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.

REDUCED...Las Salinas Condo W210...$214,900

Just Reduced to $214,900
2 Bedroom, 2 Bath Condo @ Las Salinas, Unit W210
Good condition with ceramic tile throughout. New central A/C. Individual storage area. Beautiful pool.NOT A SHORT SALE. Owners are licensed real estate agents in the State of Florida.

Joanne Tarantino - CRS
Prudential Knight & Gardner Realty
(305) 294-5155 x244 ~ (305) 304-2012
(305) 295-0946 Fax
"TALL on Real Estate Service"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Steam Plant Blows the Prices

It was recently announced that one of the premier real estate developments in Key West has just done a dramatic price reduction on their units. These beautiful luxury town houses are truly unique, in the heart of Old Town and with wonderful water views.

The former City Electric Plant had been closed down for many years when purchased by Ed Swift, doing business as Steam Plant Condominiums LLC. In late 2003 the only marketing that was done was a grand by “invitation only” reception for only fifteen local real estate agents. All but one, which was retained by the developer, were reserved with deposits in the first two weeks. In this explosive real estate market everyone was buying, many were locals buying two or three some with plans to flip.

A large company out of Tampa named Dooley Mack became the contractor in the large renovation and reconstruction project. It was soon realized that the completion date could not be made. The environmental clean up was huge. All the massive electric producing machinery had to be transported to the main land, to be treated and disposed of as hazardous waste. Other delays were encountered. With other large projects also going up at the same time like the Santa Maria and Beachside workmen and materials were in short supply. Then came the years of hurricanes in 2004/ 2005, one after another, work had to be stopped and the town evacuated. Finally in 2009 when the condos received their certificates of occupancy the real estate market was nothing what it had been. Only two of the original 18 buyers honored their agreements and closed.

All this has ended in some drastically reduced prices and a great opportunity on a wonderful upper end project whose timing missed its target. Last month drastic reductions were announced, on some units over 30%. If you have not seen these units it is definitely worth you while, just to see the very unique art deco/industrial design. Some of the original machinery creatively decorates the interior common areas. The units are spacious and dramatic. The quality cannot be better, solid concrete fortress like walls and individual elevators to each unit. Massive impact resistant doors slide like butter then close with the quiet finality of a bank vault. There is a common area roof top pool and individual private pools. If you would like to see these yourself give me a call and I will be happy arrange a tour.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Developers Nightmare! “The Nail House”

This former house located in Chongqing Municipality in southern China has been dubbed the "nail house" because it refused to be hammered down. The owners had been fighting off bulldozers there since 2004, when developers pleaded with them and another 280 households to make way for a shopping mall. But the compensation proposed by the developer was just not enough.

The other residents left one after another, leaving the building standing alone. The house, was handed down through several generations. It was used as a variety store and then leased to become a restaurant.

As the owner held out flying the national flag, he received food and supplies via a green rope pulled up from the ground.

The structure was finally demolished in March of this year. As compensation, they accepted an apartment in the Shapingba district of downtown Chongqing, similar in size to their old one.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Florida Bill Helps Condo Associations

Good news Charlie Crist just signed a condominium reform bill(SB 1196) that will help many Florida Condo Associations that have been struggling to stay a float in the wake of numbers of pre-foreclosure owners discontinuing payments on their monthly dues. If they are renting the association now may demand the tenants rental payments go straight to the association to cover the dues owed. Previously the associations had to sue to collect rent (a timely and expensive process). A second change, up until now once the bank foreclosed they were only required to make up past dues up to 6 months or 1% of the loan amount. That has now increased to 12 months or 1%. This will really help so many associations who were having to turn to the paying owners to pick up the deficit of the nonpaying ones. A well funded association will also attract more resales and make it easier for those resale buyers to obtain a new mortgage.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cooking Corner: Spring Celebration Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cups grated fresh carrots (about 2 large)
1 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple (see Cooks Note)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 (4-ounce) jars pureed carrot baby food

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (1 pound), at room temperature
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) square cake pans, line them with buttered parchment paper, and dust with flour. Toss the carrots, walnuts and 1/2 cup pineapple with 1/2 cup of the flour in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. In another large bowl beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and light, about 5 minutes. While continuing to beat the eggs slowly, gradually add the oil, and then the pureed carrot. Scatter the dry ingredients over the wet and then gently fold them together to make a loose batter. Gently fold the nuts, carrots, and pineapple into the batter. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake the cakes until firm to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on a rack for 25 minutes. Turn cakes out of pans and cool completely on the rack.

