Monroe County, FL Real Estate News

By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
It was maybe fifteen years ago or so that I retrieved what looked like a federal income tax refund check from my mailbox. The envelope had one of those glass-like openings that showed the name and delivery address. Except that the name and address on the envelope were not mine. I was quite concerned that I got what might be some other person's tax refund check - so much so that I took the check to the Key West Post Office. I waited in line for my turn to see the postal clerk. When I was called forward I asked to speak to the Postmaster. The clerk left and a minute or so later a man appeared. I can't recall if the man was the actual postmaster or just a supervisor. I handed over the envelop with government check inside and expressed my concern that something so important was mishandled. ...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 I was searching thru my old shoebox for a specific photo when I came across the pic above. This is or was the bathroom of former Key West royalty - two older gay men who lived the lifestyle of the Wish-I-Were-Famous. The vintage metal louver window is a dead giveaway that this bathroom is located inside a Mid-town or New-town Key West home built in the late 50's or 60's. I actually remember meeting the owners about twenty-five years ago. They were old then and were preparing to move up north. My broker at the time was going to list the house. I got invited along to see it. They were very nice, nah gracious to me. Inviting. They were proud of their home. It showed. I am making fun of it now and not so much of them. Well, I am. But it is pretentious. A lot of people are very pretentious ...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
   Just listed 3817 Flagler Avenue, Key West. The listing broker describes this 1.095 Sq Ft two bedroom, one bath ranch this way: "This bright and well maintained home has a lot going for it. There are two bedrooms plus a living/dining room, a large kitchen, a laundry room and a Florida room that opens to the enormous back yard. Plenty of room for a pool and outdoor living. Built and lovingly cared for by the same family, it is ready for your inspiration. Amenities and updates include a covered carport, central air, up to date appliances including a washer and dryer and a recent roof replacement. A great value in Key West." While I normally write about houses in Old Town and Casa Marina, today I write about a modest 1965 located on the far end of the Island of Key West. Only one family ...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
from August 8, 2017Key West - A True Story about Senior LivingToday's blog is a true story. All of my blogs (with a couple of exceptions like Bert and Ernie) are true. I want to make sure my readers know what I write is true.This is a story that while I think the drama as it played out is unique, the problem itself is pretty universal as more and more senior adults are living longer and longer creating issues for their children who themselves are either in or are quickly approaching Golden Years. It is one of adult of how adult children manage the care of their aging adult parents and how and where they live out their adult senior years. A few short years ago I was working with a woman I will call Shirley. Shirley lived in the Ft Lauderdale area. She and her husband had recently sold th...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
A few years ago I knew I had a sale during the open house of the first week of my listing. A lady buyer and her friend came to my first open house. The superlatives flowed from her mouth, not mine. The friend re-enforced her each time she saw something she likedThere was nothing not to like. It was just reassuring to hear the potential buyer saying how wonderful the house was. She could not have been there lounger than ten minutes at most. She first asked how long I would be there. It was a Sunday. I told her 2:00 PM. She said "I have to call my husband."Would I wait?" Would I wait? Of course I would wait! Then she said she would call her Realtor. Her Realtor! More lookers looked. They were looking around and commenting about her potential new house.Half an hour passed. Her Realtor show...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 The two above photos of Sunset Marina were taken about twelve years apart. The top photo shows the Monroe County Jail which was opened in 1994.  This was about four or five years before the Key West Golf Club Community was developed. Six years later the Sunset Marina was built. Neither were attracted the location because of the jail but despite of it and its neighbor to north, Mt. Trashmore, the long time landfill. It was about this that the landfill was decommissioned and the sky high pile of trash was covered with soil and protective membrane and the planted to avoid erosion.  It is this jail where the wayward spend a day or too many if they disobey the law. Some came here to stay a few days, some came to start a new life, some may leave here to spend more time behind iron bars as gu...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
from January 26,  2009The Road to Recovery    I've mentioned many times that I grew up in one of Denver's suburbs in the 1950's. Life was much slower way back then. I don't have any access to old family photos of driving through the Colorado Rockies in the 1950's. The photo of the antique car isn't back in the 1950's. But it is illustrative of what our lives would be like if Interstate 70 had not been built. During the summers of my youth my parents and I would drive up to the mountains to go fishing. We would either go over Berthoud Pass toward Grand Lake, Loveland Pass toward what is now Vail (Vail did not even exist then), or over Monarch Pass toward Gunnison. There were no interstate highways. There were very few four lane roads for that matter. There wasn't any need for four lanes ...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I watched in horror last week at the collapse of the Champlain Tower in Surfside, Florida last week and predicted the outcome of ultimate loss of life. I saw no way for any survivors. Not in that rubble. As the days have now become a week it will become a month of weeks and then more. Bodies will be discovered and identified. Services will be held. The cameras and incessant local news coverage will cease. We will forget and focus on the next tragedy - a raging fire in California or a hurricane in the Caribbean. There is always something awful. I was standing on the balcony of a three or four story hotel in Corpus Christie forty some years ago with Dan, a fellow attorney who worked in the same bank. We were there on a workout of a problem loan. I was leaning against the corner when Dan y...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Just Listed by Preferred Properties Key West 1500 Atlantic Blvd Unit 408, Key West, Florida. This penthouse 2,038 square foot unit has a valuable Transient License which means it may be rented on a weekly basis every week throughout the year. It has spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean from the moment you enter this spacious two level unit. The listing broker describes the unit this way:  "This oceanfront penthouse at The Key West Beach Club includes a rare and valuable Transient License. It also has space for everyone with four bedrooms, three baths and a large private covered oceanfront terrace. The living room has a dramatic two story ceiling and opens to the terrace. The master suite and a guest suite are on the main floor plus two more guest bedrooms and a full bath upstairs. Th...
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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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