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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Waterfront - Transient Licensed - Key West

The Coconut Mallory Condominiums are located at the far east end of the Island of Key West. They sit at the edge of Cow Key Channel and provide immediate deep water access.
There are three units left unsold. Two of the units are one bedrooms that are priced at $250,000 and $260,000. Each has a transient license and a boat slip. But the one I want to tell you about is a two bedroom two bath unit on the top floor (the building only has two floors). It occupies one-half of that floor and has the premium water view. This unit is offered at $450,000 or $400 per sq. ft. Like the other condominiums at Coconut Mallory, it has a transient license and a boat slip. It comes fully furnished and ready perhaps to turn Cow Key Channel into a cash cow for the new owner.

The listing Realtor describes Unit 201 this way:
"Boat slip & transient license! Second floor unit boasting an open floor plan with water views. Elevator access from pol area to private wrap around balcony accessed from living area and bedrooms. Recently renovated kitchen and baths. Offered fully furnished ready to move in today or start earning rental income. Dock Fees associated with the boat slip are $1,140.00 paid one time annually. Condominium Fees paid monthly include all utilities, electric, water, sewer garbage & cable along with exterior insurance and building/common area maintenance."
CLICK HERE to see the detailed listing information on this unit and to view many photos. Note the monthly maintenance fees are $795 and cover Cable, Sewer, Exterminating, Water, Trash Removal, Bldg Exterior Maintenance, Building Insurance, Common Area Maintenance.

There are many condos offered for sale right now in Key West that have transient licenses that are priced similarly to this unit. You might be able to buy a Shipyard Unit in Truman Annex with two bedrooms and one bath unit with 680 square feet for around $450,000. Shipyard is very popular with returning vacationers because of its easy walking access to everything in Old Town. The units with transient licenses have some restrictions not applicable to Coconut Mallory. The Shipyard location is a valuable asset indeed. On the other hand, you might be able to purchase a 1380 square foot unit with two bedrooms and two baths with a transient license at 1800 Atlantic. 1800 Atlantic is located directly on the ocean and has beach access, tennis courts, a huge spa, and a huge pool. Many returning vacationers prefer the 1800 Atlantic location over Old Town because of the waterfront amenities and larger sized units. Units with transient licenses at 1800 Atlantic do not have any restriction on the number of days per year a unit may be rented.

Unit No. 201 at Coconut Mallory has 1126 square feet of newly remodeled interior space and wrap around covered lanais. The living room and both bedrooms have immediate access to the lanais and this makes the interior spaces seem even larger. The are no neighbors across the courtyard or next door to watch your every move. The only "neighbor" occupies the west one-half of the floor and that unit has no view. The neighbors to the south, east, and north are open skies, some palm trees, and the waterfront where the Coconut Mallory Marina is located CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE.
This unit has a real killer view of the adults only pool just to the north. (There is another pool that does permit children. That pool is secluded and surrounded by palm trees.)

Unit 201 has a large covered parking space with easy access to the enclosed stairway or elevator. That means you do not need to get beat up by the occasional rainstorm or blistering heat when you are bringing in the groceries. There are no bowling alley long hallways or tourists to dodge on scooters zooming around the parking lot. When you are home, you are home.

The interiors were very recently tastefully renovated to provide both utility and style. The space was designed for a lot of potential use but it looks great. I recently took some interior photos. CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE,CLICK HERE,CLICK HERE,CLICK HERE.

Life is full of choices. If you want a place in Key West to make your permanent home or that you can rent out to help pay for itself, there are many options available in the mid $400,000 price range. Unit No. 201 at Coconut Mallory is one of them. Please give me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 a call to schedule a showing. These units cannot be showed when they are occupied. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. in beautiful Key West, Florida. If you lived here you would not need to be fretting about the coming snow storms and high heating bills.

Monday, September 28, 2009

1305 Reynolds Street - Casa Marina Area - Key West

The house at 1305 Reynolds Street was constructed in 1976. The house is a CBS with what appears to be a stucco finish. There is a bit of gingerbread on the first floor deck and second floor balcony. The house is 1697 sq ft with two bedrooms and two and one-half baths. There is a little storage building by the pool that might make a a cute pool house. The pool is fairly large and deep. It gets quite a bit of sun. Part of the rear deck is covered so you can have your sun and shade too.

The house sits on a large lot (59.75' x92') in the Casa Marina Area of Key West. This house is not all glitzy and tricked out like a lot of new places in Key West or older homes that have had recent renovations. The property is nearly hidden away behind the trees and tropical foliage. The asking price is $785,000 or $463 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to see the mls listing page and view all photos of this house and grounds.

The listing Realtor describes 1305 Reynolds Street this way:
"Very spacious 2 story home located in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Key West - the Casa Marina. The open floor plan of this home includes an entrance foyer, very spacious living/dining room with french doors to a large covered porch, a galley style kitchen, half bath and a laundry room. Originally the second floor was three bedrooms and two baths but is currently a master bedroom with private bath and walk-in closet and a large second bedroom and hall bath. The upstairs can easily be converted to 3 bedrooms if desired. Both bedrooms open through french doors to an oversized porch. Outdoors is a tropical garden with meandering pathway and a large pool and deck plus a separate storage building. There also is covered parking."

