Key West, FL Real Estate News

By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
This is a true story. I believe it was during the first couple of months in 2005 when I got a phone call from a real estate investor in northern Florida. He and his wife were coming to Key West to buy several condominiums, or so he said. This was several years ago so I a a bit fuzzy on the details of the phone calls (there were several), but I remember being weary of how smart this investor was. He was throwing around real estate terms but did not make much sense. I do remember asking him if he had a real estate license. He said "No" but added he was working on it. Anyone, including a smart German Shepard, can get a real estate license in Florida. I didn't understand what he needed to work on. He wanted to meet on a Sunday afternoon. I was hosting an open house that Sunday but agreed to...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
This is a real story not related to real estate. Stop reading if that annoys you. Many years ago I was a young associate in a suburban Denver law firm. Our office primarily represented normal suburban people with suburban problems - divorces, wills, estates, traffic tickets, drug arrests, you know. We also represented contractors, roofers, plumbers, electricians, several small manufacturers and a couple of banks.The senior partner obtained a very large monetary judgment in favor of his client who had been warring with his brother over the family business. I like to tell people that getting a judgment is the easy part of any law suit. It is collecting a judgment that is the hard part.Rule 69. Execution and Proceedings Subsequent to JudgmentThe Colorado Rules od Civil Procedure direct the...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 from July 22, 2018 If I Had a Million Dollars When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s a million dollars was a lot of money. On Saturday night one of the TV stations in Denver would host a million dollar movie - a feature that was so special that it cost over one million dollars to film.Years later when I first moved to Key West a million dollars could buy a big important house - a restored home with a pool, parking, and a great Old Town location.  I have written several blogs over the years about the continued price escalation of housing in Key West. For years the rising prices enriched the lives of those who either inherited properties here or who bought and renovated, or even those who bought and lucked out as prices continued to rise.Two events changed things in the past thirte...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Just listed, but not by me, 530 Catherine Street, Key West. The listing Realtor describes the property this way: "Say hello to this TRANSIENT vacation rental just steps off Duval Street! Fully renovated from top to bottom, this low maintenance home has 2 of the 3 bedrooms on the first floor. All have ensuite baths. Beautifully furnished, this fabulous investment property is fully rented through May 2022! The home features an open floor plan with seating for 6 at the spacious kitchen island and a living area that opens to a comfortable covered lanai. Enjoy a beautiful heated pool with the convenience of an outside pool bath. The outdoor area affords plenty of space for sunning and dining. Round out this money-maker ($200K +) with a designated parking space, and you've got a winner!"    ...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
As always this is a true story. The names have been changed to protect me from lawyers. It was perhaps 12 years ago that I got a phone call from a gay man I will call Herb who wanted to buy a place in Key West. He found me on my blog and learned that I was also gay. He thought, I think, it would be a good fit. He was wrong on many points.  We began a telephone and email dialogue to find the best place for him. I can share a bit without sharing too much. He was older. He was a hair dresser. (That's what he called it.) He wanted to be near Duval Street so that he could meet people. His brother was a surgeon and would be the actual buyer. We began our search.As I write this I remember countless phone calls from Herb who rambled on and on. I sensed, no knew, Herb had a drinking problem. I l...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Most of America is breathing a sigh of relief these days. We are getting back to normal after months of quarantine, face masks, social distancing, not touching other people, and so on. I actually shook hands with potential buyers yesterday afternoon. The Key West  real estate market so brisk that there are few properties to write about. Many properties go under contract within a day or two of being listed. which makes blogging nearly impossible. I was looking through my old shoebox searching for subjects to write about when I found a collection of photos I took just before, the day of, and after Hurricane Irma including the one below. The photo shows a woman talking on a telephone with cord on it standing behind a trash can while other people watched her.  I was fortunate to stay at the...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
