Category Archives: Key West Real Estate

TAKE A PEEK INTO YOUR KEY WEST HOME’S PAST

Back in 1965, the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s office took on the arduous task of taking a Polaroid photograph to document every structure in the county. The resulting group of 4,470 architectural images offers an extraordinary glimpse into a time in Key West history just before homes and commercial structures began to be restored en masse. It is surprising (if not shocking) to see how rundown much of the island’s buildings were at the time. The collection serves as a testament to the commitment of countless individuals that have—over the past fifty years—invested their money, blood, sweat, and tears into returning Key West’s historic structures to their previous glory.

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser's office c1965;  1405 Olivia St.; built c1906; Tract 7, Sqr 2, Pt Lot 13

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser’s office c1965; 1405 Olivia St.; built c1906; Tract 7, Sqr 2, Pt Lot 13

1405 Olivia Street as seen today.

1405 Olivia Street as seen today.

The treasure trove of photos was endowed to the Monroe County Public Library in Key West. Luckily, the library has made the entire collection available online at http://bit.ly/keyspix.

Click here to visit the website and you will be able to explore a vast array of historic Keys photographs. The 1965 Property Appraiser’s Polaroids have been grouped together in the album The Way We Were—Key West 1960’s.

You can search for the 1965 picture of your Key West home by clicking on the search icon just above the photographs (not the Flickr search icon at the top of the page). Type in the number and street name only. Do not include Street, Avenue, Lane, etc. Undoubtedly, you will be delighted to see how your home looked over fifty years ago. Download the image to your computer and share it with family and friends. Frame a print and proudly hang it on the wall of your Key West dream home. The peek into your home’s past will surely spark many memorable conversations.

—Dean & Keith Townsend, The Townsend Team

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser's office c1965; 1209 Knowles Lane; built 1920's; Gwynn Sub, Pt Tract 13

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser’s office c1965; 1209 Knowles Lane; built 1920’s; Gwynn Sub, Pt Tract 13

Today, beautifully renovated 1209 Knowles Lane shines brightly.

Today, beautifully renovated 1209 Knowles Lane shines brightly.

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser's office c1965; 719 Eisenhower Dr. aka 720 Eisenhower Dr.; house was originally located on the water @719, c1975 house moved across the street to 720 Eisenhower; Tract 7, Lot 5

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser’s office c1965; 719 Eisenhower Dr. aka 720 Eisenhower Dr.; house was originally located on the water @719, c1975 house moved across the street to 720 Eisenhower; Tract 7, Lot 5

720 Eisenhower Drive has changed a great deal in the last half-century.

720 Eisenhower Drive has changed a great deal in the last half-century.

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser's office c1965; 813 Frances St.; built 1920's; Tract 6, Sqr 4, Pt Lot 10 & 11

Photo taken by the Property Appraiser’s office c1965; 813 Frances St.; built 1920’s; Tract 6, Sqr 4, Pt Lot 10 & 11

Beautiful 813 Frances Street today.

Lovely 813 Frances Street captivates today.

Photo taken by Prpoerty Appraiser's office c1965; 530 Grinnell Street; built 1923; Sqr 46, Pt Lot 1

Photo taken by Prpoerty Appraiser’s office c1965; 530 Grinnell Street; built 1923; Sqr 46, Pt Lot 1

One of the most charming cottages in Old Town Key West, 530 Grinnell Street as seen today.

One of the most charming cottages in Old Town Key West, 530 Grinnell Street as seen today.

WHAT FEATURE TOPS THE LISTS OF TODAY’S KEY WEST HOME BUYERS?

Swaying palm trees, a shimmering pool, and a porch of indecision always seem to be on the gotta have it list of those dreaming of purchasing their own corner of paradise. An Old Town location, move-in ready home, and off-street parking are common requirements. One characteristic has risen to the top of our clients’ lists. A ground floor master suite has become the most desired feature of today’s Key West home buyers.

With the Florida Keys coming in with the world’s sixth highest, resort area, million-dollar-plus average home prices (per square foot)—just after Monaco, Naples, Telluride, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Jackson Hole—owning a piece of paradise is not exactly cheap. Consequently, most of our buyers have successfully reached a stage of life where they can afford to acquire their island dream home.

Most of our buying clientele are in their 50’s and 60’s. They have worked hard and have gained a level of career success; allowing them to indulge in a charming Victorian cottage, convenient oceanfront condominium, or historic Old Town estate. Middle age certainly has its perks, but it can present some physical drawbacks. The inability to easily climb stairs on the way to bed is one of the main reasons people are unable to age gracefully in their home. With the possibility of mobility issues looming down the road, a ground floor master suite is an important feature for many baby boomers, retirees, and those with older parents, family, and friends.

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When Key West’s treasured Classical Revival homes were built between 1880 and 1910, they typically had bedrooms on the second floor to catch the island’s breezes. While many of these gems have been lovingly restored and renovated over the past decades, too few projects have added ground level master suites.

The value of an easily accessible master bedroom and bath cannot be underestimated. Many of our buyers will not even look at a property that does not have a first-floor master suite—or the potential to add one.

When investing in Key West real estate, you can’t go wrong if you fall in love with a home showcasing a ground floor master suite, or in choosing to include one in your renovation design. You will command a higher price, and find the right buyer in nothing flat, when the time comes to sell your property.

—Dean & Keith Townsend, The Townsend Team

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