I created a short list of comparably priced two bedroom homes with pools in the Old Town and Casa Marina areas. CLICK HERE to compare 1305 Reynolds Street to the fifteen homes on the list. If you happen to see a house you like, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of any of these properties.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2718 Harris Street - Bank Owned - Key West

I chose the lopsided photo of 2718 Harris Street for a reason: the property is Bank Owned and the price on this property is askew. Let me explain further.

2718 Harris Street is located just at the beginning of New Town. It is a couple of blocks directly north of Grace Lutheran Church on Flagler Boulevard I toured this house over a year ago on Realtor caravan with about 40 other Realtors. What first struck me about this house was the asking price at that time $1,899,000. That was an awful lot of money for that block and that house at that time! Once I got inside I could see all of the love and creativity that went into the remodel that the owner was just completing. I think most of us thought the house was over-built for the area and way over-priced PERIOD! As the months passed the owner progressively dropped the asking price down to $1.1 million. Then the bank foreclosed.

Take a moment and CLICK HERE to look at the photos and read the description of 2718 Harris before it became Bank Owned. Note how attractive the place looked with appliances. They are missing now. CLICK HERE to see the current mls listing info and look at the current photos. You will see the same rooms, similar views, same location, lower price, work to be done, and more money to be spent by a new owner. This is how the current listing Realtor describes the house today:
"Bank Owned awaiting a loving new owner. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to acquire a sprawling home in great New Town neighborhood. Totaling 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths including a 1bd/1ba private guest suite. Gorgeous state of the art finishes throughout, overlooking custom pool situated on a spacious 9000+ sq. ft. double lot. Minimal amount of finish work required including appliance package and a few other miscellaneous details. Vacant and easy to show."
2718 Harris Street is now priced at $699,000 or $179 per sq ft. It's a big house: 3910 sq ft that sits on a really big 9164 sq ft lot. The house has 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, a great kitchen, and lots of open living space. I have included photos of neighboring houses so that you get a feeling for the area. CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE (house next door to west). There are some other larger homes in the immediate area, but most of the houses are 1960's and 1970's vintage ranches. I'm not telling you anything you can't see for yourself about this house being over built for the area. Here are some other photos I took of 2718 Harris Street this morning:

The house at 2718 Harris Street is owned by a local bank so we ought to get a quick response on any offer. This property is vacant (YEAH!) and easy to show. If you are interested in looking at this bank owned property please call me, Gary Thomas, 305,766-2642 or contact me by email at This is a house you bargain hunters just might want to take a look at.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

1104 South Street - Casa Marina Area - Key West

Ernest Hemingway rented the house at 1100 South Street in 1928-1929. He completed his novel 'A Farewell to Arms' in that house. That location is just magical as you will note from the gigantic tree at the corner CLICK HERE. The new listing next door at 1104 South Street was built about 70 years after Hemingway left the neighborhood. But the enchantment of that location remains steadfast.

1104 South Street was just listed by Preferred Properties. The listing Realtor describes the one of a kind property this way:
"This dramatic & stylish home in the Casa Marina neighborhood was designed and built by a noted architect in 1999. A series of open-air, vaulted pavilions surround the very private and tropical swimming pool. Thoughtfully separated from the main house is a second floor guest suite with balcony. Over the garage, there is a licensed one bedroom apartment with two balconies overlooking the street."
The County Appraiser shows this house as having 1977 sq ft of living space that sits on a 44' x 112' lot. CLICK HERE for an aerial view. There are three bedrooms and three and one-half baths. The extraordinary master suite overlooks the gardens and pool. There is a second bedroom en suite located at the far backside of the property. The apartment or guest suite located above the garages is located at the front end of the property. The separation between the three bedrooms provides total privacy for everyone. And each living space is really, really special. This house is not for the buyer who likes cookie cutter living or who wants the Old Town quintessential cottage look. The look here to dramatic and sophisticated. The asking price is $1,875,000 or $810 per sq ft (based on the listing Realtor's statement of sq ft). CLICK HERE to read more detailed info on the house and to view the photos of this intriguing property.

I live two blocks to the south and I love this area. It is an easy walk or bike ride to the beaches or one of several gyms, Faustos Grocery on White, the Dairy Queen on United, or any number of little shops and restaurants in the Casa Marina area. Old Town is about a five minute bike ride. The airport is five to seven minutes away depending on traffic. The location is close to just about everything that is important without living right in the middle of all the commotion near Duval Street.

To see other houses in the immediate area CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE (this house is going to be in an upcoming issue of Architectural Digest).

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of 1104 South Street in the Casa Marina Area of Key West, Florida. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. Our office is an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Conch Harbor Boatslips - Key West - Priced to Sell!

One of the interesting things about Key West real estate is the continued development of boat slips in the Key West area. The Historic Seaport "Conch Harbor" was re-vitalized a few years back and it looks great. It has great new facilities including pool, showers, restaurants, and businesses that meet the needs of boaters.

CLICK HERE to read what the listing Realtor has to say about Boat slip No. 12 at Conch Harbor Marina that was JUST LISTED and PRICED TO SELL at $325,000. This is a 45' slip. It is part of an association whose monthly fee of $553.82 includes electric, water, and cable. Owners have full use of the facilities at the Conch Harbor Marina including showers, pool, restaurants, and other fun stuff. Taxes are presently $3150.43.

There are two other new boat slip listings.

Boat slip No. 15 CLICK HERE is a 50' slip and it is offered at $399,000. The monthly condo fee of $714.56 includes electric, water and cable. Current taxes on this slip are $3150.43.

