Florida Keys Real Estate News

We are preparing "Finally" for our vacation to the Bahamas! ?We're going to explore The Berry Islands this time. Has anyone been? ?I'll take any suggestions you may have!
?Curt even took her out this weekend and it was the perfect day to clean her bottom.
?Now you can catch me counting down the days until vacay!

Posted by Claire Johnson on May 23rd, 2022 3:04 PM
Welcome to my new Ocean front listing on Lower Matecumbe Key in Islamorada.  This 4 bedroom / 4 bathroom home has ocean views that go on forever. You can see Alligator Lighthouse and Indian Key State Park in the distance. The home offers 3200sf of living space plus an additional 1600sf of garage, storage and shaded outdoor space below.  The 100' wide beach allows easy entrance into the water, great for a launching kayaks and paddleboards. The home has been well maintained and an absolute pleasure to show. 

Posted by Claire Johnson on May 23rd, 2022 2:58 PM

Ocean Pointe Listing unit 1210. Ocean Pointe Condo units are individually owned but it is run like a resort, which means you can do nightly rentals. You can either rent thru the management company, thru an outside rental management company, on your own or you don't have to rent at all! 

This unit is a 2 bedroom / 2 bath unit that comes fully furnished, including kitchenwares. Great amenities which include a guard gate, swimming pool with a bar /snack stand, beach, marina, trailer storage, tennis courts. 

Ocean Pointe is located in Tavernier and just minutes from Tavernier Creek for easy access to the bayside. Tavernier Creek does have a bridge with a clearance of about 13'. 

Posted by Claire Johnson on April 5th, 2022 2:10 PM

Many people here in the Keys are transplants. The story often goes - came on vacation, stayed for the duration. The love of the water is one of the determining factors of why we love the Florida Keys Lifestyle. On this day, my daughter and I took advantage of the light winds and headed out to Alligator Reef. We left our home on Lower Matecumbe Key, cruised up the bayside, navigated through the wheel ditch, under the bridge by Bud-n-Mary's and then straight out to Alligator Reef / Alligator Lighthouse. It was an epic day to enjoy the crystal clear waters. Jumping into the azul waters, enjoying the slight chill upon entering, we enjoyed just being in the moment. No rush to put on snorkel gear, we just wanted to chill. It was like swimming in a pool. We knew with the high tide the crystal clear waters would be amazing at the reef and it did not disappoint. The beauty of the Florida Keys continues to be breathtaking even after 23 years of living here. If you are interested in finding your home here, I would love to help. Having been a full time Realtor here for the past 18 years, I love the sell the Florida Keys lifestyle! Call me and let's start a conversation!

Posted by Claire Johnson on May 11th, 2020 11:39 AM

Having lived in the Keys for about 24 years now, I have accomplished some firsts during the pandemic. Being quarantined in such an amazing place has its advantages! When you live and work here, you don't get to spend as much pleasure time on the water! Truly grateful that Captain Ted Wilson and his wife, Shirley took me on a fishing adventure! The skill, persistence and patience of Capt. Ted Wilson allowed me to catch my first permit and tarpon. Truly grateful for this experience. Ted is one of those guides who will fish from sun up to moon down! He still loves what he does, over 20+ years later. I first met Ted when we both worked at Cheeca Lodge in the late 90's. 

I learned something new on our fishing trip - that off of channel 2 bridge south of Lower Matecumbe Key is "monster alley." This is where you have a great chance of catching BIG tarpon! I also learned that Ted has a few tricks up his sleeve. Although I did not witness this in person, the story was just as captivating. While fishing under Channel 5 bridge with a tarpon on and going under the bridge - Ted tied the rod to a float, let go and let the tarpon drag it under the bridge to where Ted was waiting! Unfortunately, the fish cut the line but the rod was recovered! Many more stories he can tell. You can find out for yourself by booking a trip with him -Captain Ted Wilson 

Posted by Claire Johnson on April 28th, 2020 5:55 PM

Welcome to Coastal Sol! Located on Lower Matecumbe Key in Islamorada. This home captures the ocean views and prevailing winds. Situated on a canal and at the end of the street, you will be in the Atlantic Ocean within minutes. This home has been tastefully updated and well appointed. The vaulted ceilings showcase the architectural beams and the tongue and groove ceilings. The openness adds for a more spacious feel. With 1800sf of living space, this 3 bedroom / 3 bathroom home offers spacious bedrooms and captures the ocean views from the living area. The pool is situated canal side and was added in 2016. All impact windows and doors, along with a metal roof, a 1 car garage and 75' of dockage.

