Key West, FL Real Estate News

By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Just Listed: 811 Washington Street No. 103, Key West. I snapped the top photo of 811 Washington Street ten years ago. The lower photo shows it today. I have sold this home twice and it is now my good fortune to be the listing agent again. In fact I have had four sales nine unit Casa Marina Area enclave. These are the best located and among the very best built properties just as the 2007 recession trounced America. America came back and Key West came back extra strong. Today the Casa Marina Area is as much in demand as Old Town. The landscaping photographed in 2012 was already mature and lush. Today is regal. The HOA now maintains the front and side right of way as well as the front and rear of each home. Homeowner fees of $450 are paid quarterly Each home has its own pool with waterfal...
Comments 3
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
This is a true storyI recently held an open house. I arrived at my listing about fifteen minutes before it was to begin. A couple driving a street legal golf cart was parked in front waiting for me to arrive. I asked them to wait five minutes so I could turn on the lights and get organized. I met the owner inside who agreed to turn on the lights on the second floor while I set up the first floor. The golf cart couple could not control themselves and entered before I was ready. Others quickly followed. It was crazy. People started asking questions. I never got a chance to go upstairs. The owner had departed. Everything was supposed to be just fine.   My broker came by around 12;30 to take to a look-see. She looked around the first floor; went out to the pool; came back inside nodded her ...
Comments 6
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
'Twas the Night Before Christmas in Key West'Twas the day before Christmas, when all through the Key West, Not one single house was available for sale, Realtor listing signs were stored in sheds - instead. Agents were gathered in bars around Old Town, Sipping then slurping gin and tonic, Bourbon and Seven, Vodka and Soda, and Beer with chaser, While all the time moaning and groaning about income not earned,As visions of missed commission checks lost danced in their heads. Soon to be members of Alcoholics Anonymous,  Their self pity was bottomless.    I on the other hand was settled all snug in my bed watching NETFLIX.When out by the pool there arose such a clatter,I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.Away to the window I flew like a flash,Tore open the shutters and threw up ...
Comments 11
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Just Listed 524 Olivia Street, Key West. This property is listed by Preferred Properties Key West, that is where I work, but this is not my listing. Currently used as a both a home and investment property, a new owner may choose to keep 524 Olivia Street it as is, renovate and turn it into a single family home,  or to make both income units.As soon as I saw this listing I looked in my old shoebox to see what it looked like years ago. I found a photo dated 1965 which shows the property from a similar viewpoint as the photo I shot. I also searched the historic Sanborn Fire Maps to learn more about when the house was built. The 1889 Sanborn and subsequent Fire Maps show different sized houses at that location. That is not unusual because small cottages were often razed so that larger homes...
Comments 7
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
"I HOPE YOU DIE!"That is how part two of the three part conversation ended. The first part started this way... About five months ago I bought a new iphone and switched carriers from AT&T to TMobile. TMobile advertised it had the fastest 5G in most places. I wanted good and reliable phone service. I bought their bate and switched. I soon learned my iphone did not work at my house. I live in the Casa Marina area of Key West. Big lots, open sky, not a lot of people. I had to stand outside of my house to talk on it. I had to stand in a specific spot and face south so that the person on the other end of the phone could hear me. If I turned a different direction or moved a few feet the connection would get messed up. That went on for about three months. I went to the Tmobile store where I bou...
Comments 5
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 About two months ago I heard a rumor going around the island that a local group had purchased the Curry Mansion for $30 million. That is a whopping even by current Key West standards. I remember being hereon a trip during the mid 1980s when I heard the mansion had then just sold for $1 million. The mansion was a significant landmark property. The price made locals gasp. Nothing had sold for a price approaching that amount.  I immediately checked the Key West MLS.There was no record of a recent sale. I checked and re-checked and then searched county records under name of the owner. Still nothing of record. Then on December 11th the sale of 511 Caroline Street, Key West Florida appeared in the MLS. The mansion property sold at $20,599,500. The two co-listing agents were Keith Blandt and ...
Comments 6
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 This past September I took notice of 909 Packer Street, Key West while taking photos of a different house two doors to the north. I said to myself "Self take a couple of photos of this house. It's gonna get listed one of these days:"And it just did.   I went home and shuffled through my old shoebox and found a photo of the same house taken more than fifty years ago. The old photo shows off the house a bit differently than current. The house was painted white then. The clam shell shutters in front are like giant eyebrows protecting the residents from out hot sun and rain. The little boy playing in the driveway shows how wide and long that space is. Imagine having a driveway long enough to fit two or maybe three cars - in Old Town.At this location Packer Street is just one block long. It...