For the icing:
Beat cream cheese in a large bowl, with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in the butter until smooth. Sift the sugar over the cream cheese, and beat until smooth. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy. Refrigerate to set slightly for about 20 minutes. To assemble the cake, place a cake layer on a cake stand, plate, or cake board. Spread about half of the icing over top, but leave the sides bare. Sprinkle icing with about half of the pineapple. Top with a second cake layer, and repeat with remaining icing and pineapple. Serve.

Cook's Note:
You will need about 1/2 a fresh medium pineapple, trimmed, cored, and finely chopped for the whole cake and frosting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Right To Dry

I recently read about a town in Massachusetts that recently under went an environmental movement to not only ban the sale of bottled water but also to gain the right to dry your clothes outside. The town did not outlaw outdoor drying, but homeowner’s and condominium associations within the town did. Can you imagine that in uber-tidy communities in Naples Fl where you are not allowed to even park your car in your drive way (it must be in the garage)? But, speaking of Naples, the real Naples (Italy), tourists find it charming to see laundry hanging across the balconies of the Old World buildings. As a matter of fact energy hogging clothes dryers in general are much less prevalent in Europe then the US, 50% verses 75% of American homes.

In Key West there are no codes against having a clothes line any where on your property. Your back yard as well as your front yard is equally acceptable, even in the Old Town historic district. As far as the City of Key West imposing outdoor drying on home owner associations, not even in an alternate reality would that happen. Don’t worry Truman Annex or Golf Club Property Owners Associations, Key West can’t even get it together enough to do anything but a miserable job at recycling, much less make you allow your residents to hang their under wear on the front porch to reduce energy usage.

If you are further interested in outdoor drying laws you can find out more from an organization called Project Laundry List it is a nonprofit that has helped to fight anti-clothesline ordinances in many neighborhoods, and to urge the First Family to line dry their clothes occasionally on the White House lawn—visit

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Distressed Sale’s Role in the Key West Market

Although the number of distressed sales nation wide are at 29%; there are some areas where the percentages are higher. Certain locations like California, Nevada and South Florida have higher rates. On checking the residential sold properties for the last 6 months in the Key West MLS there were 231 sales, 114 (49%) were distressed sales (short sale or lender owned).

Looking at how those sales break down, the short sales are on the market much longer then the bank owned properties and sell for a lower percentage of list price. Although there is legislation to make the short sales go faster they are still taking quite long. The Key West MLS currently has 193 pending sales; 139 of them are short sales. In these cases the seller has found a buyer and is waiting for the bank’s decision to approve the sale. It is not uncommon for this to take over a year.

The bank owned properties are usually listed very low to get a quick sale. Often there are multiple offers in a short period of time. Of these multiple offers a strong preference is given to cash offers or buyers putting down large down payments. These type of sales close faster and have a lower risk of failing thus further reducing the amount of time on the market. Because the bank owned properties are listed so low to start with many bids come in substantially over the asking price. Overall residential sales in Key West sell for 92.66% of list price for lender owned properties that percentage jumps to 96.77%.