Posted by Claire Johnson on April 20th, 2020 11:46 AM

Rare opportunity to own a peninsula canal front lot with active building permit; There was a home on this property but has been demolished; this allows the opportunity to build now or later, you can choose. 375' of water frontage with seawall and dock already in place along the entire property. Concrete pool with hot tub already in place, along with 2 boat lifts - 30,000lbs and 8,000lbs. Property is located on Lower Matecumbe with direct access to the Atlantic Ocean and Channel 5 Bridge offers access to the Florida Bay.

Posted by Claire Johnson on April 20th, 2020 11:41 AM
Quick real estate market update for the first quarter in 2019.  Our season started a little slow this year but has gained momentum as we near Easter.  The real estate inventory has increased turning our market into a Buyer's market.  I believe this will be short lived but time will tell.  

What is a Buyer's market?  A buyer's market is when we have more than 6 months of inventory.  At the end of March, we had about 8 months of inventory and I believe the end of April will get the market closer, if not back, to a seller's market.  Many have seen a reduction in list prices, DO NOT confuse this with a decrease in market values.  Our market has seen a 9% increase in market value compared to last year.  Being a tourism base economy, we have seasons; which means real estate non the Keys has seasons as well.  We have to wait for the consumers to come down!  

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate, please give me a call - 305-731-4602!  Let my 18+ years of selling in the Keys, work for you!  

Thank you for watching!  
Posted by Claire Johnson on April 16th, 2019 5:07 PM
Coastal Realty of the Florida Keys is proud to be affiliated with Military on the Move (MOM). There is never enough "thank you's" to give to our Military, a group that sacrifices more than we can ever imagine.  Coastal Realty of the Florida Keys is owned by a veteran, my parents met in the military and I have family who still continue to serve.  I truly appreciated my freedom every single day and would be honored to give back to someone who has given so much for our country!  

Posted by Claire Johnson on December 13th, 2018 10:42 AM
Very proud to present my new listing...
The Fish Ranch

Opulent, alluring and meticulously detailed, this Islamorada Estate is where perfection meets the Bay ~ welcome to The Fish Ranch. Located on Plantation Key, The Fish Ranch estate features two (2) single family residences plus a media house, and cabana with outdoor kitchen. World-class designs make this one of the more distinguished estates for the most discriminating buyer. 100' swimming pool with two beach entries, hot tub, 250' of sandy beach, putting green, dockage, architectural designed landscaping with fire pit and lighting throughout. Also included with this property is an additional 19,729sf lot and three (3) building rights, which allows for more houses to be built on The Fish Ranch or transfer them to another parcel of land.

Posted by Claire Johnson on December 13th, 2018 10:36 AM
Thank you Shevaun Shamon with Beauty Counter for bringing us a safe beauty product. Beauty Counter is taking cosmetics to the next level and promoting using safe products on our bodies for men, women and children.  

Posted by Claire Johnson on December 13th, 2018 10:33 AM
Your most discriminating Buyers must see this turn key Islamorada home! Every detail in this 3 bedroom/ 3.5 bath home has been meticulously maintained and professionally decorated. CBS construction, impact windows / doors, metal roof, garage, tiki, 70' of dockage with 10,000lb boat lift, 2,234sf of living space, 7,000sf lot, built in 2007. White Marlin Beach on Lower Matecumbe Key offers easy access to the Everglades National Park and the Atlantic Ocean via Channel 5 bridge w/ 65' clearance. Homeowner's Park is located directly on the Bay with beach, tiki's and grills.

