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Saturday, August 30, 2008

1119 Von Phister St. - Key West - Bank Owned

This foreclosure stuff is starting to get personal. Just Listed: 1119 Von Phister Street in the Casa Marina Area of Key West. I'll be your lucky neighbor. I live next door. These are neighboring homes CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK.

Let me tell you about the house and why I think it is a great buy. And let me tell you about the neighborhood and why you might just want to live there.

The original house is constructed of Indian Blocks, a building material used in maybe 30 of the older homes in Key West. The man who owned the house before the last owner added room after room during a time when there either was no building code or there was no enforcement of building codes. The lot is huge and the house and the structures on the lot were many and very strange. That man passed away and when the most recent owners bought the house the additions and contraptions were removed. What was left was the core of the original house and a huge lot. Other than the exterior walls in the front, everything is new.

The recent owner was a perfectionist and demanded that everything be constructed perfectly. No matter the cost. Much of the inside was hand crafted elsewhere and on spot. As a result I don't think you will find this home to be filled with materials available at Home Depot or Lowes. 1119 Von Phister is in a class of its own.

Click each word or phrase to see parts of this home: Greatroom -- Great room and dining alcove -- Kitchen -- Pool and rear deck -- Pool and spa -- View from second floor front balcony
-- Bath second floor front -- Master bedroom and sitting room -- View from master bedroom -- Master bedroom balcony -- Master bathroom -- First floor front bedroom -- First floor bath

The house is aggressively priced to sell now at $1,895,000 or at $666 per sq ft. For you readers who like to pick at prices I would suggest you consider the quality of the finishes and the size of the lot before you carp over the per sq ft price. I think the price is aggressive because it is priced below a two week old appraisal. The price shows the bank owner wants to sell this property now. And if you read the fine print in the link below you will see that the lender-owner may offer Seller Financing.

There is a huge old Mahogany tree at the front of 1119 Von Phister. I have one in front of my house and there are several others on our block. Many of the houses are quite old but renovated. The block looks stable, as in real people who take care of their homes live here. The house is a five minute walk or take a bike ride to the Atlantic Ocean and the beach. This is the real deal my friend. And the good thing is you won't have any sand in your feet by the time you walk back home. Of course you can ride your bike or drive your car or scooter.

You can also walk or bike over to Duval Street(5 minutes); or go down to the shops on White Street like Faustos or go to the Island Gym and watch me lift weights in the early morning (2 minutes): or you can grab a cafe con leche at any of the several neighborhood joints. You can be at the Historic Key West Seaport as fast on your bike as in your car (if you consider parking in your travel time) (5 minutes). And you can be in the Key West suburbs at the shopping centers or leave on a jet plane (we got 'em) at the Key West International Airport, all within a 5 minute drive from 1119 Von Phister. We don't have Conch Trains and motorcycles going through the area. We don't have noisy bars and noisy tourists walking home at four o'clock in the morning singing songs or arguing about how much they love or hate each other. We are so close and yet so far away.

CLICK HERE for more details and photos of 1119 Von Phister Street.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Curry House - Key West - For Sale

Just Listed: The Curry House Key West. No, not The Curry Mansion. The names sound similar, but the inns are quite different. CLICK HERE to read all about the historic Curry Mansion. It is located just off Duval on Caroline Street near one of the loudest locations in Old Town.

The Curry House, on the other hand, is located just far enough from Duval at 806 Fleming Street to be convenient, but not burdened by the noise and commotion. CLICK HERE to view the website of The Curry House.

This is how the listing realtor describes this listing. "Boasting classic Old Town Key West charm, the historic Curry House Bed and Breakfast offers a unique opportunity to own one of the few B&B's with a commercial kitchen to provide hot meals to guests. Built in 1889, this charming three-story house has 9 guest rooms, wrap-around porches, private verandas, parlor and spacious rear patio opening onto the large heated pool and gardens. Rooms feature hardwood floors, Dade county pine, refrigerators, cable TV, phone, wireless internet, A/C and ceiling fans. Located 3 blocks to Duval Street and the Historic Seaport, this alluring B&B welcomes gratified guests year after year. 8 transient licenses and managers unit. Turn-key operation."
CLICK HERE for more info and more photos of The Curry House.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the sale of The Artist House guest house (CLICK HERE). Re-read that blog for more information on transient license issues on guest houses in Key West. The Curry House is listed for sale at $3,200,000 (that is $400,000 per licensed room!). The Artist House sold on August 15,2008 for $355,000 per room.

