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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bank Foreclosure 1103 Virginia Street Key West

Bank Foreclosure at 1103 Virginia Street. Four bedroom, two bath house with no kitchen--looks like somebody took it away. Central A/C, beautiful pool and deck area, covered off street parking, some nice decorator touches and some work left undone. The tax records show this house as 1626 sq ft and sits on a very large 3515 sq ft lot. The house has new siding, new windows and doors, new floors, new drywall, new electric, and new plumbing. The asking price is $499,900 or $307 per sq ft. That sounds too good to be true for Key West.

CLICK HERE to read what the listing Realtor has to say about this property. The listing Realtor is not local and did not have any pics posted. So I took some pics and you can see them HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

1103 Virginia is located one block west of White Street and one block north of Truman Avenue in the south portion of Old Town. Fausto's Market is one block to the east. The Truman & White Chevron is a block north and a block east for reference points. The Wesley House Child Care facility is one half block to the east and the Montesori School is one block south of that. The area is a mix of long time Conch family homes and recent renovations. There are several compounds in the immediate area as well.

For a buyer looking to get a big piece of property with a pool and who doesn't mind installing a new kitchen, doing some painting, and completing the landscaping this may be the house for you. The Prior owner paid $1,000,000 for this property on September 2005.

If you are a serious buyer I think you should act quickly. I would suggest making a cash offer with a quick close contingent only on a home owner's inspection within ten days of the agreement. This is a lot of house for the money. Call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to see this house. This property will not last long at this price.

Scream -- Not the Movie

I received an email on Friday. I'll let you read it.

Hi Garry,
I just wanted to let you know that also because of your blog, our short
emailconversation and your analysis of the current properties that are on
the market, I fall in love with XXX XXXXXXX, came over, made a (good) offer
and bought it.
Hope to meet you someday in person in KW...
Greetings from a rainy and cold Netherlands,


XXX had contacted earlier in the month regarding properties he knew by address and asked my opinion on those houses and specially asked "please give your opinion and options of good properties around 500-600k with a possible reduction during negociations."

It happens that one of the properties he was interested in is a former listing of our office. (It was then listed with another Realtor at a significantly lower price.) I had probably at least ten Open Houses at that location over a year's time. I had intimate knowledge of the house and had listened to the comments from several hundred people who had walked through the property. I felt I could give very knowledgeable information on the house's good points and bad point.

I made an appointment and looked at a similarly located property that was equally charming in the same area. I wrote my would-be client an e-mail message discussing the merits of the two properties. I concluded by saying "Both houses will probably still be available when you come to Key West. But properties are selling. My feeling is that people may be thinking we are near the end of the down market and they don't want to wait until it swings back up and miss the bargains. Again, thanks for reading the blog and call me when you get here. Bring lots of cash!!!"
(I had sent him a list of other properties in his price range earlier with comments.) After reading my e-mail he responded and thanked me for my advice: "Thanks for your quick reply. I am planning to coming to KW in a month to make decisions. Maybe we can make an appointement to discuss serveral options."

I did not have a Buyer-Broker contract with the would-be buyer. And it may be that he thought he had to deal with the listing Realtor or that if he dealt with the listing Realtor instead of through me (or another Realtor) that he would get a better price. It doesn't work that way folks. Every Realtor hopes to sell his/her own listings because they make more money. But in reality the great majority of sales are co-operating sales between two offices (or sometimes between two agents in the same office).

It's ironic that perhaps it was my recommendation that led to the pending sale of this property. When our office had the property it was priced $216,000 more. The owner encouraged me to hold Open Houses to show his property. But he disliked my bringing information sheets on comparably priced homes in the Old Town area for buyers to see. He told me it was my job to sell his house, not to solicit clients. One time he even hid my information sheets. (I quit doing open houses for him by the way.)

Such is life in Key West. Sometimes I feel like the guy in the pic above.
Please, no more well intentioned would-be buyers who want to pick my brain (such as it is). But if you want to buy a place in Paradise, I'm still open for business and willing to help. Call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at

CLICK HERE to search the Key West Association of Realtors mls database. This database is maintained in real time. The listings you see and the prices shown are the real deal--not stale info like you may see on other search engines. Don't waste your time searching elsewhere. If you see something you like, please call me.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Time Waits for No One.

