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Sunset Celebration

One of my favorite sayings is “Celebrate Everything”.  That’s also one of the unofficial mottos of the City of Key West because we sure do like to celebrate the heck out of holidays! This week is Capture the Sunset Week and in it’s honor I’ve got my top 5 places to catch the sunset in Key West.

 

My Top 5 Favorite Places to Watch the Sunset

 

The Galleon (617 Front Street) – The quintessential tiki bar tucked away inside of the Galleon Resort.  Cocktails, beer, wine, and live music on the open water, you just can’t beat it (if you can find it!)

 

Fort Zachary Taylor (601 Howard England Way) – Take a bike ride down to the Truman Waterfront and follow the signs that point you to the beach.  Fort Zach, A Florida State Park, is home to lush pines, sandy-esque beaches, and one heck of a sunset view.

 

Latitudes (Sunset Key) – Treat yo’ self.  For the special occasion sunsets hop on the ferry and head over to Sunset Key.  You can pick your seating, inside or out, but I’d recommend requesting a table outside on the beach if you really want the full experience.

 

Mallory Square (400 Wall Street) – More of a tourist favorite than a locals favorite but you can’t talk about Key West sunsets without mentioning this spot, home of the famous Sunset Celebration.  Every night local artisans and performers head to Mallory Square to celebrate the sunshine.

 

From a boat (Middle of the Ocean) – If you’re coming to Key West I always tell people to really make it a point to get out on the water.  I’d venture to say that having the crystal blue ocean as our backyard is one of the main reasons us locals choose to live here.

 

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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:

 

//fla-keys.com/news/article/10331/

 

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Set Yourself Up for Success. 

Set Yourself Up for Success.

 

This is one statement that I have really been working on in 2018.  One morning last year I woke up and I remember everything just seemed off.  I had fallen asleep on the couch and woke up in the middle of the night to move to my bed.   When I woke up, an hour later than I had planned, I realized I had overslept because my phone was dead and I had forgotten to plug it in when I relocated in the middle of the night.  I got dressed, grabbed my computer, and headed to the office.

When I arrived my client was waiting for me and I quickly ushered them into the conference room while I fumbled to get my computer up and running  (it too had died overnight and if you’ve ever worked with an overworked and overloaded 5 year old computer you know just how slow time can move when you’re waiting for everything to boot up!)

The meeting was successful and I had signed my buyers agent agreement but when my client left I still found myself behind the eight ball for the rest of the day.  My phone kept dying because of the insufficient charge the night before and I went home feeling defeated.  That was the day I decided to really put into practice what I preach, being proactive instead of reactive.

So often we are in the fast lane of life and things are flying at us faster than we can respond.  We don’t realize how taking a second or two to set yourself up for success will impact your tomorrows until it’s too late.  Now when I turn in for the night I do 3 things:  plug in my iWatch, plug in my phone, and charge my computer.  This does 3 things to help me kick off my day on the right foot:  I wake up on time from my phone alarm, I track my calories and fitness progress from my morning work outs and when I get home from the gym I can get right to work without waiting 10 years for my ol’ Bessie of a computer to get with the gets.

I challenge you to take a look at your morning and nightly routines and ask yourself this question:  What is the one (or 3!) thing you can do tonight to set yourself up for success tomorrow?  Is it as simple as plugging in your phone?  How would packing your or your family’s lunch the night before make for a better, smoother morning?

If you really want to grab the bull by the horns and kick start your morning routine I’d highly recommend Hal Elrod’s book Miracle Morning but for those looking for a quick fix just remember to plug in your phone J

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Mel Fisher Days

Each year a celebration is held to commemorate Mel Fisher’s famous 16-year search for the Spanish galleon Atocha which lead to a $450 million dollar treasure discovery in the waters just off Key West.  A series of events are scheduled that will fun from July 12th-14th, 2018 and 100% of all net proceeds from these events will benefit Wesley House Family Services.

During the annual celebration participants can visit Mel Fisher’s Treasures Private Conservation Laboratory or celebrate the treasure hunters mother lode at the Schooner Wharf Bar Dock Party where you can tour the vessel, have meet and greet opportunities with the Golden Crew of the Atocha discovery, and of course bid on the MEGA silent auction!

For a complete list of activities, dates and times please visit the event website:  //melfisherdays.melfisher.com/

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29 Cactus Drive, Big Coppitt

Every once in a while a property comes along and I think damn, what a great opportunity to add some value.  That’s exactly what happened when I went to look at 29 Cactus Drive for a client last week.  Listed by another agent, the property is located on Big Coppitt, about 10 miles north of Key West.

Big Coppitt has long been a haven for families and Keys residents that want the convenience of a short commute to Key West but more bang for their buck when it comes to real estate. 

This particular home is located on Cactus Drive, just before you reach the gem streets on Big Coppitt.  It has a huge yard (but full disclosure has been recently subdivided).  The subject property sits on about 4200 square feet and on the canal.   The home itself sits up a bit, which will be helpful when it comes to flood insurance for the prospective buyer.

