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An investment in the Florida Keys is always a good idea. With limited inventory and total home sales on a steady upward trajectory year after year, now’s the time to consider buying your slice of subtropical paradise. From Key Largo to Key West, there’s a wide range of real estate to choose from depending on your tastes. Let us be your guide to the best Florida Keys to buy in right now.

exterior view of two story old town key west home

What kind of real estate is right for you?

Do you have your heart set on a classic conch cottage in Old Town Key West with gingerbread latticework or do you see yourself in a high rise condominium on the beach? Town homes and duplexes are in abundance throughout the Keys and there’s also plenty to choose from when it comes to mobile home communities. If you’re considering an investment property, there are timeshare programs, as well as vacation rental management agencies to handle the logistics.

back porch sunset key home

So where in the Keys do you want to buy?

At Mile Marker 0, Key West is the end of the road and roughly 150 miles to the mainland, approximately three and a half hours by car. This is where you buy when you want to lead the true laid back Keys lifestyle – That means beach cruisers, flip-flops, Duval Street and all the offshore pleasures of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for having the most expensive real estate in the Keys, but that also means more opportunity for appreciation on your investment.

The farther from the center of Old Town you go, the more affordable the real estate. In New Town, you can find two- and three-bedroom single family homes on large lots that are more affordable than the small conch cottages in Old Town. You can also look at condos in the Casa Marina area along the beaches at the southern edge of the island.

Just north of Key West, Stock Island continues to develop offering a wide range of affordable properties and great value with just a short drive to Old Town.

one story home exterior florida keys

Key Largo is a great option for those who consider proximity to the mainland important. At just over an hour from downtown Miami, Key Largo makes the Florida Keys easily accessible to anyone in South Florida. It’s a great option if you’re looking to buy a vacation home to use on the weekends. Key Largo is also notable for the widest range of property value, from affordable to luxury. There are lots of classic dining destinations to enjoy and plenty of shopping stretching from Key Largo to South Dade.

Islamorada is the sport fishing capital of the world and it’s one of the most desirable keys for those who love the outdoors, especially the water. From its abundant marinas to lavish waterfront properties, excellent dining and great live music venues, Islamorada has an air of sophistication and the good life in the Upper Keys.

Located at the midway point along the Overseas Highway between Key West and the mainland, Marathon offers the best of both worlds to homebuyers. This is a quiet, residential key with a nice blend of multi-generational Keys families, longtime residents and newcomers. It offers privacy and a peaceful lifestyle at an affordable price for those looking to escape the trappings of urban life and commune with the nature that the Keys are famous for.

If your heart is set on buying a home in the Keys, chances are you’ll find the right match and make a solid investment. Welcome to paradise!

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At the southernmost point in the Continental United States, Key West is a dream vacation for many. The laidback island offers endless blue seas ideal for boating, Duval Street with a raucous nightlife, great dining with creative chefs, fresh, local seafood and charming Victorian architecture with a fascinating history. Located 150 miles south of mainland Florida and at just eight square miles of land, this remote destination is also known for expensive hotel prices with average daily room rates comparable to those in New York City and Hawaii.

key west conch cottage

In order to make the most of your vacation budget, it’s smart to consider all of your options when it comes to where you stay. In addition to hotels, vacation rentals are also a popular option and can save you money not only on accommodations, but also on dining out since you’ll have a full kitchen where you can prepare your own meals.

The first thing to take into consideration when you’re planning a Key West vacation is the time of year. In general, high season kicks off at the end of October with Fantasy Fest and runs through springtime. Shoulder season is early summer and early fall with the slowest time of year in August and September. There’s also a spike in occupancy during holidays like Christmas, New Year’s and Memorial Day Weekend, as well as during special events in Key West like Parrothead Weekend or Bike Week. Peak season hotel rates can be twice as high as low season.

key west boutique hotel

If you’re visiting Key West during peak season or with a large group, then a vacation rental is definitely your best option. Preferred Properties offers a wide inventory of vacation rentals for every budget. Whether it’s a studio conch cottage for a couple or a six-bedroom historic mansion that sleeps up to 12 people, Preferred Properties has vacation rentals across the island from Old Town to New Town.

key west vacation rental bedroom

Many people prefer vacation rentals for the privacy and comfort of a home away from home with spacious accommodations, full kitchens, multiple bedrooms and even private swimming pools and backyards. When splitting the cost amongst a group of friends, you’ll almost always save on a vacation rental versus separate hotel rooms; and you can also cut costs by cooking some meals at home, especially breakfast.

