Monday, June 15, 2009

The Only Constant is Change....

Well, I must say that I am absolutely ecstatic about my new professional position!

Though I greatly enjoyed my association with EWM REALTORS, I have been offered an exceptional opportunity that I just COULD NOT turn down.

I am very proud to announce that I am Coconut Grove Realty's new Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Coconut Grove Realty is Miami-Dade County's Oldest Real Estate Brokerage, established in 1925. Located in the very heart of The Grove, on picturesque Commodore Plaza, our firm has been selling The Grove's signature Historic Waterfront Estates and quaint Village residences since they were originally built! A proud heritage of Real Estate Service that I am thrilled to now be a part of.


Coconut Grove is actually Miami's oldest part of town and was settled as a port by Bahamians on their way to Key West in the mid and late 1800's. It shares a deep kinship with the Keys as Miami's funkiest and most Bohemian part of town. We are, as well, home base for the production of USA Network's critically and commercially acclaimed TV series, "Burn Notice",
Now, this is not to say that The Conchqistador is abandoning the Keys, no no ... just, adding an additional ... Port of Call.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Down She Goes!!!! The Vandenberg is the newest Keys Reef

Well, it's been hotly contested issue regarding the pros and cons of scuttling what is now the world's 2nd largest intentionally sunken artificial reef, but yesterday, it finally happened. The USAFS Vandenberg now lies 6 1/2 miles off Key West, poised to be a international draw for divers and anglers alike.

Now, I understand and respect both sides of the argument. From an economic stand point, many feel that the $8Million + that the project cost to taxpayers was astronomical and not in their best interest, as well as the ongoing debate as whether these artificially reefs may actually be harmful to sealife in the long run are both valid points close to detractors' hearts.

In the end though, I side with proponents of the Key's newest attraction and here is why:

  1. As many dive enthusiasts will quickly tell you, the lower keys and Key west in particular are severely lacking in quality dive sites, especially wreck sites.

  2. The Keys will now boast 2 of the 3 largest intentionally sunk wreck reefs with the Vandenberg and the Spiegal Grove in Key Largo as numbers 2 and 3 respectively.

  3. This now completes "The Chain of Wrecks" a new Marketing attraction promoting some of the World's finest wreck diving with a chain of wrecks spanning over 100 miles from North Key Largo to now just off Key West.

  4. With the economy just reeking havoc to the Key's Tourism base, as well as the immense revenue lost as a result of The Cheeca Lodge's fire and subsequent long term closure and loss of their affluent clientele, the Keys desperately are in need of a major buzz-worthy Tourist draw.

  5. As this was sunk in May, this will, as well, bolster what is normally the Key's "Off Season" for tourism and will give many local South Floridians a reason for a "Staycation".

These are just some of the reasons that I am excited the Vandenberg. Below is a video of yesterday's pitch perfect sinking.


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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Conchquistador Deal of the Day 5/18/2009

Here is yet another example of the drop in the market and the buying opportunities that exist in the Keys.
Today's Deal is situated on stunning Blackwater Sound and about a mile and a half from Adams Cut which links the Bayside Waterways to the Ocean Waterways, this dream home is certainly a prize for the new Buyers.
Originally listed for over $3.6M, it has now sold for $1.9M!

29 Bay Drive Key Largo
List price: $2,495,000 - Sold Price: $1,900,000
Original Price: $3,695,000 - Mile Marker: 103
5 Bedrooms/ 4 baths - Lot Size 15,268 sf

Description: BRING ALL YOUR BOATS! Custom-built bayfront masterpiece with magnificent bay views from every room. 60 ft. dock in boat basin plus pier dock into the Bay. Hardie Board exterior, metal roof. Spacious gazebo at water's edge. Swim at the private, sandy beach. 2 master suites, one on each level. Soaring ceilings, Florida pine floors; granite counters in kitchen. Victorian accents & open porches abound.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Key Largo Singers and Songwriters Festival

As a former singer and songwriter in my younger days, I LOVE live music. Be sure to catch some amazing local talent throughout the month of May with the Key Largo Singers and Songwriters Festival.
Who knows....maybe the next Jimmy Buffet awaits....

Click here for more Information on scheduled artists and locations.


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Monday, May 11, 2009

Jewfish Creek Bridge run set for fall

I am so excited to participate in the inaugural run across the new Jewfish Creek Bridge!!
I plan on running it with my 70 year old Dad, just as we did in the inaugural 7-mile bridge run in 1982!! This will be his 515th road race and he is retiring his running shoes after this one.
Organizers are planning a 5K run, which we are doing and a 1/2 Marathon as well.
What an incredible view to enjoy while running.
I saw this article in the Keysnews.com site and wanted to share it for more detail on the run.

Jewfish Creek Bridge run set for fall
By STEVE GIBBS Citizen Staff
Organizers of a health expo and bridge run planned for the fall hope to draw 1,500 participants -- and lots of money for multiple charities that will benefit from the event.
The first Jewfish Creek Bridge run, set for Nov. 14, is expected to attract 1,000 runners for a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, and another 500 runners for the 5K, which is 3.1 miles. The 65-foot-tall bridge is 1.5 miles long.
The cost is $70 for the half marathon and $35 for the 5K. Official timers will be on hand for the event, sanctioned by the U.S. Track Field Association. Runners will receive T-shirts and all finishers will receive a medal.
While the 5K course is northbound on U.S. 1 over the bridge and immediately back again, the half marathon course continues up to Manatee Bay Marina at the Monroe-Miami-Dade County line before turning around and heading back to the starting point. "The 5K might be the most demanding of the races, since runners have to cross the bridge twice in succession," said Candy Basilius, a Key Largo Baptist Church member who is helping to spearhead the event, in conjunction with TIB Bank and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. "We're attempting to raise money for several different charities."
They include the church, Autism Society of the Keys, YMCA of Key Largo and Jacobs Aquatic Center.
Runners can register and pick up their packets the day before the race, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the free health expo at the Key Largo Holiday Inn. On race day, runners will gather on Reef Drive between the fire station and Circle K convenience store at Mile Marker 107. The race begins at 6:30 a.m.
The race will not affect southbound traffic on the 18 Mile Stretch. Northbound traffic will be routed to Card Sound Road.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Home sales up in first quarter, though prices stuck in 2004

Well, so that you can see it's not JUST me going on and on about the real estate market in the Keys and what great buying opportunities exist here, I am posting an article that was in Keysnews.com this morning commenting on this very subject.
Inventory is high, very high, prices have plummeted, and cash is still cheap, so for those well qualified and astute Buyers, there are wonderful gems out there for the picking!