I have been getting phone calls and e-mails from people who have been reading my little blog. A lot of people have decided that now is the time to start looking at buying something in Key West. Like a lot of Realtors I have been showing properties to potential buyers. And I have tried to impress on prospective purchasers that now is the time to make your best offer. For the most part the prospective purchasers pack their bags and head back home thinking time is on their side and that they can come back to Key West a few months from now and get a better deal. Maybe they can.
But maybe the deal they could have got will be sold by then.

This week several of the properties I have mentioned in my blog and in personal phone calls or emails to potential buyers went under contract. Real estate in Key West isn't like real estate elsewhere. There are some properties that are so unique that, well, they are just that: unique. The unique character could derive from history, construction, location, view, or price. Time waits for no one. Sometimes you get just one shot at buying something unique. Sometimes the misfortune of others makes the opportunity to buy something at a bargain price seem like there must be something wrong with it. So potential buyers hold back and try to over-analyze the deal. And then somebody snaps up the property.

When I worked for the Resolution Trust Corporation in the early 1990's I could not buy any of the real estate that the RTC was selling. A lot of folks back then waited for prices to drop further. The country was in a recession, and people were afraid to commit to long term investment. Those with vision and money that bought from the RTC got to participate in one of the greatest redistributions of wealth in our country's history. And that is what it was: a redistribution of wealth. One group of owners transferred their holdings to another group who bought at a huge discount. The real estate had not lost its intrinsic value. But it had lost its allure.

That same scenario is playing out again, right now, here in Key West. The property being offered is different, however. The bargains are not unfinished subdivisions, or office parks, or hotels, or golf courses. Today's bargains in Key West are homes, condos, and some commercial properties. But there are so many properties on the market that many potential buyers are afraid to commit. And many of the properties that are being aggressively marketed are short sales and foreclosures. The absentee banks and asset managers are getting a little better at responding to offers in a timely fashion. And I think some have a sense of doom and gloom and are making some aggressive business decisions on sales prices. They aren't giving away the farm--yet. But I sense they are responding to good faith offers in a positive manner.

If you snooze, you lose. CLICK HERE to search the Key West mls database. If you see something that looks good, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

508 William Street Old Town Key West

This one-of-a-kind Old Town house at 508 William Street is waiting for someone to make it a home. The property was completely renovated over a three year time period by JJ Fairbank Construction. This beautiful home features Brazilian cherry floors, high ceilings, crown molding and custom built French doors throughout. The gourmet kitchen is equipped with soapstone counter tops and professional stainless steel Viking appliances. The bathrooms are spectacular with large walk-in showers and Waterworks fixtures. There is off street parking, a covered loggia, and a heated pool. CLICK HERE for more photos and information on 508 William Street.

This smart and slick home is located three blocks from Duval and two blocks from the Historic Seaport. It has 3 bedrooms and two large baths. The rear of the house is brand new construction. There you will find the master suite with vaulted ceilings in both the bedroom and bath. And there are decks on either side of this area. The entire second floor is another master suite with sensational views of Old Town.

Let me show you this house. You will be very pleasantly surprised. The home has 1939 sq ft and sits on a 3346 sq ft lot. The house was just reduced from $1,999,000 to $1,549,000 or $799 per sq. ft. That is value. This house would have sold around $1000 per sq ft 3 years ago. But that was then and this is now. This is a good price on a beautiful home in a very desirable neighborhood. This is what you have been looking for.

CLICK HERE to preview all current Key West mls listings and then call Gary Thomas 305.766.2642 to schedule a showing of your new home in Paradise.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bank Foreclosure -- 1021 Johnson Key West

Everybody likes it when the bank makes an error, right? That is unless you have to pay for the error.

One of the sad things about all of the foreclosures is that big banks hire asset managers to mange their foreclosed real estate. The managers then hire Realtors to list and sell the properties. But banks are notorious for not wanting to spend any money on fixing or maintaining their depreciating assets, so they neglect them. And this is the case of 1021 Johnson Street in the Casa Marina Area of Key West.

