March 26, 2012

The Bahia Honda Bridge - Home to a new "green" resort?

The Old Bahia Honda Bridge
The old, no longer used bridges of the Florida Keys Overseas Railroad are icons illustrating the unique history of our island home.  While some have been converted into fishing piers, others battle the elements in a test of time.

Proposed Resort atop the Bahia Honda Bridge
A European development group, Legend Systems Group, has a vision to build a "green" resort atop one of the most recognizable bridges in the Florida Keys - the old Bahia Honda Bridge. 

Proposed Resort atop the Bahia Honda Bridge
Dubbed "The Green Mile Bridge", plans call for approximately 300 rooms of various sizes and budgets, along with three to four restaurants and five to six bars, two transparent swimming pools and a variety of shopping venues. A noiseless "train" will deliver people along the bridge to their rooms and entertainment spots.

The developer submitted a modest proposal to Governor Rick Scott in October, which was forwarded to to the state Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Recreation and Parks.The State did not immediately reject the proposal.

The old Bahia Honda Bridge, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered part of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.

How will the residents of the Keys react to one of it's beloved icons being turned into a modern resort?

Learn more about the proposed resort at:

March 19, 2012

Real Estate Activity in the Florida Keys from March 5th to March 18th, 2012

Spring break is in action here in the Keys, giving many of our local businesses some much needed business.  At the same time, we are in "season" for the real estate market.  198 new listings came on the market in the last two weeks, 82 properties sold and a whopping 140 properties went under contract.

New Listing - 216 Treasure Harbor Road
One of the new listings is my new listing at 216 Treasure Harbor Road. This cute conch home has already generated a little buzz, with several calls and showings.  It's a 2/2 home on a protected harbor in Islamorada, offered at just $650,000. For more information, visit

Pending Sale - 2950 Yellowtail Drive
Pending sales include a gorgeous bank owned property in Marathon on the open water, with great views of the Atlantic. It is in fantastic shape and even has a pool overlooking the ocean. It was on the market for just 86 days when it went under contract.

Sold Listing -200 Thompsonville Road
Closed listings include a 3/2 home on a quiet lane in Tavernier. 200 Thompsonville Road just sold for $140,000. It has a screened porch, large rooms and is close to everything in the Tavernier/Islamorada area. It was listed as a short sale.

For more information follow the links below:

New Listings
Pending Sales
Sold Sales

Listing information gathered from the Florida Keys Board of Realtors. Listing links will automatically expire after 4/18/2012

March 14, 2012

New Certification - At Home With Diversity

I'm proud to announce that I have just achieved the At Home With Diversity certification offered by the National Association of Realtors.

At Home With Diversity® is an educational experience designed to present a picture of the changing face of the real estate industry. More importantly, the class teaches REALTORS® how to work effectively with — and within — a rapidly changing multicultural market.

The marketplace is diversifying every day. Immigrants and minorities are a major source of business for the real estate industry. According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, the total minority buying power in the U.S was $1.5 trillion in 2002. Homeownership rates among immigrants are also rising at rates such that, minorities will account for an estimated two-thirds of the new household growth in the United States in the next ten years.

At Home With Diversity® was the first step in a process NAR began in 1998 to enhance the association's comprehensive diversity initiative to better accomplish its goals. Specifically, the training enhances the ability those involved in the real estate transaction to develop clients and customers in the growing immigrant and minority population. 


March 13, 2012

Below Flood . . . Above Flood . . . What does it mean?

If you're a buyer looking at property in the Florida Keys, chances are you've heard the terms "below flood" and "above flood", usually in regards to an enclosed area below the main living level of a home.

The terms are in reference to what floodplain the home is built in. Each area of the Keys has been mapped to determine flood zones for each area. For instance, if the home you're considering buying is in a flood zone AE9, then the lowest finished level of the home needs to be at least 9 feet above sea level. If the lowest finished elevation of the home is below 9 feet, that portion of the home is said to be below flood.

The Land Development Regulations of Monroe County do provide for the construction, with a building permit, of a limited amount of storage area below the flood level. But that area must be storage only. It cannot be finished off as a separate living area. Living area generally means an enclosed area that has electricity, plumbing, finished walls or flooring and/or is air conditioned or otherwise suitable for living or actually being utilized as living area.

What are the consequences of owning a home with an illegal, below flood living are?

Flood Insurance: FEMA, the source for flood insurance in the Keys, is requiring homeowners to complete and inspection with Monroe County to certify that the home does not have an illegal downstairs enclosure. Failure to allow such inspection could prevent you from obtaining flood insurance, which is a condition of most mortgages.

Code Enforcement Violation: Monroe County is currently actively enforcing a ban against illegal below flood enclosures. The County can insist the structures be removed and impose serious fines against the property ($250 per day) until the structure is removed. Note that it does not matter if the current homeowner enclosed the structure or if it was there when he purchased it.

Future Improvements: If you apply for a building permit, Monroe County will require an inspection of your property prior to obtaining a permit.  If your home or the home you are considering buying has an illegal enclosure, you will not be able to obtain building permits and legally perform any work on the home unless and until you remove the illegal enclosure or modify it to conform to the law.