"Home sales up in first quarter, though prices stuck in 2004.
By ROBERT SILK Free Press Staff
MONROE COUNTY -- Real estate sales in the Keys were up in the first quarter of 2009, though prices continued to plummet.
A total of 278 properties were sold between Key West and mile marker 107 in Key Largo during the months of January though March, according to a Multiple Listing Service analysis prepared by Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Co. That's a 4 percent increase over the same period last year.
The first quarter increase is the first since 2004.
Though more properties were moving, the overall news remains bad for sellers. Prices declined 22 percent between the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same months this year. The average closing price of $494,000 per property is roughly at a par with early 2004, the Coldwell Banker analysis says. And though the total number of properties on the market has gone down a bit, there's still a 48-month inventory.
"The first quarter of 2009 is behind us and the results are bringing continuing good news for buyers and sobering news for sellers, at least for the balance of the year," Coldwell, Banker broker Brian Schmitt wrote in a synopsis of the current market.
The Coldwell Banker numbers differ somewhat from a second MLS analysis run by Tracy Larson of American Caribbean Real Estate and Marr Properties, which showed that 301 properties were sold Keyswide during the first quarter of the year. That search included the Ocean Reef Club and other properties north of mile marker 107.
But the main discrepancy between the two analyses was in the Lower Keys between Bay Point and Big Pine Key. There the Coldwell Banker analysis captured 57 sales while the American Caribbean analysis captured 75 sales.
The analyses also having varying sales prices figures. MLS statistics in the second report show an average Keyswide sales price of $464,000 per property, 6 percent lower than the Coldwell Banker report.
The MLS database does not include the sale of properties that weren't listed with a Realtor.
The Upper Keys fared worse than other areas of the archipelago in the first quarter, with both the number of sales and the average sales price plunging 19 percent year over year, according to the Coldwell Banker analyses.
In Key West prices dropped an even more robust 30 percent, but the low prices brought a boon to sales, which increased 27 percent.
Sales also increased in the Lower Keys, though they went down in the Middle Keys.
One possible reason the Upper Keys has yet to begin attracting more buyers is that prices remain higher than elsewhere in the county.
Of the 63 Upper Keys residences sold from January through March, the average closing price was $545,000, the American Caribbean analyses shows. In contrast, average sales prices in the Middle Keys, Lower Keys and Key West were between $478,000 and $484,000.
In a memo to sales associates, Schmitt of Coldwell Banker predicted that in the coming year low interest rates combined with low prices will continue to prop up sales. But he also predicted that high inventories and an increasing number of short and foreclosure sales will force prices down at a rate of 1 to 1 ¬½ percent for the rest of 2009.
"The problem for sellers is that this is a buyers market and buyers will continue to drive prices lower until the inventory is depleted from its present levels," Schmitt wrote."

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Conquistador Deal of the Day 5-4

From $829,900 to $310,000 !!!!!
This is the perfect illustration for what has happened in the real estate market and how opportunities abound for insightfull buyers.
This lakefront property in one of Key Largo's best neighborhoods, Buccaneer Point, was originally listed at $829,900. Now I'm not sure what type of hallucinogens the Owners and Broker were sampling at that time, but it was obviously priced way outside of market value. After several subsequent price reductions, it fell into foreclosure and now a very lucky and astute buyer has purchased it for $310,000, which for this neighborhood is a very good deal indeed. It shows that the further the pendulum swings it one direction, with time, the market brings it just as far back in the other direction.

34 N Bounty Lane, Key Largo
List Price: $309,900 - Sold Price: $310,000
Original List Price: $829,900
3 Bedrooms/2 Bathrooms
Mile Marker: 98
Description: FORECLOSURE, BANK OWNED! BUCCANEER POINT. HOME IS LAKE FRONT. COMBINATION OF STILT FRAME CONSTRUCTION! THIS EXCELLENT KEY LARGO LOCATION IS ONE OF A KIND! SMALL COMMUNITY WITH EASY ACCESS TO FISHING, BOATING AND ENTERTAINMENT.
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Ocean Reef Club Activity

I have a client that is currently looking at residences in Ocean Reef Club. The Club is really a world in and of itself. With its stunning Villas, Homes and Condos, a private airstrip populated by private jets and a world class Marina stocked with spectacular yachts, it's easy to see why this has been a haven for the luxury minded.

That being said, there are amazing opportunities to buy in Ocean Reef that have not been this accessible in quite some time!