Boat slip No. 21 CLICK HERE is a 60' slip. It is offered at $499,000. The monthly condo fee of $964.80 includes electric, water and cable. The current taxes on this slip are $4201.00. This slip is located at near the outside entrance to the marina for easy entry.

I took some photos of the area this morning before the birds woke up. This place is so quiet right now. Wait till Fantasy Fest in October and the boat races in November. This place will be a madhouse of activity very shortly. CLICK HERE to see the photos.

CLICK HERE to do your own personal search of Key West Association of Realtors mls database. If you see a property you like, whether it is a boat slip, a little Key West Cottage or a big old house, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

524 White Street - Old Town - Short Sale - Key West

I wrote about 524 White Street a couple of months ago. It is a Short Sale. It is located in Old Town on a somewhat busy street and it is located across the street from Navy housing. The street does get busy during the daytime but it is pretty quiet after sunset-just like most of the rest of Old Town Key West.

524 White Street (CLICK HERE to see the mls info and listing realtor photos)is a modified two story with dormers. It is offered as a short sale at the new asking price of $499,000 or $295 per sq. ft. for this 1690 sq ft home that sits on a good sized 2997 sq. ft. lot. The downstairs has been remodeled and it is just great. There is a semi-formal entry that looks into the living room and then the dining area followed by the delightful kitchen at the rear. This kitchen is a killer! CLICK HERE to view lots of photos I took.

There is a guest room or third bedroom on the main floor as well as a fully remodeled bath. Upstairs there are two very large bedrooms that share a large bathroom. The second floor landing is quite large as well. The entire second floor has a very open feeling about it. Nothing claustrophobic like so many older homes.

Outside there is a "pool". Ha! It could be made bigger. But for the asking price, it is still a pool and it is surrounded by a nice deck. It does get real sunshine unlike a lot of Old Town properties. And then there is the bricked off-street parking space as well. This property is rented. The tenant requires at least 24 hour advance notice to view the property.

If you are looking for a livable house with two or three bedrooms, a pool, and parking in Old Town, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. in sunny Key West, Florida.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

810 Carey Lane - Old Town - Key West

Just Listed, but not by me, 810 Carey Lane in Old Town Key West, Florida. CLICK HERE to see this precious two bedroom two bath home located on arguably the quietest little slow lane in Key West.
This is how the listing Realtor describes 810 Carey Lane:
"Perfect! Beautifully remodeled cottage on a quiet Old Town Lane with pool and parking. The master bedroom and living room open to a deck, pool and covered dining area. A third bedroom space can be easily created by closing a set of pocket doors in the guest bedroom. The kitchen is a cook's delight with lots of open space, convenient island work space, wolf gas stove, and more. This property has been well cared for and is easy to show."
I have written about Carey Lane before. It is just the dreamiest of the lanes in Old Town. The lane is only one block long and is accessed at Margaret Street across from the north entrance to the Key West Cemetery. The lane is narrow and is enveloped in lush foliage and flowering trees. All of the little houses have white picket fences. There aren't any straggler houses here to bring property values down. Each of the houses is perfect in its own right. The location looks like some Hollywood set designer created it.

The house is a bit deceptive because what looks from the lane to be the "front" door is actually a door off the front bedroom. The front porch as an old fashioned swing hanging from the ceiling where you can sit and watch absolutely nothing go by except maybe the clouds.

The real entry is just off the bricked parking space through the beautiful kitchen located in a sawtooth addition at the back. That gives you a vaulted ceiling and lots of volume and a real spacious feeling. That kitchen is just the bees knees. The front bedroom has an adjacent sitting area. But the neatest feature is the loft above with a ladder hanging from a rope that permits occasional entry. When I first saw that space I immediately thought "FORT". What kid doesn't want a fort.

The rear bedroom has French doors that open onto the secluded pool. The living room shares the rest of the rear side of the house which is a second sawtooth addition to the main house. There is a little outdoor kitchenette or whatever you might call it. The area is very private and the only things you see are the blue skies and neighboring trees. Lots of sunshine in this place.

810 Carey Lane is offered at $1,150,000 or $799 per sq ft. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at to arrange a showing of this special house.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bank Owned Homes - Flagler Avenue - Key West

Flagler Avenue is a major street in Key West that brings traffic onto the island and past homes, multi-family properties, and a few strip malls. It abruptly ends at the posh Casa Marina Resort. It is like big feeder streets located across the country. Every town has own. Most people don't want to live on feeder streets like Flagler Avenue. As a result prices are usually lower because of the address itself and not because of any necessary deficiency with the property. Listed below are two bank owned single family homes that might make a good buying opportunity.

2918 Flagler Avenue is a 3 bedroom 1 bath house with 1309 sq ft of living space plus a separate building out back by the pool. The lot is very large - 6360 sq ft. Someone bought this house in June 2006 and paid $800,000. It is now Bank Owned and is offered at $335,000 or $256 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to read what the listing Realtor says about this house and view PHOTOS. I showed this a couple of months ago. It went under contract soon thereafter and just went back on the market. 2918 Flagler is the poster child for bank owned homes. It smelled and it looks terrible. It needs cleaned and painted. It needs some landscaping.