I used to own a guest house, and I know the business. That is why I am perplexed by the asking prices of all the guest houses listed for sale in Key West at this time. CLICK HERE to see the guest houses currently available for purchase. In my opinion a guest house is a business. Anyone who buys a business expects to make money and have it be profitable. I do not think any of the properties on the list above can justify the asking price. But that is just my opinion. People who buy guest houses are buying jobs and buying a lifestyle. They are buying into the idea of being like Bob Newhart, operating an inn, and living in Paradise. If only life were that simple.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

1601 Patricia Street Key West - Short Sale Opportunity

1601 Patricia Street is located on the east end of the Casa Marina area near the beaches. This 1721`sq ft remodeled ranch 3 bedroom two bath home is now offered as a short sale. The list price is $695,000 or $404 per sq. ft. Shop and compare. I don't think you will find a better deal in that price range.

Spanish tile throughout, new bathrooms, new kitchen and tropical landscaping on a spacious 6300 sq ft lot. The living area flows throughout the house with French doors leading to the heated pool and spa. Covered lanai overlooking the pool and spa. The house sits on a corner lot behind a privacy fence and densely planted gardens. The property has off street parking. This home was professionally decorated -- and it shows in every room and in every detail. CLICK HERE for more info and photos on 1601 Patricia.

Not surprisingly the house next door at 1609 Patricia Street is also for sale. It is priced at $850,000 for the 2 bed 1 bath home of 950 sq ft. The asking price equates to $934 per sq ft. This home has all new electrical outlets, new appliances, has been chemically treated for mold, plaster walls -- no drywall, new paint and new Central A/C. This 2 bedroom, 1 bath home is hidden from view by mature, dense tropical landscaping; the property is totally fenced-in. The beautiful custom pool and waterfall, which takes up most of the side yard, has a privacy wall which hides it from the neighboring property. Landscaping and pool were designed by the renowned landscaper Raymond Jungles. The property sits on a double lot. CLICK HERE for more info on 1609 Patricia.

The house at 1601 Patricia Street is our listing. But I'll be pleased to show you both for comparison purposes. The third pic on the right is 1609's pool. The area is quiet and most of the homes have been remodeled in the past few years. So you would be buying into an area of equally valued homes. That is an important factor no matter where you buy a home.

CLICK HERE for more detailed information and photos of this beautiful home. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bank Owned Houses in Key West

It's that time again. Time to roll out the list of Bank Owned Single Family Homes for sale in and near Key West. CLICK HERE to look at the list of active single family homes. Some are "challenged" and a couple actually look really interesting.

I used to manage the Special Assets Department for a bank in Denver. We had our share of bank foreclosures. Banks don't want them. A lot of lenders have been doing some aggressive restructuring in the form of short sales to limit the amount of new foreclosures. But there will still be more foreclosures for some time to come.

One of the reasons for some of the foreclosures in this post is the location of the houses or the condition of the houses. Some of the properties are located in areas that took water during Hurricane Wilma. Buyers have to buy the property in an "as is" condition and I think a lot of prospective buyers are fearful that a property that flooded once will flood again. Wilma was a catastrophic event and the flooding that occurred was totally unexpected based on previous history. At least that is what I have been told. But the fear factor is keeping some of these houses from being purchased. I assume there is a price where prospective buyers will feel the price is worth the risk.

Some previous owners have made the sale of bank foreclosures a bit more difficult as well. Several of the properties I have seen (including some on this list) have been cannibalized. Cannibalized means that someone has taken appliances, light fixtures, air conditioning systems, kitchen cabinets, etc. I guess the former owners think they paid for the stuff and they wanted to take some memento to remember their former home. Yea, that or sell the stuff and make a few bucks.

On a lighter note I would suggest that potential buyers look at 1525 Niles Channel Road ($999,900) with awesome open water views, 4 Go Lane in Key West ($990,000) located on an active Key West canal with easy deep water access [photos to the Right are of Go Lane], and 67 Bay Drive on Saddlebunch Key ($583,900) which is affordably priced and it also has open water views. [The mls listing info is not correct on Bay Drive. The price of $583,000 is correct as of 8-26-2008.]

