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Monday, November 25, 2013

506 Elizabeth St - Key West - A Buying Opportunity

I have written a couple of times about the very well located and very well built 1292 sq ft two story legal duplex at 506 Elizabeth Street in Key West.  I am surprised, really surprised, nobody has bought this place as of yet.  The property was listed on May 17th - or after the great majority of second home buyers had left the island and returned up north where they live in the cold for half the year. 

The house was built in the 1890s and is currently configured as a legal duplex. However, by opening a door in the front hallway the two residences can easily become one again. I found an old black and white photo of the house as it sat when photographed in 1965. I took a similar photograph that shows how the house looks today. The architectural detail has been preserved if not improved by fresh paint and shutters.

The house sits about 100 feet south of Fleming Street on a 50' x 28' lot  and across the Monroe County Public Library. There is a good sized rear deck located off the first floor bedroom. There is space there for a hot tub or spa. Both the main level and second floor apartments have wonderful covered front porches for people watching.   The large blue house next door to the south is nearly finished after three years of construction. A narrow driveway next to 506 Elizabeth Street leads to a parking lot for the owners of condominiums located on Fleming Street.
The listing Realtor describes 506 Elizabeth Street this way:
"2 Story Home Located In The Historic District Of Old Town; 2 Blocks From Duval and; All The Shops & Restaurants The City Has To Offer! Each Floor Has A Full Bath W/Laundry Facilities, A Kitchen, Bedroom and; Living Room. At This Moment A Legal Duplex Witch Could Be Restored Into A Single Family Residence. Covered Porches Add To The Wonderful Outdoor Living Space." 

Both units have Dade County Pine walls, ceilings and floors. The main level wood walls have been covered in most areas but the Dade Pine is still existent underneath and could be exposed again if a new owner prefers the historic look.  Dade County Pine walls are the distinctive architectural feature on the second floor where years of paint have been removed to show off the rich deep grain and color of the native wood.

Second Floor Apartment

The main level kitchen now has 21st Century cabinets, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, and designer flair. The second floor kitchen is more 'old school' and utilitarian. The second floor kitchen is marked by a shiny tin ceiling.
The main level bedroom has ample closets for storage. A door at the rear opens out to the rear deck area that is fenced and which provides quality outdoor living area.  There is room for a hot tub in this space. (No permit is required as a hot tub is portable and can be removed.)  The main floor apartment might rent for $1800 per month or more on an annual basis.
The bedroom on the second level is quite spacious. The hallway is extra large and provides workspace for a home office. 
506 Elizabeth Street just might be the answer to the dreams of many would-be second home buyers in Key West. As a legal duplex a new owner could retain one apartment for personal use and rent the second one either as full time or possibly as vacation rental. (I think the first floor unit with the addition of a hot tub on the private rear deck could work well as a vacation rental.)  But either unit likely could be rented for enough money to probably pay the annual taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs on the building.  I think the second floor unit could rent for $2,000 per month or more on an annual lease.

The listing agent suggests that this property could be easily converted to single family. I agree. The photo below shows an interior door from the lower unit which opens into the stairway to the second floor. Remove the doors and the second floor and first become one home. I would remover the kitchen on the second floor and convert that space into a third bedroom with access of the adjacent room. The front room would have use of the existing bath.  It would be that simple; that cheap; and very effective. CLICK HERE to view more photos I took.

You could not ask for a better location.  All of the wonders of Duval Street and the more relaxing elements of the Historic Key West Seaport are within a five minute walk from 506 Elizabeth Street. People from around the world go to the nearby Sarabeth's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  You could be there in just a couple of minutes. The Tropic Cinema is one of the best small movie theaters in the US. You could be there in five minutes by foot. If you are gay and want a place to swim with the boys, you could walk five blocks down Fleming Street go to the Island House.  If you are straight you could instead go over to Dante's at the foot of Caroline Street. Think about saving $150 per month on a pool service and instead spending that much money at a place like the Island House or Dante's on food and beverages. You'll probably have more fun with the boys and girls than you would in your own backyard.  
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos. 506 Elizabeth Street is offered at $699,000.  I realize there are properties that have pools and off street parking and many other features on many buyers' wish lists. I will bet you that they do not as good a location as this or that they will cost a lot more than this, or if they cost less that they will require extensive (and expensive) renovation which means in the long run they will cost more. 

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a private showing of 506 Elizabeth Street which I consider to be a buying opportunity. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

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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.