A mile to the east you will find 3814 Flagler Avenue which is also Bank Owned. This 5 bedroom 3 bath home with a beautiful poo, two car garage and 3109 sq. ft of living space on a gigantic 14,175 sq ft lot on the water is offered at $950,000 or $306 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to read more detailed information and view PHOTOS of this house. This is how the listing Realtor describes this property:
"Great opportunity to own a significant waterfront property on a canal in Key West. This 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom home has 3,109 square feet of living space and sits on a oversized 14175 square foot lot with a large pool. A few of the amenities include a two car garage, gorgeous tile floors, new roof, seawall, fireplace and plenty of storage. Bank owned."
CLICK HERE to see an aerial photo of 3814 Flagler Avenue. It is the pink colored property numbered 78160 at the far right side of Vista Del Mar highlighted in yellow. The property provides immediate deep water access. There is a giant pool and off street parking. So what if the roof is shaped a little funny. We all had funny hair in the 1970s when this house was built.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to see either of these Bank Owned properties. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. in beautiful Key West, Florida. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some Recent Key West Real Estate Sales of Note!

There were a few sales earlier this week that are worth mentioning. I'll tell you why that is so at the end of this blog entry.

1513 Pine Street The Meadows CLICK HERE sold for $925,000 or $484 per sq ft. This is the first of eight units in The Meadows to close. Preferred Properties is now the listing broker for the units now on the market. The remaining units are priced between $925,000 and $975,000.

503 Noah Lane in Truman Annex CLICK HERE was listed by Preferred Properties at $2,695,000 and sold at $2,325.000 or $668 per sq ft. This elegant property was listed listed in February 2005 for $3,800,000 or $1,232,000 per sq ft. Do the math!

The sale at 503 Noah Lane is interesting because a nearby house at 522 Emma Street CLICK HERE was just listed as a short sale for $2,100,000 or $681 per sq. ft. An even larger and much more expensive house down the road a bit is in foreclosure and is listed for sale, but it is not offered as a short sale.

The Beach Club Condominiums at 1500 Atlantic Boulevard has been one of the best addresses in Key West because each unit fronts directly onto the Atlantic Ocean. The sagging economy resulted in several units to be put up for sale and just sat there for months and months. Preferred Properties represented the buyer in the purchase of a luxury unit that closed this week CLICK HERE for $1,550,000 or $719 per sq ft. Interestingly, another unit (which was offered in 2007 for $2,395,000) was just reduced a couple of days ago to $1,900,000 or $826 per sq ft.

I wrote about 31 Seaside South several months ago when it was offered as a short sale for the asking price of $985,000. As the market declined, the asking price followed suit. This unit is the first re-sale in the complex and also the first short sale there. It sold for $599,000 or $313 per sq ft.CLICK HERE 31 Seaside South was beautifully appointed There are at least seven similarly sized units also on the market today. One of those is bank owned and six are short sales. This is just my opinion, but the units currently on the market cannot compare to the pizazz 31 Seaside South offered. Five of the units have Formica counter tops in the bathrooms. One place has the nastiest blue walls and smelly carpets you have ever seen. Another unit has a bad mold problem that somebody better fix.

101 Front Street Unit #18 CLICK HERE was listed at $695,000 and sold for $600,000 or $545 per sq ft. This three story unit is located in the Foundry Town homes in Truman Annex. It has a special transient rental license. Two similar units (both short sales) are under contract. One unit not listed as a short sale is offered at $669,000 and it also has a transient license.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) "August 21, 2009 - For the first time in five years, existing-home sales have increased for four months in a row, and the monthly increase is the largest in 23 years." CLICK HERE to read the entire article. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR, was quoted as saying “Because price-to-income ratios have fallen below historical trends, there are more all-cash offers. In some recovering markets like San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Orlando, the demand for foreclosed and lower priced homes has spiked, and a lack of inventory is becoming a common complaint.”

The summer is always the worst time to sell property in Key West. But we had a robust market this summer. And guess what, the people who were saying they wouldn't buy in Key West because we had a glut of houses are now complaining that there is no inventory. I really don't think those talkers were buyers. They were right about the glut. But a lot of the glut is under contract. Some of the houses, condos, and townhomes in the "contingent" or under contract category will not close either because the lender will not accept the price offered or the buyer gets tired of waiting and goes away. But many will and when they do close, the inventory will shrink even more.

You can make of the sales I cited what you will. I think the recent sales show that our market has corrected itself from the excesses of a few years ago (of course there are exceptions). I think the new listing in Truman Annex and dramatic price reduction at The Beach Club unit I cited are further evidence of my assertion.

There are homes, condos, and townhomes in all price ranges. If you wait until it is too late, you will have waited too long. You will have missed the opportunity a second time. Remember what Mr. Yu said about the demand for foreclosed properties and lower priced homes spiking sales that has now created a lack of inventory.

Did you notice the photo of an airplane approaching Key West at night? I'll bet you and I get that same feeling of excitement every time we first spot that little island I call home and you dream of making your home - someday. I've done lots of flying and I have been lots of places. There is no place like home and there is no feeling like landing in Key West and getting out of that small little place and smelling our island air. It doesn't get any better than that.

If you are looking to purchase a place in Paradise, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

27 Coral Way - Bank Owned - Condo - Key West

I used to tell people there was no such thing as a foreclosure in Key West. That was until a couple of years ago. Times change.