These properties are vacant and easy to show. If you would like to see one and maybe get a good deal on a bank foreclosure please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ocean Front Condo - Key West

Attention Maties! There is treasure to be found in this sweet listing of Unit 421 in the new Beachside Resort. People that read my blog know I don't just hype things. I try to get people to consider options when they are looking at purchasing a permanent home or a second home or income property in Key West. Not all jewels are located in Old Town. If you are looking for a condo with two transient licenses, this gem may pique your interest.

Here are the details: Unit 421 Beachside Resort is a 1357 sq ft a 2 Bedroom 2.5 Bath, type A floor plan with lockout feature & 2 transient licenses for optimal rental potential. All of the finest amenities including designer furniture package grace this 2nd floor luxury condominium situated in building 4 with a pool & courtyard view. Beautifully appointed floor plan with gourmet kitchen overlooking comfortable living room & spacious covered balcony. Endless on-site resort amenities include private beach, heated waterfront pool, spa, poolside bar & grill, valet parking, concierge, optional on-site management, gourmet restaurant & the island's largest conference center. CLICK HERE for more detailed info on Unit 421 and additional photos. CLICK HERE for info on the Beachside Resort. This website will draw heads to your beds, so it is important to see how well this property is marketed.

Unit 421 is priced at $699,000. That is $511 per sq ft. Experienced lookers know the price of everything in Key West. You know that $699,000 is an incredible price. But for those who are not so familiar with prices, CLICK HERE to see the list prices on the remaining units at Beachside. Unit 421 beats every property offered. When this unit sells, and it will, there will be no more priced like it. This is a deal limited to one buyer only. When it is sold, there will be no more--at that price. That does not mean the other units are priced too high. Every unit is different in size, layout, and location.

I suggest that seasoned shoppers look at this unit and compare what you will get for your dollar versus a similarly sized unit at 1800 Atlantic or a much small unit at Truman Annex that is priced similarly. There is no comparison. This property wins. True units at Truman Annex are very close to the rock and roll of Duval. And 1800 Atlantic has a loyal group of vacationers that return year after year. But Beachside is new and far from the madding crowd.

Would you like to see the Beachside Resort and test my theory of value? Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at This is an exceptional property at an exceptional price. Maybe you are the exceptional buyer who will grab this little gem.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Last week I wrote about the deal that was. The deal that got away and that will not return. A real deal in a down-trodden economy.

Yesterday two properties sold and closed. Our office used to have the listings on both properties, but lost them when the properties did not sell. They were not my listings, but those of this office. No harsh feelings, I'm working with one of the owners on another deal. So what I am about to write is not sour grapes or anything like that. But it is intended as illustrative of what is going on in Key West at this time.

Remember what life was like after September 11th: all of the uncertainty and the feeling of having been savagely violated. I remember that the Key West community came together like no time before or since. Everybody was nicer. Kinder. More caring. We did not know what was going to come next. The tourists stayed away in droves. Fantasy Fest did occur, but it was not like before. And then everybody left town and we waited for Christmas. The Christmas crowds arrived and then, like gangbusters, everybody started buying property. Prices soared as inventory shrank. Money was cheap and plentiful and the buying spree was on.

The effect on prices was that homes that a couple of years before that sold around $250 per square foot shot up to near $1000 per square foot. And many sold in or near that price range. Even crap. Forget about who caused it for point of discussion. It happened.

Fast forward to 2005 and the beginning of the downturn in the real estate bubble nationally. Add the awful summer of four hurricanes in Key West and the crippling of our tourist business. Hurricane Wilma through everybody for a loop because for once Key West actually got hurt by a hurricane. Normally it is just a bunch of wind and rain and falling tree limbs or an occasional tree that falls on a house. But Wilma was different. It was a real hurricane and it did real damage.

Christmas in 2005 came and I think we all assumed it was going to be like it was in 2001 after the memories of 9/11 started to subside. Wrong. There was resistance to buying in general and resistance to price in particular. But there were sellers who thought that the market would bounce back and many resisted reducing prices.

