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Monday, March 3, 2014

1114 Watson Street - Key West - Old Town

If you are looking for an affordable house in Old Town Key West with income potential, covered off street parking, and room for a pool, the new listing (not mine) at 1114 Watson Street just may the answer to your dreams. And if you are an investor looking for a legal duplex with upside potential, this new listing may just entice you to take a look. The listing Realtor describes this property this way:
"This place checks all the boxes! Located in an X500 flood zone (no Flood Ins needed), off street, covered parking, room for a pool, updated, freshly painted, work shop/storage space, income producing separate 1/1 +loft unit, wonderful outside entertaining areas. Truly an entertainers delight with open kitchen/living room area that opens to the gorgeous, fenced in back yard with accessory unit that can be enclosed. Oh, and gas appliances, hardwood floors, central A/C. Move right in and enjoy the duplex that can be easily converted to a single family home! Priced to sell!"

I found an old photo of this property taken in 1965 (below).  The note on the back of the black and white photo states that 1114 Watson Street was built in 1890.  I will bet the front porch was added or remodeled to add the stucco siding sometime in the 1950s or early 1960s.  Compare the black and white photo  with the color photo I took. The shed addition to the right has been transformed into a carport - a novelty for the Old Town area. Just behind the carport is an extra large storeroom which a new owner might attempt to convert into an extra bathroom or put to some other use.

This house is laid out like many cigar maker cottages with rooms the run from front to back off a side corridor. The main level living area has been relocated to the rear of the home. A recent kitchen and family area open out to the covered IPE deck.  This is the area of the home where most living will take place - especially if the new owner adds a pool to the backyard. The covered IPE deck will provide well shade from our hot sun.
The house is laid out with four rooms in a row: the old front porch with window into what might be a living area, a bedroom, and another bedroom. I bet a new owner could re-think the use of space and develop a creative use for these rooms. 
The backyard has room for a pool.  There is plenty of room. A newly installed stairway to the second floor legal apartment could probably almost disappear with the addition of landscaping to mask the intrusion.  Since I took the photo below the owner installed a privacy fence between 1114 Watson and the property to the south.  The new fence gives 1114 Watson Street real privacy that it previously lacked.
The removal of the shed storage area and the replacement of the tattered canvas awnings would enhance the views both of and from the main level and second level living areas.  The second level apartment is an updated.  It is a contemporary one bedroom with cathedral ceiling.  The deck has great treetop views of its Old Town neighbors. There is even a small loft for that occasional over-night guest.
I think the second floor apartment would be a big hit and would rent in a New York minute.  It has its own private outdoor area with a really great view.  Locals would love to have living space like this.  I would imagine the second floor unit would rent for $1400 to $1600 per month.  If the new owner did not live on the premises, I would estimate the ground floor two bedroom would rent for $1500 to $1800 per month.  Rentals are scarce in Key West.  This property is located in the South of Truman area of Old Town. It is within walking distance to the shops and restaurants of upper Duval and the gyms and yoga studios that are located nearby.
A new owner could potentially create a backyard and pool area as charming as the house next door.

Potential buyers may not appreciate the scarcity of housing for locals. If you lived here and need to relocate or if you are moving here, you understand that there just are not that many apartments, condos, or houses available for rent.  There is a real demand for short term (less than six months) and long term housing.  We have a lot of people who come to Key West and fall in love with our little town. They abruptly move here, get a job (or two or three), and experience life for real. Some stay. Others find living here is not what they expected. They leave and go back home. Another group are people with good paying jobs that move here.  We have a large military presence with both single people and married couples who do not want to live on base in military housing.  We have a lot of government contractors who provide services to the military or other agencies.  We have doctors, nurses, and attorneys who rotate in and out of Key West on a weekly or semi-weekly basis.  All of these people need housing.  If you check the local Key West Citizen newspaper you won't find many places for rent in Key West proper. Many people commute to less expensive housing located between Key West and Big Pine Key. Craigslist has become a cheap and easy vehicle to post and find rentals in Key West. Go there and see what is available and what the rates are. You may be shocked at how expensive good clean apartments and houses rent for. That is why I think a place 1114 Watson Street could function quite well for an owner who wants some supplemental income or for an investor looking for a legal duplex. CLICK HERE to view more photos that I took of the property.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and to view listing photos.  The legal duplex is now offered at $709,000.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of this legal duplex or any other property in Key West. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

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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.