Monroe County, FL Real Estate News

By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
It's Winter in Key West where today the temperature reached 76 degrees. What's the forecast where you live? I saw reports of record cold temps up north. Imagine living at water's edge looking out to the Atlantic Ocean every morning, noon, and night. You could - if you buy the just listed end unit at Key West Beach Club Condominiums. The real estate market is crazy here right now. I promise that if you snooze, you will lose on this baby. While every Beach Club Condominium unit has a direct ocean view, only a few have front and side views like this one. It has east views from both the living room and the guest bedroom. Equally important, the property to the east is a nature preserve where no buildings will ever be built. I'll show you later. The center hall foyer deliverers guest to midpo...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
  There are dozens of not a few hundred people out there who live on their computer searching the Key West MLS, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com websites for new listings in Key West. I have been writing about this phenomenon for years. Like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, they seek to find a home in Key West to replace the locals and take up living in Paradise. They make an annual pilgrimage to Key West to search in person walking the streets, looking for For Sale signs, taking phone numbers, calling agents, attending open houses, and talking to locals in bars- they know the real story. Now they are among us. Thousands of them. For months I have been predicting new MLS listings. They just have not materialized in the numbers we have experienced in years. What was predictable, has just n...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Not too long before the pandemic a friend and I traveled to New York City in mid August for a few days. I never experienced such oppressing heat in my life. All eight million residents swarmed around me wherever I went. It was like being dropped into a snake pit. It was a near fatal mistake which I vowed to never repeat. A few days later we rented a car and drove to the Catskills to stay at a friend's house in Calicoon Center, New York. The temperature dropped by maybe thirty degrees and the million of people diminished to a couple of dozen.    We had planned to stay four days in our friend from Key West's bungalow and then drive to Boston. However, upon arrival we discovered another woman friend of the owner had moved into the house along with her aged father. She apparently arrived fi...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I got a chance to preview 1221 Margaret Street a few weeks ago. I was really impressed. Really! I have written about this small group of single family homes built at the edge of Old Town in 1999. Some share a rear driveway which allowed the developer to build big houses on smaller lots than official building code required. Note the two off street parking spaces on either side of the front entry. Let's look inside.  All of the houses replicated the revival style architecture of our historic homes. The builder created new interiors that had the look of older homes. The owner of this property undid the original and remade a better version that brings this home into the 21st Century with pizazz. Walls were removed, floors replace, new kitchen added, bath rooms upgraded, and on and on.   The...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
If you have been living on the Internet searching for a place to call your own in Key West, the new listing at 526 William Street may be the place you have been hoping to find. While I expected many new listings around Christmas, that did not happen. This Delancey Hall two bedroom main floor condominium is the exception and is an exceptional one at that. I have written about other units in this building before, and I sold a similar second floor unit several years ago.The building was renovated in the early 2000's by Toolbox Construction, one of the best general contractors in Key West. They consistently do quality projects. This unit has been meticulously maintained. It is move-in ready.  The owners on the first floor share "sitting rights" on that porch and the owners on the second flo...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
  Do you know the way you feel when you are blown away by music, a picture, a meal, a drink, an odor? While searching the Key West MLS for upcoming open houses and I noticed  a property described as a renovated duplex of just 1,176 sq ft. I thought to myself "That's odd. I thought it sold in 2021." I checked the MLS database and, sure enough, it did sell. It was listed for $1,250,000 on February 27, 2021 and reduced to $1,150,000  on March 29th. Even though the market was brisk, it did not sell. The listing was "cancelled"on May 17th and relisted the same day at $1,095,000. It went under contract twelve days later. It sold on June 16, 2021 for $1,075,000 cash. I never saw the inside but the listing photos looked great. The house dates back to at least 1889. I found photos o the house ta...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Pardon my absence these past few days. I have not been away or ill. Instead, I have been super busy selling houses - thee in a week and working on another. That;s enough about me, let's take a look back at 2021 - the year that was in Key West Real Estate Sales. There was so much apprehension when the world shut down at the beginning of the pandemic - especially from Key West Realtors who feared their livelihoods would be crushed. I was optimistic because I was sure the people who loved Key West would return. Florida has a lot of cities and beaches, but there only one Key West. It's like having a choice between a COKE or an RC Cola. Similar but not the same. The Real Thing or a not-so-good imitation. When the Sheriff lifted the barricades and the TSA let travelers back into town, Key We...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
How Gay Was My Villafrom: July 16, 2015 Update: I was meeting with some former customers a few days ago. The gent found me from my blog and said his favorite blog was How Gay Was My Villa. This is for you, Bill. Key West is a great place to live. You can be and do just about anything and everything. Except for some do-gooders who sit on some public commissions, we all try to stay out of each others "business".  The rich and not so rich often live side-by-side. One's station in life does not matter. Gay and straight live together. Generational Conchs and newbies from around the world live and work together. People of different faiths, different races, and political persuasions all get along. We are an accepting community. The openness and welcoming nature of Key West as a community was o...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
It was eleven years ago when I blogged about 525 Simonton Street when it was offered for sale as a "short sale" at what I called the bargain asking price of $1,999,000. But it does not matter. I was right. I told you so! I showed it. I promoted it. Somebody bought it for just $1,440,000. That buyer expanded the living area at the rear and added a second pool. They spent some money but not "THAT MUCH" money. The renovated property SOLD on Monday for $7,100,000. Congratulations to the Seller, the Buyer, and the Realtor on the sale. This was and is a beautiful building in a great location. Success is not hard to predict when you have those two things in common.   
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
   The Southernmost Buoy was damaged by an intentional fire set by two bros taking selfies. Be on the lookout. The police have clear video of them in the act. They might get a fair trial in Jacksonville or Panama City. Might. Doubtful in Key West.  It will be repaired. It will come back.punks!
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
2021 started out real shaky. January 6th scared the hell out of me. And a lot of people. Then the Inauguration happened and things started to go back to normal - at least as normal as we could get at the time. I think most people have an optimistic outlook on our future. Of course the people I come into contact with are successful people. Achievers. Winners. That is why they have money to spend. And never forget this: We live in America. Even when we are down, we get back up and thrive. I really believe we can achieve anything. 2022 will only be better. Right after travel to Key West was allowed in mid 202o we saw the beginning of a surge of visitors that has not stopped. Many of them bought houses, condos, and investment properties.  2020 was a very good year for me. 2021 was an even b...
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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...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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...
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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...
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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 ...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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