Real Estate Agent with Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc.
House or Condo in Key West, Florida

I miss the old days when we all had three TV networks plus educational TV (where you could watch a guy paint!). Back then the choices were simple and the viewer had an easy and predictable viewing experience. Today cable and satellite TV offer so many diverse viewing options that a viewer needs a guide to help find what is available at any one moment or what will be available in the future. By chance last night (Friday, March 9th) I was searching for something to watch other than the 19th repeat of MONK when I noticed that HGTV had a "New" (really) program on its HOUSE HUNTERS program where a couple was searching for a getaway house in Key West. I decided to watch it. And so should you if you are in the market for a place in Key West. This morning I searched the HGTV website to see when episode HNT-5801H will air again. HGTV does not show a new air date, but we all know every episode gets shown repeatedly, forever, just like MONK.

HGTV's description of the Key West episode:

"Key West, Florida, has always been a special place for Matt and Amy. It's where they honeymooned, it's their favorite vacation spot, and it's about to be the site of their future vacation home. But for this couple, escaping the cold Ohio winters comes with a hitch. Matt wants the privacy of a single family home. Amy wants a carefree, low maintenance condo or high-rise. Who will win out?"

After the couple was introduced we got to meet their Realtor, Sandy Tuttle, an agent from Marathon, Florida. Sandy and I worked together on a bank owned unit she listed last year. She is a really great agent who works for another company further up the Keys. Sandy showed the couple three different properties in three different Key West locations. That follows the typical House Hunter format. Each property met some of the buyers' search criteria and each offered some challenges as well.

The first house the couple saw was located in the New Town area of Key West. The house was built in 1965 and sits on a nice block with similarly sized homes built during the same era. I showed this house last year to a local who wanted to buy a house he could renovate and flip. The house is still available as of today at the asking price of $335,000 or $243 per sq ft. The show did not disclose that the house is Bank Owned. The viewer could see for him or herself that the place is a real challenge. The floors are on different levels, the rooms sizes are odd, the kitchen is small, the carport canopy dominates the facade and makes it totally out of character with the neighborhood, but the pool is huge. My buyer determined the house needed too much work and too much money for him to achieve his goal of re-selling at a modest profit. The house hunter couple decided likewise.

Still Available! Photographed this morning


Similar vintage house across the street

The voice-over described the second property as being Key West beach side, but whoever wrote the script got that part wrong. There is no beach at Key Cove. I recently wrote a couple of blogs about units at Key Cove. Unit number 48 is a bank owned unit. This was taken off the market on January 20th. Unit number 25 was a short sale. It sold for $375,000. That unit was very similar in size and amenities that the home buyers looked at except the unit they saw had a view toward the east and #25 did not need any repairs.

The House Hunters bought one of these homes - photographed today


Community Pool

The third property the couple looked at was a second floor condo at 1800 Atlantic Condominiums. Matt stated a familiar lament I have heard so man other potential buyers state about the place seeming like a hotel. The unit they looked at was original, meaning it still had the original kitchen cabinets, plastic drop down ceiling in the kitchen, and master bath with the Roman tub. I don't think any hot water heater could ever fill one of those tubs. By the time the tub was full, the water would be running cold. Either that or the bather would be asleep. The couple was bothered by the location being on the second floor just above Bertha Street and worried they would hear the traffic go by. The potential ocean view from the balcony was obscured by trees. And the couple grimaced over the high monthly condo association fees. The couple did like the huge oceanfront pool and location, however.

1800 Atlantic Condominiums

Ultimately the couple chose the Key Cove unit. Matt and some of his buddies from Ohio did a quick renovation and redid the problematic bath and spiffed the place up really nicely. I searched the mls and learned that the unit the TV couple purchased sold  for $350,000. The program did not disclose that the unit was bank owned. According to the mls datasheet a different Realtor at the same company (not Sandy Tuttle) actually sold the unit. I think the couple made a very good decision and got a very nice Key West getaway house. Congrats to them! I hope Sandy got part of the commission!

It's fun to watch a show like this because it exposes the viewers (people like you) who may be thinking of buying a second home in Key West to issues most buyers on a budget face: location, price, and features that are positives or negatives. The fixer house ain't gonna sell for a long time unless the bank drops the price to give away status in my opinion. Condos at 1800 Atlantic offer twice the space and in my opinion offer superior construction to similarly priced condos at Shipyard in the Truman Annex area of Key West. However, the street side units are sometimes more difficult to sell, and all units must pay the high monthly condo association fees. Key Cove has a mix of very high end units still available, but there are a few affordable housing units and mid range units that are also a part of this complex.

CLICK HERE to do your own personal Key West House Hunting SEARCH of the Key West Association of Realtors mls database. Select the property type, price range or other feature you want. If you find something that interests you, please contact me to help you find your place in Paradise. Call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at I am buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Oh, I am a big fan of MONK as well.





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Susan Shaw
Premiere Plus Realty Co.Marco Island, FL - Marco Island, FL

I watched this HTV episode yesterday. I find this series very interseting and I'm just waiting fr the day when I only have to show  a buyer three properties and then they buy one. Having vacationed in Key West many times, we are only five hours drive from you on Marco Island, I found it to be informative. We are both lucky to live and work in such lovely areas. 

Mar 09, 2012 10:16 PM #1
Gary Thomas
Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. - Key West, FL

Susan, An agent in my office was the 'star' of another House Hunter episode a couple of years ago. She said the buyer had the home they selected under contract before the episode was filmed and that the other houses were for effect.

I actually had one buyer purchase the very first (and only) house we looked at. I wish selling was always that easy.


Mar 09, 2012 10:49 PM #2
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

One positive thing is you can always find a home in Key West with such a wide variety to choose from. 

Key West is the best and so much history.

Mar 10, 2012 10:10 AM #3
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