I live two blocks away and know the area very well. This house is located on one of the best blocks in Key West. Remember I have said many, many times the location matters and this is a prime example. The house next door to the west sold in 2007 for $3.1 CLICK CLICK.
The house next door to the east is on the market for$2,450,000 CLICK.
There is a brand new house just being finished on the corner. I think it looks huge and out of place and way overbuilt, but the other estate-type houses near it to the south may justify this huge addition to the area CLICK. One block to the west a local Realtor couple are nearing completion of their new home which will likely price in around $4 million CLICK. And next door is another estate I wrote about earlier that is available at $3,395,000 CLICK.

Back to 1021 Johnson Street. It was built in 1958 and has those Jetson roof lines and stark mid-century architecture. So if you want quaint Key West architecture, stop reading. The front entry features an indoor koi pond with waterfall CLICK. And that area opens into the really beautiful new kitchen with high end appliances and cabinets that compliment the original architecture of the house. The kitchen window opens to the incredible pool area for serving food and cocktails.

The living room was updated and has a media wall CLICK. (The house is wired for media from a central control point.) That area flows into the dining room which opens onto the rear pool area. The master bed and bath are located at the right rear of the house and they also open onto the pool area. Wait till you see that pool! Photos of the bedroom and master bath can be seen here. CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK. There is a second bedroom and bath at the front with a beautiful tree framing the view from inside CLICK.

There are two additional bedrooms on the second floor wing that is located on the opposite side of the house and behind the double garage. Can you believe it, a double garage with reinforced doors, in Key West! Downstairs by the pool there is yet another room which would be great as an office or artist studio. There are more rooms. I just can't remember all of them.

The floors are a mix of terrazzo, tile and wood. All of the exterior doors have been replaced with very expensive hurricane resistant doors. The windows at the front of the house are original however.

The yard was once lush but now looks like a set of a scary movie. This house is clean and shows well, but the grey gardens got get some water and attention. This house is priced at $1,624,900 or $611 per sq ft for this 2661 sq ft home on a 10,000 sq ft lot. The listing agent told me yesterday that they have been getting a lot of showings on this house. I think it is priced very competitive, but I suspect someone will get this house for less. How much less will probably depend on who makes an all cash, close like tomorrow kind of offer. A homeowners inspection is a must. I saw a couple of things a buyer should be aware of, but for the price of repair they are no big deal. CLICK HERE to read the listing Realtors description and see more pics of the house.

If you have about $1.5 million (I'm speculating folks!) in cash and can close next week and like mid-century modern, call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing. Let the bank's error be your gain.

Monday, March 24, 2008

1113 Watson Street Key West -- Legal Duplex

Just Listed: 1113 Watson Street, Old Town, Key West, Florida $705,000or $380 per sq ft. That is a real deal! This is a Legal Duplex that is offered at Appraised Value (3/18/08 by Bone Island Appraisal Company). "An appraiser's report is much more detailed [than a Realtor prepared Competitive Market Analysis]--and is the only valuation report a bank will consider when deciding whether or not to lend the money."

The report was made by an objective third party, someone who has no financial or other connection to any person involved in the transaction. I have often stated that properties in Key West are much different to other parts of the U.S. and for the most part, no two properties are alike. 1113 Watson is a prime example and that is why the owner followed my advice and had it appraised prior to offering it for sale.

This two story duplex was built in 1953 and was updated over the years. The exterior was recently painted. The upstairs unit has 2 bedrooms and one bath and window a/c units. It has a newer kitchen and is bright and airy. There is storage on ground level and washer & dryer.

The downstairs unit is very attractive and has a large living-dining area that opens onto a beautiful kitchen. The living area also opens onto an enclosed 380 sq.ft. rear screened porch. There are 3 bedrooms and two baths downstairs. The gated entry features bick pavers and is neatly landscaped for privacy. There is off street paved parking for up to 3 cars.

The upstairs unit is rented month to month at $1250 and has a 30 day kick-out. The downstairs is vacant so a new owner can have immediate access upon closing.