from August 15, 2009How Gay Was My Villa?  It's a free world (at least it is here in Key West) where people can and do just about anything and everything they want. We all seem to get along. And except for some do-gooders that sit on some public commissions, we all try to stay out of each others "business". One of the really great things about my job is that I get to see inside so many Key West homes. Some places amaze me. I go home and start to clean, or paint, or redecorate. Others make me feel pity for the sad souls that live in helpless hovels. I have been inside more than enough places that reek of urine but that are inhabited by human beings. I have had to move sideways through rooms filled with years of accumulated trash. And I wonder what in the world is wrong with the people th...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
"Through the crystal-clear air Lori could hear the ringing of the agent's bell...that had begun when the package had first been sighted, carefully picking it's way past the outer reefs toward the lighthouse at Whitehead's Point."          - Thelma Strabel, Reap the Wild Wind Preferred Properties Key West just listed 401 South Street, Key West. This home sits opposite what was once called Whitehead's Point. Tourists from all over the world come here to take photos as a remembrance of the best vacation of their lives. Were you to buy this one-of-a-kind home I would suggest that you must really like people because people will stand across the street from your home every day to take photos of themselves for as long as you own the property. But at night when the tourists have moved down to M...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
From August 14, 2013GAY DIVORCE COURTFrequent Readers may know that many years ago (I started practice in 1973) I was an attorney in Arvada, Colorado which is a suburb of Denver.  I worked in a five man law firm where I handled a variety of types of cases. My first divorce case was a true learning experience. I landed a lulu. I can't recall all of the details which is good since I might get accused of breaching client confidentiality. But I do recall the lessons I learned in dealing with people who are splitting up, namely - get paid up front and make sure to charge enough money; don't get suckered into the bitterness; try to convince the client not to go crazy and end up in jail for hitting the mother-in-law or the new boyfriend (or girlfriend); charge plenty of money - yes, plenty of ...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 There are a lot people out there living much of their lives on the internet viewing all manner of things that give them pleasure, er, aah that feed their minds. Some of those people monitor the Key West real estate market seeking a house or condo, a source of income, a long term investment. Some just want to find a home.  I did a quick search of the Key West single family homes that sold (closed sales) in the first 180 days of 2021. There were a whopping 283. Remember Key West is a little island one mile by four miles long with an historical long term population of about 25,000. The least expensive house was 433 Sq Ft "home" located steps from Truman Avenue and across the street from a fish restaurant parking lot. It sold for $365,000 or $863 per sq ft. The third least expensive abode ...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
A couple of weeks ago I was showing an old Key West house to a couple of potential buyers. They commented on the uneven floor in the 130+ year old house.  It wasn't quite as glaring as the photo above. In fact it looked pretty good compared to a lot of properties I have shown over the years.  I took them outside and showed the newer concrete piers added to replace some of original coral rock piers still in place. Buyers like to use old piers and uneven floors as a bargaining chip when negotiating the price they are willing to pay for an old house. I told them of a trip we made to the Cotswold's several years ago. I had read about The Lygon Arms in a travel magazine. It is located in Broadway, England and has roots dating back to the 1300s. We arrived without reservation in early May. We...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
It took twelve years, a lot of lawyers, bankers, Realtors, builders, plumbers, electricians, roofers, landscapers, and a lot of money to create the beautiful home at 1316 Whalton Street, Key West. But it was worth it. Don't you agree?  I first wrote about this property in 2009 when two side by side houses owned by one buyer but financed by two separate banks. The owner offered it as a short sale. The properties were offered for sale but nobody could get a deal worked out with both lenders. Each lender ultimately foreclosed its lien. The larger property at 1316 Whalton Street sold first. Both houses were in total disrepair. The swimming pool was a hazard. Both houses were taken down.     The foreclosure on the adjacent lot dragged on. Then the new owner put the small lot on the market. B...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
From the Key West Association of Realtors:  Your Caravan Committee met today and decided that since the market is so hot and we have been unable to get enough properties on Caravan that we will take the summer off and start back with IN PERSON Caravans in September. It is insane. Properties go on the market and under contract in a matter of days. Work with an experienced Realtor.     