Posted by Claire Johnson on December 13th, 2018 10:29 AM
Florida Keys Real Estate Market Update 

Florida Keys real estate continues to be a sellers market.  Inventory is increasing compared to last year, which gives Buyers more options.  If you are considering purchasing a Florida Keys home, now is a great time to look at property.  Being in our slowest season, give Buyers an opportunity to potentially make an offer on a property with little competition.  But don't expect prices to adjust during this time.  If you are a Seller - know is a great time to start preparing your home for going on the market in the next couple of months.  Enjoy the dolphin show!  

Posted by Claire Johnson on October 8th, 2018 5:57 PM
The real estate market in the Florida Keys is maintaining a steady growth.  Our market values continue to increase and we remain in a Seller's market.  If you are considering purchasing a home in the Florida Keys, now is a great time to begin your search.  You can create your own private portal to receive updates of properties that fit your parameters.  This will ensure you don't miss any properties that are new to the  market.  I am always available to chat about real estate in the Florida Keys - so please give me a call - 305-731-4602.

Posted by Claire Johnson on August 17th, 2018 11:25 AM
See my interview with Lisa and Greg Poland of Greg Poland Photography and my Florida Keys real estate market update.  

If you go to my Facebook Page - Florida Keys Lifestyle and answer the following question 
Where did YOU get married?

You will be entered for a chance to get 50% off of a 30-minute photography session from Greg Poland Photography.  

Your chance to win is good until the end of June 2018!!  

We are now nine months since Hurricane Irma touched down on the Florida Keys.  Many have been waiting to see the affects that storm would have on our market.  There has not been any downturn in the Florida Keys real estate market values.  We are holding strong and it continues to be a seller's market.  I would recommend that if you are considering purchasing a home, now is a good time.  When 2019 rolls around and we are in the midst our busiest season, I have a feeling that home inventory will decrease.  All the hotels should be operational by then, which means more tourists / potential home buyers will be here in full force.  

Let's get you started at previewing homes so you can find the perfect one for you and your family.  

Posted by Claire Johnson on June 14th, 2018 4:43 PM
Islamorada is known as the "fishing capital of the world" because of the variety of fish that can be caught in the backcountry and offshore waters.  This town is not only made up of fisherman, there are sailors as well!  Ocean breezes offer many great sailing days.  When you take on the peacefulness of sailing, you soon realize a sailboat is not a fast mode of transportation.  Sailing is a journey that allows you to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.   

This past weekend, we took our sailboat to Cape Sable in the Everglades National Park. The beach stretches on for miles and is only accessible by water.  With the estuaries behind the beach, it is teaming with much wildlife.  This is not an area where one will swim due to the many sharks and alligators / crocodiles.  

As we were pulling up close to the shore to anchor, we snagged some rope around one of our props.  Before my husband dealt with the issue, we decided to go ashore and venture up the beach.  Along our walk, we notice a HUGE alligator swimming by <gulp>.  We talked with a camper on the beach, who proceeded to tell us about a shark feeding frenzy he witnessed that morning.  Nothing was going to stop my husband from freeing the prop so back to the boat we went and formulated a plan.  My husband geared up, quietly slipped into the water, and swiftly cut the line away from the prop.  He literally could not see the hand in front of his face and luckily no incident with any sea creatures.  

Cape Sable is about 30 miles from our home on Lower Matecumbe Key ~ it took us about 4 hours to sail there.  The journey did not disappoint ~ saw dolphins, birds, had family fun and just relaxed in the beauty of bay.  

The Florida Keys offers a lifestyle of relaxation, laid back atmosphere and clear blue waters. If you are considering purchasing a home in the Upper Keys, please give me a call.  I have been selling real estate in the Florida Keys since 2003.  Whether you are looking for a direct ocean / bay front home, condo, canal front home, non waterfront home or vacant land - I can help you navigate through the home buying process.  

If you are considering selling your property in the Upper Keys - call me to schedule a meeting to go over my contract management, transaction management and comprehensive marketing plan.  The Upper Keys is experiencing low inventory and a steady increase in property values.  