My friend Ada Geis from Swenson & Ecuyer Realty located in Ocean Reef was kind enough to send me the following Activity Report For Ocean Reef Club:

OPPORTUNITY !!
With only 20 days left in the winter season, we are seeing some sales.
Take a look at what's happening:
Golf Village 2/1 was $399K now is asking $299,000 CONTRACTED
Angelfish Cay 1/1 in the low $400K CLOSED
Single family home 2/2 on a lake CONTRACTED
Interior home on Perky CONTRACTED
Canal front home with 240' seawall CONTRACTED
Ocean front home on Sunrise Cay CONTRACTED
Prices are being reduced on the following:
Condos
Angelfish Cay 1/1 $499K
Cay Harbor 2/2 $1.1M
Golf Village 1/2 reduced to $250K
Gatehouse dock 60' reduced to $285K
Harbor Green 3/3 reduced to $2.3M
Marina Village 2/2 reduced to $1,350,000
Pumpkin Cay 2/2 reduced to $849K
Homes
1 Diana Road 2/2 reduced to $799K
16 Grayvik Drive reduced to $950K
Docks
A3 & A4 reduced to $285K -

This is just a sampling of what is going on at the Reef today.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Conchquistador Deal of the Day 4/7/2009

Today's Deal takes us down to Big Pine Key. This Home sold relatively quickly in under 3 months, went through 1 price reduction, and was a fair deal all the way around.
What makes this property special is the nice and roomy 9,000 sf lot which is large for Key's standards.

2133 San Sebastian Dr Big Pine Key
List Price: $499,000 - Sale Price: $ 434,500
Beds: 2 Full Baths: 2 - Lot Size: 9,000 sf
Mile Marker 30 - Original Price: $549,000
Click here for Mapped Location

Description: Custom built home on oversized lot. Upgraded with high impact glass windows & doors. Replaced stairs, railings & aluminum screening. Stainless appliances. Concrete dock & davits, excellent boating. Located across from nature sanctuary-very peaceful. Spacious lot gives room for a pool, tiki, garage or to park boat trailers & toys.
Click here for a Detailed Brochure

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Residents hope for amnesty on enclosures

This issue has been a concern for property owners for quite sometime, with most wondering the the proverbial other show was going to drop. For many of these properties to conform, they would have to make substantial adjustments that could dramatically effect the value of their properties.
I saw this article in Keysnews.net that really summed it up well.

"Residents hope for amnesty on enclosures
By TIMOTHY O'HARA Citizen Staff
Caught in the middle. That's how many homeowners feel about Monroe County's downstairs-enclosure inspection program for homes in the federal flood plain.
The county for years gave mixed signals to people who wanted to use their downstairs enclosures for living space. Officials allowed some as nonconforming structures or turned a blind eye to bedrooms and living rooms built below stilted homes, property owners and their attorneys have said.
By 2002, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had grown frustrated with the county's lack of enforcement and threatened to omit the Florida Keys from the National Flood Insurance Program if the county did not stop allowing downstairs enclosures and started requiring inspections.
The county obliged and now requires that downstairs enclosures be used only for storage space. The county also requires an inspection when property owners pull building permits or sell their property.
The move means many people are ripping out enclosures and losing thousands of dollars in equity and living area. Other homeowners are not pulling permits because they don't want to have to rip out their enclosures, which means they are not making crucial repairs to their homes or they are making the modifications without the proper permits, which means the work is being done without insurance or oversight.
To resolve the issue, the Monroe County Commission now is asking FEMA for "amnesty" for all property owners who have had enclosures on their property prior to March 14, 2002, which marks the county's start of the inspection program, according to a resolution unanimously passed by the commission last month.
The county has proposed giving amnesty, but will charge a fee that will go toward debris removal in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm. This is the first time since 2001 the county has sent an official request for FEMA to develop a different strategy for addressing downstairs enclosures.
Case in point
Amnesty would be welcomed by the owners of the Key Deer Run Inn on Big Pine Key. Bed-and-breakfast owners Harry Apel and his fiancee, Jennifer DeMaria, are among hundreds of Keys property owners who are caught in the middle of the downstairs-enclosure issue.
The couple relocated to the Keys from New Jersey after they bought the one-acre commercial property in May 2006. It has a downstairs enclosure that encompasses three units, they said. The couple did not realize the units were prohibited by FEMA until recently, when they tried to make the bed and breakfast more environmentally friendly by installing solar panels.
"We were never told that they were illegal," DeMaria said.
Their contractor tried to obtain the county-issued building permits for the roughly $70,000 job, only to find that the property must be inspected for downstairs enclosures. The couple now fears they are going to have to tear out three of the four transient units on their property.
They argue the units have been there since the house was built in 1979. The units are no secret, as the county had been on their property dating back to 1987, when the previous owners were embroiled in a legal battle with the county about whether bed and breakfasts were allowed in that area, DeMaria said.
"When the county sued the prior owner in 1987, they should have spoken then or forever hold their peace on the enclosure issue," DeMaria said. "They cannot split their causes of action 21 years after they lost their case on this same property."
Most recently, county building officials were on the property in 2004, when the previous owners applied for a building permit to install an elevator.
"You can't go on that property without seeing the units," DeMaria said. "The county had been here multiple times before. The county has known for 21 years that there are units down there."
The couple will not be given a permit until an inspection is complete, DeMaria said.
When they bought the property, they did not get the required downstairs enclosure inspection, saying they were unaware they needed one. If they had, county officials would have told them the units were not legal, County Growth Management Director Andrew Trivette said. The house was completed in 1983, and records show the enclosure was not in the plans.
"It is a very unfortunate situation that they are in," Trivette said. "I have researched myself to try and find some kind of easy resolution because we really are about compliance instead of enforcement. I nor my staff can find a way out for them. They are going to have to have an inspection."
Back and forth
Court rulings have convoluted the issue.
In 2004, a local court ruling stipulated the county could not enforce downstairs-enclosure regulations because the statute of limitations had run out on the properties. The court ruling was later overturned, further complicating the matter.
Another recent ruling said the statute of limitations expired, so the county cannot require the units be torn out. But in November, Circuit Judge David Audlin reversed that, saying the county waited too long to cite a Big Pine Key home-owner, and the county could not pinpoint when the violation occurred. The enclosure had been in place since at least 1983, but the county did not cite the owner until June 2007. The county has since appealed that case.
The house, owned by Sandra Carter, was built in 1975 or 1976, and the enclosure was built about the same time, said attorney Lee Rohe, who represents Carter. She bought the home from her uncle in August 2001. Carter left debris in front of her house two years ago, drawing the attention of a Code Enforcement officer, who noticed a welcome mat, air conditioning unit and other items there, Rohe said.
A Code Enforcement judge later found Carter guilty of violating downstairs enclosure rules, and she appealed in circuit court.
Citizens not Serfs
Such issues spawned the creation of a grass-roots property rights group called Citizens not Serfs. The group formed last year to bring awareness to the issue and come up with a solution that would allow enclosures that are already in place. The group, which has rented billboards across the Keys chastising FEMA, has taken the issue further than any other group in recent years.
The group regularly holds public meetings. Rep. Ron Saunders and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have attended in the past and have offered their support on the issue.
It has successfully lobbied County Mayor George Neugent and County Commissioner Mario Di Gennaro, who have attended the group's meetings, to ask FEMA to change its current policies. Di Gennaro and Neugent both had a hand in coming up with the amnesty proposal.
"We are trying to work together to get some relief for these homeowners who are affected by this," Di Gennaro said. "There has to be some flexibility with this. This is not the time to have people ripping units out of their homes. People cannot afford this right now."
In the past year, the county has tried to address the issue, while at the same time not jeopardize coverage by the National Flood Insurance Program.
Monroe County has participated in the National Flood Program since 1975. The county has to follow guidelines set down by the federal government to participate. Until 1983, the county allowed "convenience baths and recreational rooms," because the county did not consider the rooms "habitational," Trivette said. The units were considered a nonconforming use, which meant they were allowed. In 1986, the county implemented a land-use policy that allowed enclosures of 299 square feet for storage space.
Shortly after the County Commission passed the resolution to ask for amnesty, Neugent and the director of Citizens not Serfs met with a FEMA official and State Emergency Management Mitigation Chief Miles Anderson to discuss modifying the inspection program. Nothing was decided, but the mayor and FEMA Flood and Mitigation Division's Brad Loar agreed to meet later this month to hash out an agreement.
Two FEMA representatives will attend that meeting. The agency would not comment on the merits of the proposal, saying they did not know the details of the resolution, despite The Citizen sending it a copy on Monday.
"It would be premature to comment on that meeting at this time," spokeswoman Margaret Cottrill said."
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

