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Friday, May 29, 2015

Back on the Market: Two Unique Key West Houses that Ought to Pique Your Interest

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a newly listed Bank Owned house located at 1441 Thompson Street in Key West. I receive a bunch of phone calls and emails from prospective buyers interested in more information. I showed the place to a couple of prospect, and then I left town to go to Las Vegas for a couple of days. The calls kept coming no matter where I was. Suddenly, the listing status of 1441 Thompson Street changed from 'active' to 'pending'.  I learned but cannot tell readers what happened. Then on May 19th the status changed again - this time back to active.  CLICK HERE to read my earlier blog on this property.  This house will be sold only through an online auction. I think this is an incredible deal and want potential buyers to know the place is still for sale.  UPDATE - 3:32 PM, MAY 29TH.  This property status was changed again at 3:05 PM today. This house sold today at $380,100. The earlier status change may have been an error made by listing agent or someone in our mls who can change status on listings. 

Then there is the little two bedroom house located at the end of a private lane entered in the mid 700 block of Simonton Street. There's a big clearing at the end of the lane. Several houses share the wide gravel parking lot bounded by towering palms and privacy fences. The location is just one block off Duval Street which makes the location a perfect place to own a vacation home - near everything but insulated from the traffic and tourists that seem to take over much of Old Town during waking hours. That's why I like this little place - it's hidden away from the tourists. It's private, simple, and not that expensive. CLICK HERE to read my earlier blog on this simple house at 720 Simonton Street Rear that is still for sale for only $519,000.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

1307 Truman Avenue, Key West - Bank Owned Grand Dame - A Buying Opportunity!

 Just Listed, but not by me, is the Bank Owned home at 1307 Truman Avenue, Key West, Florida. This Victorian home was built by a Cigar factory owner from Cuba in 1906. The home was expertly renovated in 2002 to restore the original elegance while adding all the modern amenities. The house sits on two lots which span from Truman Avenue to Albury Street ( 161' X 46.08' or 7418 sq ft). According to the Monroe County  Property Appraiser this home has 3352 sq ft of interior living space plus 1500 sq ft of porches. Bedrooms have 12 ft ceilings. There is a second floor maid's quarters (or guest suite) with a private porch and a view of the stunning pool below. Original Dade County Pine floors, crown molding, and custom interior trim decorate the interiors. The extra large kitchen is located at the rear. There is an abundance of custom cabinets, soap stone counters and a large white marble island counter the doubles as a place to dine. The covered rear porch just off the kitchen provides a shady setting to watch the family and guests enjoy the large and sunny pool.
 Wikipedia describes Grand Dame as "In popular culture, the grande dame is usually portrayed as a slightly flamboyant woman, prone to extravagant and eccentric fashion, such as feather boas, large hats, and excessive costume jewelry. She may be overly pre-occupied with the concept of 'acting ladylike" and expect all those around her to conform to her own high standards of etiquette." This home has a prominence that cannot be denied. The wrap around verandas are her boa; the towering height is her large hat; and the gardens are her costume jewelry. I dug down into my old shoebox and found the black and white photo of this property taken half a century ago. That photo shows the house before the 2002 addition at the rear was added. You can't see the addition in present day photos as it is hidden behind the white picket fence and privacy foliage. The most notable change was the creations of the third floor open balcony that overlooks Bayview Park across the street.
 This house on millionaires row was built circa 1906. Only a few of the grand houses that once populated Truman Avenue from Eisenhower Drive at the east to Duval Street at the west continue to remain as single family homes today. These large homes were built in sizes and to standards (and lifestyles) that are no longer current. Many of the houses that do remain have been converted into guest houses or re-configured into a combination of commercial and/or retail with some residential use. This house has not been messed around with and sits almost like a virgin, albeit an old virgin.
This house is in very good condition with the exception that the exterior will need to be painted and the gardens will need some TLC to get things back to where they should be.
This home has all the character and formality as it did when it was built. There is a grand three story entry hall. The living room is located at the front of the house.  A Victorian era divider provides a bit of separation which allows for two distinct living areas. A similar divider provides a separation from the formal dining room.
The kitchen sits at the rear. The kitchen is huge and would make a great gathering place for modern living in an old house. The wrap around verandas at the and rear seem to envelop the house. Each of the rooms on all three levels of the house (including the third floor) have very tall ceilings, crown molding, and exude a sense of formality we don't see in current architecture. For readers who have been in dozens of Key West Conch houses, this isn't one. This house probably more than any I have seen in Key West imparts the feel of the Victorian Era.
Second floor front bedroom has covered balcony that overlooks Bayview Park