Posted by Claire Johnson on March 5th, 2018 4:46 PM
It has been five months since Hurricane Irma and real estate in the Upper Keys is going strong.  Statistics show a seven percent (7%) increase compared to last January, our inventory is down about three percent (3%), and the list to sales price remains around ninety-four (94%).  The Florida Keys real estate market is still a Sellers Market.  If you are considering buying a home here, know might be a good time before interest rates continue to rise.  

With the continues closings, it shows that many people still yearn for the warm winter weather and laid back atmosphere of the Florida Keys. Today would be a great day to get on, in and under the water.  Our islands may be small but our love of the water is ginormous.  There is a water-sports activity for everyone!  

Team up with me to help you find the perfect island, that will fit your lifestyle! Having lived here for over twenty years and selling real estate in the Florida Keys for over fourteen years, I believe I know a thing or two (to toot my own horn) that could benefit you!  

Posted by Claire Johnson on February 7th, 2018 11:16 AM
Islamorada is packed full of fun things to do. We enjoyed paint night with Mrs. Diana.  She is a wonderful teacher and provides a fun and engaging atmosphere.  Great way to meet new people and to get your craftiness on!  

The Florida Keys has many wonderful events new and seasoned, to keep us busy! Sometimes moving to a new location can be hard getting to meet people.  Take advantage of crafty events such as this one!  Gather your friends or come alone and meet new ones. Adventure does not come to the couch!  I took my daughter to this event and she loved it.  She was the one who took the time lapse video of her and her friend painting.  

If you are looking to relocate, please give me a call.  Having lived here since 1996 and selling real estate since 2003 - I have a great knowledge of the area and am entrenched in the community.  I appreciate any business that comes my way and will handle the transaction from beginning to end!  Many customers turn into friends, it would be a privilege to work with you!  

Posted by Claire Johnson on February 1st, 2018 12:12 PM
Claire Johnson, Coastal Realty of the Florida Keys presents...

A treasure on Lower Matecumbe Key, Islamorada, Florida Key. This home exudes coziness, warmth and relaxation. Well appointed and exquisite use of space. Above flood CBS home with 2 bedrooms / 1 bath and over 300sf of covered open porch.  The porch has been fitted with custom Sunbrella curtains designed with snaps to enclose space if needed.  New metal roof in 2015 w/ gutters, new AC in 2016, windows in 2005 w/ interior Plantation Shutters. 75' of water frontage, kayak ramp, 50amp RV hook-up and accordion shutters. Plenty of storage below house for kayaks, paddle boards and yard maintenance tools. This Keys retreat is located on a private road and is equipped with outside security cameras.

What a privilege to be selected to sell this home.  It has only been on the market for a short time and the activity is tremendous.  Florida Keys real estate is going strong; our inventory is low and the demand is high.  If you are considering purchasing or selling, give me a call 305.731.4602.  Becoming a Realtor in 2003 has given me the knowledge and experience to make this an easy transition for you.  

Posted by Claire Johnson on January 29th, 2018 2:44 PM
The Florida Keys is an island chain that loves to share the beauty of what is in our surrounding waters.  One of the many great water activities in the Florida Keys is getting into the Atlantic Ocean and enjoying the largest living coral reef in North America! Sometimes the weather does not permit such activities to take place; or maybe you are not a fan of becoming one with nature! The Florida Keys Aquarium Encounter allows you the best of both worlds.  You can get wet in the tank and swim with the fish, sharks, moray eel OR ou can stand on the sidelines and enjoy them from the dry side of the glass!  Which ever you choose, it will be a blast.  Great place to take family and friends to give them an experience they will talk about for years to come.  

When selling property in the Florida Keys, I am also selling a lifestyle! Many gravitate to this laid back island chain - where our #1 love is of the water.  An immediate bond with people from all over the Unites States! 

If you enjoy my blog, find my website useful and want to work with a Top Producer in the Florida Keys - please contact me so we can work together on finding you your piece of paradise!  I have been selling full time since 2003 - I have seen the high and lows of the Florida Keys real estate market.  

