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Buying a home in the Keys

Old 05-16-2020, 05:47 AM
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Default Buying a home in the Keys

Hope everyone is doing well.

My wife and I are tossing around the idea of buying a 2nd home. One of the places we are looking is the Florida Keys. I wanted to see if anyone would like to share their experiences. Good or Bad..

Initial thought is to buy where weekly rentals are allowed. For those of you who own in the keys what recommendations do you have? Anything you wish you knew prior to purchasing? Area? Do’s and Don’ts? Sweet spot on price vs value?

Thanks for anyone who shares anything you feel is valuable for a first time buyer in the Keys?

Nick

Last edited by 76 Mako 23; 05-16-2020 at 06:06 AM.
Old 05-16-2020, 06:11 AM
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I have owned second home on canal in lower keys since 2001. The area only allows 28 day rentals.

I did mostly vacation rentals and personal use 2001-2012 and found I could reliably rent winter season and cover the cost. June and July were also fairly easy to rent. I ended up using it less and putting less effort into rentals by around 2010, then decided to do long term rental by 2012-current. That has worked out well.

My thoughts:
-ocean side
-weekly allowance if you can find and use management company
-no mortgage and just carry liability and fire to save from horrendous insurance price.
-not too big a deal, but try to find with city sewage already complete ​​​
-check min depth at low tide from dock to channel
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Old 05-16-2020, 07:11 AM
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Are you buying to use it or for investment.

I did a lot of leg work and looked real hard several times to the point of making offers. I really missed out on one in Summerland key in 2002.
500K in 2002. It sold for 750K in 2006. Then again for 550K in 2009. So there is that to consider.
After 20 years of renting up to 2 months at a time and getting to know the owners very well of the last 2 homes I rented I would advise you to spend 2 consecutive months on the rock. I could deal with it full time but others can not.



Tons of variables but your gonna pay a lot per square foot in comparison to many other places. It looks to me like the prices are pretty inflated right now and are trending down a little. With the way this event is unfolding I would be hesitant to buy for investment purposes right now. Of course I said the same thing back in 2002 so that just goes to show you how smart I am.

I wonder what increases are to come as far as insurance goes.

I also have never cared much for the bay side homes cause if I'm gonna live down there my boat isn't gonna fit under any low bridges.
Old 05-16-2020, 07:24 AM
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PM sent
Old 05-16-2020, 07:43 AM
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https://www.realtor.com/realestatean...0_M63445-61143


might consider a monthly rental during the summer
Old 05-16-2020, 08:04 AM
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I have friends with homes/condo's on each side (bay & ocean)......

Oceanside has nice breeze - bay side can get a bit hot in the summer but better view...

Not sure where you want to fish/boat - Try to be close to a channel with access to both side....

After doing the math - Its cheaper for us to stay at a hotel for a few days ...

A bit expensive in the winter - but in the summer you can find a nice hotel for under $200 a night ..
Old 05-16-2020, 08:13 AM
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Go on Zillow and look at histories. You will see the example I experienced over and over right after the crash. Some folks got burned at the tune of 40%.

Homes at present are right at pre crash prices. It's kinda like playing the stock market. Sometimes you have to be able hold on to not get burned. Some folks just can't.
Old 05-16-2020, 08:15 AM
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The weekly/transient rentals do not transfer with a sale. They real make it difficult to obtain. Don't think about cheating, because it will cost you big time.. Had mine 16 years and paid cash. Still worth about the same, but it produces a decent return. Lot's of maintenance. I think I hear something breaking now...
Old 05-16-2020, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by triplenet View Post
I have friends with homes/condo's on each side (bay & ocean)......

Oceanside has nice breeze - bay side can get a bit hot in the summer but better view...

Not sure where you want to fish/boat - Try to be close to a channel with access to both side....

After doing the math - Its cheaper for us to stay at a hotel for a few days ...

