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Top 5 Business & RE Books

I’m a book nerd.  There I said it.  There are few things in life that I enjoy more than curling up in a window seat on a rainy day with a book.  Or in a hammock on a sunny day at Fort Zachary Taylor…  In honor of National Book Lover’s Day (which was actually last week on 8/9 but I’ve been a bit behind due to this summer cold that decided to sneak up on me!)  I thought I’d share with you 5 books that have influenced my life, not only in real estate but in life in general, in no particular order:

  1. Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way – Richard Branson
  2. The One Thing – Gary Keller
  3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
  4. The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone
  5. The Book on Rental Property Investing – Josh Turner

* Sidenote:  Each of these books can be ordered through our local Key West bookstore:  Books & Books, just give them a call (305-320-0208) and they will give you a ring when it arrives for pickup!

Each of these books have had a different effect on me but the one thing they all had in common was that I couldn’t stop highlighting passages and quotes that made me think and transform into light bulb moments.   I go through periods in my life where I crave knowledge and can’t download books fast enough to my kindle and then times when my brain is pulsing with so much information I have to chill and take a step back and process.

Do you have a favorite business (or any!) book that you’d like to share?  Comment below and let me know what I should add to my reading list.

I am a full time real estate agent in Key West, if you’re interested in purchasing or selling in Key West or The Florida Keys, please contact me, Krystal Thomas at or 305-394-4073.



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Hemingway Days & Events

There’s perhaps no other author in history more synonymous with Key West than Ernest Hemingway and we put on one hell of a celebration to honor him!

Wikipedia describes Hemingway as: an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. His economical and understated style—which he termed the Iceberg Theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three of his novels, four short story collections, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature.

This year the 38th Annual Hemingway Days to honor Mr. Hemingway will kick off on Wednesday July 17th and run through Sunday July 22nd.   Hundreds of Hemingway lookalikes and fans will converge on the island to celebrate the late author and his literary works.

Events include the famous Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, Paddleboard race and 5K run/walk, street fair, marlin tournament and The Running of the Bulls!  For a complete schedule of events click the link below:


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1501 Pine Street: Price Reduction

Located on Pine Street in the heart of The Meadows is where you will find this lovely Key West home.  This home was built in 2008 and features classic Key West architecture (complete with a turret!) with modern elegant upgrades.

If you aren’t familiar with The Meadows you are missing out.  This Old Town neighborhood was once the meadow where the cows in Key West grazed.  The Meadows is today a charming residential neighborhood filled with lovely wooden houses and narrow streets.

When you enter the home 11ft ceilings and travertine tile will greet you.  The first floor is where you will find the gourmet kitchen that overlooks the living area.  The kitchen has stainless steel GE monogram appliances with lots of natural light and counter space thanks to the turret!  What’s a turret you ask?  A turret is a small tower on top of a larger tower or at the corner of a building or wall, typically of a castle. The turret is a feature that is only found on the homes on the corner lots within this development.

The living area is large and open and opens out to the private patio and pool.  Once outside you will also find additional outdoor storage in the carport and off street parking for one car accessible through the electric gates on both ends of the shared driveway.

The second floor features hardwood floors throughout as well as the bedrooms.  The guest bedroom is on the back of the house on the second floor above the carport.  It is a large bedroom that has a vaulted tray ceiling and en-suite bathroom.  The grand master suite is located on the second floor at the front of the home and features a private balcony, plenty of storage, and en-suite bathroom with Jacuzzi tub and walk in shower.

Take a virtual tour of the property by clicking this link:

I am a full time real estate agent in Key West with Preferred Properties.  This home is listed for sale by me, Krystal Thomas, and is available for $1,169,000.  If you’d like additional information or to schedule a private showing please contact me!

Flex MLS Link for pics:




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Pops of Pink in Paradise

Brightly colored homes seem to be synonymous with Key West.  Whether it’s sunshine yellow siding, the ocean colored aqua shutters, or a bright pink door; color is all around us!  I’ve got to say, nothing catches my attention more than a bright pink door.  Maybe it’s because pink is my favorite color or maybe its because the pink makes the house pop or maybe it’s just because Key West is one of the places where a pink door just… works.

Each of these homes are located in the heart of Old Town Key West and are walkable to many of the attractions that keep people coming back to Key West.


1116 Whitehead Street

Asking Price:  $600,000

This home is located on Whitehead Street just down the street from The Hemingway House and the Southernmost Point.


217 Truman Avenue

Asking Price:  $699,000

Located in the vibrant Bahama Village neighborhood this home features 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  Walk to Fort Zachary Taylor or to the Blue Macaw for their bloody mary bar!