We listed 730 Passover Lane in January 2006 for $795,000 or $1338 per square foot. The owner had the property appraised and priced the property a little higher. My assumption is that the owner might have thought that would give some downward negotiating ability. I held numerous open houses there and many folks just loved the property. There were two detractions to the property: it only had one bedroom and there was no room for a pool. Oh, yeah, the price was way high. Nobody made an offer. Nada. The price eventually got reduce, but only to $599,000 in mid 2007.

The owner listed the house with another company in February 2008 at $579,000 and progressively dropped the asking price. The last asking price was $499,000. The property sold at $430,000 or $724 per sq ft for the 594 sq ft cottage. CLICK HERE for more info on 730 Passover Lane.

The Artist House guest house at 534 Eaton Street is a Key West landmark. We listed that property in December 2005 at $2,975,000. Guest houses are traditionally listed like hotel rooms or by the number of "keys" or "rooms" available to be rented. Since many guest houses have phantom units, rooms without required transient licenses, pricing can sometimes get difficult. Key West banks have no problem loaning money to purchase guest houses, but they typically only loan on legal units and discount any phantom units even though everybody knows the phantom units produce income. The fact is that phantom rooms could be shut down by city code enforcement so those rooms just don't count. The Artist House had six rooms plus an additional room and not the required number of transient licenses.

In November 2007 The Artist House was listed with another real estate company for $2,600,000. It sold yesterday for $2,130,000. It was a short sale. The price per room or key was about $300,000. That was a good price considering that there are more rooms and transient licenses, but it falls in line with what pricing on other units has been or should be. CLICK HERE to see what you missed buying.

I think there are some who will see these prices as still being too high. There are some readers who may want some sellers to be punished even more by even larger price reductions. There are some short sales in progress that are waiting to close. I am not sure that the prices will cause the market to drop that much even though I am pretty certain that the price per square foot on some future sales will be lower.

If you CLICK HERE and search the Key West mls database you will see that there are two Key Wests. First there is Key West's Old Town area full of cute cottages and majestic conch houses. Second is the Key West Mid Town and New Town areas. Many of the houses in those areas were damaged during Hurricane Wilma. Many of the condos and town homes were sold at inflated prices and are now bank owned or offered as short sales.

There just are not that many really nice properties remaining for sale in Old Town.
Sellers who do not need to sell do not have their properties on the market. If a property is listed for sale in Old Town it is probably listed because it needs to get sold. But with a shrinking base of available properties I don't know that the prices will necessarily get depressed much more.

But the Mid Town and New Town areas are the reverse. The inventory of available properties is still large. I read the Monroe County Clerk's website and see all of the new properties going into pre-foreclosure. It is not stopping. So prices in those areas will likely continue to drop until this mess is over.

If you want to catch the big one before there are no more big ones left, CLICK HERE to search the Key West mls database. If you see a property you like please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at Let me help you find your little (or BIG) place in Paradise.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

3041 Flagler Ave. Key West -- Bank Foreclosure

Bank Owned four bedroom / 2 bath home at 3041 Flagler Avenue, Key West, Florida needs to be sold soon. This is our sad listing. This 1478 sq ft house sits on a large (60' x 104.88' lot -- 6292 sq ft)is now offered for quick sale at only $279,000 or $189 per sq ft. Call an appraiser to verify what I am saying, but I am pretty sure the asking price is cheaper than the per sq ft cost of a buildable lot plus you get a house thrown in.

This house would make a good project for some young couple looking for an inexpensive home with a big backyard for the kids. The kitchen has been updated. It doesn't have granite counter tops or other expensive features. But unlike some foreclosure, it does have a range and refrigerator. (If you've been looking at foreclosures, you know what I'm talking about.) It's just a simple starter house that needs some paint and a good cleaning. CLICK HERE for more photos and a some more details on the property.

3041 Flagler is a bank owned property. It is not a short sale. There is no long wait to see if your offer will get approved by some committee far, far away. This is a chance to buy a real house (not an attached town home or condominium) at an affordable price. I created a list of other single family homes located on Flagler in the same vicinity. CLICK HERE to see how 3041 stacks up to the market in terms of price and what it offers. It's the cheapest priced property on the block. Don't miss it.

The bank asset manager responsible for this property is a quick responder. If you would like to see this house, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. This is our listing and I would really like to see some young couple get a good deal on a good sized house.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

That Was the Deal That Was

You Old Timers may remember a TV show called That Was the Week That Was. It was hosted by glib Brit David Frost and it was a fast paced re-cap of life in the 1960s. It was a snapshot looking back.

