pool

If you would like to see 1709 Washington Street or any other property in Key West, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hop on this Key West Investment

3416 North Roosevelt Boulevard - Key West, Florida

Just listed, but not by me, the real estate only a special purpose building located on the main thoroughfare into Key West. The listing broker describes the property this way:
"This is a real estate only purchase with a fantastic, stable true triple net long term lease in place. Family owned since the building was purpose built in 1971 for IHOP, lease has been in place with the same franchise company since the beginning. NOI is estimated to be about $100,000 for the year ending May 2012. Was $93,512. for the year ending May 2011. There are NO expenses to the property owner,just a $4000 check every month and an annual check for 7.5% of the gross receipts. In the past, these leases have been renewed. The base lease currently in place runs through April 2020, and the possible extensions carry the cash flow through to 2050."

I went out to the property to take photos last night just before sunset. The traffic was still quite heavy. It took me about ten minutes to take the photos and then find a safe gap so I could walk back across Roosevelt Boulevard. While I was there I noticed folks who I assumed were staying in nearby motels walk to the IHOP. Others walked past and went further west. The thought occurred to me that is why this inexpensive eatery is located where it is. It's probably why Denny's and MacDonald's which are located a few blocks further east. There is a huge concentration of motel rooms in this section of town. Then I remembered something I found while searching for online photos of IHOP in Key West. I decided not to "borrow" the family photo I found, but the sunset pic he took is shown below along with his comment about his family's experience at the Key West IHOP.

Free Sunsets across from the IHOP
"Yes, our first supper on Key West was at IHOP. But at least the building is on N. Roosevelt Blvd., right across from the Gulf, and we saw a beautiful sunset from right there. At the famed Mallory Square -- sunset-watchers' Mecca -- you watch the sun set over filthy-rich peoples' houses on another island (at least at this time of year). Whoop-dee-ding! You can see the same island in my sunset shots here from the NE side of Key West, but it's not nearly so annoyingly close."

And I got it. I got what that photographer was writing about and how he and his family could see our wonderful sunset across beautiful waters undisturbed by the performers, the souvenir hawkers, or the "filthy-rich peoples' houses".

Not all of the people that stay in the motels in this area of Key West want to spend $18 for an appetizer, $39 for a steak or an extra $9 for some French fries in some upscale Old Town restaurant. Especially if they have little kids. Places like the Outback Steak House and TGI Fridays also located on North Roosevelt are almost always crammed with tourists and locals that are looking for good food at non-Duval Street prices. Of course, they don't have the water views available at the IHOP or MacDonald's. All of the North Roosevelt restaurants serve food that a big segment of the tourist population (and locals) want.

The IHOP property at 3416 North Roosevelt Boulevard is offered at $1,975,000. CLICK HERE to view the Key West Association of Realtors mls datasheet on this property. Remember, this is a true triple net investment with a guaranteed monthly payment of $4,000 plus an annual check for 7.5% of the gross receipts. The lessee is the same operator for whom this special purpose building was built in 19971. The check comes in each month like clockwork according to the listing broker.

If you would like more information on this property or any other property in Key West, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-76-2642 or send me an email at I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

517 Elizabeth Street - Old Town - Key West

517 Elizabeth Street as it appeared in 1965

517 Elizabeth Street - Key West - March 2012

Just listed, but not by me, a home the listing agent fondly describes as a historic treasure.
"Located on one of the most desirable streets in Old Town Key West sits this historic 4 bedroom treasure. Loved and cared for by the same family since the 1950's, this home offers a tremendous opportunity to enjoy the best of Old Town living. Large lot with ample room for a pool, off-street parking for 3 cars and a rare and highly coveted garage make this an attractive property for renovation. Located in the X-zone near Solares Hill on a quiet and charming street in a neighborhood of million dollar homes. A Grande Dame of A Conch House in Old Town Key West."
Off street parking for 3 cars!

The house sits in the middle of the block. The neighbor to the immediate north is the Monroe County Public Library. The neighbor to the south is a similarly built and well maintained Conch house. Most of the houses on the block are old, in fact, one directly across the street is among the oldest on the island. That was the first house I sold in Key West. Interestingly, one of the newest houses in Key West is being built adjacent to the old house right now. I have mentioned the new house a couple of times in recent blogs that discussed various construction projects in Key West. See a photo of the really new house just below.

517 Elizabeth Street is offered at $775,000 or just $338 per sq ft. I expect this home will be under contract (probably all cash if custom rules) within a short time. This is exactly the type of home buyers with an urge to redo want to purchase. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls database for more information on this new listing.