Exceptions:  Naturally, there are a few exceptions. Some homes have legal living areas  below the flood level that were permitted and built before the enactment of prohibition ("Pre-Firm", December 31, 1974). These structures are considered to be legal, non-conforming. As a rule, they may be kept, but they may have to be removed if the home is re-built (after damage from storm, fire, flood, etc) or if the property is significantly renovated so as to require the house to be in compliance with the present Land Development Regulations.

For more information, please see the following document prepared by Russel Yagel of Hershoff, Lupino & Yagel, Attorneys at Law. It is an excellent source of information regarding the permitting process in Monroe County.

A Guide to Understanding the Residential Building Permit Process and Flood Insurance Issues in Monroe County, Florida.

March 09, 2012

New Listings, Pending Sales and Closed Sales for the week of February 27th thru March 4th, 2012

It's great to be back at home after attending the Century 21 Global Conference in New Orleans!  The market has been busy while I was away, too. 93 new listings came on the market, 51 properties went under contract and 61 properties closed.

Palacio Coco Plum - offered at $4,497,000
Palacio Coco Plum is one of the new listings. If your looking for luxury, this is it. This magnificent estate sits on a private white sand beach and features over 7,000 sq. ft. of living space! It is simply gorgeous, with marble floors and granite counters.  It is being offered at $4,497,000.

19506 Seminole - pending sale
Pending listings include a short sale on Sugarloaf. Listed at $185,000, this 2 bedroom, 2 bath home was on the active market for just 14 days - proving that there are good deals still out there. It is located in a nice neighborhood not far from Key West.

19 S. Coco Plum Road - sold for $400,000
Closed sales included a sold CBS home on the water in Key Largo for just $400,000. It had been on the market since 2007, when it was originally listed for $1,275,000! It was also listed as a short sale.  3 bedrooms and 2 baths upstairs, with a 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment downstairs.

Follow the links to view the listings:

New Listings
Pending Sales
Closed Sales

Listing information gathered from the Florida Keys Board of Realtors MLS. Listing links will automatically expire after 4/8/2012

March 08, 2012

Great waterfront home in Islamorada! Mere minutes to the open water

216 Treasure Harbor Road
Wonderful waterfront living is yours to enjoy in this two bedroom, two bath home with  Old Florida Charm!  Located in the Village of Islamorada on a protected harbor, this is true Keys living!

A wonderful Old Florida classic!
The home was built in 1958, but has been updated to modern standards.  All tile flooring throughout the main home makes for easy maintenance. Being offered fully furnsihed, this home is ready for you to move in and start your new adventure in the Florida Keys.

View of protected harbor
With a very open floor plan, the home offers a combined living and dining area as well as an inviting Florida Room / Living Room.  The kitchen is very spacious and features an eat-at counter as well as small bar and seating area.

Located on a protected harbor, this home offers 70' feet of dockage and is mere minutes away from the open ocean.  Easy bay access is available via Snake Creek, just around the corner. The property is even adjacent to the community boat ramp, with ramp privileges reserved for the owners of this small neighborhood. 

Outside you'll find a wonderful covered lanai overlooking the harbor - a perfect place for outdoor dining and entertaining. There is also a large backyard with room for a pool and plenty of areas for basking in the sun.

Call today to start enjoying your new Florida Keys waterfront home in a great location at an unbeatable price!

Offered at $650,000.  

Learn more at 

March 01, 2012

Florida Keys Market Update - February 13th to February 26th, 2012. New listings, pending sales and closed transactions

'Tis the season!  No, not holiday season - real estate season! Nearly every Realtor I talk to is busy, busy, busy. This is a good thing!  There are a lot of buyers in town and they are actively looking at property.  A qucik look at the numbers for the last two weeks appears to confirm this: 214 new listings, 183 pending sales and 106 closings! Here are a few that stood out.

#3216 Ocean Pointe - $349,000
New listings include two new listings of mine at Ocean Pointe. Unit 3216 is and end unit with ocean views, one of only two others on the market. Unit 4205 is a totally updated and gorgeous unit with the Atlantic Ocean just a stone's throw from your balcony.  They are each listed at $349,000.

75161 Overseas Highway - Pending Sale
Pending sales include one of my favorite homes in the Upper Keys. This beach home directly on the ocean offers lots of sun with large open views in nearly every room.  With 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, it offers nearly 1800 sq. ft. of lliving space. It was listed at $1,000,000 at time of contract.

1006 Seventeenth Street - Sold for $320,000
Sold listings include a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on a large lot in Key West. Listed as a short sale, it has an updated kitchen, large bedrooms and 5,700 sq. ft. of land. Located in "new town", it is close to everything Key West has to offer.  It sold for $320,000.

To view the listings, follow the links below:

New Listings
Pending Sales
Sold Listings

Listing information is gathered from the Florida Keys MLS (Multiple Listing Service. Listing links witll automatically expire after 3/31/2012.

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