Create your own private portal to save the properties that are of interest.  This will allow you to easily follow the homes you like.  Your information is NEVER sold.  

Posted by Claire Johnson on January 16th, 2018 11:23 AM
Here is an opportunity to purchase a home on Snake Creek in Venetian Shores.  Claire Johnson, with Coastal Realty of the Florida Keys, is the listing agent for this magnificent property.  This is the property that will be the envy of your friends!

Venetian Shores is a subdivision located on Plantation Key in Islamorada, Florida Keys. This area is known for its deep water dockage, multi-million homes and easy access to the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay via Snake Creek.  Snake Creek Drawbridge allows taller boats easy access and raises on the top of the hour.  161 Stromboli Dr. offers you an opportunity to live on the Creek.  CBS construction with concrete roof gives one the ability to expand the home if you find the 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, with over 3500sf of living space, are not enough.  The master suite is situated to give you views of the canal and Snake Creek.  The wide, covered porch creates a wonderful outdoor living space, the spacious lot ~ which is over 19,000sf ~ allows for an outdoor sanctuary to be built with plenty of room for a pool.  The spacious kitchen has been updated and has Viking appliances.  Being on the corner, this property has over 300' of water frontage.  Plenty of storage below with a garage, fenced property with two gated entrances, 12,000# boat lift and davits.  There are only 20 properties that sit on the corner of Snake Creek ~ don't miss out on the opportunity to own one.  Call Claire Johnson for your private showing, 305.731.4602.   

Posted by Claire Johnson on January 11th, 2018 12:01 PM
What's in a wave?

When you live in a small town, you can't help  but know many of the people ~whether you frequent the same restaurants,  Chamber functions,  sandbar sightings, driving in your neighborhood and so on.  We wave! 

Many people may not realize what a small town the Florida Keys are because of the tourist population is huge during season.  We have over a million tourists come through this tiny island chain. Islamorada has a population of about 8,000, Key Largo has a population of about 12,000 and the entire Florida Keys has a population of approximately 80,000.  We have one main road that travels from Key Largo to Key West, we often frequent the same spots and so you tend to see the same people.  

So what is in a wave?

Waving at people when driving through subdivisions can mean different things ~ waving to a friend or waving to say "I see you /  I am keeping an eye on you." Then you have the ones that wave because you are driving too slow or not paying attention ~ sometimes those waves are just a simple one finger wave! You might find this type of wave more on the highway.  

Waving at people while boating ~ again, could be to friends or just a wave because you are both doing a similar activity that is enjoyable.   A wave could be to say "i'm having a great time," like the wave in the video with my little girl!

We ride motorcycles ~ the wave is low and to the side, sometimes a two finger wave.  I'm sure if we could high five, we would!!   

SaylorCurtSnorkelingWavingtIMG_5100 from Claire Johnson on Vimeo.

Waving is a friendly gesture and it makes you feel good.  It's nice to be recognized and acknowledged.  Since graduating college, I have only lived on islands and so waving is part of the island life.  Are you ready to become a local waver?  Finding the perfect island for you is something I can help you with.  I have been living in the Keys since 1996 and have perfected my wave!  Give me a call, so we can too get you waving.    

Posted by Claire Johnson on November 2nd, 2017 1:06 PM
Why not get to know Claire Johnson, me, on a different level!  Although my career is a Realtor and I've been selling Florida Keys real estate since 2003 - I do like to take a break from wearing my business hat!  Here is a different side of me... on a more personal level. Our love is the water, we love island life, we love being on, in and around the water but we also like to get dirty! My husband grew up in Missouri and started riding dirt bikes at a young age.  A few years ago, we went to Durhamtown with some friends.  Men are on the dirt bikes and mom's are with the kids in the side by sides.  
Although on "vacation", I was still having to work.  Commission lifestyle takes no breaks.  The definition of vacation for me is working from a different location than the Florida Keys.  This vacation was in Durhamtown, GA - about an hour north of Atlanta.  The weather was perfect, the terrain amazing and the company superb.  

I hope you enjoy the video - we sure had a great time!  

