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Key West Holiday Happenings!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Some people have a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit here on the island, for me, it’s just the opposite.  There are a ton of great holiday events and traditions that both locals and tourists look forward to.

Below are a few of my favorites!

Friday, December 1st– Pet Pictures with Santa

Grab your favorite furry friend and head to The Seaport.  Under the nautical Christmas Tree located in the heart of the Seaport you can get your pets picture taken with Santa.  Photos benefit Boys & Girls Club of the Keys Area, Inc.


Saturday, December 2nd – City of Key West Holiday Parade

The annual Hometown Holiday Parade starts at 7:00pm with special guest, Santa!  The parade route starts at the intersection of Truman and White Streets.  The parade will then head down Truman Avenue and head to Eaton Street.


Saturday, December 9th4th Annual Parade of Paws

There will be a dog parade starting promptly at 10am where all in the community are welcome to parade their pups (costumes encouraged!) followed by a Holiday Bazaar where local vendors will showcase their businesses.



Dig out your Santa costume and join the party as tons of Santas gather at Conch Republic Seafood Company for the annual event.


27th Annual Key West Lighted Boat Parade

The annual Key West lighted boat parade will start at 8pm.  Viewers can watch the nautical parade along the Harbor Walk of Lights in the Seaport or for the best spot in town, contact my girls at Lagerheads Beach Bar to reserve a private table.


Saturday, December 16th – Rudolph the Red Nosed Run

Join the Positive Step for their 10th annual 5K that leaves from the Southernmost Beach Cafe. A Positive Step is a community based non-profit organization dedicated to serving the highest risk youth and their families.


Wednesday/ Thursday, December 27th & 28th – Holiday Home Tours

Join the Old Island Restoration Foundation for the kick off of their 2017-2018 Home Tour season.  The home tours feature historic and renovated homes through out Key West each as unique as their owners!


Monday, December 31st – Ring in the New Year!

World famous for our New Year’s traditions, pick a spot on Duval and watch the fun unfold!  Sloppy Joes (200 blk of Duval) is where they will drop the Conch Shell

Christopher and the crew at LaTeDa (1200 blk of Duval) will “pop” a huge champagne bottle.  And of course, Sushi will come down in her red shoe over at the Bourbon complex at the 800 block of Duval.

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Transformation Tuesday: 3227 Pearl

We’ve talked about steps to purchase a house, how to get qualified & what happens after you have an accepted offer, now let’s talk a little bit about what happens after you close, specifically on a fixer upper!

I’m going to take you through each part of our renovation process, room by room I’m going to break down the vision, the obstacles, how we overcame the obstacles, and how choose and put the finishing touches on each space in the house.

When we were in the purchasing process we were deciding on what projects we were going to hire out and which we were going to tackle on our own.  If you remember we used hard money to purchase this property so time was of the essence.  We knew if we chose to take on the bulk of this renovation we would have to schedule it between our current full time jobs and it would end up taking twice if not three times as long.  That being said we chose to hire a contractor to do the majority of our renovation.   The yard was perhaps the easiest project of the entire renovation, which is why we chose to take it on ourselves.


Ya’ll, when we purchased Pearl Avenue it was in quite a state; to say the yard was neglected was an understatement.  Trees were overgrown, there was a huge portable carport staged within the yard for “extra covered storage”, plants and trees that should have been transported years ago to larger pots had sprouted legs and rooted into their now home, with their original plastic pot woven in to the roots.  In the far right corner was a pond that was mosquito haven and in the back right sat a tired old hot tub with a termite-ridden lanai.

The lower deck was rotted and on it’s last legs, the paint having worn off long ago. The lanai and hot tub had seen better days and there were two rogue outdoor storage sheds along the left side of the house.

Dream house right?

The first thing that we did after closing was figure out what was salvageable and sellable.  If you are working on your first flip or renovation project don’t forget this step.  We ended up making about $1000 from all of the things we were able to sell which in the long run helps our bottom line and also financed the purchase of a new chainsaw.

Since we were planning on doing a complete renovation we wanted to sell everything that we could.  The carport sold quickly along with the storage sheds (in hindsight I should have kept those!).  We had a buyer for the hot tub but it literally fell apart from being dry rotted when we tried to remove it from the property.

That weekend we loaded up the Sawzall, gloves and a cooler of beer and headed over and start thinning out the yard.  We took out every tree and shrub that was there with the exception of one that was supposed to be there.  All the others were not native and haphazardly left around the property.

Once the yard was clear it opened up the space tremendously, almost doubling the usable yard space.  We waited to put the finishing touches on the yard until after the contractors had completed their work.  The finishing touches included river rock, mulch, a custom flowerbed, Areca Palms, and partially new fence.

Due to budget limitations we couldn’t afford to do the whole yard rock so we opted for half rock, half mulch.  We worked with Mama’s Garden Center and chose ¾ inch River Rock.  The rock was dropped on the side where the carport had been previously… on the other side of the fence.  So after shoveling, by hand, the rock from the outside of the fence to the inside of the fence, we used a rock rake to spread it evenly.  That portion of the yard was on an odd slope so we also used the rock to even out the terrain although we did keep a slight slope so that water will continue to drain properly from the property.