If you are looking for a place in Key West, please consider contacting me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. If you want a place like this new listing you better act quickly because places like this are in short supply.

We All Know Key West is Cool - Now It is Official!

The Meadows of Key West
Eisenhower Drive between Petronia and Pine Streets

It's official, Forbes has 'declared' the driveway at The Meadows of Key West to be among the coolest driveways in America. And for good reason. The proof is in the picture. CLICK HERE to read Tanya Mohn's article and then proceed to photo #17 and the little write up about The Meadows of Key West. Thank you Tanya for your kind mention of my little blog.

I wrote many blogs about The Meadows. The developer of The Meadows built eight single family that were intended to sell just in the $1,699,000 to $1,900,000 price point. The homes were classified as land based condominiums because of lot sizes which shared common driveway between the homes located on Pine and Petronia Streets. The gated driveway serves as access to the carports behind each of the homes. Locals know how much rain we can get during a torrential storm. The driveway was built to carry the storm runoff water from the houses through an underground drain to the water retention pond on Eisenhower Drive.

Cool Driveway and water retention "pond"

The market for high end housing vanished as the national economy took a dip in 2008 just when The Meadows sales campaign was in full swing. The Meadows eventually became a bank owned project, and Preferred Properties was asked to sell each of the homes. That is why I wrote all of those blogs, and why I hosted so many open houses. I eventually sold one of the homes and sold another home to a couple that I met during an open house. Thank you, both.

I told all of the potential buyers what a great buying opportunity those homes were. The homes beat the competition of other similar projects that were built by other developers during the same time period. In my opinion The Meadows had (1) superior design, (2) quality construction throughout (3) top of the line building materials, (4) upgraded kitchens, baths, appliances, plumbing, and light fixtures. The buyers who bought at the bottom of the market got the best deals in Key West. When and if any of the owners decides to sell, there will surely be a list of new buyers waiting to move into this very special Key West property.

CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database to find your new home in Key West. If you see a property that interests you, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, or send me an email at I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

819 Terry Lane - Short Sale - Key West

819 Terry Lane - Key West

Just listed, but not by me, 819 Terry Lane in the Bahama Village section of Key West. The listing agent describes this charming cottage home this way:
"Classic conch style house on a lane in Old Town Key West, new roof, new tankless water heater and a Viking stove. It is a 2 bed/1 bath with room for a pool. Short walk to dinning, shopping and Fort Zachary Taylor beach."
View from front porch

The 700 sq ft cottage was updated in 2005 including the installation of a new metal roof. The house sits on a decent sized lot for this area (21' x 96' or 1907 sq ft). The rear portion of the lot has a lot of unused space which means a new owner could install a pool. There is a small cottage already in existence. That cottage might make a nice poolside bar.

Garden needs tended but that is part of the fun of buying a new place.

The property does have HARC approved plans for adding a second floor at the rear . As currently configured, the house has a living room at front followed by two bedrooms, a bath, and the kitchen at the rear. The house needs a deep cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, some new window treatments, and an owner with a green thumb to restore the garden. This property is offered as a Short Sale at the asking price of $280,000. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet.

Across the lane

Nearby Terry Lane cottages

Food, beverages, and nightlife are located a block away

Ft. Zach Beach is about a ten minute walk

If you would like to see this house or any other property for sale in Key West, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. This cute cottage will sell quickly. Don't wait - this Key West Short Sale will be under contract within a couple of days.

Monday, March 26, 2012

818 Whitehead Street - Old Town - Key West

818 Whitehead Street sits behind these homes

Just Listed, but not by me, a stand alone cottage at 818 Whitehead Street. This stand alone condo home is located in a sweet little compound one block off Duval Street. This place is affordably priced at just $274,950. It has one bedroom, one bath, solid wood cabinets, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, cathedral ceilings, maple hardwood flooring, two private porches, and there is even a pool. This property is a legal condominium, but it stands by itself in a compound of other small but sharp small houses.

818 Whitehead Street

This house is located at the rear of the compound. Access is through a white picket fence on Whitehead Street that is located about 1/2 block north of the Hemingway House. All of the units were either built new or renovated in 2005. This is a newly built unit from the ground up. It has just 415 square feet. The living room, bath with glass tiled shower, and kitchen with stainless steel appliances occupy the first floor. French doors open off the kitchen to a side porch on the east side. A wooden spiral staircase takes you to the second floor loft style bedroom. That area is open to the living space below so the entire house has a lot of volume. There is a charming small front porch that overlooks the pool. There is even a small white picket fence that encloses this home and lot. CLICK HERE to view the Key West Association of Realtors mls datasheet and to view listing photos. Monthly condo fees are $219 and include building exterior maintenance, building insurance, common area maintenance, and pool service.