The house has five bedrooms, each of which is quite large. And most have en-suite baths. The third floor has a sitting room off the bedroom. The ceiling up there must be 15 feet tall. There is a small porch off the front of the third floor where you can see the treetops and rooftops of much of the southern end of the island. Bayview Park is just across the street. What a view! There is a rooftop deck at the rear with an amazing view of the north. I could see water on the Gulfside of the island. You could not build a house of this height in Key West today. But if you buy it, you have the view forever. CLICK HERE to view more photos of this home, garden, and pool area. Click on any photo to enlarge.
 CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this Bank Owned home that is offered at $1,950,000.  This is a real buying opportunity for someone who wants a major Key West home with lots of bedrooms and quality interior spaces.  Each of the bedrooms (except the maid's quarters) are large and have en-suite baths. The public spaces are all large and exude a sense of formality that modern architecture normally omits. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to set up a private showing on this home. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Got Gas? Another Ronny Bailey Tribute to the Way Life Used To Be

Local folk artist Ronny Bailey dropped by my office a few days ago to show me his latest piece of art which was located in the back of his pickup truck. How fitting. The piece is his recreation of an ESSO gas station located in Ablemarle, North Caroline. Ronny said this is the first piece he has done for a property not located in Key West. When he put the piece on the tailgate of his truck I was taken back to my childhood in a little suburb just west of Denver. There was a similar gas station a block from my house. That station had just two bays and it was named CARTER, then HUMBLE, and later ENCO.  I looked up ESSO in Wikipedia and learned all of these names were trade names used by Standard Oil which later became EXXON MOBIL. That's a lot of names and a lot of useless information, but back in the 1950s gas station's like this populated the United States from shore to shore and border to border with different names but all selling the same gas. The stations had attendants that put gas in the car and who checked the oil, water, and tire pressure when asked. They cleaned the windshield with each fill-up. It was a simpler time. There were no ISIS terrorists - just Commies.  
When you compare the actual station with Ronny's depiction you'll notice he eliminated two of the bays and reduced the number of piles of old tires. As you look at the photos you'll see Ronny gladly adds free iconic logos including Coca Cola, 7-UP, Firestone, Quaker State Oil, Merita Bread, and RED MAN CHEW. If you get up close you'll get to see the three watch words Ronny adds to each piece he creates: LOVE, PEACE, and JOY.  LOVE and JOY are located at the bottom of either gas machine. PEACE is located under the pin-up in the service bay.  Ronny added the word HOPE to the cop car license plate. As I neared the gas station to focus on the gas machines I noted the price on each machine was the same $5.22. When I got even closer to focus on the office interior I saw the cash register had just had a sale of $5.22 as well. That's a Biblical reference to another watchword in Ronny's life - PATIENCE. Ronny's got a bit of a bad-boy in him despite his piety. He added a pin-up in the service bay because all gas stations back then had them. Today that would be sexist. And today most gas stations charge for air which was "free" at this place and in an earlier time. 
That's Ronny's reflection in the service bay window. Watching over me. Making sure that I captured the essence of this new piece of art that he created using salvaged materials mostly from old Key West houses. CLICK HERE to view all photos I took.

CLICK HERE to see Ronny's Facebook page.

Key West had a similar gas station located at 425 Grinnell Street when the photo below was taken back in 1965. Today that building houses AZUR Restaurant - and you don't get gas from eating there. The place is great!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Flash Sale in Key West - One Day Special Sales Price

Hey Readers!  Don't Fret!  I'm not gonna de-brief.  But I am gonna tell you about a novel one day approach to sell two very different houses located here in Key West. Both properties are listings of Preferred Properties Key West. That's where I work, but these are not my listings.  I have, however, written about both properties before.  If you are here in Key West today, Sunday, May 24th, stop by either or both houses for a view. Or if you are really serious about buying a home, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 and ask me to accompany you to view these homes. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties.  Both houses are still listed at much higher prices but can be purchased today only at the stated price. This offer to sell will be withdrawn at midnight May 24, 2015.

 927 United Street, Key West - one day Flash Sale Price $1,395,000
CLICK HERE to read my earlier blog on this lovely home. Let me share one note with readers. This home was previously renter occupied which made showings quite difficult. The renters are gone and the home is now much easier to be seen and appreciated.

1522 Patricia Street, Key West - one day Flash Sale Price $1,100,000
CLICK HERE to read my earlier blog on this recently totally revamped and enlarged home. Some buyer is gonna get a helluva deal if he or she or they buy this place.


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.