Posted: Mar 08, 2012 / Key West
What are Key West Local Home Buyers Looking For?

‚Äč‚ÄčThere are two categories of "locals" in Key West - Conchs, those born in Key West, and everyone else.  Many Conch's live in property that has been passed from generation to generation. Some opt to rent and purchase property of their own but still the Conch Mafia intercedes to locate property. Competition for a new home is high as Key West is densely packed and there is very little room for new construction.  It is difficult for a growing family to find homes that will grow with them.  The cost of property moves up quickly and wages usually lag.  Most locals have a network of people helping them find their next home and when there is a hint of availability the home-looker has to strike and strike quickly.

Local Key West home buyers are looking for:

  • More than what they bought a few years ago
  • To stay in the Key West Community and grow the size of their family in a larger home
  • Prices have have rolled back to 2004 levels but that doesn’t mean there are any giveaways.

50% of ridiculous doesn’t mean homes are any more affordable, just less ridiculous.

A young family I know, a couple under 32 years old with a 5 year old, want to have more children and would like a larger home.


Six years ago this young couple bought a small place downtown with the help of a friend and while they are reasonably comfortable, the young couple know where they are at is not good enough to stay and grow a family.


Local Key West families home buyers are looking for a home of their own for now and the next 10 years.

  • Locals know prices .
  • He patrols the neighborhoods while plying his trade.
  • She keeps good contact with business associates who know how to know who to know.
  • Together they have co-opted every friend to help in their quest.
  • Their Realtor, me, rounds out the search party.

Young home buyers in Key West work hard to meet the high cost of living. This young couple does not want a major fixer upper. These are some of the priorities local home buyers have:

Priority #1.

Stay on the island. Commuting, gas prices and response time to either of their businesses is better when living in Key West then east of Cow Key Channel.

Priority #2

Single family home in a neighborhood of single family homes. They want to walk and bike their kids on streets mostly free of drive-through traffic.

Priority #3

Minimum 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, some room-to-grow land for an office, den or another bedroom, all wrapped up under an inspection ready roof.

Priority #4

Please, please as close to under $350K as possible.

Priority #5

Something that looks cool. Something distinctive. Anything. Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz. We just want something that our friends will pat us on the back for being smart enough and lucky enough to have bought. Amens.


And so they look. And we look. And listen for some insider trading rumor of a house being for sale for any reason at all.


They’ve looked at homes just off beaten paths. Good fences may make good neighbors but they don’t keep down the noise of commuters coming in from east of Cow Key Channel.


They’ve looked at homes that looked like a path was beaten to and through the door. (I don’t understand it. Is it so hard to cut and trim, rake, bag and discard yard debris. The payoff is immediate and the curb becomes a-pealing.)


They’ve looked at homes that needed sweat equity and have come away drained.


They’ve looked at homes that mostly fit their priorities but half a millionare they ain’t.


They’re savvy enough about what a good house is and isn’t so they don’t need to have pluses and minuses pointed out. Trading observations is better. We mix and match imagination. I have a pretty good handle on her desires, his are more clouded. Follow up is critical even when we’re headed down a dead end.


We’re in this lifeboat together and no one is going to pull a William Bendix.


They continue to live for that future day and sock away the change that used to go down the drain when they lived for the moment. Soon Priority #4 of $350K will inch up to $375K or even $400K. But with a rebounding market, average sales prices in Key West increased in 2011 for the first time since 2006, they might just be keeping up instead of getting ahead.


Their entourage keeps looking under every rock and clam and the automatic search system set up by me lets them and I know if something pops up official in the MLS. They want to live in Paradise but so do many others.


At least they’re not renting, moving every 51 weeks ‘cause of rising rents or homes being sold out from underneath them. What they now have is theirs and for that they are thankful.


Key West local Buyers are looking for Key West to call their own, 1400 square feet on a 6000 square foot lot. A Poinciana, bougainvilleas and room for a pool. Newton St., Varela, Florida, Harris, Seidenberg, 17th and Donald.


All around the town.


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