Bath on left, spiral stairs to bedroom center, kitchen to the right

French doors open from the living room to the front porch

High-end, hi-tech bath

Efficient kitchen


The pool is really cute. It isn't big, but it is larger than some I have seen in much larger single family homes in Old Town. All of the grounds are nicely landscaped. The gardens have a sprinkler system that works. I know. I got soaked as I was making my way to the rear. The other houses look very well maintained. 818 Whitehead Street is certainly worth a look if you are a single person or a couple that wants a little Key West getaway. There is no off street parking.

If you are looking for a low priced Key West getaway place, this is certainly worth considering. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or email me at if you would like to schedule an appointment to see this charming two story cottage. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Is The Party Over?

I was walking down the street a while back and noticed a couple of Key West crazies acting out on the front porch. I picked up my camera, snapped a couple of quick pics, and ran. It occurred to me that they may have been upset by the fact that there is definitely a shortage of houses for sale in Key West. If you spend a lot of time searching the Key West mls for a house or condo to buy, you have probably seen for yourself that the inventory of available properties is definitely down. I have posted a couple of recent blogs that showed some of the projects of Key West, renovations and even some new construction properties as well. Below are some photos of current projects that may interest readers who may have missed the opportunity to buy when prices were lower and the inventory was quite large. That was then and this is now.

730 United Street - fire damaged home being rebuilt

The Key West Citizen reported on October 24,2007 that that house at 730 United Street was heavily damaged by fire caused by someone smoking in bed. The house sat abandoned for nearly five years. Within the past few weeks workers have begun the rebuilding this old Conch house.

These guys are doing a lot of work quite quickly. I often wonder why other projects take so darned long to see any progress happen.

615 Thomas Street built circa 1901. Demolished after the City Building Department Condemned the structure in 2006.

615 Thomas Street - Key West - March 2012

A couple of weeks ago I noticed substantial new construction occurring across from the gates at the Shipyard Condominiums on Thomas Street. I took the above photo on the morning of March 22, 2012. There are several large old homes in the Bahama Village area that are for sale and that have interesting buildings that could benefit from renovation. Some have parking; some have large lots; most are priced less expensively than similar houses in Old Town.

Fired damaged home August 2011

August 2011

The above house is located on a nice little Old Town lane. The property suffered severe damage last summer. Many months later the property is set for major rebuilding. Local architect Tom Pope designed the new structure that will begin to take shape once all of the debris is removed. Stayed tuned for progress reports on this most interesting Key West project.

405 Olivia Street as it appeared when it was offered for sale as a bank owned property in 2010. I got a lot of phone calls and emails on this house that sits across the street from the Ernest Hemingway House. The property eventually sold and construction has begun.

A few weeks ago

March 23, 2012


618 Grinnell Street is a classic eyebrow house undergoing total renovation

House jacked up while new piers were formed and poured

March 17, 2012 after new piers were installed and house lowered to ground

I took extensive photos of 618 Grinnell Street prior to renovation and new photos last week. I will do a periodic update and a final reveal once the work is done. This is going to be one sweet project.

A much less extensive and certainly less expensive renovation is taking place across the street. Irregardless of the cost, this smaller home will benefit from the new facade and other updates that are planned. The 600 block of Grinnell Street is one of the nicest blocks in Old Town.

Foundation being poured 900 block of Flagler Avenue

1016 James Street as photographed by the WPA in the 1930s

1016 James Street when listed for sale

1016 James Street December 2011

1016 James Street March 2012

Rear of 1016 James Street when it was still for sale - rear on Thompson Ln.

Rear of 1016 James Street December 2011

Rear 1016 James Street March 2012

I am really anxious to see what happens with this old Eyebrow house. I showed it a couple of times over the several year time period when it was listed for sale. The house had a horrible addition on the back and a little building that I told buyers could become a pool cabana. Let's see what happens here!

CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database to search for your potential new home (or project) in Paradise. Open up to the possibility of doing a little or maybe a lot of work to create your own project.

If you see something you like, please consider contacting me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or by email at I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Key West, Florida. The party isn't over till the fat lady sings.


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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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.