Vacation rentals can also be a major money saver if you’re staying for an extended vacation. Whether it’s one week or one month, the cost of a long-term rental will almost always be more affordable than a nightly hotel rate for the same period of time.

Whatever brings you to Key West, there are plenty of accommodation options between hotels and vacation rentals. However, the island is a popular vacation destination and it’s always a good to book your vacation rentals well in advance!

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Talk about the definition of living the tropical paradise dream! If you’ve ever considered an extended stay at the southernmost point in the continental United States but thought it would take too much planning, know that it’s easier than you think. Read our guide of helpful tips and tricks for spending a month long vacation in Key West, including how to get around the island and things to do.

Secure a Vacation Rental
The first step to beginning your extended stay in Key West is to secure that charming conch cottage in Old Town shaded by palm fronds with bright bougainvillea crawling across the white picket fence. The best way to get a sense of the inventory in town and to pick the spot that meets your needs and budget is to go through a local realtor like Preferred Properties. We know the island from the hidden gems to the popular sites and are here to help you find the perfect island getaway.

preferred-properties

Travel Around by Bicycle
If you’re staying in Old Town, the best way to get around the island is by bicycle. You can rent one from a local bike shop, but sometimes buying a clunker off of the used rack is more cost effective for an extended stay. Either way, this mode of transportation is the best of everything. Not only does a bike mean no more worrying about parking, but it’s also a fun and easy way to get some exercise.

Join the Community
A month long stay in Key West is the ultimate way to fully relax and leave your worries behind on the main land. Even better, you’ll be feeling like a Key West local by the end of it. Join the Conch Republic community by finding a temporary job or volunteer opportunity on the island. You could be a deckhand on a snorkeling catamaran and spend your days on the water. Or if the Key West nightlife is more your style, you could pick up a few shifts tending bar to meet locals and tourists alike. Perhaps you’re interested in the arts and culture. You could volunteer to work the concession stand at Key West’s indie movie theater, Tropic Cinema.

Take on a Hobby
Key West offers the kind of diversions you won’t find in other cities. With the sparkling Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico converging on the island’s shores, it’s a great opportunity to try your hand at watersports. Whether it’s boating, wakeboarding, paddleboarding or fishing, Key West has so much to offer beginner and experienced watersports enthusiasts.

There’s also a strong creative community in Key West. Whether you want to explore painting, theater, writing or gardening, there are many organizations to join. For starters, check out the Studios of Key West to meet like-minded individuals, sign up for a class or workshop and attend gallery openings and performances.

fury-paddle-board

Visit the Sights
Hemingway House – Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway is easily Key West’s most famous former resident. He and his second wife Pauline occupied a home on Whitehead Street during most of the 1930s. Today, it’s a museum dedicated to the author, his writing and his adventurous life in Key West.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park & Beach – Fort Zach is Key West’s most beautiful beach. Located at the southern edge of the island with views out to the Atlantic Ocean, it’s also home to a Civil War fort and nature trails.

Key West Lighthouse – Get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful island by scaling to the top of this coastal beauty.

Custom House – The Custom House is home to the Key West Art & Historical Society. The institution is a great starting place to learn about Key West’s quirky history and view thought provoking exhibits featuring both local and international artists.

Mallory Square – Gazing out at the sunset as it sinks into the western horizon is a nightly ritual in Key West and you have to experience the view from Mallory Square at least once while you’re in town. Street performers and musicians put on a show for the crowd gathered before the water.

mallory-square-sunset-celebration

Stop by the Local Hangouts
The Porch & The Other Side – If you want to meet locals, you have to hang out where the locals do. The Porch and The Other Side are sister bars located across the foyer from each other inside a historic Victorian mansion on Caroline Street. The Porch specializes in craft beer, while The Other Side is dedicated to some of the best cocktails you’ll find on the island.

2 Cents Restaurant & Pub – Also owned by the folks behind The Porch and The Other Side, 2 Cents is a chilled out gastropub plating ambitious and craveworthy dishes. It also has a lively, yet laidback bar scene.

Thirsty Mermaid – The Thirsty Mermaid is the newest restaurant behind the team that brought the island Blackfin Bistro. Expect locally caught fish, oysters and a creative chef-driven menu.

Green Parrot Bar – Green Parrot is the ultimate locals bar and the place to hear killer live music on the weekend. It’s a little bit hippy and a little bit rock ‘n roll. Prepare to dance, swig beer and have a great night.

green-parrot

Explore the Rest of the Florida Keys
While you’re in Key West for a month, why not discover all the Florida Keys have to offer? Rent a car, or be adventurous with an open top Jeep, and feel the breeze in your hair as you travel north to Big Pine, Marathon, Islamorada and Key Largo along the Florida Scenic Highway. Each island has its own identity with plenty to explore.

