Category Archives: Key West Real Estate

SELL YOUR KEY WEST HOME THIS SUMMER!

If you were to ask most Key West real estate professionals what’s the best time of the year to sell your charming Victorian cottage, historic Old Town estate, or turnkey oceanfront condominium, one definitive answer would prevail. Almost every REALTOR® would declare that high season (Christmas through the middle of April) is the best time to list your home for sale. If you ask us, we would tell you that summer is the most opportune season to market and sell your Key West home.

Before the internet changed the way that people shop for real estate, winter and early spring were unquestionably Key West’s premier home buying seasons. In the not-so-distant past, tourists and snowbirds flocking to our tropical paradise in the winter and early spring could only shop for the Key West home of their dreams while they were on the island. Images of shoppers and dreamers peering at the FOR SALE flyers taped to the window panes of Duval Street’s realty offices still linger in the minds of long-time island REALTORS®. Visiting buyers once combed through a plethora of real estate ads in every edition of the Key West Citizen and showed up at Sunday open houses in droves. The job of matching buyers with properties fell primarily to real estate professionals working from printed listing books. REALTORS® took their clients on showings to introduce them to properties. Today’s technology has certainly changed the Key West buying and selling real estate equation.

With the proliferation of smart phones and real estate websites like Zillow.com and Realtor.com, buyers now have a real estate assistant in their pocket. Armed with the ability to keep up with Key West’s real estate market in real time—with a touch of the finger—our clients become educated on our market and have a list of properties that strike their fancy before we ever set up the first showing appointment. Current technology has opened the Key West real estate market to buyers around the country and around the world: 365 days a year.

Home buying culture in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Georgia is not firing on all cylinders during the winter and early spring. In most cities and towns across the United States, buyers are accustomed to searching for homes in the late spring and summer months when residential sales kick into high gear. They bring this engrained home buying behavior to their quests to purchase their Key West dream homes, looking to buy outside of our traditional buying season.

It is not as if Key West boards up its windows for the summer. From Hemingway Days, to the Key Lime Festival, to Bone Island, to Lobsterfest, numerous festivals and events keep people coming to the island throughout the summer months. For most Americans, escaping to the beach is not a winter activity. These summer visitors to Key West are summer home buyers.

Throughout the year, Island Hunters, Caribbean Life, This Old House and other extraordinarily popular real estate and home improvement shows are keeping Key West in the mind’s eye of those looking to invest in an island home. NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his designing wife Amy are shining the spotlight on Key West with their new four-episode home renovation series, Renovation Realities: Dale Jr. & Amy, currently airing on the DIY Network. These television series are undoubtedly building Key West’s summer real estate market.

The Key West real estate industry has been slow to respond to the evolution of its market. Clinging to the past like the yellow kitten on the 70’s Hang in There Baby poster, many of the island’s 350 REALTORS® have been slow to embrace the changing real estate environment. Many of them council their sellers to take their properties off the market at the end of the traditional selling season or to wait to offer their homes for sale until high season rolls around—sticking to the outdated model that no one buys in the summer. We often ponder if these real estate professionals simply do not see the new reality, or are they just reluctant to give up the extended vacation lifestyles, that the slower summers of days gone by, allotted them. Their loss is our gain.

With summer’s arrival, we are geared up for our busiest time of the year. We wholeheartedly embrace the opportunities that Key West’s hot summer selling season presents. Each year, fifty percent of our annual business is generated from June through September. Knowing that summer buyers are actively in the market to find their own corner of paradise, we encourage our sellers to offer their properties for sale. With significantly fewer homes on the market, competition is significantly reduced. While listings may not see the number of on-site lookers, the tally of potential buyers viewing their homes online will be much greater. When summer buyers schedule a private tour of a property, more than likely, they will be serious prospects. With the number of listings at historic lows, this summer will undoubtedly prove to be a strong seller’s market in Key West.

Don’t buy the line that the summer season is not the time to market and sell your Key West property. The exploding online marketplace for our island’s real estate attracts qualified buyers outside of the traditional selling season. With less competition, more exposure, serious buyers, and low inventory we believe this summer is an excellent time to sell.