With the distressed sales come much lower prices. Because of this, the number of sales are up with investors and first time home buyers jumping at the chances to take advantage of this opportunity.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Break for Iguanas

I was driving down College Rd today and an Iguana began to run across the street. He was about ½ way, saw another automobile coming towards us and turned around running back in front of my car! I slammed on the breaks. As I calmed down and headed back to my office I wondered about this. I would die if I ever hit a cat, a dog, a chicken or raccoon but I realized I would not mind too much if I ran over an Iguana. I would not try to run over one, but I think that they are pretty high on the list of desirable road kill.
I had nothing against these reptiles until they took over South Florida and the Lower Keys. It's like cruise ships; some are ok, but you don't want the harbor thick with them. Iguanas are more fun to look at in a zoo then lounging at my pool in between servings of Hibiscus (they prefer red). We have so many because they were bought as pets and then the owners decided they did not want them. Duh, they are scaly cold blooded animals with beady eyes, sharp claws and rows of horns. They grow up to 6 feet long and have to be kept under heat lamps in captivity. I forgot to mention that the little ones eat the bigger ones dung so they can get the bacteria needed to digest plants. If I was dumb enough to get one I would be even dumber not to want to get rid of one.
Be this as it may the local SPCA says that they accept iguanas, not to find them a new home but to euthanatize them. You can kill them yourself but it must be humane. If you shoot them with an air gun you need to be good and kill them with just one shot. Otherwise, it is considered inhumane. As for me I am still going to break for Iguanas. The road kill thing is just too messy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Southernmost Point Buoy Painted

It was in the newspaper recently that the Southernmost Point Buoy is going to get repainted. I was kind of curious if they had two and switched them out. I thought I saw one over in the welding yard on Amelia and Simonton St. a while back. It turns out that was probably the temporary buoy that was made during the time the street and side walk where the buoy sits had been cordoned off to be redone. A temporary one was erected several feet away for photo opportunities. What happened to the life size Seward Johnson sculpture of the tourist family taking pictures that used to be at the Southernmost Point? I think I saw them in that same Amelia St. welding yard. Both are gone now.
Any way the buoy that is there is never moved. I am told that the buoy is solid concrete and the only way that it will be moved will be after it is broken up with a sledge hammer and shoveled away. This is probably a good thing. The buoy was erected in 1983 to replace the signs that were constantly being stolen. It costs $4,000 to paint the buoy and it was last done in December 2008. Do you know that as I went around the corner recently there was actually a long line of people waiting to take their pictures in front of the monument? Don't tell them it is not really the southernmost point. The back yards of the homes directly to the East and the Navy base to the west are both further south. Both Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and Ballast Key, a private island are also further south.

Don't they put a Christmas tree up there at Christmas? I cannot remember. I was told that they never decorate it. I happen to know that is wrong. It was once the Easter Bunny. In about 1996 they were re-painting at this time of year. The buoy had been sanded and primed and it became the Easter Bunny before it was a buoy again. And what is wrong with that? If you can believe in the Easter Bunny you can believe that the buoy is the southernmost point. It's all fun.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bank Becomes T Shirt Shop

The Wachovia Bank building is an architecturally beautiful land mark sitting majestically at the corner of Duval and Front St. Built in 1891 it has weathered hurricanes and dodged fires that periodically engulf other historic Key West buildings. Originally and for years it was Florida First National Bank. Wachovia bought the building in 1992 for $2,520,000. Wachovia closed that branch about the same time it merged with Wells Fargo in 2008 and consolidated its operations on Northside Dr. It took me a while to realize Wachovia had closed it's down town branch (I am not a Wachovia customer) and don't frequent Front and Duval too often, the ground central for cruise ship visitors.

Was I surprised when I did walk past that corner? It is a T shirt shop now! Wow, do things change. It is a decent enough shop and they carry more then just T shirts. There are men's, woman's and children's clothes. Why is it that all the shops on lower Duval carry clothes that look exactly the same, like the gauzy women's dresses and short shorts that say "Key West" across the butt? This must be what sells. When these shoppers get back on board are they all wearing the same dresses, shirts and beach cover ups?

I walked past the mannequin of a woman standing in the door. There were a lot of customers in there; the sales people were busy. I found that the clothing section was divided off from the knick knack section by what was once the teller's counter. In the glassed in office in the back where the bank manager sat now sits the store manager. In the knick knack section behind the shot glasses and key chains is still the bank vault. I wonder what's in it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

No this is Not My Listing - 3814 Flagler Avenue, Key West, FL

This however is a great buy on this bank owned property (3814 Flagler Avenue, Key West, FL)! Can you believe it, a 5 bedroom 3 bath waterfront house on a huge lot (1/3 of an acre) just reduced to $699,000! In addition to the 3106 sq ft of living area there is also a two car garage. At this asking price that calculates to only $255/square foot. Remember the old days when waterfront property would go for around $800/sq ft? This has to currently be the best buy in Key West.