Posted by Claire Johnson on October 25th, 2017 9:44 AM
A month has passed since Hurricane Irma came to town.  Debris mounds are accumulating on the side of the highway and are being trucked out of the Keys as quickly as possible.  The subdivision streets are being cleared and we are starting to see some normalcy return.  The homes that were affected the worst are being worked on at a steady pace to get them back in shape.  Most businesses are open and the tourists were allowed to return!  Fantasy Fest in Key West is gearing up to rock the streets at the end of this month.  

Islamorada, Florida Keys ~ Dolphins Riding Bow from Claire Johnson on Vimeo.

The real estate in the Upper Keys is moving forward ~ I am seeing properties being put under contract, deals are closing and buyers are still coming down.  I am showing property this afternoon and all day tomorrow!  The Upper Keys real estate values ~ Key Largo and Islamorada ~ should not be affected by the storm.  The inventory and absorption rate slowed more due to the Presidential election than it has to the Hurricane at this point.  The fall months are customarily our slower months.   

Many investors are ready to find that "deal" but the homeowner's are still waiting for the insurance companies and adjusters to put them on their schedules.  There will be some residents who throw in the towel and leave the area but I have a feeling most will rebuild.  There is no other place like the Florida Keys. Our community is amazing, our waters are like no other in the United States, we have all moved here for a reason ~ a category 4 hurricane is not enough to scare most of us off!

The Lower Keys were hit harder than the Upper Keys.  They are still in need of help to remove debris from their yard and find a place to live.  Please continue to send you support, love and prayers to them.  Every single island in this chain make up the Florida Keys - we won't rest until we are all back as one.    

Posted by Claire Johnson on October 12th, 2017 1:14 PM

Florida Keys Lifestyle from Claire Johnson on Vimeo.

It has been a little over a week since Hurricane Irma (category 4) passed through the Florida Keys.  I am not going to show any pictures of destruction because we are now on the road to recovery. I am speaking about the Upper Keys ~ Islamorada and Key Largo.  

The Upper Keys has a population of about 20,000.  Although the Florida Keys has millions in visitors, when you take them out of the equation it leaves us with a small town.  This small town is all I have known for the past twenty years.  When tough times fall upon the Florida Keys, is when you truly understand the closeness of this community.  The residence that stayed and danced with Irma ~ were the first responders in starting to clear our roads, help their neighbors and check on properties for ones desperately wanting to know if they still had a place to call home.  They were not doing this for notoriety, their time was given freely and without hesitation ~ this IS the foundation of the Florida Keys.  

The Upper Florida Keys could not have recovered as quickly as we are without additional help. The infrastructure is being put back together at a fast pace because of the outside help ready with their skill set ~ and this is what makes the United States of America an amazing place to live!  

A week after the storm, most of the businesses are open and fully functional.  Tourists are allowed back into the area starting October 1st.  The debris on the side of the roads are being cleared and people are starting to rebuild.  The hardest hit areas in the Upper Keys are mostly on the ocean side ~ they are moving at great speeds to get back to normal.

Many people are talking about real estate values in the Florida Keys ~ I will specifically talk about the Upper Keys (Islamorada and Key Largo).  Here at Coastal Realty of the Upper Keys, we are telling our customers not to panic.  Our community is bouncing back quickly; lets let the coral dust settle so we can truly evaluate the situation.  So far, what we are finding is most properties faired well in this area.  Property owners need to work on getting their homes in order, talk to your insurance companies if needed, hire a PRIVATE insurance adjuster if needed (but you must first notify your insurance company or your situation) and continue clearing / cleaning up your properties.  I am seeing deals close on a daily basis this week and that will continue.  