CLICK HERE to see more photos and additional info on this Legal Duplex.

This is my listing so please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at to schedule a showing.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

709 Bakers Lane Open House Easter Sunday



11:30 - 2:00

709 Bakers Lane The perfect island getaway beautifully located atop Solares Hill on a quiet lane off Elizabeth St. is this completely renovated walled estate. The main house has Brazilian cherry floors, wood wainscoting and 16' cathedral ceilings. The new gourmet kitchen has SubZero refrigerator, Viking wine chiller, Jenn Aire range and microwave ovens, 2 Bosch dishwashers, granite counter tops and handsome cherry/cream glazed cabinets. The family/media room has 2 walls of glass overlooking the 26' black pool w/waterfall and 'cave' spa! There are 5 porches, rooftop sundeck and bricked courtyard with fountain. Joined by a covered walkway is a 2bd/2ba guest house with kitchen & living space and a 1bd/1ba pool house with laundry.

CLICK HERE for more photos and details about the house. Better yet, come see me today between 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some Good News for Good Friday

It's a beautiful day in Key West. Town is full of people and some of them are opening their pocketbooks and buying homes. The news is so good that I had to post a mid-March report so that you people sitting on the sidelines may get off your duffs before the properties you want are gone.

Since March 1st there have been 29 residential closings in Key West. The majority are on the low end to be sure. That is where most people perceive that the bargains are located. Most of the properties are selling in the $200's to mid $300's per square foot. Those prices are what we were getting in 2003 and 2004 for modest to mid range properties. There were several sales in the $1.5 million range and they sold between $550 to $850 per square foot. And there were two big house sales: 916 Washington that originally listed for $3,750,000 and sold for $2,500,000 or $600 per sq ft and 326 Whitehead that originally listed for $4,495,000 and sold for $3,500,000 or $608 per sq ft. I think the new owners of the last two homes got terrific deals because they purchased value at a great price.

CLICK HERE to see the features and prices of each home or condo that was purchased during the first three weeks of March.

And even more exciting is the news that 92 homes and condos went under contract or went pending since March 1st. Our mls will only allow me to export 25 files at one time so CLICK HERE to see the first 25 properties so that you get a sense of what is being purchased across the board. The prices are very cheap to quite high. Again the least expensive is being bought up right away but there are some mid range and high end properties going under contract as well.

If you are in Key West and want to come by and see me on Easter Sunday, I will be hosting an OPEN HOUSE at 709 Bakers Lane (one half block south of Southard on Elizabeth Street. I'll be there from 11:30 AM until 2:00 PM. It's quite the place. It was designed and built to sell for $2.8 million. It is priced today at $1,749,000. CLICK HERE for more pics and info.

CLICK HERE to checkout all current Key West mls listings. Times-a-flying. Don't get left behind again. Remember last time when you said "I wish I would have bought before the prices got so high." Here is one final example of another value listing that is being offered at a very attractive price: 514 Porter Lane in Truman Annex. CLICK HERE for more info. Originally listed at $1,199,000 and just reduced today to $799,000. It has a transient rental license and good rental history. Opportunity knocks.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Aversion to Conversion

A few years back when real estate was king in Key West a lot of property owners converted existing large properties into smaller living spaces which they then sold at inflated prices. They called those smaller spaces condominiums. Some of the conversions worked. Others did not. The huge landmark property at the corner of Eaton and Elizabeth Street is an example of the latter. There was, to coin a phrase, an aversion to conversion as far is this property was concerned. In May 2007 this property was listed at $3,649,000. Today the asking price is $1,999,000 or $465 per sq ft for this very large 4292 sq ft home on a large 6151 sq ft lot.

703 Eaton Street Old Town Key West is a potential short sale that may be subject to third party approval. This listing Realtor describes the property this way: "Grand home on a beautifully landscaped corner lot in the heart of Old Town Key West. Currently configured as four condominiums (with docs) being sold as a whole. Beautiful kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, fireplace, glass doors opening to lush gardens and large pool. Hurricane shutters, generator, waterfall pond, privacy gates and two off street parking spaces complete this prime Old Town condominium complex just steps from Duval Street."