Just listed, but not by me, 27 Coral Way (Unit #14) at the Corral Hammock in Key West, Florida. This unit is Bank Owned and priced to sell at $293,500 or $211 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to read the detailed listing information and view several photos of the unit and the grounds.
This is how the listing Realtor describes this unit:
"Bank Foreclosure, priced to sell. This spacious 3Br/3Bth Townhome is in move in condition. This unit looks barely lived in. Coral Hammock Development has a total of only 56 units, a beautiful free form pool, tropically landscaped grounds, club house, gym, and in-house management. It is within bicycling distance to restaurants, marinas and the only golf course in the Lower Florida Keys. The Island City of Key West is just over one bridge, about 1 mile away. Although the units do not need a Transient License for vacation rentals, they can be rented transiently due to having on-sight management, a BIG plus. Come enjoy the Fabulous Florida Keys, in a modern, Conch style townhome. Make this your primary or second home. The price is right!"

I don't do property management, but our company does. Our office does not rent this or any other property at Coral Hammock that I am aware of. I always tell potential buyers that want to rent their future house or condo to select a good property manager. I tell them to checkout the website for graphics, content, ease of booking, etc. Management fees and management duties are up there, too. I suggest that my buyers stick with a current property manager if that company has a successful track record with the particular property. After all most second home buyers that purchase a rental property are relying on some third party to keep the place rented and throw off enough money to help amortize the mortgage.

I did a quick Google search and found all kinds of interesting information on Coral Hammock including this website CLICK HERE. Again, I am not involved in any management. But if you look at that website you may not see Bank Owned written on the buildings. Instead, you see some places that look pretty appealing.

I looked on Trip Advisor and there were some unhappy campers who complained. But there was this other "writer" who said "We enjoyed our stay and our condo and would love to return to Key West anytime..."

This Bank Owned unit backs onto U.S.1. You gotta know that. That is part of the reason this 1392 sq ft town home is priced at only $293,500. The pool is just beautiful. This place will surprise you.

If you are dreaming of owning a place in Key West and are interested in this property or any other property, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty in Key West. Contact me at 305-766-2642 or email me at

Pied-à-terre pour vous? 526 Wiiiam Street - Old Town - Key West

The term "Pied-à-terre" comes to mind when you first see 526 William Street Unit #3. This sharp 2 bedroom 1 and 1/2 bath two story unit is located on the second and third floors of the chic Delancey Hall Condominium. The living room and kitchen share the second floor space with a half bath and the interior stairway to the third floor bedrooms and bath. The front second balcony is shared with the unit across the hall. Other units in the building have their own private outdoor spaces.

There are only five units in this building that was very tastefully renovated in 2001. The front just oozes class. The side gate provides entry to the shared pool and bricked courtyard area. There is no off street parking. But since most of the surrounding properties are single family homes, street parking is not an issue.

The listing Realtor described this unit this way:
"Short Sale! Prime Old Town Locatation: 2bedroom 1.5 bath two-story condo. Delancey Hall Old Town Building. Spacious second floor plan with open living area, granite counters and custom cabinets. Dade Co. Pine wallsn Brazillian purple-heart hardwood floors, Italian marble floors, cathedral ceilings with crown molding. Brick terrace with landscaping and heated pool. Entry Bell & intercom on front. Convenient to Library, restaurants, Duval St and Waterfront. Most desirable William St block between Fleming and Southard Streets."
CLICK HERE to read more detailed information on Unit #3 that is priced to sell at $365,000. Don't get greedy. This is a price the listing Realtor believes that the mortgage lender will accept. So there is no sense is wasting printing ink or brain matter on a low ball offer. It will not fly.

I co-listed this unit in 2004-2005. I held several open houses at this property. Everybody loved it and the location. The only problem I know about this unit is the height of the bathroom ceiling. It is tucked into the roof and a tall person (someone over 6') will have to bend the neck to the side while taking a shower. Other than that the rooms are comfortably sized. This unit would make an excellent getaway place or one could live here full time.

If you would like to see 526 William Street please call me, Gary Thomas 305-766-2642. The unit is rented and requires 24 hour notice to be shown.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

South of Truman - Old Town - Key West

Many months ago I wrote a blog entry that discussed people being creatures of habit. Maybe we become that way because teachers always made us sit in the same seat. So when we get big and got to choose where to sit, most of us go to the same spot time after time. I catch myself doing that sometimes. And sometimes I move to another place just so that I cannot be defined by where I sit.

A lot of people seem to vacation in the same location every year or sometimes more than once a year. Many people who come to Key West pick a particular hotel or guesthouse and stay there because they like the neighborhood and feel comfortable. They get to know the staff and feel like they belong. Gay guesthouses have repeat visitors all the time. But so do expensive places like the Marquesa Hotel. Vacationers and tourists alike go to familiar restaurants because they know they will always get a good meal or maybe just a cheap meal. But they go back again and again because they know what they can expect.

I have often written about Key West neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are where us locals live. I have never written about the South of Truman area as such. Until today. Almost every first time visitor makes it to the corner of Duval and Truman Streets. U.S. 1 (the only highway from mainland United States to Key West) becomes Truman Avenue at Eisenhower Drive (ten blocks to the east of Duval Street). The intersection at Duval diverts a lot of people to the north towards the heart of Old Town.

It is a ten block walk toward the north from Truman and Duval to reach the Gulf of Mexico. Of course you might never make it that far because of all the distractions like Bourbon Street Pub, Margaritaville, Rick's, Sloppy Joes, etc. And the area around the 800 Block of Duval is sure to attract some kind of commotion almost anytime. But if you decided to walk southward you could be at the Atlantic Ocean in only five blocks. Along the way you could get distracted by La Te Da, the Banana Cafe, the Butterfly Conservancy or a bunch of cute little art galleries and other diversions. The pace of living is so much easier and and noise level so much quieter south of Truman.