A bit expensive in the winter - but in the summer you can find a nice hotel for under $200 a night ..
Agree with above, having owned property in the Keys its much easier to rent when needed and not deal with maintenance, hurricanes and renters. When the market eventually crashes again it may be worth buying.
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Old 05-16-2020, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by kennyboy View Post
The weekly/transient rentals do not transfer with a sale. They real make it difficult to obtain. Don't think about cheating, because it will cost you big time.. Had mine 16 years and paid cash. Still worth about the same, but it produces a decent return. Lot's of maintenance. I think I hear something breaking now...
do you need a special permit to rent weekly? Seems like it is based on area. For instance it looks like lower keys are 28 day and middle/upper keys are minimum 7 day.
Old 05-16-2020, 12:28 PM
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This has been on my mind as well.
We are thinking of our semi retirement/ retirement areas.
Originally thinking Out of the country, an island area in the Carib somewhere. With all this Covid thing going on, re thinking that.
Old 05-16-2020, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by elmo3891 View Post
do you need a special permit to rent weekly? Seems like it is based on area. For instance it looks like lower keys are 28 day and middle/upper keys are minimum 7 day.
it is different rules for different areas but you need a permit for both.
Old 05-16-2020, 12:33 PM
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You do need a license in marathon to offer weekly rentals.
It's pretty straight forward...esp if your future mgmt/realtor is aboard.
Requires emer exit lighting / safety barrier to the dock like a pool would be etc.
Where else can you cover your owner expenses with 8-10 rentals per annum ?
And have a vacation place to boot.
Old 05-16-2020, 12:53 PM
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I'm thinking if selling after 10 yrs, link below. 1 week rentals, bay view and 31' slip.
Old 05-16-2020, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by elmo3891 View Post
do you need a special permit to rent weekly? Seems like it is based on area. For instance it looks like lower keys are 28 day and middle/upper keys are minimum 7 day.
You need a state and county license. Then Islamorada charges $1000 per year. (That was supposed to be only for 1st year and then $200 afterwards. Then they got greedy.) It is not that easy to get. Based on tax valuations of a certain amount. Then annual inspections and tests.
Old 05-16-2020, 02:09 PM
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Thought numerous times of buying. Subscribed to keynoter even to read local happenings. Got honest with costs and what it would take on upkeep.
Then the DRIVE, the drive would've killed it after awhile, well that and worrying about hurricanes. People do it and I admire them but for me the juice wasn't worth the squeeze.
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Old 05-16-2020, 02:34 PM
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We are in Marathon. Weekly rentals, hospital, movie theater, Publix, 24 hour walgreens, Friday night football, easy access to ocean and bay. I don't think any other place in the Keys has all of that.

At this point you need to have the cash to carry the home, because no waterfront 3 bedroom home can carry the costs of a 500k purchase (400k mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc). A 600k purchase price is more realistic. There are always deals, but they go quickly. Getting a remodel or general contractor work is an expensive nightmare. Keys disease/Keys time is a real thing.

We purchased multiple homes in the early 2000's and have done well. 40-60k annual gross on a 3-4 bedroom home is realistic. We got beat up after 9/11, multiple hurricanes, the gulf oil spill, and now covid. You have to be ready to roll with the punches.
Old 05-16-2020, 02:50 PM
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Lots of really good and valuable information. Thank you!
Old 05-16-2020, 04:00 PM
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We love our home/our situation, but make sure you can cover the costs without the rental income. Irma killed our rentals 2018, and now covid in 2020. Our keys house was our first house, we moved because our kids were diagnosed with autism and we had to be in a more capable area for services. We didn't want to lose the house and we needed the rentals to pay the mortgage at first since we now had two homes and mortgages. It worked out well, but there were some rough times, high credit card debt, and anxiety.
Old 05-16-2020, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Ricci View Post
We love our home/our situation, but make sure you can cover the costs without the rental income. Irma killed our rentals 2018, and now covid in 2020. Our keys house was our first house, we moved because our kids were diagnosed with autism and we had to be in a more capable area for services. We didn't want to lose the house and we needed the rentals to pay the mortgage at first since we now had two homes and mortgages. It worked out well, but there were some rough times, high credit card debt, and anxiety.
This explains it for many^^^^^^ I believe this is a honest answer

You better have a love for it!
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