The property at 703 Eaton Street presently has 8 bedrooms, 7 1/2 bathrooms, kitchen(s), a huge pool, spa, parking. And a great location. You are a 5 minute walk to Duval, 5 minute walk to the Historic Seaport, and a 10 minute walk to sunset.
CLICK HERE for even more photos of this property and other info.

I used to own Eaton Lodge (511 Eaton) which is located two blocks to the west of 703 Eaton. I got invited to this property many times when Dr. John was the owner. It was here that I met so many of the locals who were friends of Dr. John, and those folk in turn invited me to their homes on occasion. I guess that is the way it works everywhere, you meet a neighbor and soon you get to meet lots of other people. It works that way in Key West. Oftentimes potential buyers express frustration over the idea of having to have their envisioned social life revolve around "Duval". I tell them only tourists go to Duval. Locals go to Duval to be with their guests or to cross the street on the way to somewhere else.

Some smart buyer with a wad of cash is going to snap up this prize. Maybe that smart buyer is you. Give me, Gary Thomas, a call at 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at to schedule a showing.

The house at 703 Eaton is now priced to sell. Look at the house just across the street at 708 Eaton. It is priced at $3,295,000 or $994 per sq ft that is $529 more per sq ft than the house at 703. CLICK HERE to see more info and pics on the house at 708 Eaton and you'll understand why I think a smart buyer will snap up 703 Eaton.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

1800 Atlantic Condominiums

There has been a lot of sales activity at the 1800 Atlantic Condominiums over the past couple of months. Several units have either sold or are in the contingent or pending stage and are awaiting final closing.

And a few new units have also been added to the roster of units available including an a very attractive transient unit with great ocean views. Located one unit from the ocean front it has many custom features including an entire living room wall with built-in cabinets, book cases and custom window treatments on all 3 sets of sliding glass doors. There are terra cotta tile floors throughout except for the bedrooms and baths. This home shows extremely well. CLICK HERE. Priced to sell at $629,000 or $464 per sq ft.

The number of units available today is 17 or about 10% of the total number of units at 1800 Atlantic. CLICK HERE to checkout the 17 units now available. They range in price from $398,500 to $1,590,000. (The photos show the view from the unit priced at $1,590,000.) A couple are ugly ducks and more than a few are magical vacation homes with incredible ocean views. I think as tourist season starts to wind down we may see some more aggressive price reductions by sellers or we may see sellers more willing to consider low bid offers--not just at 1800 Atlantic but pretty much across the board in Key West.

I think there are deals to be made. My suggestion is that you obtain pre-approval from a local bank (or your hometown bank that will lend out of state) or come with cash in hand and make your best offer. If you want to get an offer accepted, don't complicate it by having lots of contingencies. Offer cash or the next best thing--pre-approved financing. Be willing to close within 15 to 20 days. Limit your contingencies to home inspection, survey (if necessary), and clean title. Be willing to either split the title insurance or better yet offer to pay for title. That way the seller may think a little better about your offer.

Want to look at any of these units? Call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Steal this property from the bank!

***FORECLOSURE***Steal this property from the bank. Minutes from the beach. Great for vacation home or investment. Bank pays title insurance to choose title company. What are you waiting for??????

That is how the listing Realtor describes the 900 square foot s bedroom 2 bath condo at 1419 Atlantic Boulevard. It is priced at $379,000 or $422 per sq ft. CLICK HERE for more pics and a scant little more info. The listing Realtor is short on info and if I were the asset manager, I'd can her for the way she is promoting this property. It is one thing for someone like me to urge the public to take advantage of the ton of foreclosures in the marketplace. But I think it is totally wrong for the listing agent to urge potential buyers to "steal this property form the bank." The listing agent is a single agent, and I find her comments wrong.

The listing Realtor fails to mention that this property is located directly across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. The inside is rough. Needs work. Buy for a lot less than th easking price and walk one block to the sandy beach. Not bad for only $379,000. Better at $299,000 or less.