Comments 5
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Just Listed and just in time for the Holidays, a brand spanking new renovation of an Old Town home located near the places second home owners want to be. The listing Realtor describes 1007 Watson Street, Key West thus:  "This charming Old Town Cottage has undergone a full-scale renovation, is now beautifully appointed, and ready for new Owners. The original historical shotgun design has been maintained but inside you will find all new windows, doors, plumbing, wiring, and cooling system. Watch the world go by on the sweet Front Porch and then step into the delightful open concept floorplan featuring a vaulted ceiling with cove lighting. Gorgeous engineered White Oak flooring, Stainless appliances, Carrera marble countertops, beautiful, undulated Subway tile and Ship-Lap walls all contri...
Comments 7
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 I recently found a few photos of houses being built in Key West during World War II - not after but during. I knew the homes were located just south of North Roosevelt Boulevard. They had subtle differences to prevent returning sailors returning home and going to bed with the wrong women. These were known as the Macarthur Homes - maybe named after General Douglas Macarthur. They were 600 square feet, two bedrooms, one bath, all situated on a 5,000 square foot lot. Over the years they were renovated, enlarged, and some were razed and new home built. This 1950 aerial photo above shows the Macarthur Homes situated just south of North Roosevelt Boulevard The larger street in the foreground is 4th Street which at that point in time did not intersect with Roosevelt Boulevard which was then k...
Comments 2
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
... but didn't care. Below are photos I took while showing rental apartments and investor owned homes offered for sale in Key West  All tenants were notified in advance their places would be shown on a particular day and time.    A mother, small daughter, and a stinky cat lived here. I specifically mention the cat because the odor lives on in my memory.  A large family lived in this Bahama Village rental. The listing Realtor gave them cash to leave, He and I hired cleaners to remove the heaps of crap they left and clean the filth..The listing agent insisted this was a piece of paradise. Yeah. Paradise Lost!  I posted photos of this house before. It was owned by a former City of Key West official. He lacked organizational skills among other things. I have shown this photo before as well....
Comments 4
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
from 9-16-2015 - Redacted from a longer blogMy First Job Yesterday was the 41st anniversary of the death of John Lennon. Guests on Morning Joe were citing their recollections of the man, the band and its impact on our lives.  The blog follows.I went back to Denver at the end of July to attend my 50th high school reunion. I drove by the places of my youth which included this group of buildings located at the corner of 44th and Yates Street. I started working there in 1960 at age 14 and stayed until 1965. Back then this was known as LOOK FURNITURE STORE. This was my first job.This area is located at the northwest corner of Denver near the famous Lakeside Amusement Park and former Lakeside Speedway. The old Denver Tramway crossed over Cherry Creek and made its way eventually heading north ...
Comments 6
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
      Key West has been a tourist town for decades dating back to the time Henry Flagler brought his railroad to town. While the population remained fairly static during the same time frame, tourists and later second home owners put a strain on available housing. The town expanded south toward the Atlantic Ocean and east toward the point US 1 enters the island. Both areas had previously been barren coral rock mixed in with salt ponds. There were two principle sources of lumber and hardware - Lindsey's Lumber located at the corner of Simonton at Truman. Stunk Hardware was located at the opposite end of Simonton Street near the Gulf of Mexico. Consider this - Key West is an island located 120 or so miles from firm US soil. Lumber and most building supplies are delivered to Key West by tru...
Comments 5
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Last week I blogged about a new listing on Chapman Lane. I mentioned the laundry hanging from the front porch. That would be an oddity in most places in Key West today, but it was common place half a century ago. I decided to rummage through my old shoebox to see if I could find similar photos. I did.  Undisclosed Key West location. Taken in 1962. 1209 Packer Street in 1965.This same property sold in  2017 for $1,2000,000.  801 Virginia Street in 1965. No recorded sales. 1009 Windsor Lane in 1965. 1009Windsor is currently listed for sale for $3,477,000.1202 Royal Street in 1965. Rear unit. Probably front porch.Sols in 2021 for $1,100,000. 1115 Margaret Street in 1965.  Sold in 1995 for $199,000.1207 William Street rear unit. Also photographed in 1965.1207 Willliam Street is part of a sm...
