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.