This property was purchased by an owner of a local real estate company (who has since left town) in 2004 for $1,050,000. It was originally listed for sale in June of 2009 for $1,250,000 and has just had its fifth price reduction down to $699,000. For any one who needs a lot of space and would enjoy living on a canal this is a great opportunity. Oh did I mention that it also has a pool, not just a little dipping pool but a hotel size pool. The seawall is 105' long with a step down. You could dock a couple of boats here.

Has anyone noticed how cold it has been in Key West? Worry not; this house has a real cool looking elongated stylish fireplace in the great room. Ok, something has to be wrong. Well, the former owner's wife had some unique taste in wall colors. That is easy to fix just try imagining off white as you walk through. Yes, she had probably been bugging her husband for some updating in the kitchen and the baths before the economy turned bad. He was right when he said they are perfectly fine the way they are. He was right, but in her defense they are really dated.

Ok folks, here it is a great chance for a waterfront "steal". Call me if you know of anyone who would like to see it. It is easy to show.

Friday, March 12, 2010

No Word...

The other day I was thinking about this past decade and trying to think about what characterized it when I realize that we do not have a name for it. There is a gap in the English language as to what to call it. Yes we are in the 21st century, but that is for the whole century, not just the first 10 years of it. You could say the early 2000’s but that is pretty vague and does not precisely define the decade.

It has been a pretty bad decade with 9/11 and the financial melt down, but it at least deserves a name. What could it be, the zeros? Or better yet the zippy zeros, but that would be a lie. There has been nothing too zippy about it unless you called the sky rocketing real estate prices zipping up between 2000 and 2006 but finally crashing and burning as the decade slides to a close.

It could be the double 0’s, but that sound more like a cup size. How about the 00's? “Back in the 00’s when I was selling real estate in Key West….” How about the preteens? Well it just sounds like the whole population advancing on puberty together.

Now that we're confused enough about what to call this decade we are quickly advancing on the next decade. The “teens”?????

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Short Sales...Grrrr

Why is it that I am asked daily is my short sale not yet approved after months and months of waiting. This is the all too common question from buyers who have made offers on short sales. Buyers are pre-approved, brought in offers that are at the current value and then just wait. Banks seem to be in no hurry to approve these while taxes, condo fees, code violations fines and maintenance issues mount. We have all seen the murky green pool that now has fish living in it. In the Key West Association of Realtors MLS as in other communities there is a glut of short sales awaiting approval. Currently we have 149 residential short sales under contract as compared to 46 normal sales. A whole new cottage industry of short sale negotiators is flourishing but nothing has sped up.

What is wrong with this picture? I think a lot; only 1 in 3 short sales ever close primarily because the buyer eventually drops out. A short sale that never closes can only end up as a foreclosure and most times is resold for a price much less then the actual short sale offer. The banks end up losing money and when they do the US government seems to be there to help.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just Sold

JUST SOLD: 1606 Flagler Avenue, Key West, FL Cute Key West hideaway. Completely remodeled in 2006. New kitchen and appliances, new bathrooms. Tile throughout. Potential mother-in-law apartment or lock out room. Shaded yard with outdoor living space. A short walk to the beach.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Strategic Foreclosure

A new term has emerged in the ever changing real estate world. Just as none of us knew what a "short sale" was 4 years ago or a "flipper" 9 years ago, we now have chance to expand our vocabulary and incorporate "strategic foreclosure". A strategic foreclosure is when a property owner has the ability to pay their mortgage but chooses not to. This group now accounts for about one in every four foreclosures. This has created an ethical discussion for those involved.

You borrowed the money, you owe the money. Why should you not pay it back? Yes the property you own dropped below what you borrowed. The same house in your neighborhood can be bought for a fraction of what you owe. You think, just walk away from it and let the bank take the loss, but if the property had gone up in value would you be trying to give money back to the bank? I don't think so, that was not the deal. The loan was not contingent on property values staying up. If you loaned money to a friend and he lost it wouldn't you still expect him to pay it back?