Comments 6
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Just Listed, but not by me, 715 Chapman Lane, Key West. Buyers looking for the charm of an old home and the convenience of contemporary stile need to see this place. But before we go inside, let's look back at the no so distant past. I found this photo of 715 Chapman Lane in my old shoebox. I have a bunch of similar photos showing laundry hung from the front porch of houses all over Old Town. Times have changed. Most people have washers and dryers and air conditioning now. That was not always the case.   The above photo was taken in August 2019 while the renovation was being done. The photo below was taken in December 2020 before all the renovations were completed. Most of the homes on Chapman Lane have undergone the same renovation to varying degrees. This new home fits perfectly into ...
Comments 1
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
From June 19, 2011Ï Hope You Are Not French!" Outside my kitchen window last year - hoping I'm not French  Many of my readers and customers who send me emails know that I have a terrible sleeping problem which stems from a fall I took a couple of years back while showing a bank owned property in Key West. I ended up in the Lower Keys Hospital with a concussion. I'm okay, now, but I did take a big spill. Damned cheap banks that don't take care of their bank owned homes! Anyway, if you have ever suffered a concussion you know that one of many symptoms can be a sleeping disorder. That is my long term and seemingly ever-lasting legacy of the tumble. For a while a would go to sleep around 6:00 to 7:00 PM and then wake up at midnight or shortly thereafter. Now my sleep is finally getting back...
Comments 10
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I have been waiting for a long time to see 522 Elizabeth Street, Key West listed for sale. The day has arrived. I got a chance to take a look earlier today. This is a project house - a major renovation. It will require a buyer with great imagination and deep pockets. The reward will be substantial. This will once again be a beautiful home in a great Old Town location. I searched around in my old shoebox and found a photo of the same property that was taken nearly sixty-two years ago. The black and white photo shows the second floor front porch was partially enclosed even back then. If you look carefully you will see that the house was wider than deep. Later owners would extend the main floor toward the rear. Also note the sprig of a tree that would later engulf the house.Today the trees...
Comments 6
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I found this photo of Thanksgiving celebration in Key West dated 1954. The first thing I saw was the turkey, then the ham, and then the lady on the far left with a cocktail glass in her right hand with left arm raised and index finger pointed. The woman next to her copies her pose as if making some secret Key West salute. All of the other mothers have their arms raised holding cocktails as well. I saw the hot plate and the over-sized pots. I remembered the lunch ladies in my grade school cafeteria and the aroma of mystery meat. They are all drinking alcohol. Look at all the booze! Lots of it. This was not a school function. And these are not lunch ladies.   Of course this is not a school. Look at all of the switches on the wall and all of the light fixtures behind the women. This must b...
Comments 7
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Where is this?Come back tomorrow for the answer. I took this photo in 1986 or 1987. As an aside HARC does not allow owners in Old Town to add dormers to their homes. This property was built prior to 1889 with the dormers.  The answer is 600 Fleming Street, Key West. It has been many things over the years including...   The site of Fausto's Grocery and a survivor of the October 1944 hurricane. A greeting place when our boys returned from saving the world.  The Q Rooms in 1987 when the building was purchased for $270,000. It was renovated and became The Marquesa Hotel and Mira - the first restaurant late re-named Cafe Marquesa.      
Comments 4
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 513 William Street in an eyebrow house. It is the most beautiful home in all of Key West. And it is for sale. In his book The Street of Key West J. Willis Burke describes the Key West eyebrow house as architectural eccentricity with "windows fitted up high, dropped just beneath the eaves, for shade and to capture the sea breeze and efficiently circulate air within."I started to take photos of this house in 2006 soon after renovation began. Unfortunately, most of my photos were stored on a defunct website and are lost. Fortunately for the person who buys this home, the owners who did the renovation took a lot of progress photos and gathered historical memoranda that is in an album which will conveyed to the new owner.  The listing Realtor states this home was built in  1845. 513 William...
Comments 4
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
  The listing Realtor describes this deceivingly versatile historic home like this: "An exceptional opportunity exists to secure this versatile property located a short stroll from all that the world-famous Duval Street has to offer. This charming island-style house pays homage to its history without forgoing the comforts of modern living. The design incorporates a good flow, lots of natural light, timeless finishes, and two comfortable and welcoming bedrooms on the main level. The second story houses another living space with classic features, including decorative ceilings, polished wood floors, a studio kitchen, a private entrance, and an outdoor patio tucked away in the trees. Opportunity awaits for owner-occupiers and investors alike." 1008 Whitehead Street is located a few paces so...
Comments 4