1100 Southard Street

Asking Price:  $1,650,000

A classic eyebrow house with a large lot, refinished floors and pool.  Here you will find Dade County Pine throughout as well as a slight Cuban coffee addiction with 5 Brothers Grocery just down the block.


526 Frances Street

Asking Price:  $1,699,000

This one might be my favorite house on the island. I’m a little biased because my first Key West apartment was on Frances Street and I just love the neighborhood.  Live among the orchids as the listing agent says.  Also, right around the corner from one of my favorite restaurants Michael’s.  Did someone say martinis and fondue?  Yes please!


408 United Street

Asking Price:  $2,350,000

Literally 1 block from the Southernmost Point the location cannot be beat.  This home is a showstopper featuring soaring ceilings and indoor-outdoor living at it’s finest.


Click the link below to see the MLS detail and get additional information about the homes above.

I am a full time real estate agent in Key West and ready to help you with your Key West home purchase.  If you are interested in purchasing Key West real estate or would like additional information please contact me at or 305-394-4073.








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Featured Listing Friday: 1020 Southard

The holidays are right around the corner and everyone is gearing up for the celebrations of the season.  Key West is no exception, everyone knows that no holiday celebration is complete without a gingerbread house so today’s Feature Listing Friday is all about the quintessential Key West gingerbread home:  1020 Southard Street, Key West Florida.

The home is not listed by myself but with my brokerage company Preferred Properties, when I saw it was coming on the market I just had to take a peak!  I first took notice of this home when I first moved back to The Keys and into a little studio apartment on Frances Street because it was on my dog-walking route.  Nestled in the heart of Old Town Key West on Southard Street between Frances and Grinnell is where you will find 1020 Southard Street.

The outside of the home features a unique gingerbread design, which became popular in Key West after the fire of 1886.   After the fire Key West was in a bit of disarray so people got together and decided to redesign the city as it was rebuilt.  Each building owner chose a unique, elaborate, and intricate woodwork design to the front of his or her homes.  No two are alike making this the only home in Key West to actually feature the gingerbread man figure.

Surrounded by a white picket fence it also has a wide, wrap around front porch and off street parking with a rolling gate.

One of the first things I noticed about the house when I went inside was that it was so much bigger than I had originally thought it was! Just shy of 2750 square feet the main house has 3 bedrooms each with an en-suite bathroom.  Three master suites?  Check!

On the first floor of the main house is where you will find 2 of the three bedrooms as well as a wonderful chef’s kitchen and open living area that extend to the porch and pool area.  The entire second floor is an office/ sitting area that leads into a grand master suite with a wet bar, upstairs laundry, ensuite bathroom, private balcony and plenty of natural light to boot.   There is also plenty of storage, a rarity in Key West.  Did I mention that this home also has Dade County Pine throughout?

The property sits on a 5,000sf lot and has a beautifully landscaped backyard.  There is a separate pool cottage with a bathroom and outdoor shower.  Hello fourth bedroom!  The pool is an actual pool, not a dipping or cocktail pool, and runs the length of the backyard.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the holiday than in your own Key West Gingerbread House!  1020 Southard Street is being offered for $2,495,000, click HERE to view the full MLS datasheet and the listing photos.  Then please call, text, or email me, Krystal Thomas (305.394.4073 /, to schedule a showing.  I am a full time realtor and happy to help you in your home buying journey.




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Key West Flood Zones & Insurance Explained

duval-street-floodFlood insurance is one of the most asked about topics in Florida real estate, especially in The Florida Keys and Key West.  Flood insurance requirements and premiums are dictated by the flood zone in which your property lies.

To understand flood zones you will first need to understand BFE; Base Flood Elevation.  BFE is a reference height for building elevations and flood insurance.  A building below BFE is a building below the flood level for that site.  Building codes require most new and Substantially Improved buildings be at a minimum height of BFE +1′.


Types of Flood Zones:

“A” Flood Zone:  These zones are more inland from the coastline, where a static rise in water levels can be expected.  This is the most common flood zone in Key West.

“V” Flood Zone:  These zones are close to the shoreline.  The “V” stands for “velocity,” or breaking waves with a force that’s considerably more damaging. As a consequence, building standards are much higher within “V” zones.

X Flood Zones:  These zones are areas where the elevation is higher than the minimum expected flood levels.  Buildings in these zones are not subject to enhanced building codes to prevent flood damage.  Flood insurance is available in these zones at a considerable discount. The elusive X flood zone is typically found in the Solares Hill and The Meadows neighborhoods of Key West.