1st Quarter Florida Keys Sales Stats for 2009

Ok...so a New Year, New Incentives, New Considerations and a New Quarter of Data. Unbelievably Low Interest rates, an Incredible Inventory of Waterfront and Non-Waterfront Property, Nervous Sellers, a teetering Economy, and a nice $8000 First Time Buyer Incentive. Wow what a bouillabaisse!!!!

Well, the things that strike me when I look at the first quarter numbers below are the small quantities of CLOSINGS that occurred. Except for Waterfront Properties in the Lower Keys, the number of closings is rather sparse. Remember though, many of these properties went under contract at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, when the economic outlook and uncertainty was most bleak.

It will be quite interesting to see the change when you look at next quarter's results. As I, and many of my colleagues, have been evangelizing, it is a phenomenal time to buy in the Keys, and wise buyers are now heeding the call. I have a buyer that is about to put an offer on Waterfront Property on Duck Key and another buyer offering on a Mobile Home in Key Largo, and though very different properties, both are being offered by smart sellers who "Get the Picture!" Very nice properties that are value priced. You can tell They've seen the numbers!
There is certainly a pulse that tells me the tide is slowly, slowly turning. The most interesting and telling numbers for me though are the price reductions. I was showing a property in Safety Harbor on Lower Matecumbe that had a $1M price reduction since it was listed!
As they say, Luck is when Opportunity meets Preparation. That being said, look at the Numbers, do your Research, find your Dream Home, make an Educated Offer and ....get Lucky! There's never been a better time than NOW.

To view the charts larger, right click on the chart as choose Save Picture As, and download it into your browser where you can view it larger.





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Welcome to the Florida Keys Real Estate Conchquistador!

What can I say? I just LOVE the Keys! From the incredible waterways to the funkiness of Key West and Fantasy Fest, the Keys are one of this Country’s true treasures. Some of my fondest and earliest precious memories involve dining at the Coral Grill, fishing off the catwalk on the Cardsound Bridge, running in the inaugural 7 mile bridge run, my high school graduation party at the Cheeca Lodge and lobstering off Indian Key (and yes we only kept the legal ones...lol).

Now as an Adult, I am privileged to be able to market and sell stunning waterfront properties in the area that I love most!

Within this Blog, I aim to share with you pertinent real estate info as well as off the wall and irreverent items of interest for both residents and wishful residents of this incredible island chain.

Please visit my website Floridakeyswaterfrontexpert.com for a comprehensive listing of available properties throughout the Keys. There you can view available properties, view photos, see maps and even schedule an appointment to view your next dream home.

Thank you for visiting and

Welcome to the Conch Republic!!!