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There’s more to selling your home than hammering a For Sale sign into the lawn. In fact, there’s a lot to it. From pricing to staging and making your home stand out from the competition, here are the top tips for selling your home in Key West.

preferred-properties-fleming-outside

Know the Market Value

Pricing your home competitively at the fair market value is easily the single-most important factor in selling your home. This is where a professional real estate agent is imperative. They’ll advise you of your home’s value given the current state of the market. With so much information available online, buyers are more informed than ever and will quickly dismiss a listing out of touch with market prices.

Make Sure the Online Listing is Attractive

In today’s digital world, the first impression a buyer gets of your home is oftentimes the online listing. Make sure it presents your home in the best possible light. This means that all of the essential information is presented clearly without anything missing. High quality photos are also essential. It’s worth it to hire a professional photographer, stage the shoot and capture each room from the most attractive angle. Shoot during the daytime to maximize natural light. When it comes to selling your home, a picture really is worth a thousand words, or dollars.

De-Clutter Your Space

This tip should come as no surprise, but you must make sure your home is clutter free. No matter how great you know your home is, prospective buyers won’t see its value or charm through a fog of clutter.

preferred-properties-fleming-living-room

Allow a Buyer to Visualize Their Life

This is the other tried and true tip for showing. Clear the home of family photos, trophies and personal mementos. Buyers want to picture their future inside the home, which can be difficult when they see your personal memories scattered about. Create a blank canvas for them to fill in.

Always Be Ready to Show

While your house is on the market, you need to keep it in a perpetual state of being ready to show. This not only means maintaining a home that’s clean and clutter free, but also available when buyers want to come visit. If they can’t see the island of your home, they’re certainly not going to buy it.

Maximize Lighting

Good light is one of the most attractive qualities for buyers. In Key West, natural light is often easy to come by, but make sure you maximize the effects. Remove heavy curtains and make sure windows are clean. If rooms don’t have great natural light, make sure they’re well lit with attractive lamps.

preferred-properties-fleming-bedroom

Strategize Home Improvement Projects

Don’t go overboard with home improvements and remodeling before you put your home on the market. These costly improvements can be too time consuming and don’t always drive up the value. However, if you’re going to upgrade anything, make it the kitchen. This space is the heart and soul of your home and an updated kitchen is one of the most attractive qualities to a potential buyer.

Beware of Dog

Just because you love Fido doesn’t mean buyers will appreciate him barking at the front door when they arrive or jumping all over them during a showing. From allergies to phobias, it’s best to keep your pets at bay in a safe and relaxing space until the showing has concluded.

Create Added Value Temptations

How can you make your home stand out from the competition? Include the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, a flat-screen TV or brand new furniture with the purchase of the home. These value added temptations can be the tipping point for buyers who are looking for a move-in ready home.

Curb and Pool Appeal

Staging the exterior of your home is just as import as the interior, especially in Key West where you spend so much time outdoors. Make sure the lawn is mowed and the tropical foliage is trimmed and tidy. And doesn’t forget about the parts of the house unseen from the street; this tip goes for both the front and back lawns. The pool should be clean and new outdoor furniture can make a big visual impact. If you’re selling an older conch cottage, a fresh coat of bright paint doesn’t hurt either.

preferred-properties-fleming-poolside

Replace Tarnished Accents

Key West’s corrosive salt air can wreak havoc on exterior brass fixtures like doorknobs, house numbers and mailboxes. While they may seem like small details, tarnished fixtures can age your home in the eyes of potential buyers. Give your hom

 

Are you planning a Key West getaway to be spent in the lap of luxury? Or maybe you simply want to daydream about the island paradise. Look no further than our roundup of the most expansive and luxurious Key West vacation rentals. Ranging from updated conch cottages with picturesque front porches to palatial estates with private swimming pools and hot tubs, this small island has it all. Feast your eyes on these tropical sanctuaries.

casa-royal

Casa Royal

Available Through Preferred Properties

This beautifully updated hideaway boasts stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, skylights and modern bathrooms with a main house and pool cottage. This is sure to complete your chic Key West getaway.

Amenities:
1,536 square feet
4 Bedroom/3 Bath
Sleeps 8
Private Swimming Pool, Washer/Dryer, WiFi, Grill
Price Upon Request

pineapple-cottage

Pineapple Cottage

Available Through Preferred Properties

Located just a block off Duval Street, this charming conch cottage features a beautifully landscaped back deck with private swimming pool and tropical-colonial décor.