On the other hand weren't the banks greedy making all the loans they could, encouraging you to lie about your income, the "no documentation liar loan"? Any one with a pulse could borrow half a million dollars. The bankers were receiving huge bonuses and the federal government was encouraging it all. You have a little savings for retirement or the kid's college fund. Now, throw it all away to support Wall Street? Didn't the banks know that they were taking a gamble making all these high risk loans? It was a calculated business decision based on the value of your real estate. They calculated wrong. You don't pay, they foreclose. It is all spelled out plain and simple in the mortgage documents.

Interesting question let me know what you think.

Monday, January 25, 2010

How the 2009 Key West Real Estate Market Did

When ever I talk to people they always ask “how is the real estate market?” So many people have invested in or own homes and other real estate in the Key West area that it is a constant question. So here we go. At the beginning of 2009 in January we had 854 properties on the market in Key West. At the end of the year in the month of December we had 584 that is a 31% reduction. The inventory has been moving down through out 2009. This is good because a real estate market flooded with inventory is going to do nothing but decline in value. What is more encouraging is that in the month of January only 2% of the active listings sold and at the end of the year in December 5.6% had sold. The average sales price in 2009 ($458,280) was down from 2008 ($639,940) by 28.4%. Days on the market (DOM) has stayed about the same since 2007 about 171 days.

As for the upper end market there were 193 active listings over $1,000,000. 32 of them sold which is 16.5% of the total and days on the market were less then the over all, only 135.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New lease on life

Just read about a guy that got a new lease on life. For the longest time I thought that saying was a new "leash" on life. The new leash idea evokes a picture of lassoing life with a leash and reeling it back in. I like the lease thing better. It reinforces the idea that we are tenants on the planet for a temporary term. Our lease will end at a certain time, but then occasionally we get an unexpected windfall, an option to extend. Let's all enjoy our current leases to the fullest!

Monday, January 4, 2010

REDUCED!!! Charming Key West Apartment Building

Charming Key West apartment building at the foot of Margaret St only one block from the waterfront of the Historic Seaport District.Four legal units generates aproximately $4,900 in gross rent. 4 electic meters and 1 water meter.

Golfing and Real Estate

Not really sure this is the right title for this blog, but I find dry titles make what I have to say less interesting to a prospective reader then what it really is. Golfing is fun and a sport. You wear oxford type shoes with little nails on the bottom to play. What does golf have to do with real estate? You ask yourself that question and want to read on to see just how it does. A local developer named Pritam Singh, Aka Paul Labombard developed the property surrounding the Key West Golf Course in 1995 and appropriately named it The Key West Golf Club. The new owners did not really belong to a club that golfed together they just had their new homes located around the greens and fairways of those who did and shared in common that having a golf ball hit your house or land in your yard was "par for the course", pun intended.

Once again I am going to look at a local community to extrapolate what could be a trend for the Lower Keys. We have a flipper! Remember in about 2003 we all learned the new word as it applied to real estate, "flipping" and one that did that was a "flipper"? Well when the market was going up soooo fast it was lucrative to buy a residential property totally on speculation with the intention of selling it very quickly at a higher price after closing or even selling the contract before closing and then you had "flipped" it. Flipping is back at the Key West Golf Club. 66 Merganser, bought on December 14, 2009 for $170,000 as a short sale came back on the market on December 23, 2009 for $217,400, according to the information in the Key West Board of Realtors. It has not gone under contract yet, but it has a good chance to. There is very little for sale in this price range. As a matter of fact there is only one other unit under $345,000 that is actively on the market for sale and it is a short sale with extensive water damage and an accompanying expensive mold problem to cure all at the buyer's expense. This property is being offered at $192,500 and has been on the market for 433 days. I suspect that in the time it takes for the bank to approve a short sale (maybe 6 months) there could be quite a bit more green/black fuzzy growth.

Stay tuned we will see what happens.