New ESPN fishing show puts big focus on the Keys

New ESPN fishing show puts big focus on the Keys
'Spanish Fly' Wejebe is the host
I really love seeing our beautiful Florida Keys featured in the mainstream media, and Wejebe is a really entertaining and knowledgeable host.
Sometimes we as locals become anaesthetised to what is in our own backyards.
I saw this article in Keysnet.com this morning:

"New ESPN fishing show puts big focus on the Keys
Anglers who love to competitively fish -- or at least watch the best of the best compete -- can get their fill into June.
This Sunday, ESPN Outdoors' Saltwater Series debuts at 8:30 a.m. It's a look back at the Saltwater Series that debuted last year and had four of its six events in the Keys.
There will be six original episodes airing, with six encore presentations. The first, the one airing Sunday, is the Redbone Series Baybone Celebrity Tournament that took place in Key Largo. It features baseball hall-of-famer Wade Boggs doing what he loves doing best when not involved in baseball -- flats fishing.
The Outdoors' Saltwater Series will be hosted by the Keys’ very own Jose Wejebe, known as The Spanish Fly and host of the TV show of the same name on ESPN2.
The rest of the schedule:
April 12: The S.L.A.M. (Southernmost Light Tackle Anglers Masters) Celebrity Tournament, which targeted tarpon, bonefish and permit off Key West.
April 19: The Lowcountry Red Trout Celebrity Classic targeting redfish and sea trout, in South Carolina.
April 26: Islamorada, the Redbone Celebrity Tournament targeting redfish and bonefish.
May 3: The Savannah Redtrout out of Georgia.
May 10: Islamorada, the Don Gurgiolo Sailfish Classic Redbone @ Large targeting sailfish.
This will also be the first outdoors-related program on ESPN Deportes. The Deportes shows start April 4 at 6 a.m. and airs consecutive Saturdays at the same time. "

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Island Fest is this Weekend!

This looks like a lot of fun!!!
The Keys...Music...Art..and Food is there any better combination????

Hope to see you there!

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Boater's World going out of business

Wow, another sign of the Apocalypse..um I mean the downturned economy.
Although I have always been more of a West Marine guy, I certainly have made quite a few purchases from Boater's World, and found their associates usually quite well versed and most helpful.
In the Keys it's a shame as it has been really tough enough as it is for the folks that work down here to make ends meet without the prospect of their companies going out of business.
That being said......I'm sure there will be quite a few really good bargains!!! I was in there today and the sale is 10% , by weeks end an associate told me it would be 30-50% most probably. Even the fixtures etc. So....if you were looking for a big ticket accessory for your boat, now might be the time to capitalize on their liquidation.
Here is an article that I found today in Keysnews.net.

"Boater's World going out of business
By ROB BUSWEILER Free Press Staff
All three Boater's World locations in the Florida Keys sprung a surprise sale on the public last weekend.
This sale appears to portend doom for the chain, which has 129 stores throughout the country. The nautical supply store chain has indicated it will be going out of business, and taking its locations in Key Largo, Marathon and Key West down with it. All three locations now sport bright "going out of business" signs.
Jackie Collins, manager of the Marathon location, said corporate offices told her of the plans late last week.
"We are supposed to be open until June," she told the Free Press on Monday. "We have a warehouse full of inventory."
According to Collins, the Marathon location has six employees, and the liquidation process had already started.
Officials from Ritz Camera Centers, the parent company of Boater's World, declined to comment on Monday. Richard L. Kaye, vice president of Hilco Merchant Resources, the Chicago-based company handling the liquidation, said a bankruptcy court filing led to the impending closing of all of the Boater's World stores.
"The store closing process began this weekend," Kaye told the Free Press on Monday.
According to Kaye, the current objective is for all of the Boater's World locations to sell off inventory until the buildings are in a "broom swept" condition. Kaye added that the individual store's closing date is based on when that location runs out of inventory.
As a result, the liquidation will continue until all the products are moved. Boater's World sells a variety of boating and fishing gear in addition to various nautical accessories and supplies.
Kaye said the local employees will remain on staff until the individual stores close down. He added that representatives from Hilco will be on hand to steer the liquidation process and help train employees in how to work in that environment.
"We do take control of the stores," Kaye said.
A press release put out by Hilco last week notes that the entire inventory is on sale.
Boater's World has 34 locations in Florida."

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Conchquistador Deal of the Day 3/19/2009

I love Blackwater Sound, the body of water on the Bay Side just as you come into Key Largo. One of my favorite places to have fun in the boat. Wakeboarders, Parasailers, and tubers abound. The New Bridge over Jewfish Creek gives you a spectacular view of this fun body of water.
Just north of the world-famous Caribbean Club, is a peninsula known as Stillwright Point that separates Sexton Cove from Blackwater Sound. Today's Deal is in this very nice, upscale enclave of waterfront homes.
This property had almost a 40% drop from its original List Price to Sale Price.
With interest rates now in the under 5% range, this is an excellent time to grab a slice of paradise!
11 Stillwright Way Key Largo
List Price: $849,000 - Sale Price:$760,000
Original List Price: $1,195,000
4 Bedrooms/3 Bathrooms
Mile Marker: 105










Description: Seller motivated! NEW PRICE FOR THIS BIG AND BEAUTIFUL HOME! ON WIDE CANAL WITH DEEP WATER AND OPEN WATER VIEW. Tri-level with 2400sf under air, enough room for a big family. Third house in from the bay with a lovely view from almost every room. Nicely appointed w/wood floors, Cathedral ceilings & Anderson Windows. Spacious kitchen, great for entertaining. Excellent boating access, dock with davits.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

The Conchquistador Deal of the Day 3/16/2009

Today's Deal is located in one of my favorite areas of Key Largo.
I have always admired this property whenever we are cruising through Adam's Cut.
Though it took almost a year to sell, the price dropped from almost $2M to a sale price of $1.4M. With over 1/3 of an acre, a very nice value indeed.

12 Bass Avenue, Key Largo
List Price: $1,499,000 - Sold Price: $1,400,000
3 Bedrooms/3 Bathrooms - Lot Size: 17,400
Original List Price: $1,950,000
Mile Marker: 103.5

Description: THREE FULL LOTS!The ultimate entertainment home on World Famous Adam's Cut Waterway. 125 ft of concrete dock with 2 sets of davits, custom home has dual master suites, soaring 25 foot high ceilings, 3 full bedrooms and baths, two additional offices/dens, two car garage, huge circular paved drive, professional landscaping with grass and irrigation, 40Ft. heated no chlorine pool w/ super jet spa

Let me help you find an oasis you will admire
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The Return of Big Betsy!!!

