Monroe County, FL Real Estate News

By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
This really happened. Sometime in the early 2000's. I was working as an agent at Prudential Knight Real Estate at 336 Duval Street Key West. I had floor duty that day. A woman beyond middle age came inside and asked to look around the building. She said she grew up in the property which was once the Key West school house and later was a single family home. Later it became a real estate office. I walked her through the property and then we went out back where there are six very valuable parking spaces. She pointed to the northwest corner of the lot. She paused. Hesitated. And then recalled the most dreadful remembrance of having lived there. The out house in the northwest corner.She told how horrible it was anytime. She mentioned the unbearable smell, the heat and the rain but it was esp...
Comments 4
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
The newly listed property at 316 Southard Street in Key West popped onto my MLS platform late Thursday afternoon. I immediately sought permission from the listing agent to blog about it. You may scratching your head wondering how much medicinal marijuana I was on. Trust me, I was as sober as the Pope. Maybe more. Southard Street is main public entry in the Truman Annex which has become the most popular residential community in Key West. The aerial photo above was taken in the 1920s. I added the X to show the location of 316 Southard. Several of the neighboring properties were razed and rebuilt. The court house square has been both expanded and rebuilt. The old jail and original court house in the center remain.  This photo from 1900 shows how large Key West had expanded after the Civil ...
Comments 3
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Just Listed 1106 Petronia Street, Key West. How cute is this place and what a great Old Town location on a one-way street that is only two blocks long. I dug down into my old shoebox and found a photo of the property back in 1965. It hasn't changed much. What do you think? Actually it aged better than most people do. Let's look at more photos of the exterior where most people who live here spend most of their time. And this house has a terrific outside. The house was built in 1893. It has been in the same family ownership for decades. It has been lovingly cared for. The above photo was taken on the front porch looking northwest toward the Key West cemetery located on the far side of Frances Street - about 200 feet to the west. The house sits toward the front of the 3,668 square foot lo...
Comments 4
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
There are many ways the pandemic has changed our lives in Key West including the elimination of in person Realtor Caravan. Boo Hoo! you say. It is a real loss for me as it gave me and other agents the opportunity to see new listings and houses that had been on the market longer than six months to get a fresh look. I have resorted to going to open houses to check out new listings as an alternative.  The photo above is not from one of the open houses so don't think what I am about to write has anything to do with this house. But I did select this photo because it is typical of what I am seeing in many renovated and some newly built homes in Key West - blah.One particular open house was a brand new renovation. It had new windows, doors, floors, lighting, air conditioning, on demand hot wat...
Comments 14
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
  Readers are aware that I have not posted very many actual real estate posts lately. That's because the market has dried up. Many well priced new listings with go under contract right away while many others are so outrageously price I won't give the agents the time of day. There are a lot of new agents in town. Be careful who you are dealing with. Ask a lot of questions. Feel the agents out. Ask them their background - what they did and where. How did they get here, how long have they been here, and how did they become the real estate expert the claim to be. So what does the lady on the horse have to do with the return to old times in Key West? For decades both seasonal workers and long time residents would take a break from Key West and head north for cooler climates from August thru ...
Comments 5
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Pete's Meats on Duval Street in Key West     Pete's Meats now located at an undisclosed  location far from Duval. What happened?  
Comments 3
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Just Listed by Preferred Properties Key West, that's where I work, but this is not my listing: 3930 South Roosevelt Blvd Unit E 211 in the Las Salinas Condominiums. This 807 square foot second floor units has been freshly renovated and is price to sell in today's crazy real estate market.   I don't know if the brand new kitchen with quartz counter tops and new stainless steel appliances will catch your attention first or if it will be the view of the Salt Ponds. Las salinas translates as the salt flats. The Key West salt ponds are a naturally occurring feature on just a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean. It is an expansive area with bright views to the south, west, and north but still only a four mile ride to Old Town. Both the master bedroom with en-suite bath and the living room...