Amenities:
2,000 square feet
2 Bedroom/2 Bath
Sleeps 4
Private Swimming Pool, Parking, Gated Property, WiFi, Washer/Dryer, Grill
Price Upon Request

Frangipani-on-Von-Phister

Frangipani on Von Phister

Available Through Preferred Properties

With beautiful marble and limestone slab flooring, updated furniture, a tropical pool and spacious upstairs balcony, the Frangipani on Von Phister is all luxury.

Amenities:
2,121 square feet
3 Bedroom/3 Bath
Sleeps 6
Private Swimming Pool, Gated Property, Washer/Dryer, WiFi, Tennis Rackets, Grill, Parking, Outdoor Shower, Balcony
Price Upon Request

Conch-Heaven

Conch Heaven

Available Through Preferred Properties

Located in the heart of Old Town, this spacious conch cottage features a wraparound porch, four poster beds and beautiful hardwood floors for a luxurious retreat.

Amenities:

4,284 square feet
5 Bedroom/5 Bath
Sleeps 10
Private Swimming Pool, WiFi, Washer/Dryer, Parking
Price Upon Request

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The Florida Keys are home to some of the best beaches around, the weather is pleasant year round and the island’s quirky culture can’t be matched. What many potential home buyers and sellers don’t realize is that the Florida Keys real estate market can be very different than that of South Florida and the state as a whole. As experts in the Lower Keys and Key West real estate market, Preferred Properties is providing an overview of the top real estate trends seen in 2015.

Here is a breakdown of various real estate statistics published by the Key West Association of Realtors from 2014 and 2015. Included in the data are the total home sales in Key West and the Lower Keys as well as selling price and days on marker. We will then examine how the real estate market has changed and identify the primary trends.

Key West Real Estate

Key West Home Sales

Key West Real Estate Data

Lower Keys Real Estate

Lower Keys Home Sales

Lower Keys Real Estate Data

Key Takeaways
It can be concluded that almost all key metrics have experienced an increase from 2014 to 2015. The only metric to see a decrease was the days on market for homes sold in the Lower Keys.

For both Key West and the Florida Keys, the total number of homes sold and the average and median home prices have increased. This trend is encouraging for homeowners interested in selling their homes at or above market value.

For homeowners eager to sell quickly, it is important to note that the average number of days on market for properties in the Lower Keys dropped by 18%.

The most popular months for home sales in Key West are March, April and July. On the other hand, the most popular months for home sales in the Lower Keys are March, April and October.

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If you’re shopping for a home in Key West, the market can be tricky to navigate without the guidance of an expert Realtor who knows the ups and downs of the market. At Preferred Properties, our Realtors have the skills, passion and insider knowledge to find and close the deal on your dream home. Here are a few reasons to work with a Realtor in Key West.

They Know the Market
Key West is an island with limited inventory in high demand and a market that’s constantly in flux. Whether you’re looking for a historic property in Old Town or a fixer upper in New Town, a Realtor can guide you down the right path without the headache and hassle of figuring it out yourself.

Historic Property

Objective Information and Opinions
Realtors are able to educate you on the realities of island living or provide advice for purchasing a vacation home. They have the ability to navigate the murky waters with ease and expertise when it comes to informed decision making. For those who are looking to purchase their first home, this information can become invaluable.

They Negotiate the Best Price for You
Knowing a home’s worth and the current market values are part of the job for Realtors. They’ll guide you through negotiations to get the best price for your new home.

They Organize Your Showings
Can you imagine making all those phone calls to different owners and arranging showings yourself? A Realtor sets everything up with their portfolio of contacts and established relationships.

They’ll Connect You to the Community
A Realtor does more than just find you your dream home, they can connect you with other professionals to make your new space move-in ready. From interior decorators to plumbers to landscape architects, your Realtor knows the best in the business on this small island.

Get the Insider Scoop
Who knows about inventory before it even goes on the market? Professional Realtors. To scoop up that hidden gem before anybody else does, work with a Realtor and take advantage of their insider knowledge.

They Get the Job Done
From contracts to homeowner’s associations, a Realtor is there to get the job done and get it done right when it comes to closing on a house. This is an essential step when it comes to inking the deal and making your dream home in paradise

love lane property

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Considering homeownership in Key West? Here are eight benefits of buying a home in paradise.

Property Value Appreciation
While property values may fluctuate throughout the rest of the country, real estate values in Key West manage to stay pretty steady because paradise is always in demand. With South Florida experiencing an economic boom, now is a great time to purchase that Key West dream home and watch its value rise. You can rest assured that the purchase of a Key West home will be a solid long term investment.

