Interview with the Boss of Last Key Realty

I recently had the privilege to sit down and interview the Founder and Owner of Last Key Realty, Chris Santry, who also happens to be my boss. The purpose of this interview was to inform curious minds of the current overall state of the Key West Real Estate and Vacation Rental markets, as well as what the future holds for these markets and for our company.

Q: How has the Key West Vacation Rental Market changed since the start of Last Key Realty?

A: “When we first started in 2008, the “off-season” was truly an OFF-season. It used to be that a person could actually walk down the middle of Duval Street in Old Town without worrying about being hit by a car. Today, there is basically no “off-season”, with many summer weeks being completely sold out. And I’ve also seen the Key West Vacation Rental Market grow into a much more upscale vacation destination in recent years.”

Q: Where do you see the Key West Vacation Rental Market going?

A: “I see this upscale movement that was started by baby boomers continuing. As boomers are aging, younger generations who have discovered Key West are starting to take their place.”

Q: How was the Key West Real Estate Investment Market changed since the start of Last Key Realty?

A: “In just the ten years since Last Key Realty was founded, we have seen the investment real estate market virtually disappear and then return back to full strength. Presently, you have two groups competing: the people who are looking to purchase their dream or retirement home and reside in Key West, and the other group looking to invest in Vacation Rental property. This makes for an extremely vibrant real estate market. Thankfully many of the factors that attributed to the market crash a few years ago, like factoring of mortgages, no longer exist. We have a much more conservative banking system in place and there is also a much higher percentage of cash deals being made.”

Q: What is your future vision for Last Key Realty?

A: “My future vision for Last Key is controlled growth. It is essential to continue doing the same things that got us where we are today. Most importantly solid staffing, it is essential that we have committed and passionate people.”

Financing, Pre-Quals, and Approvals, Oh My!


One of the most important and intimidating steps in your home buying process is getting a pre-qualification from a lender.  In this blog post I’m going to break down the pre-qualification process and help set you up for success when approaching this step in your home buying journey in Key West.

Let’s start by defining “pre-qualification”.

Pre-qualification is a letter from a bank that states the loan type (conventional, FHA, VA, etc.) and amount you have been approved to borrow based on the financial picture you provide to the lender.  It does NOT include an analysis of your credit report/ score.

This is how you see what your buying power is and is a crucial step in being successful in your real estate search.   Many people over and under estimate their buying power, which is a total time waster for everyone involved.  You don’t want to spend time looking at $500K houses when your purchasing power is $350K and vice versa.

Below are four simple steps to help you take the leap into getting pre-qualified.  Side note:  just do it already!


  1. Make an appointment.  Reach out to your bank and ask to meet with a loan officer.   You can also ask your real estate agent for recommendations as well, they always have preferred contacts and suggestions if you don’t know where to start.
  2. Know your number(ish).  One misconception of the pre-qualification process is that you need to pull your credit report to be pre-qualified which is completely FALSE.  That’s right, many people think that you do but you don’t.  You should have an idea of what your credit score is though  to be sure your pre-qualification is as accurate as possible and I recommend using Credit Karma to find out.  Credit Karma is my go to app and website for credit checking and monitoring and it’s FREE!
  3. Get your sh*t together.  No for real, get it together… get a copy of your most recent tax return, a recent pay stub, and a couple of months of bank statements together.  The more information you can provide the more accurate your pre-qualification will be.
  4. Take your pre-qualification letter and give (or email) it to your real estate agent.


Once you’ve given your agent your pre-qualification letter they will adjust your real estate search accordingly and you will be on your way to finding your dream home!

I am a full time buyers agent in Key West, Florida and am happy to help you in your real estate search.  Please contact me at 305-394-4073 or and let’s talk real estate!


Not on our Mailing List? Don’t miss our latest Newsletter Highlighting Vacation Rentals

Although Fall is just settling in for many of us, the cold reality of winter is just around the corner. And while many locations around the US become unbearably cold, Key West historically sits in the 70’s with sunny and breezy conditions. So it’s not surprising that December through April is considered our prime season.

christmaskeysDue to a few cancellations prior to the final payment date this week for our prime season pre-bookings, we do have a bit of availability left for prime season dates in some of our best rental homes.

Give your winter self a gift and reserve your Key West vacation home for a few nights, a week, or a month during the coldest time of your year for what is sure to be a welcome respite once that day finally comes. Here is a quick look at homes still available for prime season rentals – don’t wait until we’re all sold out for season!

Featured Listings with Upcoming Availability

La Vie En Rose

This classic mid-century modern home is set in the Beachside district of Key West. This four-bedroom home also boasts a lushly landscaped front and backyard, spacious brick patio, free form swimming pool and Jacuzzi.

casa-amarillaCasa Amarilla

This newly renovated private home is anything but simple. Located in the Seaport district of Old Town Key West, this classic conch cottage is the best of both the wonder of historic island life and the comforts of modern living.

lilac-cottageThe Lilac Cottage

This charming home has just been completely renovated, from its gingerbread on the front porch to the restored Dade County Pine inside. All of the furnishings are brand new and of the highest quality.

splish-splashSplish Splash

This jewel-like townhome at the Key West Golf Club is a breath of fresh air with its upgrades and design. Lovingly furnished with a modern coastal ambiance that incorporates high technology touches throughout.

calmer-watersCalmer Waters

Located in Sunset Marina, a gated community located on Stock Island right off the entrance to Key West. This condo is close to Old Town yet is quiet and secluded, with spectacular views of the sunsets over Florida Bay.

Christmas Getaways

Although we have mostly filled up for the week of New Years, our Christmas week (Dec 19-27 dates) has plenty of availability left. Use Promotional Code MerryKW at check out on our website to receive a 5% discount on your Christmas week reservation! Offer good through December 15th for stays between Dec 19-27, 2016.

footer-christmasNew Rental Properties

Check out our newest additions to our rental inventory and be the first to experience these fabulous rental options. Be sure to see Smooth Sailing, it’s our first one-bedroom weekly rental in our program!

Want to join our mailing list? Sign up to receive special offers and updates every month.

October 2016 Review/Photo of the Month

Each month we select a memorable guest review or photo to win a $100 cash card. Our October 2016 winner is the Sheldon Family, who stayed with us at :: THE CAPTAIN’S ANNEX :: We received a lovely 5-star review of their experience vacationing with us and they even submitted a Family Photo of themselves enjoying the home. Thank you for sharing!


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Seeing these amazing moments of our guests’ vacations just reminds us how lucky we are to do what we do and to live in such a magical place. For future guests, send us a photo/video of your time on vacation and/or submit your memorable review of your stay to be entered for a chance to win a $100 cash card.