Well it's about time!
I can't tell you how many times we had taken friends and clients to have their picture take with the enormous, true to life 30 foot high Lobster affectionately known as "Big Betsy".
When the Montessori School purchased the old Treasure Village, they removed Besty in fear of all the attention she got.
I saw this article in Keysnews.com and am so happy she will now be at the Rain Barrel Artist Colony, across the street from her previous location.

"Artist village to display giant lobster
By ROBERT SILK Citizen Staff
The giant lobster that for close to two decades beckoned visitors to Islamorada's Treasure Village artisan gallery soon will have a new home.
Big Betsy, as the lobster is known, was reportedly once deemed the second-most photographed icon in the Florida Keys by Eastman Kodak, behind only the Southernmost Point.
With its former home having been transformed into a school, the lobster has been hidden away in a storage yard off the Overseas Highway. Within the next few weeks, however, the giant crustacean, 30 feet tall by 40 feet long, will re-emerge, luring passersby to the Rain Barrel Artisan Village on Plantation Key.
Rain Barrel Gallery LLC and Big Betsy owners Dennis and Mia Berry finalized a 10-year lease with a purchase option on Monday, Dennis Berry and Rain Barrel co-owner Mike Forster said. They did not disclose terms of the deal.
"We are doing this because we feel in this economy we need to generate more trips to the Rain Barrel for our tenants," Forster said. "We figured that the lobster was a great draw. It always has been a great draw. It was a great draw at Treasure Village and it will be at the Rain Barrel."
The deal caps years of uncertainty about the future of the lobster.
In 2006, as Treasure Village was about to be transformed into the Montessori Island School, Mia Berry announced she would sell her beloved crustacean, purchased from an artist back in 1990, for nearly $200,000.
Forster emerged as a potential buyer, saying he would like to put it at Papa Joe's Marina on Upper Matecumbe Key or at his Mangrove Mike's Café, also on Upper Matecumbe.
Others entertained the idea of putting Big Betsy, which Mia Berry believes is the second-largest lobster on earth, at the bottom of the 18-Mile Stretch where it could serve as an entryway to the Keys.
No deal was struck -- until now.
"I have been working on this for three or four years and finally I've got it done," Forster said.
"I am glad it is going to get out there where people can see it again," Dennis Berry added."

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Conchquistadore Deal of the Day 3/15/2009

By now, I must seem like a raving lunatic, a la Peter Finch in Network, but I cannot STOP raving about the opportunities for Buyers that are going on down in the Keys.

I was showing property down there yesterday and we are about to make an offer on a property that was originally listed over $2M that is now at 1.3M and there is still probably some room for negotiation!
Today's Deal of the Day simply leaves me speechless. $285,000, let me say that again $285,000 for a NAVIGABLE water single family home!!! This short sale was originally listed at $646,000 and was last sold in 2005 for $530,000.

These truly are unprecedented times in the recent era for great deals in one of the most fabulous locales in the United States.

3970 Gordon Road, Big Pine Key

List Price: $300,000 - Sold Price: $285,000
2 Bedrooms / 2 Bathrooms - Lot Size: 5,250 sf
Original List Price: $646,000 - Mile Marker 29.5


Description: SHORT SALE-ONE CANAL FROM OPEN WATER PINE CHANNEL easy access. Give yourself extra living space. This 2bd/2bh home offers cathedral ceilings, large living room opens onto family room, light filled windows, peak-aboo open water views open kitchen/dining area. Upper and lower patio. Dock is concrete seawall with wood dock on top and a Gazebo. Hook up for Hot Tub. Legal Storage. 4-4-07 NEW A/C Compressor.
Let me help you fine a deal that you'll rave about!
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Conchquistadore Deal of the Day 3/10/2009

As my Yiddish friends would say
"Such a Deal!!"
Wow, it still makes my mouth drop to see these prices.
This NAVIGABLE waterfront property went for under $400K!!
This property was neither a short sale nor foreclosure, just an astute Seller who finally understood today's Market.
With the new FHA guidlines you could have purchased this waterfront home with just 3.5% down!

22842 John Silver Lane, Cudjoe Key
List Price: $425,000 - Sale Price: $380,000
3 Bedrooms / 2Bathrooms - Lot Size 6100 sf
Days on Market :374 - Mile Marker: 22
Original List Price: $559,000

Description: Canal Front home with full seawall, patio, davits, newly remodeled kitchen with granite countertops, 3/2 screened porch, tropically landscaped yard.
Click Here for a Detailed Brochure.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Key West mayor's two houses foreclosed on, debt is more than $1.2 million

OUCH!!!!!!
You KNOW times are tough when even the Mayor is in foreclosure!!!
I saw this today in Keysnet.com.