Comments 5
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
from October 15, 2010901 Packer St - Old Town - Key West  The Twist Part follows the original post. The Key West Cemetery as viewed from 901 Packer Street    901 Packer Street in Old Town Key West is located directly across the street from the Key West Cemetery and is in desperate need of The Re-Animator. The listing Realtor describes this property thus:"Great Old Town Key West location within walking distance to Duval Street and all of the Key West attractions. Perfect renovation project on a corner lot with off street parking. Located in an X500 flood zone, this is one of the highest elevations on the island."This house was built in 1948 or 1953 (there are two different dates in county records). The relative newness means the house is not a contributing structure and that means a new ...
Comments 4
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 I have written several blogs about the creepiest house I ever saw in Key West. I won't post the address of show the front of the house because it was saved and restored and what once was is not more. There were pens with little dead animals and feces all over the place. The owner's bed was the filthiest thing I ever saw.   I had a pocket Panasonic camera with me when I entered the house. It worked fine until that date. I took photos of both floors, the stairway, and the exterior. The photos all came out bizarre and distorted. Only the above photo came with clarity.  A couple of days ago I saw the two images above of a different home on another site. They reminded me of the house in Key West. I guess some people are too smart for their own good. They don't have time to clean up after th...
Comments 2
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I check the Key West MLS HOTSHEET multiple times throughout the day - every day.The HOTSHEET shows MLS changes in real time including new listings, price changes, back on the market, contingent show, contingent, pending, and closed listings plus text changes. Last Friday afternoon I noticed three more solds posted since earlier in the day. I looked at each sold to see the property, the price paid and the agents involved. It was only after I looked at each sale that I noticed all sold over asking. Then I recalled seeing several over asking solds earlier in the week. We all know that homes are selling over asking across the nation. So what is going on here is not an anomaly. This year I personally sold three houses over asking. I also know that the Key West real estate market exploded in ...
Comments 2
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
from 2015  Abridged from a longer blog I confess: I Wore Blackface That's little me sitting in the right bottom corner of the photo of my first grade class at Mountain View Elementary School in 1954. All of the children in my class and all of the other students and staff and even the entire town were white. Mountain View is located on west side of the Denver County line in Jefferson County, Colorado where it was illegal for Negroes and other non-whites to live in the 1950s. I returned to Denver in 2015 to attend my fifty year high school reunion. On the day of the reunion I drove over to see my old school, went inside, and learned that my old school was a private school for primarily underprivileged Hispanic children. My former lily white suburb had turned Asian and Hispanic and underpr...
Comments 7
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Two Bedrooms One Bath, 22nd Floor Condominium. Not in Key West. There is a lot of information about this property available if you are familiar with styles and materials used in the 1970s including the parquet floors, kitchen cabinets, appliance colors, and light fixtures. Styles change but routine cleanliness and maintenance is often not important to some homeowners. Comment and offer your suggestions as to price, worth, and whatever. Location is Toronto Canada. You could not buy something as large as this in Key West for less than $700,000 even in this condition.Like most parts of the US the housing supply in Key West is on the low side right now. I expect a substantial increase in available properties in October. A lot of locals are travelings. Schools here are now open. Lives are ge...
Comments 5
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
from August 26, 2016My First Loan and What I Learned About Buying on Credit  The Key West MLS is transferring to a new service provider this weekend. I have a new listing to add but can't because the system is not accepting new listings until Monday. So instead of writing about something I can't share, I thought I would share a memory of my first loan and the lesson I learned.I have written about growing up in the little suburban town of Mountain View, Colorado - a suburb just west of Denver. I lived in this quite little burb through my formative years until 1960 when we moved a couple of miles to the south and west. The town was two blocks wide and six blocks long. There were a couple of mom and pop stores and my barbershop on Sheridan Boulevard and several small stores on West 44th Av...
Comments 6
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 The new listing at A17 12th Avenue, Key West could be almost heaven to some. I mean how many people dream of buying a little place in the Keys where they can just hang out, do some fishing, living the good life, being able to into Key West when they want, hang out some more, not go broke paying for stuff. That's Key West in the background, five miles to the west. That's A17 12th Street with the little boat at the bottom right. That is DEEP WATER access to the Atlantic Ocean at your doorstep.  A17 12th Street is a four bedroom two bath single family home with 1,972 Square Feet of living space situated on large 4,800 Square Foot lot that measures 116' X 40' The yard is fenced. There is gated off street parking but ample parking in front as well. The neighbors have similar homes and all s...
