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Friday, September 30, 2016

Knowing the Value of Money

I was in New York City a few weeks ago during a truly unbearable hot spell. I had no idea how hot the city gets in the summer. I know now and won't repeat my mistake. I made my way to China Town for Dim Sum then walked around in Little Italy wishing I had gone there instead. Later I found my way over near the Flatirons Building when I passed the ancient ATM machine pictured above.  It looked like a cousin of R2D2 or some patron of the STAR WARS bar. And that reminded me of a dinner in I had in Key West a year earlier. 

In February 2015 I  had dinner with a couple of New Yorkers who were friends of a friend before the four of us went to see NEXT FALL at the Waterfront Theater. I had not met this gay couple before that night, but after listening to them speak for a short time I assumed they are among the 1%. If they aren't, they are pretty close. One is a writer and the other is a really Big Shot at one of the big three television networks. I remember asking the TV executive about the cost of living in the city. I referenced BRAVO's Million Dollar Listing New York and asked what regular people had to pay for housing. He said a million dollars minimum. I tried to clarify my question by referring to busboys, bartenders, sales clerks at Macy's, and people that work for tips or an hourly wage. He restated his answer:  a million dollars. I said that can't be right. He insisted it was.

Now I know busboys and shoe salesmen at Macy's can't afford to pay a million dollars for a place to live. I am sure they rent - I just don't know where or how much they pay. But that's not the point. I wondered what kind of reality must these two men live in to not understand that real people can't afford to live in a million dollar universe.

I have had the same feeling about most of those yo-yos in congress and candidates who think there is no need to raise the minimum wage. I haven't been paid an hourly wage since my third year in college - that was a very long time ago. I still remember making decisions on what I could afford to buy to eat based on how long I had to work to pay for it.  I can't imagine how difficult it is for people who work for $7 or $8 per hour to pay for a place to live and feed their children.  In Key West you'll have to pay $3.99 for a loaf of bread and about $4.50 for a gallon of milk. That's more than a sales clerk on Duval Street makes after W2 deductions. I just don't get how people who have so much can have so little understanding of people who have have so little. It's as if the 1% live in an alternate reality not unlike the patrons of the STAR WARS bar.

If you are thinking of buying a place in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. I am grounded in reality and know the value and limitations of money.





11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow. Talk about biting the hand that feeds ya.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. And how or even why would someone know about another person and their financial situation? Please don't speculate.

Anonymous said...

Sacrifice. If you want to live in a place bad enough to work for it you will - many do and love it and the stress and hardship working 60 hour weeks at 3 jobs to live paycheck to paycheck until the hit 40 with no savings or investments. Just shows how much an education can get you - or technical training to a good career.





Anonymous said...

"My name is Gary Thomas and I sell houses to rich people" I guess the 1% benefit you some how.....

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahahahahaha

Fantastic post above.

Anonymous said...

That makes Gary part of the problem or solution?

Gary Thomas said...

From my Facebook profile: I sell houses to Rich People at Preferred Properties Key West.

You have to be rich to buy a place here. Real people can't afford it - mostly. I have helped several locals buy houses. I spent a year and one-half with one couple. They got a great house on Olivia St. We must have made offers on 20 houses. They got special Monroe County funding that made their purchase possible. They now have two cute boys and one sweet home. They aren't rich. But they are homeowners.

I met another couple the first time at some awful mold infested place on Cudjoe Key. That was what they thought they could afford. We started looking and looking - usually after work just before sunset. We made offers on many places. Finally, I told them about a new listing about to hit the market. I had them talk to a lender to see if they could qualify for a loan. They did. They took a chance. We got the deal. They got their home.

A three time home buyer of mine referred a local couple to me. She's American and he is European. They make most of their money from tips. The made offers on a several places - mostly bank owned properties where the listing agents sometimes play games with who gets the property. They finally got a place where the agent did not control the deal. They are now living the Key West dream.

I treat my rich customers as nicely as I treat the not so rich - with respect.

Gary

Anonymous said...

Nice try Gary. Love your blog but I'll never forget that post.

Anonymous said...

And if you must be rich to live here then how do locals buy at all the affordable homes Ed Swift puts up? Shipyard units, the Golf Course, Santa Clara, Las Salinas, and many many properties are under 500k in the Lower Keys including mobile homes and condominiums and small houses. I guess you only sell to the select few but ignore those who make up most of your community

Sad. I won't forget this post either. Elitist.

Anonymous said...

$1,995,000 4/3 A TASTEFULLY RENOVATED UNIQUE HOME, ON ONE LEVEL WITH TRAVERTINE MARBLE FLOORS, IN THE CASA MARINA ON TROPICALLY LANDSCAPED OVERSIZED PARCEL OF LAND (90 X 94). MODERN UPDATES AND AMENITIES THROUGHOUT. THE LIVING SPACE HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO CREATE A SERENE ENVIRONMENT FOR RELAXATION. THE KITCHEN IS ALL A COOK COULD ASK FOR WITH CUSTOM CABINETRY AND VIKING APPLIANCES. EXCEPTIONAL 40 X 10 FOOT POOL SURROUNDED BY MAJESTIC PALMS AND TROPICAL FOLIAGE. THERE IS A SEPARATE GUEST HOUSE WITH A KITCHEN, TWO BEDROOMS AND 1 BATH THAT CREATES A SPLENDID ACCOMMODATION FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. OFF STREET PARKING.


People who live in glass houses...or very very very expensive houses.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous who thinks that under $500K is affordable. Really? Sounds like you live in the world that Gary was talking about. Most folks working in the service industry (not the owners, but their employees) in the Keys are not buying $500K houses, or $400K or $300K for that matter. Not much of anything in the 75K to 200K range in the Keys. Even though I agree with your post and I totally get it, my advise to you Gary, as a business person, is to stick to what you do best. It is impossible to talk about politics, religion or current events without insulting someone. Love your post.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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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.