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I think it was three or four years ago I noticed workers taking down a concrete block building located at the western edge of the Toyota Dealership on 1618 North Roosevelt Blvd in Key West. I seem to recall going back and taking a picture of the places before it was totally gone because I assumed a new building would replace it. I have looked throughout my old shoe box and cannot find that photo. But I did find two aerial photos taken in 1999 that show the building next KWFD Station1 with Bayview Park to the west. SLOW FORWARD to maybe December 2020 or so. I noticed workers preparing the site for some new construction. Forms went up and a massive concrete pad was built. In January 2021 the construction to a divergent turn I had never seen in Key West. Giant wood poles were being erected...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Girlfriend, Yogi Berra said it best: "It ain't over till it's over". And it ain't over.   A few days ago I saved the above photo from Instagram of The Artist House.  I sold this property to the current owner in 2017. My buyer paid near asking price which seemed high then. Now it seems a bargain. I knew the former owner who purchased this same property in 1989 for $480,000. A subsequent buyer purchased it in 2004 and paid $1,985,000. Each purchaser must have felt that would be the end of the road. Prices could not go higher. But they did.  I was showing property a couple of days ago to a potential buyer. We were driving to our next appointment when she mentioned the escalating prices in Key West and questioned the sustainability of market. I told her then what I have written here for al...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
from October 31, 2020I normally work with buyers from outside of Key West who are looking to buy a second home. They ask a lot of questions about taxes, insurance, renting rules, and so on. Some ask about safety. I tell them that Key West is a very safe place to live and suggest they checkout the Monroe County Sheriff's website where they can see mugshots of the people arrested for the past ten days including the address where they live, location of the offense, and the charge. I tell them I go to that site everyday. I know what is going on and where.I tell potential buyers most of the person on person crimes will likely be bar fight on Duval Street or in  hotel. Married and non-married couples are often arrested as well. Domestic strangulation is often the charge. Most of the people ar...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
from May 14, 2010915 Angela Street - Key West - An Homage to The Trouble with Harry To quote Andrew's Idea "In Alfred Hitchcock’s world, nothing is more certain than death and attempts to cover up death." The author then goes on to explain that in The Trouble With Harry Hitchcock maintains his "critique of depraved humanity throughout the film, demonstrating uncannily the truth that he who hates his neighbor is guilty of murder. " But it is this line that makes The Trouble With Harry germane to today's blog about the cute little house at 915 Angela Street that is located directly across the street from the Key West Cemetery: "Turn away from death, and it’s as if it isn’t there." You will either love 915 Angela Street or you will hate it. Oh, you'll love the house. There's nothing not to...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
This is a True Story related to me by a friend and local real estate broker. The broker has a long lasting business relationship with his valued customer who called him soon after the "Knock Knock" story concluded. There was a knock on customer's door. KNOCK KNOCK CUSTOMER: Who's There?REALTOR:  I am a Realtor. I have a Two Million Dollar Buyer for Your House!Upon which the customer opened the door only to meet a woman who identified herself as a real estate agent in Key West. She said she was working with a buyer who was prepared to make a two million dollar offer on the man's house. She explained her real estate background and asked if she could show the house customer. The property owner dubious but did not call his agent. He told the real estate agent okay and decided to see what ha...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
The photo above shows Jose Marti speaking from the balcony at 1125 Duval Street in 1883 urging Cuban independence from Spanish domination. The house became celebrated and referred to at La Terreza de Marti. The original house still stands today but has been altered several times over the years. The above photo taken in 1960 shows the second floor porch roof and balusters were removed. A 1950's era wrought iron railing replaced the porch. Several large columns replaced the original first floor turned wood columns shown in the 1883 photo. The original wood siding was covered with Indian Block - a man-made cement siding manufactured in Key West which many locals used to "modernize" their homes in the 1950s and 1960s. By the 1960s most of the vestiges of the original house had been removed....
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I first wrote about 1202 Seminary Street, Key West right after it was listed  It quickly went under contract and the process of loan qualification began. Sometimes that can take months. Sometimes loans do not get approved. This property is now back on the market.  Let's take a look.   This home was renovated about twenty years ago. The entry was relocated from the front of the house through a gated portico that opens into the pool area. Multiple sets of French doors on both sides of  the living room allow abundant daytime light to bathe the area with ambient light. This place is cheerie. The kitchen was recently updated and new floors added.   French doors from the family room (located center) and both bedrooms open out to the rear deck with recently added Trex decking. The two bedroom,...
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