Comments 2
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Just Listed but not by me 826 Johnson Lane, Key West. I got to see this freshly renovated Old Town home yesterday afternoon. I remember showing the property several years ago when it was marketed as a fixer-upper. Well now it's fixed!  I dug into my old shoebox and found the black and white photo above. It was taken in 1965. Sadly the property is not located anywhere near the water and no the boat did not float to the property in a storm. I also checked the Historic Sanborn Fire Maps to see if I could determine when this house was built. The Monroe County Property Appraiser shows it was constructed in 1938 during the Depression. We know that is incorrect. I learn (and often forget) so much about Key West houses when I search the maps. The 1889 map did not show this area but we know hous...
Comments 4
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 I have written before that I moved to Key West to own and operate the Eaton Lodge Guest House pictured above. It was the former home Dr. William Warren and his wife Genevieve. Warren was the town doctor. They were involved in the social and political events of the day. Genevieve and her friend Peggy Mills formed the Key West Garden Club.  I think I was the third person to own the property as a guest house. The owners that converted the property from a residence to guest house hired professional contractors to do the work. I am sure everything they did was done to code. I just don't think they ever thought what happened twenty-five years ago this month would happen. But it did. That is a photo of Jessie Porter, Genevieve Warren, Vivian Pierce, Connie McLain who were members of the Key W...
Comments 4
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Today's blog has nothing to do with Key West real estate except that if you want to buy a place or sell a place and you want an agent with life experiences beyond self-aggrandizement and self-promotion, you may want to call me. Info below on that.I want to share a small true tale that may explain why so may people in the White House seem to have made derogatory statements about the boss, Mr. Trump. I think what might have happened was quite insignificant at the time. I did something similar about forty years ago and it changed the course of my life to some extent.A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about negotiating with bullies where I mentioned traveling to Omaha to meet with other creditors of a farmer borrower I called "King". In the late 1970s I was a commercial loan workout guy a...
Comments 3
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 I finally sold 724 Windsor Lane a few weeks ago. This was several months after being listed in the Key West MLS during the hottest real estate market in the country. There was nothing wrong with the house nor the location. We offered several price reductions to get to the sweet spot which coincided with the house being the third least expensive house in all of Key West.   Murphy Davis at 724 Windsor Lane in 2009 The 485 square foot house had only one bedroom which limited the universe of potential buyers. All of a sudden I had a lot of "buyers". One couple got to buy 724 Windsor Lane described in THE NEW YORK TIMES as A Very Little Slice of Heaven. CLICK HERE to read the article - it is a fun three minute read.  While working on yesterday's blog entitled HOUSE BUILDING, Google took me ...
Comments 5
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
  Opening Montage - 1895 brick Victorian situated by a lake in upstate New York.Interior - owner speaks:I love my house.Everybody does.It was built in 1895 and still has most of the original roof.The wallpaper in the dining room is original too.So's a lot of the original woodwork.You'd have to be a fool to change it.I hope you appreciate detail.The marble fireplace is hand carved.The main stairs have a very gentle rise.Everyone comments how easy it is to climb them.I like to fill it with my friends.Over the years we've become more like a family.It makes me happy to have us all together in our home, Mine and Bobby's.They don't build house like this anymore.The Golden Age of American House-building.Not architecture mind you House-building.This house was meant to stand.Make yourself at hom...
Comments 1
By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I was taking photos for my blog a couple of days ago and passed by 630 Caroline Street, Key West. It was listed for sale a couple of years ago but did not sell and it is not for sale now. I think it is an interesting property and will sell when it is once again offered. The property records show this house as being a 2/2 with 1,176 square feet of living space (including second floor) situated on a 1,774 square foot lot (32.5 X 55') at the corner of Caroline and Elizabeth Street.     I dug down into my old shoebox and found the 1965 photo of the house with a tree in front. The City of Key West recently completed the multi-year restoration of the seaport which now wraps the waterfront to the west to the Truman Annex Park. The rebuilding of the seaport infrastructure not only revitalized b...
Comments 1