Category Archives: Key West’s Top 10’s

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.

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

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OUR TOP 10 FAVORITE KEY WEST HOME SALES OF 2016

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With over 13 million dollars in sales, three current listings, and four transactions set to close after the first of the year, 2016 has proven to be a banner year for The Townsend Team. From stately Classical Revival homes, to charming historic cottages, to sunny beach condominiums, we listed and sold many unforgettable Key West dream homes in 2016.

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

Happy New Year!

Keith & Dean Townsend, The Townsend Team
www.DeanTownsend.com

OUR TOP 10 FAVORITE HOME SALES OF 2016

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10. 3632 Sunrise Drive, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $1,345,500. When we first toured this beautiful canal front home, we knew we had to find the buyer. Our clients fell in love with its amazing outdoor living and had to make it their own.

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9. 418 Amelia Street, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $545,000. Ideally located just steps from Upper Duval Street, this historic fixer upper was the perfect match for our first-time Key West home buyers. They are off and running, turning it into their dream cottage.

1711-von-phister-street8. 1711 Von Phister Street, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $530,000. We had so much fun working with our buyers, we were thrilled that they found their Key West starter home. They will undoubtedly transform their charming cottage into a showplace.

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7. 1405 Olivia Street, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $1,315,000. After helping our sellers purchase a picturesque waterfront home up the Keys, we were delighted to list, market, and sell their historic Classical Revival gem for them.

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6. 639 United Street, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $810,000. When one of our favorite local mortgage loan originators asked us to help he and his wife purchase their Key West dream home, we were delighted. Their detailed renovation of the historic home is stunning.

11-whistling-duck5. 11 Whistling Duck Lane, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $375,000. We were thrilled to assist the Executive Director of one of our island’s terrific non-profit community-based organizations in the purchase of his first home. The low-maintenance Key West Golf Club townhouse was the perfect match for his busy lifestyle.

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4. 1211 Newton Street, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $1,185,000. It was a kick when our buyers chose to make the gorgeous home of the Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter, their tropical island escape. We really enjoyed searching with them for just the right property and we are very happy to call them friends and neighbors.

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3. 1022 Roberts Lane, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $699,000. Our sellers created a masterpiece when they meticulously renovated this island style Old Town cottage. It was love at first sight for our buyer.

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2. 1500 Atlantic Boulevard, Unit 107, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $1,200,000. We wished we were buying this stylishly renovated Key West Beach Club condominium. After being listed unsuccessfully with other agents, we went to work restaging and creatively marketing the property and sold the home for our client.

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★1. 824 Thomas Street, Key West, Florida 33040—SOLD $924,500. When ZILLOW.COM selected this extraordinary church-to-home conversion as its Unique House of the Week, our seller was thrilled. The excitement grew when it was featured on TODAY.COM. Going under contract—just one week after we listed it—was the icing on the cake. Selling this 1867, Carpenter Gothic style, former home of the Zion Primitive Baptist Congregation was unquestionably our favorite transaction of the year.
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The Top 10 Features Key West Buyers Are Looking For In Their Dream Home

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Countless people fantasize about owning a home in Key West. Each year, hundreds of lucky dreamers descend on our island looking for the perfect Victorian cottage, seaside condominium, or tropical estate. The best thing about our job, is helping our clients find the Key West home of their dreams.

With sixteen years of combined experience selling Key West real estate, we pretty much know what people desire in their dream home. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten home features that Key West buyers are looking for. What are your Top 10?

—Keith & Dean

The Top 10 Features Key West Buyers Are Looking For In Their Dream Home

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10. Old Town Location
It is no wonder that the Key West neighborhood that tops the list of home buyers is our beautiful, historic Old Town. Amid picturesque Victorian era streets and a lifestyle lived visiting on front porches or strolling to dinner at favorite neighborhood eateries, Old Town is the authentic version of classic small town America that the New Urbanism movement has been recreating across the country for decades.