Call me if you have any questions regarding Upper Keys real estate - we will recover and be better than ever!  Very blessed to live in such an amazing community.  
Posted by Claire Johnson on September 28th, 2017 8:37 AM
Hurricane Irma has just paid a visit to Florida, impacting the area that I call home ~ the Florida Keys.  My family and I held strong to our word, that we would not ride out any storm over 100mph winds ~ and so we left to stay with family in the center of the state.  We did receive word that our house faired the storm well and have been in contact with many of our friends back home.  My husband left this morning to head back home, with a Uhaul and supplies, to help our neighbors.  The Upper Keys will be back in full swing in no time ~ we continue to pray for the middle to lower Keys.  The Keys are strong and this is the time when you understand what it is like to be a "local" in a tourism filled industry.  This is why I love my community!

With all the recovery that is taking place in the Florida Keys, there is still business that needs to be addressed.  That is what has prompted me to write during this time.  If you have a real estate deal in the Florida Keys (or in the state of Florida) there is a provision in the contract that addresses such an issue.  The section is called "Force Majeure" which refers to an Act of God.  

Force Majeure
 (French for “superior force”) is a contract provision that relieves the parties from performing their contractual obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance inadvisable, commercially impracticable, illegal, or impossible.

I am addressing this because Realtor's have a fiduciary responsibility to their customers.  Review your contract and read the clause in its 
entirety.  There are many places that are still without cell service, internet or utilities ~ being able to contact your Realtor might be a temporary set back.  Hope this helps.  

Please continue to pray for the areas affected by Irma and it is not just in Florida. 

Posted by Claire Johnson on September 14th, 2017 9:38 AM
Islamorada Yacht Basin offers a great opportunity to purchase a boat slip in the heart of Islamorada.  Islamorada Yacht Basin is adjacent to the notorious Lorelei Restaurant / Cabana Bar ~ a place where people gather to wind down the day ~ enjoying libations, music and sunsets.  

If you have found an Islamorada home for sale that does not have dockage or if you want to invest in Islamorada real estate ~ purchasing a boat slip could be great opportunity.  Boat slip #23 is currently for sale ~ 45' slip, metered water and electric and located in front of the newly constructed owner's building ~which offers bathrooms, showers, laundry facility and ice.  An Islamorada boat slip offers an opportunity to rent the slip when it is not in use by the owner; or live aboard your own boat.  

The Lorelei is easy to locate ~ just look for the iconic Mermaid.  

Posted by Claire Johnson on August 30th, 2017 8:27 AM

When I spare the expense of dining out ~ I like to go to restaurants that are consistently good.  Bayside Gourmet is one of those restaurants! I have eaten breakfast, lunch a dinner there and every meal has been delicious.  The food is fresh, the presentation is outstanding and the atmosphere is welcoming.  
Walking into Bayside Gourmet, I am sure to know at least one person.  You will find the seats filled with many locals ~ when the locals frequent a spot, the food is sure to be top notch.  Whether you are passing through Islamorada on your way to Key West, exploring around looking for Islamorada homes for sale or Key Largo homes for sale ~ this is a great local hot spot to eat.  Located at Mile Marker 82.7 bayside ~hence the name Bayside Gourmet.  They share the boat looking building with Otherside Watersports.  You can eat inside or outside.  
Posted by Claire Johnson on August 22nd, 2017 2:02 PM
Florida Keys Flood Zones

The "bell" of the street - 124 Villa Bella Dr. Venetian Shores Islamorada, Florida Keys from Claire Johnson on Vimeo.  This house is ALL above flood - owners went thru great lengths to raise the lower levels - all was done with permits!

When searching for Florida Keys real estate there are a number of factors to consider - one of them being flood zones.  The entire Florida Keys is located in a flood zone; there are limited areas in the Florida Keys that flood insurance is not required ~that is the X flood zone.   There are three flood zones in the Florida Keys - X, AE, and VE.  
X flood zones do not require flood insurance because by standing on the ground, you are already above flood.  If you do opt to purchase flood insurance, it is very minimal.   It is somewhat safe to say that any ground level home built in 1975 and onward, is above flood. But not all of these homes are going to be in an X flood zone. There are some ground levels homes, that are above flood, that are in an AE flood zone.  