Listed below are some places that have become affordable to buyers who want a part time place in Key West. Many can be rented either as a vacation rental (rented for a period of 30 days or less but only rented one time per month) or that have a transient rental license which permits daily rental (just like a hotel room). I also included a few single family homes might work out as full time residences.

422 Louisa Street #7 CLICK HERE is a one bedroom one bath condo with a valuable transient License at the La Casas De Lucas which is located around the corner from the Cuban Club. Priced at $309,000.

508 Louisa #2 CLICK HERE is a one bedroom one bath unit located just steps west of Duval. Walk to Banana Cafe every morning for a bit of heaven. This 500 sq ft elegant little place is offered at $339,000. Rent it as a vacation rental when you are not in residence. It is eligible for a transient rental license.

422 Amelia Street #L-2 CLICK HERE is another one bed one bath unit that is also a part of La Casas De Lucas. This unit is Bank Owned (a local Key West bank - not a monolith). It is offered at $449,000 and it also has a valuable Transient License.

1102 Duval Street CLICK HERE is a one bedroom but two bath unit that is also Bank Owned (that same local bank) that is offered at $449,000. It also has a valuable Transient Rental License. It is located in the Cuban Club Condominiums. It has an assigned parking space.

1401 Simonton Street is the location of the new Santa Maria Condominiums. CLICK HERE to see the lowest priced unit. This Transient Licensed unit is offered as a Short Sale at $490,000. The unit has 907 sq ft of efficiently and elegantly designed living space. There are two bedrooms and two and one-half baths. There is a great tropical pool, parking, the Ambrosia Restaurant, and the Reach Resort provides access for use of its beach, pool, spa and is located right next door. There are several short sales and a few market priced sales over one million dollars in this complex. This listing is the least expensive.

407 Catherine Street CLICK HERE is located almost one block west of Duval Street. Most of the neighboring houses are still single family residential and all are in good condition. This single family home has two bedrooms and one bath and is offered at $649,000. It is has been really tastefully remodeled. The rear doors open wide to a great pool. This place is really cute.

408 Amelia Street CLICK HERE is a simple two bedroom one bath that is very economically priced at only $429,000. Most of the other homes and condos on this block are priced much higher. (This is basically an estate sale and it is priced to sell quickly.)

525 Louisa Street is a single family home CLICK HERE located about one-half block east of the Banana Cafe on Duval Street. This block has mostly single family homes and condos that are rented as vacation rentals. This house is currently used as a full time residence. But it could make a great vacation rental. It has a pool and off street parking. There is a white picket fence that keeps the outside out. Inside the house has been redone within the past few years. The kitchen was not quite completed. Use your imagination and complete this property. You might be able to turn it into a real money maker. It is offered at $850,000

625 Louisa Street CLICK HERE is a two bed three bath home built in 1989 that is part of a compound with a shared pool. Other than the shared pool, everything about this house is single family. It is offered at $659,000. Checkout the photo of the back of the house and that great pool.

634 Louisa Street is located east of Simonton Street and across the street from the Suburban Propane tank farm. CLICK HERE. It is a two bedroom two bath condo with 765 sq ft of living space on two floors. It is new construction in 2007. It is Bank Owned and offered at $269,000. This place probably would not be my idea of where I'd want to spend my two week vacation. Not because the place is not nice, but there is no pool. But it might appeal to a buyer that want a nice sized place in Old Town that does not cost a lot.

639 United Street CLICK HERE is a single family home that was tastefully redone a couple of years back. It is offered at $790,000. This 1350 sq ft home has 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, a beautiful pool and a pool house. Click on the link to see the photos of this place.

If you are looking for a place in Key West please consider working with me, Gary Thomas. Contact me at 305-766-2642 or by e-mail at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coast Realty, Inc. We are an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Let's Screw the Realtors!

Bank of America did not get enough money from during the Bailout! It needs some contributions from Key West Realtors to help it through the bad times. Here is the set up:

There is a real pretty house located on a very nice street in Old Town Key West. It was sold in 2004 for over $1,250,000. The economy soured. The owner put the house on the market in early 2006. The listing eventually became a short sale. Months passed by. The seller accepted several offers from various buyers. Each of the offers failed due to the passage of too much time or because the lender (Bank of America) rejected the dollar amount offered. As time passed the economy in Key West got a little worse and the market value of houses in Old Town began to slip. And the value of the pretty house on the very nice street in Old Town went down as well.

The seller used the same Realtor during the entire sales process. The Realtor is one of the top producers in Key West and has a rich history in selling fine homes. A professional short sale negotiator was engaged to help facilitate the short sale negotiation (God, that sounds like something I'd write if I were still in real business).

I represented a buyer who made an offer to purchase the house in March 2009. The offer was very simple: all cash with a quick close within 30 days of the acceptance by seller's lender of the short sale offer. Seller signed the contract and the short sale negotiator started the process to get lender approval.

Weeks and then months passed by and my buyer started getting a little nervous. The deal was going nowhere. In late June we received notification that the lender had accepted the price my buyer offered.

The seller no longer lived in the house. The pool pump was not working correctly, so the pool was turned off. The water turned Kermit green. My buyer and his family flew down to do the inspection. The inspection went fine, but that algae filled pool could have killed the sale.