The fence on the left side of the property had seen better days.  The wood was rotted and we chose replace the left side of the fence with standard pickets from Home Depot.  Once the fence was installed it was painted white along with the rest of the fence along the perimeter of the property.  We used Sherwin Williams exterior paint.  Also along the left side of the fence is where we installed the custom-built flower box.  Perfect for gardening or landscaping.  We installed 4 Areca palms within the flowerbox, they grow like weeds and provide a lush landscaping option for small spaces.  They also work well in containers so as a finishing touch we added an extra potted Areca palm to the side of the steps to the deck.  The pot only set us back about $35 (again, Home Depot for the win) and compliments the rest of the space.

The right side of the property was filled in with dark mulch.  We had the mulch delivered from Manley Debeor and spread it ourselves.  You should have seen the look on my face when the delivery guy pulled up.  The pallet was 2 bags wide by 2 bags deep and stacked at least 15 feet tall.


I envisioned this side of the yard having some Christmas Tree Palms as well as some Arecas for lushness; however due to budget limitations we forwent this option and opted to drop the mulch so that we (or perhaps a buyer) could continue the vision down the road.

The final touch was replacing the house numbers with a new modern option, again from Home Depot.  Full disclosure, I wanted the silver option but they didn’t have all my numbers in that finish so I went with black, which I was very happy with in the end.  Also, if you go this route, the little metal risers that are included are tricky and break easily, use caution!

Stay tuned for the next edition of Transformation Tuesday where I will talk about our adventures in roofing.  A hot topic right now, especially in the Florida Keys post Irma.

If you are thinking of taking on a renovation project or are interested in purchasing real estate in Key West please text, call, or email me (305.395.4073 /  I am a full time real estate agent in Key West and happy to help you on your renovation and/ or home buying adventure.


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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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Ten Truman Annex Treasures


Truman Annex is an exclusive neighborhood in Old Town Key West.  The former Truman Naval Station that was once a destroyer and submarine base is now a gated community of homes and condominiums and the Harry S. Truman Little White House. It is also where you will find Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park and the Truman Waterfront.

Below are 10 Truman Annex properties that are currently on the market, many of which have transient rental licenses!  This means that the property has the potential to generate a 10-12% return on the gross purchase price.


Many of these homes are in existing vacation rental programs and already generating significant rental income.  Call, text, or email me (305-394-4073 or for additional information about these homes as well as additional investment options that are available.

I am a full time Realtor with Preferred Properties and ready to assist you in purchasing your Florida Keys home!

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You’ve Got An Accepted Offer – Now What?!


So, you’ve gone to see your lender and been pre-qualified.  You’ve searched for weeks for the perfect home and you’ve found it.  You’ve chosen a savvy real estate agent and have negotiated the perfect offer and to your surprise, it’s been accepted!

Now what?

Well, first of all Congratulations!  Now get ready.  Things will start to move quickly.  Your agent will provide you with a list of critical dates that pertain to the contract and you will get to work.

Your lender will send you a list of required documents and it’s your job to get these documents/ requested information back to your lender in a timely manner.  Timely means quickly!  The longer it takes for you to get these items back to your lender the longer it takes to submit your loan to underwriting and the longer it takes to be approved for closing.

Escrow Deposit:

Get this to your Realtor or title company ASAP and be sure to keep a copy of the deposit for your records.  This deposit is refundable through the inspection period and will be applied to the final amount that you will need to bring to closing.

Inspection Period:

Typically the first 10-15 days from your date of acceptance are your inspection period.  This is your opportunity to inspect the property and not just on your own.  Your real estate agent will have a home inspector recommendation and you should work to get this scheduled as soon after the acceptance date as possible.  The home inspector will inspect every part of the home that he/ she has access to and will give you a nice little report including photos and descriptions to review.

This is also your opportunity to call in any contractors or additional inspectors for estimates on repairs that will need to be made.  All of this information is very important when determining if you will move forward with a purchase.  Do the numbers still work once you add in the costs of all the repairs?   If yes, proceed to the next step.

Insurance Shopping:  The Big 3!:

Start reaching out to your recommended insurance providers and getting quotes on the necessary insurances (click here for a list of my recommended insurance providers).  If you are financing a property in Florida you will likely be required to carry 3 different insurances:  flood insurance, windstorm insurance, and hazard insurance.  The bank will require you to prepay for the first year of insurances and then will escrow your insurances through out the year to pay the future years on your behalf.

Appraisal, Survey, & Elevation Certificate:

You will likely be required to have one of each.  The appraisal will tell you how much your home is worth in the current market..  The survey will be reviewed by the closing attorney to be sure there are no encroachments on your property and the elevation certificate will tell your insurance company how high off the ground the lowest point of your home is.  The appraisal, survey and elevation certificate will likely be ordered by the bank however you as the buyer will be responsible for the payment.  Generally, appraisals are pre-paid and the survey/ elevation certificate can likely be paid for at closing.

Taking care of each of these steps and communicating with your Realtor will get you to the closing table and on to the fun part and ultimate goal… homeownership!

Call, text, or email me (305-394-4073 or for additional information on how to purchase your first home.  I am a full time agent with Preferred Properties and ready to assist you in purchasing your Florida Keys home!