Call on us to sell your property for the highest price, in the shortest amount of time, and with the least amount of hassle. We don’t just list properties, we market and sell homes.

THE TOWNSEND TEAM
Dean & Keith Townsend, REALTORS®
Keller Williams Key West Compass Realty
333 Fleming Street, Key West, FL 33040
305-942-1369
www.deantownsend.com
www.Facebook.com/DeanTownsendSellsKeyWest

1413 Eliza Street, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $460,000.

Planning to retire to paradise in the next few years? Looking to add a Key West property to your income portfolio? Ready to escape to island life? Don’t miss your opportunity to break into the hot Key West real estate market with this charming Old Town rental income cottage.

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Nestled on a quiet block of historic cigar makers’ cottages, 1413 Eliza Street features two bedroom and two baths in 962 square feet of living space, on a 2,453 square foot lot. The long-term rental is configured with a spacious living room, kitchen, bedroom and bath in the front of the home and a one-bedroom in-law suite in the back. With the island’s high demand for long-term rentals, the property is currently leased at an under-market rate of $2,400.00 a month.

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With its quintessential front porch, bricked off-street parking, large covered deck, desirable location, and endless possibilities to make it your own, this priced to sell Key West cottage is not to be missed.

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We will be delighted to give you a private tour of 1413 Eliza Street. Give us a call today!

THE TOWNSEND TEAM
Dean & Keith Townsend, REALTORS®
Keller Williams Key West Compass Realty
333 Fleming Street, Key West, FL 33040
305-942-1369, www.DeanTownsend.com

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OUR TOP 10 FAVORITE KEY WEST HOME SALES OF 2017

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2017 proved to be another banner year for The Townsend Team. We joined forces with Compass Realty to be a part of the successful launch of KELLER WILLIAMS KEY WEST COMPASS REALTY, survived an unwanted date with Hurricane Irma, and sold some unforgettable island homes.

We hope you enjoy our fourth annual list of our favorite Key West home sales of the year. Not only did we wish we were buying these beautiful properties for ourselves, family or friends, we had a great time working with the sellers, buyers, real estate agents, closing attorneys, loan officers, photographers, and all the industry professionals that helped to make these transactions happen.

We can’t wait to see what tropical treasures we’ll be marketing and selling in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Dean & Keith Townsend, The Townsend Team
305-942-1369, www.DeanTownsend.com

OUR TOP 10 FAVORITE KEY WEST HOME SALES OF 2017

1211 Washington

10. 1211 Washington Street, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $915,000.
Our buyers traded up from their historic Old Town cottage when they saw the value in this lovely, garden street home. With a spacious 2 bedroom/1.5 bath main house and a 1 bedroom/1 bath poolside cottage, they now have plenty of room to relax into their island retirement.

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9. 1423 Patricia Street, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $987,298.
It took winning five, nerve-racking, online auctions to secure this large, 4 bedroom/ 3.5 bath, investment property for our buyers. They have lovingly transformed La Bella Capri into a family-friendly monthly vacation rental.

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8. 53 Seaside South Court, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $842,400.
With its stunning ocean views from four levels, we knew this 3 bedroom/4 bath, end unit townhome would not stay on our roster of listings for long. To the delight of our sellers, we received a full price offer in no time flat.

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7. 1711 Von Phister Street, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $604,000.
After purchasing this charming cottage in 2016, our sellers outgrew this, 3 bedroom/2 bath, home before they even made their move to paradise. We helped them find the perfect home for their retirement and were thrilled when friends of ours chose this cottage for themselves.

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6. 1410 Reynolds Street, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $1,670,000.
Dean represented our sellers in 2008 when they purchased this stunning home for $1,262,500.00. We had so much fun staging, marketing, and selling their spacious, 3 bedroom/2.5 bath, Casa Marina gem.

1407 Rose 2

5. 1407 Rose Street, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $845,000.
With its well-designed floor plan and sparkling pool, this pristine, 3 bedroom/2 bath, mid-century modern home captivated our buyers and us. We wished we were buying it.