A property that has been on the market for about 3 years just closed. The terms of the sale need to be mentioned. The new house at 1117 Royal Street (Corner of Royal and Amelia Streets) sits a block and a half north of St. Mary's Catholic Church. A top rate Key West contractor developed that house and the property next door on Windsor Lane. The house has classic Key West Conch house architecture. The rooms are large and meet the needs of people wanting a house with the classic looks but the functionality of today's world. The finishes were top of the line.

1117 Royal Street was originally listed for sale in 2004 for $1,995,000. It sold yesterday for $1,300,000 or $536 per sq ft. That is a very good price for the buyer. I think the seller is smarting a bit, however. But then a lot of sellers are hurting these days. I think part of the reason for what I consider the low sales price on the house is its location. It isn't in Old Town. It is near Old Town. The houses nearby (except for the house next door developed at the same time by the same contractor) are all inferior. So it looks like location may have had played a role in determining price. CLICK HERE for more info and photos of 1117 Royal.

I liked the house on Royal Street. I didn't like the location. But I'll bet the buyer thinks he or she got a heck of a deal. I would agree on that. This was a great deal. That was the deal that was. If you are looking to buy a house in Old Town, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at CLICK HERE to search the Key West mls for find a deal worth doing. Let's make history together.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

1116 Seminary Street Key West, Fl

Here is a deal that might work just for you. 1116 Seminary in the Casa Marina Area of Key West has tentatively been approved for a Short Sale by the lender. Some details still need to be worked out. There is a contract in place but the prospective buyer may not close because he/she has a contract on another property as well. The seller must sell to avoid inevitable foreclosure.

1116 Seminary is located one half block west of Whitehead Street and across the street from the original Key West High School. The location is quiet. All of the houses on the block have been renovated over the past few years including 1116 Seminary. The house is 1435 sq ft and sits on a 4107 sq ft lot. There are 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, both of which are very good sized. The master bed and bath are located at the rear of the home and look out onto the pool through double sets of French doors. The cheerful kitchen also looks onto the pool area through another set of French doors. Bamboo floors give this house a fresh open feeling as do the vaulted ceilings. Of course there is a pool. And off street parking. CLICK HERE for more info and photos.

Don't let the asking price of $1,000,000 fool you. This house can be purchased at a very reasonable price. My suggestion is that you call me to schedule and appointment to see this house and call your banker at the same time to get pre-approval for a loan (in case you don't have the cash). This is a deal waiting to happen. Don't let another buyer's dual-offer dilemma prevent you from buying a very nice house in a good location at a terrific price. Please call me, Gary Thomas, at 305-766-2642. My office is a transaction broker on this property.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Florida Homestead Law Myth-Understood

Yesterday afternoon I was perusing the Monroe County Clerk's website checking to see how many more properties had Lis Pendens filed since July 22nd. One choice address popped up and I did decided to look further. A Lis Pendens is a legal document filed by a party claiming a potential interest in real property. The Lis Pendens is notice to the world that the party who filed the notice claims an interest in the property that is adverse to the owner of the property.

In Florida a Lis Pendens is a pre-requisite to the commencement of foreclosure on a mortgage, foreclosure of a mechanic's or materialman's lien, or the foreclosure of a lien created by operation of law such as a judgment.

When I saw that particular Lis Pendens and the address of the property I immediately looked to see if the property was currently listed for sale. Sure enough it was. But I was surprised to see that the asking price is considerably high for this present market. The price is high compared to the amount of loans against the property. I thought that perhaps the listing agent was attempting to do a short sale without advertising the fact to the world.

I called the listing agent. The agent was totally surprised by the information that a Lis Pendens had been filed. The agent queried if I had identified the correct property since the owner owns other properties in the area. I answered that I had checked the legal description. I asked if the property was a short sale. I was told the opposite: that the owner has been discussing raising the asking price. I was dumbfounded. I told the listing agent that the Lis Pendens is the first step to the commencement of foreclosure.

The listing agent told me that the property was homesteaded and that the lender could not foreclose. The agent said the owner had already talked to bankruptcy counsel. The homesteaded property is not safe from foreclosure. End of story. Maybe the listing agent thought I was trying to interfere. I wasn't.