The lender "approval" seemed to disappear. We didn't see anything in writing. My buyer was getting nervous. I was getting agitated. At our request the short sale negotiator furnished us with a copy of an email from the lender that approved the price. But Bank of America wanted seller to kick in $25,000 plus provide additional documentation that the seller did not have funds to pay off the hundreds of thousands of dollars Bank of America was being asked to forgive. Okay, I get part about not having hundreds of thousands of dollars squirrelled away someplace. Except that the seller had repeatedly supplied the same financial disclosures to Bank of America. His financial condition did not get any better. But the condition of the house was getting worse each day.

Exasperated, my buyer and I asked a local attorney to write a letter to Bank of America advising that the seller had abandoned the property and reminding the bank that the buyer was ready to close as soon as the bank approved the contract. More than another week passed. Nothing happened. Our contract was about to expire. The seller was thoroughly pissed at Bank of America for screwing around with this for so long.

We got word that Bank of America had again accepted my buyer's cash offer but this time the acceptance was conditioned upon receipt of an additional $20,000. (Down from $25,000 a few weeks earlier.)

I sent the Bank of America negotiator an email reminding him that the seller had abandoned the property; that the house had no electricity; that the pool was now green with algae and had become mosquito infested; that my buyer was "cash' and ready to close; and that there were three storms in the Atlantic. I suggested that if the bank declined to close the deal that it get a receiver appointed to take possession of the premises before the house got in really bad disrepair.

Again, nothing happened that we were aware of. My buyer then sent an email directly to the same rep at Bank of America. My buyer simply reminded the the bank that he had made a good faith offer to buy a house. He did not understand why Bank of America was requesting more money.

The Bank of America rep replied: "There is some miscommunication here. The Bank is not requesting any further funds from the Buyer. As far as the bank is concerned we are accepting the $***,*** offer. The request for additional monies is to come from the Agents' and or Seller in order to complete the approval process." This is a direct quote except that I deleted the dollar amount so as not to identify the property.

My buyer responded and pointed out that the bank's demand for more monetary contribution from the Realtors was hindering the process, not making it any better. My buyer told the bank rep cutting the commissions was undermining the Realtor's incentive to sell. Somehow, someway, my buyer got the guy at the bank to loosen up. Moneybags at Bank of America decided to forget the $20,000 contribution from the Realtors. The purchase amount was approved. But Bank of America cut our commission to 4%. It planned to cut our commission to about 3% total. Wasn't that kind.

The deal is done. Over. My buyer got a really nice house and I am genuinely happy for him and his family. I wanted them to buy the house next to mine. It was foreclosed by another bank. (A local bank. It actually spent new money taking care of that house.) I think they would be great neighbors. But my buyer got a really good deal. I made $1.32 per hour working on this. The listing Realtor made less. This property was on the market for over 1,000 days. By the way, because of its delay in getting the various prior offers approved, Bank of America got at least $360,000 less than the first offer it turned down.

What happened on this transaction is normal operating procedure for Bank of America and other large lenders. They demand the Realtors help make the loss more acceptable to the lender by demanding real estate commission reductions.

Earlier this year Fannie Mae issued a Directive prohibiting loan Servicers from reducing real estate commissions from less than the negotiated rate unless that rate exceeds 6%. CLICK HERE to go the Fannie Mae site then SEARCH for Announcement 09-03. I cannot link it. You do not need to login to search. The house my buyer purchased did not have a Fannie Mae loan. So what Bank of America did in cutting our real estate commission was not illegal.

None of the politicians in Washington (The Congress, The Senate, and neither the Bush nor the Obama Administration) have done anything to protect Realtors from the conduct of screwing Realtors out of their commissions. It goes on all the time.

I don't have a wife and kids to hold up and say to Bank of America "You are taking food from my family." But I am not getting what I was offered by the listing Realtor. And he is not getting what he and I both earned. Short sales are neither short nor easy. Conduct by big banks like Bank of America that got Billions of Dollars from the federal government should not be permitted.

I created a little Petition to Congress that you can sign if you agree with me that such conduct ought not to be permitted. PLEASE GO HERE TO SIGN.

It won't make a damned bit of difference however. I know it. Bank of America is too big to fail and too big to be put in its place.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

915 Angela Street - Old Town - Key West

You will either love 915 Angela Street or you will hate it. Oh, you'll love the house. There's nothing not to like about the house. It's the neighbors.

This is how the listing Realtor describes 915 Angela Street:
"Pristine Old Town cottage with a little bit of everything including 3bd/2ba + delightful outdoor bath, 2 off street parking spaces, heated pool with waterfall & private spa. An outstanding use of space brings the outdoors in with the family room nestled between spacious covered decks & lush landscape. Enjoy the historical character with exposed Dade County pine walls and ceilings, renovated kitchen with new stainless appliances, remodeled baths, cathedral ceilings and lots of glass doors, windows and skylights. Beautifully styled and impeccably cared for both inside and out with optional designer furniture package negotiable for a truly turnkey Key West residence."

Let me tell you about the neighbors. the house next door to the west sits at the corner of Margaret and Angela Streets. CLICK HERE to view this incredible Key West property. The neighbors to the rear are a couple of very large homes accessed off Canfield Lane. The neighbor to the east is a nice house at the corner of William and Angela. Angela Street is a one way street that runs from Margaret eastward to White Street. It is just one lane wide. The neighbors across Angela Street is the Key West Cemetery. CLICK HERE to see the view from 915 Angela looking directly south.