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9. Palm Trees
Key West buyers simply can’t imagine purchasing a home without palm trees in the yard. With a subtropical climate offering an eternal growing season, and over 2,500 species of palms to choose from, palm trees abound in our island’s gardens.

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8. Covered Outdoor Space
The sun in Key West is intense. Dreams of enjoying a cool tropical drink in the shade of a lazy veranda, live in many a heart and mind. Having covered outdoor space undoubtedly adds to sweetness of island living.

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7. Off-Street Parking
Although they will likely find themselves walking and biking most of the time, buyers are looking for a home with a parking spot for their vehicle. In our historic neighborhoods that were densely built before the introduction of cars, off-street parking can be elusive.

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6. High & Dry
With images of the flooding caused by 2005’s Hurricane Wilma lingering in the minds of many buyers, the desire for homes that did not take on water during the storm, is strong. A flood zone “X” certification eliminates most lenders’ requirement for flood insurance. Luckily, the majority of Old Town sits high and dry.

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5. Move-In Ready
There will always be those looking for a cigar maker’s cottage to renovate, or a neglected Classical Revival mansion to restore, but most buyers are in search of their move-in ready corner of paradise. With many properties being sold turnkey, it is possible to find a home where you can move in with just your toothbrush.

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4. Indoor/Outdoor Living
With an abundance of great weather to enjoy, our buyers want to be able to open their windows and doors and live a lifestyle that flows seamlessly from the indoors to the outdoors—especially if they have just endured a Chicago winter.

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3. First Floor Master Suite
Let’s face it, Key West is not an inexpensive place to live. Most of our buyers have reached a stage in life where they can afford to buy their dream home in paradise. With the possibility of mobility issues looming down the road, a first floor master suite is an important feature for many baby boomers, retirees, and those with elderly parents.

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2. Front Porch
What is more quintessentially Key West than kicking back on an old fashioned front porch and watching the world stroll by?

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★1. Pool
A pool and Key West go together like rum and Ernest Hemingway. Is it any wonder that having a pool tops the list of the features our buyers are looking for in their dream home?

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OUR TOP 10 FAVORITE KEY WEST RESTAURANTS

We are not foodies—we are professional diners. Our kitchen is certainly more decorative than utilitarian. Much to the amusement of our friends, we eat out every night of the week. Luckily, we live in a small town that offers big city choices when it comes to dining out.

Compiling this list of Our Top 10 Favorite Key West Restaurants was a lot of fun! Some of our top pics are casual and some are fancy. Some of them are reasonably priced and some are a bit pricey. Some require a reservation and some don’t. All of our favorites keep us coming back with terrific food, smiling faces, and great value.

Keith & Dean

OUR TOP 10 FAVORITE KEY WEST RESTAURANTS

10. Roostica Wood-Fire Pizzeria, 5620 Macdonald Avenue, Key West, Florida
305-296-4999, www.roostica.com
The best place for pizza in Key West! We love the Mixed Green Garden Salad, Margherita Pizza, and Chicken Parmesan.

9. El Meson de Pepe, 410 Wall Street, Key West, Florida
305-295-2620, www.elmesondepepe.com
Our favorite place for Cuban food on the island. We love the live music, Cuban bread, and ordering by the numbers. We can’t get away from ordering #61 Picadillo Habanero and #92 Mahi Mahi con Salsa de Camarones!

8. Mangia Mangia Pasta Cafe, 900 Southard Street, Key West, Florida
305-294-2469, www.mangia-mangia.com
Great homemade pasta keeps us coming back! We love the Lobster Linguine, Spaghettini Schmappellini, and Grilled Fresh Atlantic Salmon.

7. Nine One Five, 915 Duval Street, Key West, Florida
305-296-0669, www.915duval.com
Fabulous food and great people watching from the front porch! We love the Caesar Salad, Grass Fed 8oz Burger, and the Soul Mama Seafood Soup. Whatever you choose, order the Cone of Fries!