*Note:  Type “V” and “A” zones appear on flood maps as “AE-#” and “VE-#.  The “E” denotes this flood zone has an elevation level assigned to it, and is expressed as “AE-6” or “VE-9,” with the trailing number indicating the Base Flood Elevation or BFE for that zone.  That BFE number notes the height above sea level flood waters can be expected to rise… at a minimum. For example, if a property falls within the flood zone “AE-6”, the structure would have to be elevated 7 feet above the BFE (6 feet as specified in the flood zone + 1 foot)

Don’t let flood insurance scare you, let me help you navigate the ins and outs of the insurance requirements for your Key West home.  I am a full time real estate agent with Preferred Properties, Contact me or 305-394-4073.

Source:  How to Read Flood Maps. Retrieved from

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5 Homes Under $529K For Sale in Key West

If you’re on the fence about purchasing a home right now let me help you with your decision:  0% DOWN FHA Financing IS Available.

The FHA 203(h) loan program is for those that lost their home or space they rented due to Hurricane Irma.  The borrower is eligible for 100 percent financing and closing costs can be paid by the seller (up to 6%).  This means that you could move into a home in Key West for the cost of an inspection.

$529,000 is the FHA limit for Monroe County, FL.  Below is a link to 5 homes IN Key West that are for sale for $529K or less:

Please contact me for additional information and options.  I am a full time buyers agent with Preferred Properties and happy to help you in your home buying journey. or 305.394.4073

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SBDC Bridge Loans & SBA Loans

City Hall Meeting 9/27 Recap 4:00pm

Yesterday Kelly Penwell and Julie Brown of the SBDC along with Tracy Ray Harbor from the SBA in Miami spoke to the business owners of The Florida Keys about the options that they have available to them.  Below is my recap of the meeting for those who were unable to attend.

Initial Steps each Monroe County resident should take if you haven’t already: 

  1. Contact your insurance agent/ agency
  2. Register with FEMA
  3. Apply for the SBA loan

SBDC – Small Business Development Council

The SBDC is an organization sponsored by the SBA to provide local help and assistance to business owners in Monroe County.  Their office is located at FKCC.  The SBDC is offering up to $50K in bridge loans to business owners in Monroe County.  These loans are 0% for 6 months and intended to keep businesses afloat while they are determining what their long term needs are.  You can use the bridge loan for repairs or working capital.

Since last week the SBDC has already closed two of these loans (which means that they will have cash in hand this week!) and expects to have 12-15 more loans closed by next week.  The process is fast!

One of the questions that you will be asked in the application process is “Do you intend to pay off the bridge loan with an SBA loan?”  The answer can be YES!  This means you can take advantage of the 0% bridge loan while you are waiting for your SBA determination which averaging about 4 weeks according to Harbour.

To qualify you must have more than 2 (you can include yourself) but less than 100 employees.  You will also need your personal and business tax returns for the past two years to submit with your application.  The deadline to apply for this loan is October 31st, 2017.

To apply please contact Kelly Penwell ( or 516-903-7561) and Julie Brown (  They are available to answer questions or help you get your application rolling.


SBA – Small Business Administration

The SBA is a government agency that promotes and supports small businesses.  The SBA loan is for any business owner, homeowner, or renter who has suffered a loss due to Hurricane Irma.  This includes:  home based businesses, rental property homeowners, and sole proprietors.

Business Owners:

SBA is offering loans for as low as 3.03% and up to 30 years for businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma (either with physical damage or economic damage).  If you are approved you can put the loan on hold for up to 6 months until you decide what your long term needs are.  Your first payment is deferred for 12 months.

Homeowners/ Renters:

The SBA is offering loans for as low as 1.75% for 30 years for homeowners/ renters impacted by Hurricane Irma.  You can use this SBA loan to make repairs to your home, replace damaged contents, as well as mitigation against future damages.  The SBA will increase the loan by 20% of the loan amount to help mitigate your property against future damages.

If the SBA denies you then you will be referred back to FEMA for additional options and grants.   The processing time is about 4 weeks for a determination.

If you have additional questions or would like additional information I recommend visiting one of the disaster relief centers so that you can receive one on one coaching with an SBA loan officer.

3 Ways to Apply for the SBA Loan:

  1. Phone: 1-800-659-2955
  2. Online:
  3. In Person: Visit a disaster recovery center. Click here for a link to the FEMA recovery center locator.  As of today (7/28) the center behind the new fire station on Simonton & Angela is open 7 days a week from 7am – 7pm.  There is an air-conditioned tent to sit in if you like but be prepared to wait.


Additional Assistance Available:

If you do not qualify for the SBDC Bridge Loan Kelly Penwell suggests reaching out to Accion Loans for additional lending options

Locally the following banks are offering assistance, please contact them directly for additional information about the programs they have.

Keys Federal Credit Union:  $5,000, no collateral

First State Bank:  $10,000 for individuals and up to $50,000 for businesses.