1127 Packer

4. 1127 Packer Street, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $600,000.
When he had it under contract the first time, the buyer of this picture-perfect cottage got cold feet in the days following Hurricane Irma. Once he understood that—like most of structures in Old Town—the property saw no damage from the storm, he went on to happily purchase the charming, 2 bedroom/1 bath, home from our sellers.

1209 Grinnell 2

3. 1209 Grinnell Street, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $798,000.
After spending a few years building a lasting friendship with our buyers as they searched for a single-family home, they decided that this move-in-ready, 2 bedroom/2.5 bath, townhouse was their ideal Key West starter home. Located in a small, gated, Old Town compound, the low-maintenance property won them over with its beautiful shared pool and garden.

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2. 2601 South Roosevelt Boulevard, A207, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $480,000.
We staged this beautiful, 1 bedroom/1 bath, Key West by the Sea condominium to sell. To our delight, the turnkey property sold for a record breaking price.

Let the Sun Shine In

★1. 1209 Knowles Lane, Key West, FL 33040—SOLD $958,170.
As REALTORS®, we never know when we will meet new friends. We hit it off with the buyers of this exquisite historical renovation when they toured our favorite home sale of 2016: the unforgettable Carpenter Gothic church conversion at 824 Thomas Street. After taking them to see many Old Town properties, they saw past construction chaos and went under contract on this, 2 bedroom/2 bath, saw-tooth cottage months before the renovation was complete. Their patience paid off when they closed on the Key West home of their dreams.

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STAGING YOUR KEY WEST HOME FOR SALE

In today’s digital technology driven real estate market, staging your Key West home is essential for successfully marketing and selling your property. Web appeal is the new curb appeal. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 100% of buyers use the internet to search for a home and 70% tour the inside of properties online. While a well-written online description is important in conveying your home’s selling points, high quality digital images of your beautifully staged home will speak volumes and garner the most attention. Before the photographer shows up to capture your home’s story in pictures, make sure it is ready to win the hearts of buyers.

Dedicating your time, energy, and budget toward staging your home will benefit your bottom line on closing day. Staged homes sell for 17% more on average than non-staged ones—and they sell 87% faster.

We have broken down the somewhat daunting task of staging your Key West home into ten fundamental elements that will help potential buyers fall in love with your property and make a winning offer.

Let the Sun Shine In

LET THE LIGHT SHINE IN
Key West plays a leading role in the Sunshine State with an average of 259 sunny days a year. Buyers are drawn to the island’s sunshine like Ernest Hemingway was to a whiskey & soda. When staging your home, let the light shine in. Clean your windows and doors: inside and out. Take down heavy window treatments. Throw open the curtains and pull up the shades. Replace burned out lightbulbs. Turn on all the lights in your home for the photoshoot and for every showing.

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REFLECT ISLAND LIFE
Buying a Key West vacation home is not just about purchasing a property, it is about embracing a lifestyle. Whether your property is a Victorian cottage, a Classical Revival estate, or a modern seaside condominium, adding elements that evoke our tropical island’s sand, sea, and sky will help buyers feel they are coming home. Casually placing a conch shell on a side table, featuring paintings and sculptures by local artists, and displaying orchids and tropical cuttings, will connect buyers emotionally to your property through a sense of place.

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SPIC AND SPAN IT
Grandma used to say, “Soap is cheap, and water is free.” Water may no longer be free, but the cost of water and cleaning supplies is a small price to pay for the payoff they provide. With a little elbow grease, a super clean home is easy to achieve. We have learned from experience that buyers will look past outdated kitchens and bathrooms when they are spotless, and they will see dollar signs when dust, dirt, and grime cover expensive finishes and furnishings. Cleanliness and staging go hand in hand.

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COLOR IT KEY WEST
If the exterior of your home needs a fresh coat of paint, color it Key West to capture the attention of buyers. When successfully selling any product, you must give buyers what they want. People dream of owning an island escape that looks like their fantasy. Reflect the island’s tropical hues in the colors you paint your home and you will harness the imagination of eager buyers.