Where Better to Own a Vacation Home?
From year round high temperatures in the 70s and 80s to a laidback “come as you are” vibe, Key West is an amazing place to own a second home. Whether it’s boating or bar hopping, the island offers ample entertainment and diversions anytime of year.

Limited Inventory
Key West is a small island of only eight square miles and historic preservation laws limit new developments and maintain a consistent aesthetic throughout the island. That’s why there are so many charming conch cottages and Victorian-style mansions coveted by many. This limited inventory makes the housing market competitive, so if you’ve found the gem of your heart’s desire, scoop it up before somebody else does.

Benefits of Buying a House in Key West

Slice of the Caribbean Without an International Flight
Perhaps the dream of an ex-pat island lifestyle is alluring to you. In Key West you can have this disconnected existence without the hassle of getting a handle on international laws and customs. Key West has all the tropical island charm within the familiarity of the United States.

Secondary Rental Income
Owning a Key West home as a vacation property can be a lucrative investment if you take advantage of the secondary income available through rental programs. Many condos offer management companies to work out all the logistics or you can take advantage of services like AirB&B to earn income on your home while you’re away.

Local Community
When you become a homeowner in Key West, you gain membership into a group that every tourist wishes they were a part of, that of the Key West local. You’re now a part of the creative, fascinating melting pot of those who call Key West home. In no time you’ll come to know almost everyone that you run into on your daily routine, from the local coffee shop to the marina to your favorite bar in the evening.

Benefits of Buying a House in Key West

Always Have a Place to Call Home on the Island
When everyone’s clamoring for a hotel room or a rental property during peak season (think Fantasy Fest, New Year’s Eve, Key West Songwriters Festival), you’ll be glad you have your own little pied a terre in Key West.

Better Investment Than Renting
If you’re weighing the pros and cons of renting and buying in Key West, buying is almost always a better long-term investment. Rent in Key West continues to rise steadily, while the market for buying homes has remained steady. Lock in your mortgage payments now and make a charming Key West house your home for good.

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The good news about going green with your home is that energy-efficient also means money-efficient. By making just a few small changes in your home, you can drastically limit your carbon footprint and your energy bills. Read on for the top ways to go green with your home in Key West.

Limit Your Air-Conditioning Use
This one might sound easier said than done in the sub-tropics, but it’s actually quite simple to limit your air-conditioning use in Key West. In the cooler winter months, open those French doors wide open to your back patio and switch off the a/c. Install ceiling fans to circulate the air in an energy efficient manner. During warmer months, whenever you leave your home, turn the a/c temperature up until you return home. The same goes, of course, for lights in your home.

Preferred Properties Key West Ways To Go Green

Choose Paint Low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
If you’re renovating your Key West home, be sure to do the research and use paint that is low in toxic VOCs.

Take a European Approach to Laundry
Key West is all about a simplified approach to life, so hopefully that already means less laundry. Ditch the energy-draining dryer altogether and instead dry your clothes on dryer racks or even on clotheslines outside.

Energy Star Standards
Let Energy Star standards be your guide to purchasing refrigerators and dishwashers. This gold seal of consumer confidence means the large appliance is energy efficient.

Give Composting a Go
If you’ve got a beautiful front yard blossoming with bougainvillea and palm trees, reuse your waste with a compost bin. The nutrient-rich soil that you produce will be magic to your tropical flora. Your yard will be the envy of the block—naturally!

Composting

Install a Water Aerator
Water aerators add air to the water flow of your sinks, allowing for more efficient water consumption.

Air Purifying House Plants
You can purify the air in your home naturally with a whole host of houseplants that thrive in Key West’s hot and sunny climate. Top choices include aloe vera, spider plants, dracaena, ficus trees, bamboo and peace lilies.

Use Natural Household Cleansers
This is one of the easiest things you can do to keep your home toxin free. Natural household cleansers, like Mrs. Meyers and Green Works, are easier than ever to find at pharmacies and grocery stores. It’s also possible to create your own natural cleansers with common household items, like baking soda, white vinegar and lemon.

Green Household Cleaners

Unplug Household Appliances
This is a time-honored method to reduce your energy consumption. Unplug small appliances like microwaves, blenders and toasters when you’re not using them.

Consider Solar Panels
If you really want to take “going green” to the next level, consider installing solar panels for the most energy efficient home possible. While it’s an investment upfront, it’s one that will pay off exponentially over time with dramatically lower energy bills.

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