6. Chico’s Cantina, 5230 Highway 1, Key West, Florida
305-296-4714, www.chicoscantina.com
Key West’s best Mexican food! We are always treated like family at Chico’s. We love the Chips and Salsa, Cheese Crisp, Taco Salad, and Chicken Enchiladas.

5. Latitudes, 245 Front Street, Key West, Florida
305-292-5394, www.westinsunsetkeycottages.com/latitudes
Our favorite place to celebrate a special occasion. We love the boat ride to Sunset Key, dining on the porch, and the gorgeous sunset views. The Pan Seared Snapper and the Honey & Ancho Chile Crusted Waygu Beef Skirt Steak cannot be beat.

4. Salute! On The Beach, 1000 Atlantic Boulevard, Key West, Florida
305-292-1117, www.saluteonthebeach.com
The best lunch spot on the island. We love the Old Key West feel, beautiful ocean views, and entertaining people watching on Higgs Beach! The Green Salad, Shrimp Salad Sandwich, and Carrie’s Gazpacho keeps us coming back.

3. The Café, 509 Southard Street, Key West, Florida
305-296-5515, www.thecafekw.com
Delicious and healthy options galore! The Café has the best Spinach Artichoke Dip on the planet. We love the Cream of Tomato Soup, Truffled French Fries, Falafel Sandwich, Grilled Portobella Mushroom Salad, and Café ‘Veggie’ Veggie Burger.

2. Santiago’s Bodega, 207 Petronia Street, Key West, Florida
305-296-7691, www.santiagosbodega.com
Our favorite place to meet friends for dinner. We love the large selection of tapas to share. The Spinach Salad, Dates, Croquettas, Camembert Wedge, and Miniature Quesadillas are always on our list. Save room for the amazing Bread Pudding!

★1. The Flaming Buoy Filet Company, 1100 Packer Street, Key West, Florida,
305-295-7970, www.theflamingbuoy.com
We love The Flaming Buoy Filet Company! Many happy memories have been made at this charming and acclaimed, off the beaten path, Key West treasure. Scott, Fred, and their amazing staff always welcome us with open arms. We love the Lobster Macaroni & Cheese, Iceberg Lettuce Wedge, Seafood Marinara, The Filet Co. Three Way, and Spicy Chocolate Quesadilla. The Flaming Buoy Filet Company was an easy pick for our absolute favorite Key West restaurant.

The Flaming Buoy Filet Company.  Our top pick!

The Flaming Buoy Filet Company. Our top restaurant pick!

TOP 10 PAST KEY WEST FANTASY FEST THEMES

To follow, or not to follow the Fantasy Fest theme? That is the question. Well, it is totally up to you. If the theme turns you on, then go for it. If you are not feeling it, then anything goes. We rarely embrace the 10-day festival’s theme, but it always gets our creative wheels turning.

We just heard that the theme for Key West’s Fantasy Fest 2015 will be All Hallows Eve Intergalactic Freak Show ™. It got us to thinking about our favorite Fantasy Fest themes from years gone by. We came up with our top ten favorites. Perhaps one will ignite a spark of costume creativity for you.

Dean as Neptune for 2011's Aquatic Afrolic!

Dean as Neptune for 2011’s Aquatic Afrolic!

TOP 10 PAST KEY WEST FANTASY FEST THEMES

10. 1988’s Fantasy Fest B.C.
9. 1985’s Broadway Fantasies
8. 2008’s Pirates, Pundits and Political Party Animals
7. 1992’s Halloween in the Devil’s Triangle
6. 1983’s Plays of Tennessee Williams
5. 2001’s Secrets of the Zodiac Revealed
4. 1984’s 50 Years of Film Fantasy
3. 2009’s Villains, Vixens, and Vampires
2. 2000’s Circuses and Sideshows
★1. 2011’s Aquatic Afrolic

Keith & Dean

Click here to visit Fantasy Fest’s website.