I am not a Florida attorney so do not deem what I write as advice from a lawyer. If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure and your property is homesteaded, consult a licensed Florida attorney to explain how Florida's Homestead exemption applies to you. Don't ask a Realtor. The Realtor may be wrong.

The Florida State Constitution "protects a person’s homestead residence from forced sale under process of any court. That section clearly states that no judgment or execution shall become a lien on homestead property." There are specific rules which must be complied with to attain the protection of the homestead exemption. CLICK HERE to read a brief and clear explanation of Florida's homestead law as reported by Jonathan B. Alper, P.L.C.

ARTICLE X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution states: "SECTION 4. Homestead; exemptions.--
(a) There shall be exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and no judgment, decree or execution shall be a lien thereon, except for the payment of taxes and assessments thereon, obligations contracted for the purchase, improvement or repair thereof, or obligations contracted for house, field or other labor performed on the realty, the following property owned by a natural person The homestead exemption does not protect homeowners who failed to make mortgage payments on principal residences even if the owner filed a homestead exemption..."

The bold print above preserves the right of a lender to foreclose its mortgage against a defaulting borrower, even one who homesteaded his property.

The family home is the largest asset for most people. Don't make a foolish mistake and make decisions based on what you think the law is or what someone told you or what you read on the internet or in a self-help book.

My advice: see a lawyer when you have a legal problem. See a Realtor when you want to sell a house. Don't confuse the two.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Key West Bank Dick

I've complained before that the Key West Association of Realtors mls database does not automatically show bank owned properties. Some Realtors believe that lender-owners do not want to disclose to the public that a bank owns a piece of property. I guess that is possible, but having worked in the Special Assets division of two banks, I know that we advertised we were selling bank foreclosures. There is a segment of the market that wants to buy bank foreclosures: they think they are going to get a deal. They have watched those late night info-mercials on how to buy real estate in a down market.

I decided to do my best imitation of W.C. Fields as The Bank Dick and went through the mls database and found the properties LISTED HERE that are bank owned. These properties are primarily single family homes in Key West. A couple of the properties are very nice. So there may be a real bargain if you play your cards right.

Most of the bank owners periodically reduce the asking price on properties that do not sell. Some of these properties are getting stale. They have been on the market a long time and nobody wants them. A couple actually look pretty interesting. Checkout the list and if you see a property that you like, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at Let me be your Bank Dick and let's find a deal.

CLICK HERE and be your own detective and search the Key West mls database for active real property listings. Again, if you see something you like, please give me a call.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Architectural Icon - 1415 Alberta Street - Key West

The French Polynesian style home at 1415 Alberta Street in Key West's tony Casa Marina area was just listed for sale at $1,275,000 or only $504 per sq ft. The property was built in 1963 and it was featured in Architectural Digest in 1968. To read the article and view the photos of the 1415 Alberta Street as is appeared in Architectural Digest in 1968. It may take a couple of minutes to download. CLICK HERE.

This property is not our listing. I met with the listing agent two days ago so that I could preview the house for a client. I sent my client photos and decided this house is just too interesting not to pass on to the public.

The house has been updated over the years, and in my opinion, it needs to be updated again but in a way that maybe takes it back to its original design. The house was built to take advantage of Key West's temperate climate. The rooms opened to tropical courtyards. The house was not closed and air conditioned. Read the Architectural Digest article for more info on the design and function. The renovations must go. The property needs help. I'm not being mean. I am being realistic.

But when you consider the unique structure, the huge lot by Key West standards (10,000 sq ft), and the premium location just a block from the beach in an area of equally expensive properties, you will share my enthusiasm for this property. There is only one property like this in Key West. And that makes it very valuable in my opinion. If you watched Bravo TV's premiere episode of Million Dollar Listing this past Tuesday you saw a prime example of a Realtor trying to get a client to tie-up a unique property before someone else grabs it. The Realtor was Josh Flagg and he got a listing on the home of the late Jay Bernstein. That house was once owned by Carol Lombard. The house had fallen into deep disrepair but it had (to quote a line from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure)a "most excellent" location. Josh hosted an open house and tried to get some of his well healed buyers to look at the property. One such buyer was his dentist, Dr. Sam. Dr. Sam like the place but was slow to act. Another buyer ponied up with a low ball offer and the executor for the estate accepted the offer. Dr. Sam tried to submit a backup offer that met the original asking price. But it was too late. He lost out and the lower offer prevailed.