The cemetery bothers the hell out of a lot of potential buyers.Some people refuse to even look at houses anywhere near the cemetery. I guess I understand. But not really.

This is why I really like 915 Angela Street. First, the place is really nicely laid out for Key West second home living. It is large enough for a couple that has a small family or friends that may drop in for an occasional visit. There are three bedrooms and two baths. The living room opens on the east to a beautiful pool. The living room also opens to the left onto a secluded deck with a hot tub. The master bedroom and bath also open onto that same deck. There is an incredibly sexy outdoor shower tucked away to the side. A second bedroom is located at the right front of the the house. The kitchen and dining area complete the main floor. There is a decent sized third bedroom or office on the second floor. There is enough separation between the rooms to provide the kind of privacy you don't see in many Key West houses. There are two separate off street parking spaces each of which is bricked. The house is just as cute as it can be. This 1350 sq ft home is offered at $1,195,000. The view from the front porch or the master bedroom looking south across the cemetery changes with each passing cloud. The view is the exact opposite of what you would expect. CLICK HERE to see more detailed information on this listing and view lots of interior and exterior photos.

This house is an easy walk to Duval Street or the Historic Key West Seaport. Both are about 5 minutes away. There is no commercial activity anyplace within sight. The Conch Trains and Trolley Cars can't go down Angela Street because it is too narrow. What a rotten shame! Boo Hoo! Locals don't use it as thoroughfare because there are speed bumps. Tourists tend to walk fast or run because, well, it is the cemetery after all.

The view from the master bedroom is just beautiful. This place is super quiet. I can't think of anything a new owner would need to do. If you are looking for a quiet little place and don't mind the neighborhood, please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

415 Julia Street - Old Town - Key West - Short Sale

415 Julia Street is located a hop, skip, and a jump off of Duval Street near Truman Avenue. The reason the location is important is that the location is important. You see this property qualifies for a transient rental license. That means the owner could legally rent this property on a daily basis. Having a good property in a good location could mean good income. (415 Julia Street does not have a transient license at this time.)

This property sits just west of the Duval Gardens Bed & Breakfast and a bit south of the recently updated Orchid Inn. There is a big redevelopment project CLICK HERE right at the corner of Duval and Julia. I like it when other people spend a lot of money near a property that is for sale. It reinforces the belief that the location does have value.

415 Julia Street is about a five block walk to South Beach where you can lay on the beach all day long. It is steps from Duval Street where you can do the Duval crawl. The world famous La Te Da and other fun spots are all located within a two or three minute walk.

CLICK HERE to view the current mls listing information sheet provided by the current listing Realtor. There are no photos. The property is described as "Great Old Town location. No kitchen, was once a guest house, zoned for transients. THis is a potential short sale." 415 Julia Street is offered at $450,000 for this 2324 sq ft property that has 4 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths. CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE, and CLICK HERE for other photos of the property. THIS is the little house next door.

I have not been inside this place recently. Our office listed and sold this place in October 2006 for the price of $795,000. CLICK HERE to see some good photos of what the property looked like then. The property most likely will not look the same today. So please do not assume that it does. But the photos may give you an idea as to what you might be able to recreate.

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at if you are interested in this or any other property in Key West. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. in beautiful Key West, Florida. You could be here or Peoria. Which would you prefer?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

811 Carey Lane - Old Town - Key West

JUST LISTED, but not by me, 811 Carey Lane, which is located on one of the best little slow lanes of Key West. This is how the listing Realtor describes this charmer:
"Located in an area of million dollar properties, this charming home has an exceptional location on one of Key West's most desirable lanes. You'll find peaceful tranquility and the Key West ambiance you're looking for in this home. Open living and renovated kitchen, dining room, good storage, outdoor shower, covered porch for lounging and lovely gardens complete with inground hot tub. Excellent condition with 3 ductless air units, and house opens beautifully to the well-kept gardens and outdoor areas. Fall in love with this fun and artistic quintessial Key West cottage."

CLICK HERE o see the mls data sheet and more photos of this cutie pie cottage. The cottage is almost 1100 square feet and has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a new kitchen, and it just oozes charm. The ceiling in the main living area is vaulted and exposed wood. It is very dramatic. There is room for a good sized pool.(The rear of this property abuts Carsten Lane. So all one need do is take down the fence, bring in the backhoe, dig out the dirt and install a new pool.)

Carey Lane is a one block lane that runs perpendicular between Margaret Street and Elizabeth Street and just south of Southard Street. It is within walking distance of everything Old Town has to offer, yet you almost need a map to find it. The five homes on Carsten Lane abut Carey Lane to the rear. Each of the houses on Carey Lane and Carsten Lane run through to the other side. Some front on Carsten Lane and the rest have that super valuable Carey Lane address.

In February 2007 I wrote a blog entry about Life on the Slow Lane. CLICK HERE if you would like to see why owning a home or cottage is so danged wonderful. Here are a couple of other houses on Carey Lane and Carsten Lane CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE.

811 Carey Lane is offered at $699,000 or $651 per sq.ft. for a charming two bedroom two bath home in move-in condition. It has parking and room for a pool.

The real estate market is heating up as the summer heat is starting to subside. I may be wrong, but I think this house is priced right and will sell fairly quickly. If this is the kind of place you have been dreaming of owning, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. Don't wait. Time is of the essence. Seriously!


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.