"Key West mayor's two houses foreclosed on, debt is more than $1.2 million
By SEAN KINNEY
skinney@keynoter.com
Two homes owned by Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson, one a rental property, the other his residence, are in foreclosure -- and two banks claim to be owed a combined $1,228,566.
The Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T) sued McPherson on Jan. 28, claiming it's owed $672,752 for McPherson's home at 3720 Northside Drive.
"Obviously, at this point, my house is upside [down]," McPherson told the Keynoter. He said he has hired an attorney to help him restructure the mortgage and not lose his home.
McPherson entered into the mortgage with his wife Christina, an assistant principal at Key West High School, on March 31, 2005. The mortgage went into default on June 1, 2008, and no subsequent payments were made, according to the lawsuit.
"All you can do is put your best foot forward," McPherson said.
In addition to his mayoral salary of $10,000 per year, McPherson works as a real estate agent, which he said has not been earning him much money.
"All I can do is work hard," McPherson said. "Do I think I'm alone? No. It's all about working hard."
Aside from his home on Northside Drive, another property owned by McPherson at 23 Calle Uno on East Rockland Key is in foreclosure as of Feb. 6.
McPherson has been using that home, purchased in 2000, as a rental property since he and his family moved to Key West in 2005 so he could qualify for the mayoral race.
When the Keynoter asked McPherson about the foreclosure on the Rockland Key home, he said he was unaware the action had been filed.
"You're telling me something I didn't know," he said, adding he hadn't been served yet with the lawsuit.
The Bank of New York Mellon alleges the Rockland Key mortgage went into default on Oct. 1, 2008, and the bank is owed $555,814.
In his tenure as mayor, McPherson has made community housing issues a priority.
Last November, the Key West City Commission passed a McPherson-sponsored resolution creating the Homebuyer's Assistance Program. Basically, the program uses $300,000 from a code compliance settlement to lend, interest free for 30 years, up to $20,000 for qualified Key West workers to make a down payment on a home. But that program doesn't apply to existing homeowners.
And in January, McPherson presented an ordinance to the City Commission asking the city to reduce impact fees, which are levied on developers to offset municipal costs of new roads and utility hookups, by 25 percent over the next 18 months.
That move made the city eligible to receive up to $2 million in state Housing Finance Corp. money to be used for foreclosure prevention or down payment assistance. "

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The Conchquistadore Deal of the Day 2/12/2009

Today's deal brings us way down south to Mile Marker 17.
A lovely waterfront home that was on the Market for almost 11 months with picturesque canal views.
17115 Allamanda Drive West, Sugarloaf Key
List Price: $539,000 - Sale Price: $520,000
2 Bedrooms-2 Bathrooms - 12,500 sf lot
Original Price: $649,000

Description: Definitely a must see if you are looking for a well-maintained home that really captures the spirit of the Keys. Meticulous care has been taken with everything down to the claw foot tub in the master suite, the fireplace in the Great Room, & beautiful wood floors & ceilings. A new metal roof, new central AC, a large screened deck overlooking the clear tropical canal

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Holiday Isle Facing Foreclosure

I can say that I saw this one coming.
I saw this today in Keysnews.com and it was no true surprise. I knew that when they bought it, the market just was not there to sustain the residences that they were proposing.
This is still a GOLDMINE location and if someone were smart they would either fix it back up and return it to it's former splendor (lol was it EVER splendorous??). But you know what I mean, bring back that Holiday Isle Magic, OR in light of the recent Cheeca tragedy create a competitive Luxury Resort on par to Cheeca as we are losing many of Cheeca's clientele because other than Ocean Reef, there isn't a suitable substitute for this type of clientele.

Anyways, I hate seeing Holiday Isle in such a state of disrepair as it is in now. I have been enjoying it since the 70's and it was even mentioned in the very first song that I wrote, so I would love to see new life breathed into it once again.
"Holiday Isle facing foreclosure
Holiday Isle Beach Resort and Marina, Islamorada's legendary party spot and once a center of the village's bustling charter boat industry, is facing foreclosure.
Several companies and individuals affiliated with property owner Ceebraid Signal Corp. have failed to make payments on $77 million in loans, according to a suit filed by financiers on Jan. 28.
Ceebraid, a West Palm Beach-based developer, acquired Holiday Isle in April 2006 for a whopping $98 million. The company had planned to redevelop the 151-room resort into a hotel-condominium with units starting at $1.2 million, but the project was killed by the crash of the real estate market. "
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Conchquistadore Deal of the Day 2/4/2009

WOW!! Navigable Waterfront Single family Home for under $350,000????!!!!!!
What an amazing time to buy in the Keys!
Here is another example of the spectacular deals that await.
This CBS Home (Not a Mobile) was a bank-owned foreclosure ( I like these so much more than Short Sales) that was originally listed for over $999,000 when the owners were trying to sell it.
Under certain conditions this home may have even been eligible for FHA Financing with just 3.5% down.

623 Cuda Lane, Key Largo
List Price: $399,000 - Sale Price: $330,000
Lot size: 4,500 - Bedrooms: 2 - Bathrooms: 1
Mile Marker: 95 - Original Price: $999,900


Description: Great opportunity for a canal front home - ocean side - direct ocean access - 4 lots in from Ocean - stilt home - Spacious 2 bedroom home with cathedral ceilings - REO - Bank Owned -Foreclosed.
Let me help you find your own tropical deal.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kenny Chesney Flips

I saw this today at Keysnet.com,
It's a shame that he felt uncomfortable. We'd love for celebrities to enjoy the laid back pace of the Keys as much as everyone else.
Imagine how many more cool songs he would have been inspired to write!!!

I am a big Chesney fan and have seen how over the last several years he has been angling to be the Buffet heir to good time, laid back, tropical fun music, and owning a home in the Keys was just the right ingredient to cement his position.

