Florida Keys Real Estate News

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

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
REASONS WHY TO USE A FLORIDA KEYS LOCAL REALTOR

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
I enjoy looking at the FLA-Keys YouTube channel - they create stunning commercials of life in the Florida Keys.  When you are exploring the Keys and immersing yourself in nature - it makes it easier to put the electronic devices away.  A family that plays together, stays together.  

Are you ready to make this your playground?  We experienced a little slow down during the last presidential election but the real estate market is now continuing to thrive.  Whether you are looking for a non-waterfront home, waterfront home, condo or land - let my 14 years of experience work for you.   It is not only about understanding the home purchase but understanding the local waters.  We are a boating community - whether you are sailors, fishermen, kite boarders, paddle boarders / kayakers, divers / snorkelers, or just like to cruise around on your boat - it is important to get with a Realtor who knows the waterways. 

Enjoy the video - "there is no app for that!"

Posted by Claire Johnson on August 1st, 2017 1:21 PM
So proud to live in the United States of America.  Thank you to the Veterans and Military service men and women for protecting our Freedom!  This is one of my all time favorite songs!  


Posted by Claire Johnson on May 29th, 2017 1:21 PM

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