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Catherine Street - Old Town Key West - Success Story

 I am forever telling potential buyers that are looking for a "fixer-upper" to forget what the inside looks like and not to fixate on the negative issues of the exterior. I tell them that they are buying boxes that will get torn apart and rebuilt. If they come up with a good design by themselves or if they hire a good architect or designer and if they select the right contractor, they can create the house of their dreams. The freshly completed renovation and expansion of 530 Catherine Street is a perfect example of a quality renovation.

Some people might throw their arms up in the air and feel overwhelmed at the prospect of tackling a project like the one above. But the buyers of 530 Catherine Street (Todd Kemp & Brian Boyer) did not bat and eyelash. They made an offer when they first saw the house and closed soon thereafter. They hired local contractors and undertook the renovation and expansion in stride. The worked with HARC to overcome some design concerns. The result is stunning. Had I not been fully aware of how sad the former house looked, I would not have appreciated how fantastic the new house looks.

The photos below show the house as it looks today. The front porch is now a place to sit and watch the world go by. The main entry was relocated adjacent to the off street parking space.  The front bedroom now has wood walls where the old room had louvered windows with a window unit A/C. The new great room and kitchen now occupy space where the old kitchen and living space were located. The rear king sized bedroom with en-suite bath, vaulted ceiling, and glass sliders open out to the rear garden, deck, and pool. The former space was a hovel. The newly created upstairs space is a third bedroom with en-suite bath. That room has a tree house kind of feel. I just loved that space.
The buyers that purchased 530 Catherine Street completed the renovations and expansion for about $400,000.  What they got in return is practically a "new" house in an excellent location.  And this house came with a transient rental license. CLICK HERE to view the Blue Corral vacation rental by owner for this great new Key West Property.

White Street, Key West

 Just Listed by Preferred Properties Key West, that's where I work but this is not my listing, 717 White Street.  This mid-century property is a single story single family home that sits on a 3168 sq ftlot (36' X 88') at the corner of White at Newton Street. The existing 1535 sq ft house has two bedrooms, two baths, a Pullmanesque kitchen, additional storage room, a private outdoor courtyard, and enclosed front porch that currently is used as an office.

This property is located across the street from former military housing that date back to the Civil War.  The old Army barracks are in the far background with water beyond. As late as the early 2000s the former barracks ground has been used as military housing - updated, of course. I found an old photo of the location taken back in the day when a genuine trolley car ran up and down White Street. The trolley in the photo shows the approximate location of 717 White Street, but the existing house was not in existence when that pic was taken. Still, it is fun to look back at old photos that help us appreciate the history of our neighborhoods and the fact that so many of the old houses and buildings still exist.

The black and white photo above shows 717 White Street as it appeared half a century ago. I took a similar photo which shows the house as it appears in 2014. How this location will appear half a century from now is up to who buys this property because this house is not protected by HARC. That means it can be razed and a new property can be constructed on this location. Before we consider what might be built in the future, let's look at what exists today.

The current house reflects the owner's contemporary design aesthetic on both the inside and outside. The front yard has been replaced by a contemporary garden. The Newton Street side yard has potted plants and minimalist "yard". There is an existing curb cut which means a new owner could re-establish an off street parking spot although parking in this block is normally not a problem.

The historic metal louvers in the original front porch were replaced with glass panels. Today the porch space is used as office space. This location is zoned HMDR (Historic Medium Density Residential) which would permit the owner to maintain an office but no retail sales. Notice the glass panel doors that lead to the private residence.

The owner went through extensive planning and permitting process to obtain approval for the construction of a new two story 1840 sq ft three bedroom, three and one-half bath house with pool and off street parking. Plans and permits will convey with the sale. A new owner could build the house as approved or submit new plans and build the house of the new owner's dreams. A new house could use current building materials such as impact glass windows and doors and Hardiboard siding. Since this property is in the X Zone, flood insurance will not be required. CLICK HERE to view all photos I took of this intriguing property.

Key West - Columbus Day OPEN HOUSE

812 Johnson Lane is located  within easy walking distance to Duval Street - just three blocks to the west and within few minute walk to the historic Key West Seaport located six blocks to the north. Most of the gyms and many of the yoga studios are located within easy walking distance as well. This convenient location ought to make this freshly renovated home a perfect Key West vacation rental property. Notice the bricked off street parking large enough for two cars. CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this home.

The main house pictured above is a totally renovated two bedroom main house with all new plumbing, electric, air conditioning, new kitchen and new travertine marble bath.  A sweet pool and sunny deck separate the main house from the newly expanded guest cottage at the rear that provides a third bedroom space. The cottage has its own bath plus outdoor shower.

Tips on the Right Real Estate Property

Are you planning to invest your money in preparation of your children's future? Are you planning to buy a property? Are you confused on where to invest your savings?

During the onset of recession or economic crisis, seldom can you find the right investment vehicle to venture into. Some individuals fear to invest in real estate because they believed that it requires technical knowledge to own one. Some people believed that this investment is complicated, costly and requires lots of hard work. Despite these fears, there are still some who are interested to venture into it because its advantages outnumbered its disadvantages.

Researchers found that aside from jewelry, real estate property is considered a wise investment due to its high appreciation over the years, thereby ensuring your capital growth. Moreover, it offers investors lucrative business opportunities, benefits and financial security. To learn more about real estate property, read on and follow the guidelines mentioned below.

Definition of real estate investment:

It is the acquisition, management, ownership, rental or sale of real property for profit.

Before you embark and buy a property, it is best that you know the pros and cons of this investment.

Advantages of Real Estate Investment:

1. Tax benefits - You can claim several deductions from your tax return, like maintenance and repairs, rates, loan interests, real estate agents' fees and property depreciation.

2. Safety - It is a safe investment because of the constant and increasing demand of real estate.

3. Negative gearing - You can claim tax deductions from it because the cost of keeping the property is more than the income you gained from it.

4. Long-term investment - It serves as a long-term investment for property owners because you can fund them until your retirement.

5. High leverage possibilities - You can purchase 80% of these properties through loan to valuation ratio (LVR) and 90% LVR with mortgage insurance.

6. Positive asset base - You can have numerous benefits when you invest in real property than taking another loan or investing in some other property. The real property you buy can be used as security when you plan to purchase another home or car.

Its Disadvantages

1. Vacancies - There are times that property owners will experience vacancies in their commercial rental properties due to tough economic conditions.

2. Liquidity - You can sell these properties when you experience financial difficulties.

3. Bad tenants - Sometimes property owners encounter delinquent tenants who fail to pay their rent and leases on time. More so, some even refuse to leave the property even if it is past overdue.

4. Ongoing cost - Owning a real property is not that easy due to the ongoing maintenance costs associated with it.

5. Property oversupply - Lately, inner-city property developers built numerous properties which are difficult to lease out.

6. Capital gains tax - It is a tax implemented by the federal government on investment appreciation and payable disposal.

With all the facts and information presented above, you can weigh in carefully whether to buy or not to acquire a real property.

Open Sunday, Sept. 21, from 2 to 4 -- 11485 Moorpark #17, Studio City

Please swing by my open house tomorrow in Studio City and see this amazing townhouse.  It has 2 beds, 2.5 baths, two stories, two balconies, a fireplace, a gym, and a gorgeous pool.  It has been spiffed up with new paint and new upstairs carpet.  Best of all, it's priced at an affordable $399,000 and the HOA is only $225 a month.  Do the math: depending on your down payment, that's cheaper than renting the same-sized unit.

Plus, this is in the neighborhood that everybody loves -- Tujunga Village.  Walk to Girasol, Vitello's, Aroma, groceries, cool little stores...


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