"Kenny Chesney flips -- a day after reading 'Keynoter' story about his purchase of Key West mansion, he decides to sell it
By SEAN KINNEY
skinney@keynoter.com
We all knew Kenny Chesney was a country music superstar -- but a country music shooting star?
The Keynoter reported on Wednesday that Chesney purchased a mansion on Caroline Street in Key West.
By Thursday morning, he had changed his mind -- a for-sale sign was placed out front and a Budget moving van was seen with people loading stuff into it, not out of it.
Lynn Kaufelt is the Key West Realtor who sold the house the first time around and is the listing agent this time, too.
Kaufelt told the Keynoter, "He [the owner] was pretty unhappy, actually, about the piece in the Keynoter. I think he felt that his privacy wasn't respected."
British Columbia, Canada, radio station 890 CJDJ, "Peace County's Country," says Chesney issued a statement saying, "It's funny how you can be moving out before you even move in. I may've been naive to think I could just go down to the Keys and disappear, because that was the idea. I wanted to find a place where I could just be, and thought I'd found it. But with all the buzz since we signed the papers, the last thing I want to do to someplace I love as much as Key West is change the dynamics, especially for the locals who have been so good to me, so I'm stopping the insanity before it begins."
Chesney bought the house at 425 Caroline St. for $5.7 million. The new asking price is $6.495 million, according to Kaufelt.
This isn't the first time Chesney has bought a mansion, then reversed himself. The Los Angeles Times reported last April that he bought a five-bedroom, five-bath house in the Carbon Canyon neighborhood of Malibu, Calif., for $7.4 million and then promptly relisted the property for sale at $7.95 million. To date, no one has purchased that home from Chesney.
The Key West sale was recorded with the Monroe County Clerk of the Court on Jan. 20. The owner is a company called Falcon 200 Inc., which was acting on behalf of Chesney. The sellers were Nicholas and Susan Trivisonno.
The Caroline Street house is called the W. Hunt Harris House and was built in 1898. It has nearly 7,000 square feet of living space, including five bedrooms, 7.5 baths, a gym and a 1,500-bottle custom wine room. There's also a guest house, a 42-by-18-foot heated swimming pool and a wet bar complete with icemaker, granite countertops and teak cabinetry.
Chesney, 40, has won four Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year Awards. "

For a mapped location of the property, click here.

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Largo Lodge

Wow, the neat stuff you find off the beaten path.

I was showing property the other day in Key Largo, when I saw a sign for a hotel/resort I have passed by probably a thousand times. I had just finished showing properties to my client, and we both felt adventurous and decided to check the resort out.
What a wonderful surprise!!!

Largo Lodge is an adorable enclave of 3 cottages with 2 hotel rooms each and an extra hotel room off the Main House, that serves as office and private residence for the owner Hat, short for Harriet.

Lush and inviting, the grounds are just lovely with orchids everywhere.
With a minimum guest age limit of 16 years old, this quiet oasis is the perfect get-away.
Overlooking Tarpon Basin, one of my favorite mooring areas and a great hurricane hole, the resort offers gorgeous waterfront vistas. We even saw a huge friendly Manatee grazing just off the sandy beach.
A little history: The property's Main House in it's earliest incarnation was a Casino and speakeasy! You could just imagine the stories the walls could tell!! A Bit of "Key Largo", I could just see Bogie and Edward G. !!

Please check out the link and visit my new friend Hat for a most enjoyable retreat! Largo Lodge

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Keys Sales Stats for December 2008

Ok...so interesting numbers for December. The main thing that I see is the degree that Sellers are reducing their prices. You will see a running constant of sever price cutting for both Waterfront and Non-Waterfront properties. We are still in the thick of a deep Buyers Market...but....the tide may be turning. It will be a very slow tide, but I believe that the last quarter of 2008 will be seen as the "bottoming out" point for real estate prices.
I have been counseling my Buyers that Now is the time to act and capitalize on the opportunities that are out there.

To view the charts larger, right click on the chart as choose Save Picture As, and download it into your browser where you can view it larger.




There were no Non-Waterfront Single Family Home Sales in the month of December.
Please see my statistics posts from mid-December to see yearlong numbers.
Call me at 305.439.7730 for more information on insightful Buying opportunities in the Keys.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Conchquistador Deal of The Day 1.14.09

Today's Deal brings us a bit Southward down to picturesque Sugarloaf Key for a really stunning home.
This over 1/2 acre property has commanding waterfront views and everything one could want in a Keys retreat!
One of the things that I like about this area of Sugarloaf provides exceptional protected dockage while still offering spectacular wide-open waterfront views.
17115 Hibiscus Lane, Sugarloaf Key
List Price: $1,895,00,000 -
Sold price: $1,300,000
2 Bedrooms / 2 bathrooms -
Lot Size: 27,200 sf
Days on the Market: Just over 2 Years Mile Marker: 17
Original List Price: $2,197,000
Description: One of Sugarloaf's finest. Large open water point lot with sunset view overlooking Lower Sugarloaf Sound. Privacy wall, gated entry,brick pavers, tropical landscaping, protected canal dockage with davits, waterfront pool, beach area,and private guest cabana. Spacious living dining and kitchen areas opening onto big screen porch with sweeping water views.

So, here once again some prudent Buyers are making another very Opportunistic acquisition! This property was on and off the Market for the better part of 2 years and the sellers negotiated almost $900,000 (41%)off of their original price!
Let me help you find your outstanding opportunity. The Keys are loaded with them! Now is THE time to buy!
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Conchquistadore Deal of the Day 1.11.09

Well, I wanted to start of 2009's Deals of The Day with a great one and wow here it is...
There are some really fantastic buys on waterfront property in the Keys right now.
Case in point....this property has been on the Market almost solidly for just under 2 years. It was originally listed at $2,395,000. When it sold it was listed at $1,699,000 and now has just sold for ... get this...$1,402,250!! That is almost a $Million discount!!! And we are talking about a magnificent property.
159 Atlantic Circle Drive, Tavernier
List Price: $1,699,000 - Sold Price: $1,402,250
3 Bedrooms - 2 bathrooms - Lot size: 8,120 sf - Days on Market: Almost 2 Years
Original List Price:$2,395,000
Description: OCEAN VIEWS, OCEAN BREEZE & DEEP WATER DOCKAGE! Beautiful custom Tri-Level home directly on Atlantic in historic Tavernier w/pier to boat lift & davits, concrete fully furnished 3B/2B, kitchen w/center island & dining alcove, living room w/sliders to oceanfront balcony, sprawling 3rd level master suite, foyer w/storage room & carport on ground level, fenced yard plus room for an oceanfront pool.


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