The house was built in 1979 by the original owner and is three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms; it screams 1980.  The brown cabinets, mirrored walls, and faded pink carpets had my mind going a mile a minute.  I liked the layout of the home with the master bedroom and bath on one side and the guest rooms and bath on the other allowing for added privacy.

Take out a wall, replace the floors and fans, upgrade the kitchen and voila!  You’ve got a great home on the water.    If you’re interested in a fixer upper on the water this is the one for you.  Contact me for additional information and/ or to schedule a private showing.

 

Link to listing and photos:  //www.flexmls.com/share/1ZsT9/29CactusDrBigCoppittFL33040

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Key West 4th of July Happenings!

When it comes to celebrating Independence day there are few places I’d rather be than Key West, Florida.  Sunshine, beautiful boating weather, and a spectacular fireworks display make Key West the place to be for the holiday.

Did someone say Key Lime Pie?  Kick off the celebration with the Annual Key Lime Pie Festival on June 30th with the Key Lime Kick Off Party and Key Lime Pie Drop!  Other events include a Sip & Stroll as well as Key Lime Brunch and Pie Hop.  Check out the event website for additional information and details:  //www.keylimefestival.com/

Rotary Club of Key West will host their annual 4th of July Firecracker 5K Walk/ Run at White Street Pier at 7:30am on Wednesday, July 4th.   Net proceeds will benefit the Edward B. Knight FKCC Vocational Scholarship.  Get your fitness in early and then you’re all set for a beach/ boat day!  Click here to register:  //runsignup.com/Race/FL/KeyWest/RotaryClubofKeyWest4thofJuly5K

Looking for the best view of the Key West fireworks?  Head to The Casa Marina where the Rotary Club of Key West will host the annual 4th of July Picnic.  The picnic will start at 5 p.m. at Casa Marina Resort, 1500 Reynolds St. and runs until after the fireworks at 9 p.m.

General admission is $10 (kids 3 and under are free) and includes live music, dancing on the beach, family fun zone with slides, bounce houses, face painting and a silent auction. Food and drinks will be for sale, and there will be a good view of fireworks at 9 p.m.   VIP tickets are $250 and include reserved seating on the beach with a great upscale buffet, three-hour open private bar and spectacular view of the fireworks.  For tickets please visit www.keystix.com.

Sticking around after the holiday?  One of my favorite musicians, Eric Lindell, will be in town for the weekend performing at The Green Parrot on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Check out The Parrot’s live music schedule for dates and times:  //www.greenparrot.com/key-west-live-music/month/

See you on the dance floor!

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Pets & Key West

I recently had a phone call from a potential buyer who was staying in Key West for the weekend and was interested in discussing Key West real estate.  After the ultimate game of phone tag I received a message from him that said he and his wife were expanding their search for a retirement house to different areas of Florida.  He went on to say that they “were on a walk the night before and they saw a dog in a little fenced in yard and he looked so sad and that’s when my wife and I decided Key West was not the right place.”

I was a little taken aback because in my mind Key West is the ultimate destination for pets!  We are such a pet friendly community and while the actual yard space might be limited in some cases there are certainly homes in Key West with a substantial yard for your doggies to run amuck and if you aren’t lucky enough to have a large fenced yard there are many other options such as the pocket parks around Old Town, Dog Beach or the dog park, and of course the new Truman Waterfront that is always peppered with dogs and their owners on walks no matter the time of day.

We also have a plethora of bars and restaurants that are pet friendly.  If you’re pup is into shopping I just saw one at TJ Maxx this afternoon so I guess we can go ahead and ad TJ’s to my list of pet friendly island spots!

Here are a few of my favorite pet friendly places on the island that never seem to disappoint:

Bar/ Restaurants

Pepe’s Café – Pepe’s Café, the oldest eating house in the Florida Keys, fought for their right to have the pups pony up to the bar back in the day.

Hurricane Hole – Located on Stock Island this laid back bar on the water loves the pups.  If you’re feeling squirrelly holler at the Lazy Dog crew and take your pup for a paddle!

Blue Macaw – An oasis in Bahama Village, this local watering hole always has water dishes out for the pups!

Tipsy Rooster – Located in Old Town this funky little bar also doubles as a package store.  Stop by and have a drink, leave with a bottle!

 

Shopping:

Coco’s Monkey – Rescued is My Favorite Breed is their motto, this super cute boutique is located on Simonton Street and Molly, the stores inspiration is usually at the store for meet & greets.

 

Playing:

Grinnell Street Pocket Park  – located on the corner of Grinnell & Angela Streets this charming pocket park is my old stomping grounds and great little spot for the pups in Old Town.

Truman Waterfront – Recently redone the Truman Waterfront has become an attraction for both people and pets!  Lots of green space, open fields, and a pretty great view to boot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1015 Elgin: Beauty in the Heart of Key West

At first glance you might think the photos above show two separate homes which have been renovated in first class style. Well, the style statement is correct, and yes, they were renovated, but today the two houses that once backed against up to each other are now one single family residence. 1015 Elgin Lane, Key West, Florida is listed by Preferred Properties Key West, that’s where I work but this is not my listing. I got to see the house for the first time yesterday during a brokers open house. I have written previous blogs homes on Elgin Lane which is only two blocks long and runs parallel to Eaton Street. It starts at White Street and ends at Grinnell Street. The Old Town Bakery is located at corner of Grinnell Street and is a landmark all returning visitors to Key West should recognize. The lane itself is fairly narrow and not well traveled by anyone except the folks who live on the lane.