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CREATE CONVERSATIONAL AREAS
In today’s chaotic world, people are longing for a simpler time—one of visiting with neighbors and spending quality time with family and friends. Placing both indoor and outdoor furniture in arrangements that are conducive to conversation creates a welcoming sense of home that elicits positive responses from buyers.

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BOX IT UP
Declutter, declutter, declutter! Removing unnecessary items is essential to make your rooms feel tidy and spacious. Buyers can’t see themselves living in your home if they can’t get past an overabundance of knickknacks, art, furniture, or plants. You are going to be relocating anyway, so box up your beloved treasures and store them away, ready for your upcoming move.

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MISTER FIX IT
Don’t wait until the inspection period to make necessary repairs to your property. Potential buyers see every cracked window and broken fixture as a reduction to your asking price. The clear majority of Key West’s buyers are looking to purchase move in ready properties. Multiplying minor repairs can distract people from making the lasting connection that will lead them to purchase your home.

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SHOWCASE OUTDOOR LIVING
Indoor/outdoor living is one of Key West’s greatest marketing features. Staging your home to showcase a flow from inside to outside is an important component of selling our coveted tropical island lifestyle. Many buyers are coming from regions where, avoiding the elements, they spend much of the year indoors. They are accustomed to living in much larger spaces than are typically found in Key West. Painting the picture that your outdoor relaxing and entertaining spaces are a natural extension of your home is vital to help buyers overcome the sticker shock of living in paradise.

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FOLLOW YOUR NOSE
Unpleasant odors can tank a showing. Neutralize unwelcoming pet, food, bathroom, and musty smells. Ban smoking in your home. Avoid scented air fresheners, scented candles, and perfumes—you never know what will be a turn on or a turn off for buyers. Opening your home to the island’s clean fresh air is always a good bet. Don’t forget to take out the garbage before every showing.

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SHOP THE WHITE SALE
Nothing is more inviting than a bed adorned with beautiful linens. Invest in the best bedding you budget will allow. Fluff your pillows and make your beds with freshly laundered, crisply ironed sheets before your photoshoot and for each showing. Make sure your bathrooms are well appointed with fresh towels. Create an environment that says luxury resort and buyers will want to check-in for a lifetime.

Ensuring that your home is ready for its close-up—before it is photographed and for every showing—is essential for getting your home sold for the highest price, in the shortest amount of time. Stage with the intent of empowering potential buyers to fantasize about living the laid-back Key West lifestyle in your home. Create a picture-perfect environment through staging and you will reap the rewards on closing day.

THE TOWNSEND TEAM
Dean & Keith Townsend, REALTORS®
Keller Williams Key West Compass Realty
333 Fleming Street, Key West, FL 33040
305-942-1369, www.DeanTownsend.com

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“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Mark Twain

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One week has passed since Hurricane Irma began picking a fight with our beloved island. We are glad to report that the bitch did not win. Life in Key West has not been easy for us over the past seven days. Together, we faced many challenges and overcame countless obstacles. We have witnessed the best of our island community: friends, neighbors and strangers looking out for one another.

Our 1890’s cottage on Olivia Street suffered no damage—although waves of our neighbor’s trees are resting on our fence. As we checked on the places of our friends, neighbors and clients, we found intact homes waiting for their families to return. Texting them images of their standing strong houses brought us a joy we will never forget.

CNN may be reporting that 90% of Key West’s structures are damaged or destroyed, but that is not true. Very, very few of the island’s buildings are in bad shape—and most have gone unscathed. Trees are down everywhere, but our endless summer will breathe new life into our once beautiful tropical canopy.

As our hearts ache for those in the Middle Keys that have lost their homes and livelihoods, the residents of Key West will be here to help them rebuild their lives. As evacuees begin their journey back home, we will welcome them with open arms.

Our corner of paradise might be temporarily down, but it is not out. As Mark Twain said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

—Dean & Keith Townsend, Grateful Key West Citizens

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