That's the story so many times in real estate--especially in a place like Key West. Key West is full of truly unique homes. Key West is not like Miami or Ft. Lauderdale with street after street of similarly styled and sized houses laid out in monotonous blocks. It just happens that in a town full of architecturally unique homes, the house at 1415 Alberta may be one of the most unique of all. And when it gets purchased, and it will, there are sure to be some Sad Sams walking around ruing the day they failed to act quick and tie up an architectural icon.

CLICK HERE to see what the listing agent says about this property. I live in the Casa Marina area and I would love to show you this house. I think this is a most excellent buy for someone who wants a project. What an opportunity this is for a buyer with vision. Want to see this house, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. Don't wait. Don't be a Sad Sam.

Monday, August 4, 2008

707 Washington -- Key West -- Short Sale

Just Listed: 707 Washington Street Key West, Florida. This great two home property is a legal duplex but it is actually two separate houses on the same lot and it is located on one of the best locations in the Casa Marina area.

This property was constructed in 2004. I live a couple of blocks away and I remember riding my bike past the property during the lengthy construction. I was excited to see the interiors once the houses were completed. Each property is distinct, but they share a common design theme. The rooms are large and the bedrooms on the second floor of each residence soar. This property would be great for a buyer with lots of friends or relatives that you really like. There is plenty of room for lots of people.

The property is just a stone's throw to Louie's Backyard and Dog Beach. The newly renovated Reach Resort is within walking distance. Duval Street is just a 5 minute walk. 707 Washington has 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, two kitchens, two living rooms, a big pool, and a great Casa Marina location. The house has 3257 sq ft of living space and sits on a 5300 sq ft lot. It is offered at the Short Sale price of $2,150,000 or $660 per sq ft.

CLICK HERE for more information on 707 Washington Street. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at for more information.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

3533 Flagler Avenue Key West Florida

Bank Owned house at 3533 Flagler Avenue in Key West, Florida is begging for a buyer. This 1950's vintage house has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, a new kitchen, a separate laundry room, an enclosed backyard with a nifty pool, and balcony off the master bedroom overlooking the pool. The house is 1658 sq ft according to the property assessor, but I suspect it may be a little bigger because of the rear addition to the house. The lot is 5000 sq ft. The current asking price is $470,900 or $282 per sq ft.

Like a lot of bank owned houses this guy needs some tlc. Most of the floor are ceramic tile but the stairway and upstairs bedrooms are carpeted and soiled. The walls need painted and the house needs a bath for sure. And the pool needs cleaned immediately. The previous owners apparently liked bold colors, because all the walls are vibrant. Even the exterior grabs your attention. I'm no builder and what I say doesn't mean squat, but the house looks to be in pretty good shape on the outside and inside.

There are two bedrooms and two baths on the second floor, neither of which is very large. I'd remodel and create one large master suite with a larger bath. The french doors overlooking the pool below is really nice, irrespective how bad the photo to the right may seem.

The backyard could be incredible. It is very forlorn at this time, but the space is there to create a tropical oasis. There is a terrace for outdoor dining as well. The front has a white picket fence and two separate driveways that should make entrance and exit easy for the most challenged driver. CLICK HERE for more detailed info on this house.

PROPERTY IS LENDER OWNED! OFFERED AS-IS Without REPAIR. Countrywide provides free credit report and appraisal when financed through Countrywide.

I did a quick check of comparative sales for 3 plus bedrooms and 3 baths in the New Town area. There have only been 2 in the past 6 months of properties that compare with this one. A bank owned property on Flagler not in as good a condition sold at $132 per sq ft. Another bank owned house on 16th Terrace that was 400 sq ft smaller but had a larger lot sold for $320 per sq ft. Flagler is always a pretty hard sell. I don't think the bank owner will sell at the asking price or anywhere near it. But I do think this house definitely has a lot going for it.

This house is not a major fixer-upper. It sure does need cleaned and painted and there are a few issues a certified home inspector should look at for any buyer. But I think this house might make somebody a good home at a good price. If you want to see 3533 Flagler please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at


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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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.