I searched the Historic Sanborn Fire Maps and learned that 1014 Eaton Street (now a major component of the Elgin house) was on the 1889 Map and that the rear of the lot (the Elgin site) had no building on it nor was there a building there on the final Map dated 1912.  The black and white photo from 1965 shows 1015 Elgin as it existed at that time, but perplexed me at first sight because the gable roof of 2018 is facing the opposite 90 degrees opposite.  As the defective detective MONK would say – this is what happened:

The two houses at 1014 Eaton and 1015 Elgin Lane were joined together by the owner to create one larger home. The houses were taken apart and totally rebuilt from foundation up. I suspect the original Elgin house was rotated on its side and the kitchen addition added. New piers, joists, and all building elements were replaced or updated as necessary. New windows, plumbing and electricity, HVAC, insulation, and drywall were added. The original floors were kept, however, and they are in remarkably good shape.

Even though the Eaton Street facade still has a street numeral and separate bricked off street parking space, there is just one legal address at 1015 Elgin Lane. When I first arrived at the house I did a quick walk through the first floor and opened the front door. It was a few minutes after noon and we are in spring break. Eaton Street was busy with traffic. I shut the door and heard nothing. I opened it again and heard the traffic. I paused in the hallway behind the front door. I heard nothing. I went into the adjacent master bedroom and listened at the window. I heard nothing. I mention this for good reason – even I assumed I would hear traffic. I was wrong. By the way the louvered shutters on the historic photo may have been operational to allow air into the old house. While the shutters still exist in 2018, the wall behind the shutters is solid.

The master bedroom is fairly large and has a large en-suite bath. There is a guest bath located adjacent. The living room and dining room, entry foyer, and kitchen are located in the Elgin Lane portion of the home.

During the renovation the common living spaces were opened into an amazing open living environment. Dining room has a high pitched cathedral ceiling with French doors which open out to the pool and garden The interior living space is great but it expands immensely when the doors are opened to the great outdoors.

The pool and garden are very well thought out and purposed. French doors open out to the deck which is on the same plain as the interior floors. The transition from inside to outdoors goes unnoticed except that once outside you know you’re in a magical  tropical setting. The length of the pool surprised me but should not have because the lot size is very large: an irregular rectangle that measures approximately 51.58′ X 80′. The new Trex decks line the pool on either side and lead to a step-down area where the grill is located amid adjacent tropical foliage. There is a semi-formal dining area on the Elgin Lane side of the pool. The entire east side of the home is bricked and has off street parking on both Elgin Lane and Eaton Street.

There are two good sized bedrooms on the second floor which share a bath. The owners used the knee wall space to create additional storage.  In searching my shoebox for photos I found a picture of a former owner of the house, V. Oscar Arenberg (1863-1954) who was a ship carpenter employed by William Curry and Sons shipbuilders. The listing broker told me the owners have lots of photos which show the entire renovation of this home. You can see from the above photos the pride of ownership and the attention to detail that went into this very special home.

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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:

//www.flexmls.com/share/1QsoG/1501PineSt5KeyWestFL33040

 

 

 

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Substantial Improvement: 50% Rule

So you want to renovate a house?  Great!  But there’s are two important questions you should ask yourself before committing to the process in Monroe County, FL.

  1. Is your home below the base floodline elevation (BFE)?
  2. Will the renovation costs exceed 50% of the improvements assessed value?

If the answer to question #1 is NO then proceed to renovation.  If the answer to question #1 is Yes, then proceed to question #2.  If this question is Yes then you should pause (and maybe stop) Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Monroe County Florida has a Substantial Improvement / Substantial Damage rule, more commonly known as the 50% rule.  This means that if the costs of the improvements/ repairs to your property exceed 50% of the improvements assessed value you must bring the property above the BFE.  In some cases this is not a big deal, in others, such as in a concrete slab house, this can be a huge and costly undertaking.

According to the county website The National Flood Insurance Program and Monroe County regulations require improvements to structures within a Special Flood Hazard Area must meet current construction standards including elevating the building to or above the 100-year flood elevation if the improvement is 50% or more of the market value of the property.

Substantial Damage – occurs when the cost of restoring the structure to the condition before the damage would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. (Note: The cost of the repairs must include all costs necessary to fully repair the structure to its “before damage” condition, including labor.)

Substantial Improvement – any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, for which the cost of equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the “start of construction” of the improvement.

This term includes structures which have incurred “substantial damage,” regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:

  • Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or
  • Any alterations of a “historic structure,” provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a “historic structure.

In summary, if you are considering a renovation project in Key West or Monroe County be sure that you consult your real estate agent and discuss the possible ramifications of the 50% rule.

 

Source:  //www.monroecounty-fl.gov/693/Build-ResponsiblyProtect