On a lighter note, how about the fall of Bear Sterns! Actually all of that is way over my pay grade. But I am really perplexed as to how the Fed stepped in and helped fund $30 Billion of Bear Stearns assets that would be difficult to sell quickly, raising the possibility that taxpayers could be on the hook for part of the bailout. I think this is a first. And I think the Fed may have acted without legal authority to do what it did. Like, when and where was the public comment and Congressional debate over whether the US government should help bailout an investment bank that made really bad investment choices.

It riles me that the investment bankers who made millions each year in bonuses and options have not been made accountable for their part in creating this damned housing crisis by devising neat little ways to lend money to people who had no business getting a loan to buy a house, or second home, or an investment property. The investment bankers got their bonuses and are now sticking the taxpayers with the cost of bailing out their worthless investment house. How many more investment banks is the Fed going to prop up. There was great debate in 1990 about how much taxpayer money would be spent to bailout the failed savings and loans. But there has been no debate on this government bailout of the ultra rich. It stinks.

On second thought, steal the foreclosure listed above from the bank. Give me, Gary Thomas, a call at 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Knock, Knock!

Expect the unexpected if you are looking to buy a place in Key West. And I'm not referring to prices or structural problems. Here are some examples of what you may encounter when you look at property. All examples are true.

Newton Street Station was an all male guest house located in the Meadows Area of Key West. I mentioned to an agent in my office that I was going to show it. She told me to warn my customers to expect to see the manager open the door and assist in showing the property in the nude. She was serious. So I told my customers. They were gay and took it in stride. And I showed it several more times to gay and straight buyers. The guy was always nude. I had a listing on another guest house and was showing it when the buyers' agent mentioned he was going to show Newton Street Station next. I warned him about the naked manager. A few days later he saw me and thanked me. He had warned his straight Midwest couple and they took it is stride.

I remember showing a little cottage home owned by two older gay men in the Meadows Area. It looked as if every single foot of the house had a picture of a naked man or a sculpture of the male form. Each of the tiny rooms was filled with male art. The listing agent finally convinced the owners to remove some of the art so that potential buyers could see beyond the clutter. He told me he removed boxes and boxes of it. I showed the same house about a year ago and remember never having seen that the house was in such bad condition.

A guy I knew from my gym asked me to discuss listing his condo. When I walked into his living room the first thing I saw was a huge oil painting of him in the nude. I suggested that he remove it so that buyers would focus on the room rather than on his body.

A couple of weeks ago another agent was showing my clients and me around his listing in Bahama Village. The house is tenant occupied so we had to look in the late afternoon. One girl was still asleep in one bedroom. (That happens many times.) The agent knocked on the other bedroom door. No answer so we went inside and looked around and talked for at least two minutes. Then he opened the door to the bathroom. The startled European boy had just gotten out of the shower. Oops.

If you are looking at a house or apartment that is inhabited by long time locals you will probably see Fantasy Fest beads and cute photos that adorn the walls. And every once in a while you may find some awfully large sized stilettos and wigs.

If you are looking for a home in the Old Town area of Key West CLICK HERE to checkout several homes priced under $999,000. Several are under $600,000. The market is in a state of flux right now and sellers are anxious to sell. You might find something you actually like and want to buy. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at to take a look. I'll be sure to Knock three times before we enter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bank Foreclosure -- 3364 Pearl Avenue Key West

There are two town homes in the 3300 block of Pearl Avenue for sale. They are located next door to each other. The one at 3364 Pearl is a bank foreclosure and is listed at $299,000 or $231 per sq ft. It is a 2 bed, 2 bath unit on two floors. It has off street parking and it's own private pool. Yeah! The townhouse is 1294 sq ft and sits on a 2144 sq ft lot. CLICK HERE for more info on this property.