AE and VE flood zones will have a number associated with it (i.e. - AE 8) - the number will signify how high the home has to be above the flood zone.  The "E" in the flood zones denotes that this flood zone has an elevation requirement (has a base flood elevation - "E" for short).  An elevation certificate will determine how high the property is above flood by just standing on the ground.  Once that number is determined, then you know how high to elevate the home.  Most homes are elevated higher than necessary to utilize the parking / storage underneath.  For example, I live in an AE 8 - the land my house is built on is 4' above the flood zone, my house was built on 4' of fill - which gets me the 8' needed to be built above flood.  AE flood zone is inland from the coastline.  

VE flood zones are located on the coastline - your direct ocean and bay front homes.  "V" stand for Velocity.  Homes that are located in the VE zone - flood insurance will be Very Expensive.  It is only if the home is located in this zone, not the land.  You could have a property that is located in multiple flood zones.  

If you want to work with a true "local" Realtor, contact me.  I have been selling Florida Keys real estate full time since 2003.  Let me experience and knowledge work for you!  

Posted by Claire Johnson on August 16th, 2017 6:43 AM

When looking for Islamorada real estate or Key Largo real estate, is it important to use "local" Realtor?  Yes, and here are my reasons why.

Florida Keys Lifestyle from Claire Johnson on Vimeo.

First lets define a "local" Realtor.  A "local" is someone who is full time and owns / rents a home in the Florida Keys for X amount of years.   A "true" local is someone who was born in the Keys.  Like so many of us though, we are transplants - "came down on vacation and stayed for the duration" a popular phrase!  When have transplants earned the right to call themselves "locals?" ~ that could be up for debate... is 10 years, 20 years and so on.  

In this article, I am discussing a "local" Realtor.  What has prompted me to write this is the presence of mainland Realtors who will drive to the Florida Keys and sell Islamorada real estate and Key Largo real estate.  Let me first say that my real estate license gives me the right to sell in the entire state of Florida.  In my opinion, it would be a disservice for me to sell real estate in an area I do not know.  Every area has their own intricacies, building code regulations, control depths, tidal changes, flood insurance requirements and so on.  Why would you entrust such an expensive purchase to someone who is not a seasoned, local Realtor?  

When working with a full time, successful Realtor - you will get someone who "will know enough to be dangerous" about many facets of purchasing or selling a Florida Keys home. Building codes, insurances, control depths, bridge heights, subdivisions and what they have to offer, vacation rental policies, able to compare various subdivisions - pros and cons, able to compare condominium complexes - pros and cons, mangroves, and so on.  A local Realtor will know who to direct you to to find out more detailed answers.  

When consumers are searching for Islamorada real estate or Key Largo real estate, majority will start their search online.  Zillow and Trulia will capture many of those inquiries.  When you enter your information on those real estate portals, it will be sold to different real estate agents who have paid for those leads - and those Realtors could be located anywhere in the state of Florida.  I have had Realtors call me from Tallahassee (9 hours away), Orlando (6 hours away).  I would think, one would presume, you are getting a "local" Realtor.  Why would you even consider that someone would sell in an area they are not familiar with?  

How to avoid working with an out-of-town Realtor -1. Ask questions -such as do you live in the Keys full time?  For how long have you lived in the Florida Keys? How long have you been a full time Realtor?  2.  Find a "local" Realtors website -  As a member of our Board of Realtors, we have the authorization to provide all the listings in the Florida Keys on our website.  My website, allows you to save properties that are of interest ~ this gives you the ability to easily track those properties in one location.  Upon logging in to my website for the first time - it will remember you for future visits.  

Shameless plug - I have been selling real estate in the Florida Keys full time since 2003.  I have owned a property in Islamorada (Lower Matecumbe Key) since 1997.  Being entrenched in this community has made my career successful.  I am at the point where referrals make up a big part of my business.  Let my experience and knowledge work for you.  

The Florida Keys is an amazing place to live and vacation.  When you take away our tourists, we are a small local community.  Islamorada has about 8,000 residents and Key Largo - about 12,000 residents.  We know each other, we work well with each other and we look out for each other.  

I will look forward to your phone call or you creating your own private portal on my website!  

Posted by Claire Johnson on August 14th, 2017 11:10 AM

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