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Thursday, October 31, 2013

I See Dead People or Why It's Hard to Sell Houses Near the Key West Cemetery

There's a line in Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry that's spot on correct: "Turn away from death, and it's as if it isn't there." I guess that is why so many potential buyers of houses in Key West refuse to consider buying houses that face our little cemetery.  I have written about this irrational fear before because it creates a real problem for people that own properties that face the cemetery and for some owners that are even located near the place.

Today is Halloween 2013. We just finished our annual ten day homage to mayhem which is called Fantasy Fest.  A whole of of folks dressed up and pretended to be ghosts and ghouls, while many  others paraded around town with nothing on but body paint.  I wonder how many of the pretend dead or undead would refuse to buy a home that overlooks the Key West Cemetery.
A couple of God's personally anointed soul surfers were walking up and down Duval Street with huge placards admonishing the aforesaid sinners that their souls were destined to go to Hell. Maybe you can really get away with living a life of sin and then one day confess your sins and pray for forgiveness. I'm personally skeptical that God of the Old Testament would fall for that. I think it is more likely that the guys with the placards are correct that the sinners are doomed. If I'm correct, why not buy a house that faces the cemetery? 
Oops!  Looks like one got out!  The Sexton must have not been working that day.
There are plenty of houses in Key West that are just as scary as anything that faces the cemetery. Take some of the houses below.
Ghost Tour House - what a laugh!
Real life house of horrors! Serious as a heart attack!
The Scariest Thing about this House is the Price.  But it is a Beauty!
Buyers that have the money to buy a primary home or a second home in Key West are usually successful people. They have to be to afford our high priced homes. Key West real estate is pretty expensive compared to other parts of the country.  And because we live on a little island with limited growth and a limited supply of homes, the number of potential houses that can be purchased tends to make the few houses available for purchase increasingly more expensive.  Houses that are near the cemetery normally sell at a lower price than houses located elsewhere in the same area. If you are looking for a deal, consider a home with view of a tomb.

If you are looking to buy a place in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise - whether its near the cemetery or not.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

625 Frances Street - Old Town - Key West

The newly listed home at 625 Frances Street in Key West is a doozie!  It's gonna be very popular, and I expect someone will buy it soon. It's got charm for days; it's really attractive and has good sized rooms that work for a full time residence or a Key West getaway; it's got a pool and off street parking; and it's priced to match the great location in Old Town Key West - just $975,000.  Oh, and it is the recipient of a gold star for historic preservation. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet.
 The listing Realtor describes this beauty as a:
"RARE FIND. Conch Beauty. True island style living. One of the best locations in Old Town! Special Pilot House style kitchen and lots of French doors, large vaulted ceiling living room leads to pool and deck. Off street parking, well, gas range and roof scuttles,outdoor shower and lots of Dade County Pine and unique privacy fence."
I dug deep into the old shoe box to find the black and white photo below that shows how 625 Frances Street looked back in 1965.  I took the color photo just below that shows how it looks in 2013.  There are some noticeable changes. As you read this blog see if you can determine what has been added. I also searched the Sanborn Fire Maps to determine the date this house first appeared on a map. That was in 1892. But the area in which this house (and its neighbors) was omitted in the 1889 map that I saw. I suspect this house was actually in existence at that time because it fits in with similar nearby homes.
Like many of the old vernacular houses, this house has a formal entry on the left side with a hallway that leads straight to the rear (like a shot gun or cigar maker style cottage, except this house has a second floor. The interior layout has changed over the years and at least one and probably two additions were added. The front room, which was probably the parlor or living room, is now the main floor master bedroom with en-suite bath. The living room is located to the rear.  There are two second floor bedrooms that share a bath. How this house is decorated and styled separates this property from so many pretenders in paradise. Much of the interior paint treatments are tromp-l'oeil (literally translates from French to mean "fools the eye." Hard to paint, the trompe l'oeil piece requires meticulous attention to detail on the part of the artist. Proper sizing and every detail, nuance of light and gradation of color must be skillfully incorporated in order to make the two-dimensional work appear to be three-dimensional.) This home is the real deal. It could easily be a feature home in Coastal Living Magazine.
The living area features a vaulted ceiling with woven grass, Dade County Pine walls, rich dark floors, and ancient glass windows with ripples that would make a bodybuilder envious. The listing Realtor describes the bump-out kitchen addition as a "Pilot House style kitchen". If you buy this house and stand at the kitchen sink you might just quote William Ernest Henley "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul" and who could blame you. 
Two of the kitchen windows can be hoisted from a fixed position to extend upward where a simple rope keeps them in place as the kitchen counter top becomes a pass thru to the covered outside dining area. The deck is a man made material that may be Trex deck or something similar. This type of deck stands up to our tropical climate.
The master bedroom is located at the front of the house. The room is extra large as you can see from the photos below. The front windows look out to Frances Street.  The master bath and closet have mirror inserts that add a bit a pizazz to the doors. But it's the door inside the bathroom that opens out to outdoor shower that you will really enjoy opening. There are few things about living in Key West that rival taking an outdoor shower. This one is pretty as a picture.
There are two bedrooms on the second floor. Both rooms are decent sized and offer more living space than you might expect.  Note that each bedroom has a scuttle (a metal capsule that sits atop the roof that opens to allow warm air inside the house to vent to the outside).  (This home has wall unit air conditioners.)
I took more photos of this lovely Key West home which you can see if you CLICK HERE. But better than looking at photos, why don't you call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a showing of this property.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Don't drag your feet on this if you are a serious buyer. It will not last long. There were agents and buyers waiting for me to leave when I recently showed this home to my buyers.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