Next door at 3366 Pearl is a 2 bed, 2 bath unit on two floors with a private pool and lot of amenities including: Solid Wood Cabinets and Granite Counter Tops in Kitchen and Both Baths. PGT Impact Resistant Windows with Custom Awnings and Window Treatments. Large, Deep Closets. Lots of Storage and Extra Space. Outdoor Trex Decking, with Landscaping and Lighting. Pool with Special Water Features. Two Deeded Off-Street Parking Spaces. It is priced at $499,000 or $386 per sq ft. Without a doubt this property will look better and show better than the house at 3364 Pearl. But it is also priced $200,000 higher. The pretty pictures are of 3366 Pearl. CLICK HERE for more info and more pics of 3366 Pearl.

There are no homeowner association fees with either property.

If you are looking for a starter home in the $300,000 to $500,000 range you owe it to yourself to look at both properties so that you can make your own price and feature comparison. Looks are free. Want to see either or both properties, then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule an appointment. 24 hours notice required on 3366 Pearl, but I can show 3364 Pearl anytime. It is raring to get sold.

This property has only been listed for a few hours and already we have had a bunch of phone calls and a couple of showings. This will not last. Don't wait. Call me now.

Value Buying in Key West

I have written many times about Old Town being the place to buy if you are looking for top value both short term and long term. And I've said that certain blocks within Old Town are more valuable than others. Proximity to certain locations or the "look" of certain blocks seems to create or enhance value among nearby homes. But most properties in Old Town are priced higher than many would-be buyers can pay or are willing to pay for a second or third home. So what's a prospective buyer to do?

I suggest that you Buy Value by purchasing the best property in an area that is not as popular as Old Town but is located nearby! Or Buy Value by buying top quality property that is under priced even though the price is higher than you think you can afford.

CLICK HERE for some examples. I picked properties priced between $1.8 - $2.3 million, but you can use our Key West Association of Realtors mls search engine CLICK HERE to search properties in your own price range to find properties that may meet your needs. I always suggest that you search prices higher than you think you want to pay (sales prices are usually lower than asking price) and reduce your size requirements. Be flexible. Be forward looking. Believe that America will comeback.

823 White Street is a large renovation on a busy street during the daytime, but generally quite in the evening and on weekends. This large property is priced at $568 per sq ft compared to similar properties around $900 - $1000 in the heart of Old Town.

822 Washington is in Casa Marina and for blocks to the Atlantic Ocean. Very large contemporary property and value priced at $636 per sq ft. Other area homes are in the $800+ per sq ft range.

727 Waddell is new construction also in Casa Marina area near the Casa Marina Hotel and beach. This house is new and has everything. Priced at $714 per sq ft. This house should be in the $1000 per sq ft range.

806 Truman is obviously located on busy Truman Avenue. This gracious early 20th century historical home has been tastefully updated and is a real beauty. Two guest guest houses make this a great retreat for some buyer with lots of friends and family. Priced at $805 per sq ft. This house is priced right for size and location, but the house has way more going for it than just about any similarly priced house. The location is killing the value, not the house itself.

410 Simonton is a dollhouse right in the heart of Old Town. What a beauty. Price at $388 per sq ft. Busy location during the day, but generally quiet at night.

315 Peacon Lane is priced at $828 per sq ft for a beauty on a very quiet lane in a dynamic location very near the Historic Seaport yet far enough away not to be part of the noise and hubub. This house is probably priced about $100 per sq ft under market.

716 Olivia is a stunning renovation that got derailed by the downturn in the market. Short sale offered at $844 per sq ft. Custom everything. You will get total quality and beautiful design on this babe. I think a sharp buyer may be able to swing a good deal on this one.

Finally, I need to strongly recommend that buyers look at 409 Williams Street. Priced at $769 per sq ft but should be priced around $1000 - $1100. This is a prime example of my recommendation to "Buy Value by buying top quality property that is under priced even though the price is higher than you think you can afford." There are too many homes in the $1000 and up price range. The seller really wants to sell. And the as offered now is basically what the seller paid for the house before all of the dramatic renovations were made. The seller did not pay too much for the property. But he really wants to sell it now. This is a deal not to be missed.

Give me, Gary Thomas, a call to see one of these houses, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at A few years from now people will be kicking themselves in the rear end for not having bought some of these homes at the value price offered today. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Huge Price Reduction --421 Simonton -- Commercial

The asking price just got a lot better on 421-423 Simonton Street in the very heart of Old Town Key West. This property is the ugliest of ducks in Old Town. But the location is just about as good as it gets. The property is ripe for renovation and the new asking price makes that prospect of renovation more realistic.

