Friday, January 7, 2011

Adding Video to a Blog

I am going to try adding video to a blog. Let's see how I do. By the way this is a very cute kitten video.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Key West Changes

A pleasant surprise to boaters after Hurricane Wilma was the creation of a new little island with sugar white beaches off of Boca Grand that apply become know as Wilma Key. Four years later after currents, winds and the shifting of sand Wilma is almost gone
As we approach the end of the year it is always interesting to remember the changes that have occurred on shore as well. Living in Key West you probably have experienced shopping at Ross Dress for Less. The clothing and house wares store comes close to creating the atmosphere of a scavenger hunt. High energy shoppers are compulsed to go several times a week just to check their luck on new arrivals. A few have secret knowledge about what day the truck is coming in. The check out line is always long. Why don’t they get some more checkers anyway? I have some times brought a book to read, but like many people, I often see the line, turn around and walk out. That has got to cost them money, but the prices are great and there is a lot of name brand quality merchandise mixed in which keeps Key West shoppers coming back line or no line. It is hard to remember the more stately JC Penney’s in that location when the Overseas Market opened in 1990.
Continuing down North Roosevelt Blvd to Key Plaza is Kmart, that was previously Zayers and WT Grants. Remember how Kmart filled up with flood water in Wilma until the doors burst open and all the merchandise flowed out to the parking lot? Albertsons used to be J Byron’s. I always loved that clothes store for some reason. The Florida based retailer closed 17 locations including Key West in 1996. The remaining stores were converted to Uptons. Hyde Park Grocery was where the Dollar Tree and Office Max are.
If you came back to Key West after being gone for 20 years and wanted to go out for some fun you would be surprised to see the Home Land Security where the Hukilau was, the Boca Chica Lounge now R and R Diesel, Martha’s and Perry’s boarded up and Memory Lane now only a memory.

Monday, September 13, 2010

IRS Looses Tax Payers

You may remember that in 2008 there was a $7,500 first time home buyer tax credit, but it was not really a tax credit as was given in 2009 and 2010. It was actually an interest free loan which was to be paid back at $500 additional taxes added on the tax payers bill each year over 15 years. This is much different then the 2009 and 2010 tax credits, which were real credits that reduced the home buyers taxes in the year of purchase and never had to be repayed. I thought this was a little unfair to the 2008 buyers making them pay back what was really a gift to other buyers in later years. Well worry not, I have just read that the Inspector General for the Tax Administration has announced that although 950,000 people owe the money the IRS has the incorrect purchase date in its database for some taxpayers who took the original credit. These people may never be identified as owing money, it admits. So there you have it

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Garfied Eat Your Heart Out

Bone Island will throw the dogs a bone. Dogs are almost allowed back into the restaurants and bars. I don’t own a dog but it seems only right that those establishments that have been allowing it for years are not allowed to continue. We have almost finished the dog days of summer with no dogs. The City Commission approved it on August 20, but now has to wait 45 days for the DCA (The State) to give its stamp of approval.
These dogs deserve it. They have always done their part in Key West. They wear sunglasses while singing on Duval St. Little dachshunds march in the Duval St. New Years parade (it’s a short parade because of the length of their legs). Dogs ride on mopeds. They are strong supporters of Dog Park and Dog Beach. If they did not who would? You’ll never see a cat chasing a Frisbee or running in the surf. Through out the years dogs have made some extremely strong performances in the Fantasy Fest Pet Parade. Many are required to look like their master, which they do with much admired patience dignity.
I personally look forward to when they are officially welcomed back. One word of warning; the ordinance prohibits dogs from sitting on bar stools.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tenants Now Paying Association Dues

The story is common all over Key West in the down turn of our economy. An investor owns a condo or townhouse, they owe more on the property then it is worth so they stop making payments. In the following years that it takes to foreclose the property is rented and the owner continues to collect the rent, but not pay the mortgage company or the association. At this point the association falls short of money and has to postpone needed repairs and maintenance or collect more money from the owners who are current. This puts a burden on the association and their members. It also has a negative effect on property values by making it harder for a new buyer to get financing. When their mortgage company sees a high number of owners not paying the association it makes no difference how good their credit is the property won’t qualify.

A new law passed by the Florida legislature makes it easier for condo and homeowner associations to collect back dues owned to them. They now have the right to collect the rent directly from the tenants until the dues are current. If the tenant is ordered to make a payment to the association, it counts as rent credit. The tenant pays the remaining balance to the landlord. For example, if a lease agreement calls for the renter to pay $600 a month including $100 association fees, traditionally they would have paid the whole amount to the landlord. Now, under the law, the tenant would pay the landlord $500 and the association $100.

When a renter is required to pay the association directly, they should keep a copy of the notice from the association seeking payment, as well as cancelled checks and/or receipts. If the landlord demands the entire $600, the tenant should send them copies of the documents and receipts showing their payments to the association.

“If the landlord files an eviction, it’s very important that the tenant doesn’t sit back and assume the payment to the association will protect them; they need to answer the eviction lawsuit,” In this situation the Landlord will not be able to evict the tenant for nonpayment only the condo association can. The law helps the tenant if they are doing what they’re supposed to do while the landlord isn’t.

Monday, July 19, 2010


JOANNE TARANTINO Earns NAR Short Sales and Foreclosure Certification Buyers and Sellers Benefit from REALTOR® Expertise in Distressed Sales

JOANNE TARANTINO with PRUDENTIAL KNIGHT GARDNER REALTY has earned the nationally recognized Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certification. The National Association of REALTORS® offers the SFR certification to REALTORS® who want to help both buyers and sellers navigate these complicated transactions, as demand for professional expertise with distressed sales grows.

According to a recent NAR survey, nearly one-third of all existing homes sold recently were either short sales or foreclosures. For many real estate professionals, short sales and foreclosures are the new “traditional” transaction. REALTORS® who have earned the SFR certification know how to help sellers maneuver the complexities of short sales as well as help buyers pursue short sale and foreclosure opportunities.

“As leading advocates for homeownership, REALTORS® believe that any family that loses its home to foreclosure is one family too many, but unfortunately, there are situations in which people just cannot afford to keep their homes, and a foreclosure or a short sale results,” said 2009 NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Foreclosures and short sales can offer opportunities for home buyers and benefit the larger community, as well, but it’s extremely important to have the help of a real estate professional like a REALTOR® who has earned the SFR certification for these kinds of purchases.”

The certification program includes training on how to qualify sellers for short sales, negotiate with lenders, protect buyers, and limit risk, and provides resources to help REALTORS® stay current on national and state-specific information as the market for these distressed properties evolves. To earn the SFR certification, REALTORSÃ’ are required to take one core course and three Webinars. For more information about the SFR certification, visit or call 1-877-510-7855.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gulfview Townhouse Just Reduced!

Just Reduced...$499,900
3 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath Townhouse

Beautiful open water Gulf views in gated community. Out door deck area w/private pool & fountains. 2 upstairs balconies. Hurricane shutters for all windows. Carport with storage. One owner is a real estate licensee. Total annual insurance costs are $3,370. Bank is local and a decission would be made quickley.