3700 Eagle Avenue - Key West

Just listed by Preferred Properties Key West, that's where I work but this is not my listing, 3700 Eagle Avenue.  This beautiful home was built new in 2002 and offers 2542 sq ft of gracious living for the discerning buyer. The listing Realtor describes this home this way:
"Extraordinary well-built two story family home, consisting of 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, library, state of the art kitchen, formal dining room, and finished storage attic. As you enter the foyer you are drawn to the expansive living area with working marble fireplace and large glass folding doors revealing a covered lanai, pool and spa surrounded by a tropical garden. Custom Plantation shutters frame the doors and windows. Concrete fence with covered gated carport. Energy Efficient Home."
The stylish foyer of this home foretells the first time guest that this is a very special home. The chandelier at the front entry catches your attention ever so briefly.  Then your eyes dart from room to room to get a sneak peek at the colorful rooms that make up this delightful home.
The formal dining room is located to the left where plantation shutters and another chandelier set the pace for the upscale features present throughout this home. 
The expansive kitchen offers plenty of work space for a busy chef. All four kitchen walls have beautiful and functional cabinets that offer abundant storage. And the dual Fisher and Paykal dishwashers will make easy work for whoever gets to do the dishes.  A buyer who has a large family or who entertains a lot will love this kitchen! 
One of the joys of living in Key West is our tropical climate and our seemingly endless days filled with sunshine. But on the rare occasion the temperature drops a bit, the marble fireplace located in the living room will take off the chill. (The reverse heat system on the air conditioner will heat the entire house, but the A/C is not as fireplace.) Glass doors at the end of the living area open out to a covered veranda for outdoor lounging and dining.  The heated pool and spa are located a few steps below.
The master bedroom is located at the right rear. French doors open out to the veranda for a quick morning dip or a late night respite in the spa.  The en-suite master bath includes a tub, separate shower, vanity, and W/C.  The bath has multiple windows that provide natural light. Plantation shutters and/or opaque glass provide privacy.
 Two additional bedrooms are located on the main floor. These bedrooms are used by the current owner as a study and an office. But each provide ample space and storage for a family that needs real bedrooms. Pocket doors and crown molding turn a simple space into a gracious place to read a book or to write one.
A fourth bedroom on the second level is large enough to be an Old Town condo. This area would be perfect for the teen who wants some degree of separation from the old folks or maybe the space would make a great home office for a serious stay-at-home worker. 
3700 Eagle Avenue offers 2542 sq ft of living space on a (50' X 120') 6,000 sq ft lot. The house was built new in 2002 by Tim Root, a respected Key West general contractor. The listing Realtor describes the property as an  Energy efficient home. Current insurances are Wind, 3223. Flood 731. Homeowners 2297.50. CLICK HERE to view the Key West Association of Realtors mls datasheet.
CLICK HERE to view more photos that I took of this really pretty Key West home. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule and appointment to see this property in person. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.


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.