421 Simonton was originally listed in April 2006 at $2,299,999. It didn't sell, and the price has been sporadically reduced on March 4th. The new price is $1,350,000. This is what you get for the money: 3766 sq ft building on a 3520 sq ft lot. There are 5 ROGO UNITS WITH TRANSIENT LICENSING plus 2 retail stores on the ground floor located one block from Duval. Possible Guesthouse or Condo conversion. Renovation project with lots of potential. Room for a pool. CLICK HERE for details offered by the listing realtor.

The current facade is hideous and probably dates to the 1950s. But behind the facade is what appears to be a big old Key West conch house. I say "appears" because I have only been inside the front building which housed an antique store. But the property behind the facade is what restorers want. This property will take some digging and investigating. But my suspicion is that you will find interesting photos of the building at the Monroe County Library. You can then develop a plan to renovate the building and make maximum use of the land and space. Perhaps you can use the 5 transient licenses to create a small boutique guest house with a pool. If you are a repressed innkeeper at heart this may be your opportunity to create your own very special guest house. And that location would be a killer!

I think a serious renovation project would also get the cooperation of the Historic Architectural Review Commission (HARC). The building next door to the south is an antique store and just underwent a restoration of its facade. Its picture at night is featured above.

Want to buy commercial space in Key West? CLICK HERE to do your own personal search of the Key West mls website. If you see something you like, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at Let me know the mls property number and let me know how I can help you. Even if what you want is not listed does not mean it may not be available. Let me know what you are looking for and maybe I can find it. Commercial sales have not been going very well and there may be a willingness on the part of some sellers to negotiate now more readily than they would have done in the past. You never know until you try.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Snow Place Like Home

When the weather up north makes the evening news I always thank God I moved to Key West. The snowstorm and tornadoes that hit the Midwest last week were devastating, and I make no joke about that.

I lived in Colorado for all of my life until I moved to Key West in December 1993. I remember many times when the thermometer hit 20 below zero and I would have to get up a couple of times during the night to start the car just to make sure it would start the next morning. I had a huge front sidewalk that I got to shovel. The heavy Denver snowstorms started to take their toll on me.

It started snowing like hell the afternoon before I left Denver to head to New York City in passage to Key West. (I had to be somewhere while my furniture was in transit to the Keys.) New York City was just as cold as Denver, but there wasn't any snow.

Three days after I left Denver and three days before Christmas I arrived in Key West. It was like 80 degrees and sunny. You know you're here when you get off the plane and walk into the humidity. Even if it isn't humid, the air smells different. And if you have ever been to Key West before you immediately feel "I'm back!" And you thank the Lord for Key West.

Key West has changed in the past 15 years, mostly for the better. Things have certainly got more expensive. Of course real estate has gone up, gone down, and gone sideways. The cost of rental housing has just gone up. The cost of a beer in the bars on Duval has zoomed way out of proportion. The cheap meals at Wendy's do not exist in Key West. But the cheap meals at TGI Fridays do exist. Gas costs way more here than it should, but the gas companies get away with it because they can. I hardly ever go shopping because stuff doesn't matter any more. I have what I need. Besides shopping at Ross isn't exactly like going to Bloomingdales or Macys. Heck, we don't even have Target or a GAP.

But in spite of the high prices and lack of shopping, life in Key West is much simpler and easier than it was up north. And when the need arises I can always get in a car or take an airplane back to reality.

And that reminds me that almost every night there is some story about some horrible event or odd thing that occurred somewhere in Florida. Thank God Key West is not part of Florida. Our weather is different than the weather in Miami. Our people are most certainly different. We don't have home invasions and murders at convenience stores. Most people don't lock their doors. Really.

My only regret about moving to Key West is that it took me so long to do it. So those of you coping with the bad weather up north just remember there's snow place like home. Want to move here, call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at CLICK HERE to checkout these single family homes in or near Old Town for under $699,000.


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.