Happy Holidays From Us

From our team to your family, we want to wish you a happy holiday season.

Happy holidays to you!

The holiday season has officially arrived. We hope you enjoy this wonderful time of year and make some fantastic memories.

We wanted to take a moment to thank you for your continued support. We love helping people make their real estate dreams come true, so thank you for working with us and supporting our business.

This may be a busy time of year, but we are always here to help you and answer any questions you may have. Give us a call or reply to this email; we’d love to help you.

In case we don’t hear from you until 2022, have a happy New Year!

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving

I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of your support.

The 2021 holiday season has officially begun! We hope you are as excited as we are.

We’d like to take a moment to express our gratitude to all of you this Thanksgiving. We have met some truly wonderful people, and we’re proud to have helped so many reach their real estate goals over the years. We wouldn’t be where we are today without all of your support.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner—that’s what we plan to do!

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any real estate questions. We would be happy to help you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

How Augusta Is Addressing Homelessness

Here’s how Augusta is coming together to address its homelessness issue.

I pride myself on bringing you timely information on our local real estate market. That’s why today I want to talk about not only the housing market but homelessness in Augusta, Georgia.

Our housing prices have been increasing at a steady pace. At this point, we’ve caught up with other areas in Georgia you might expect to have crazy high prices. While this is great news for homeowners, it also leaves a lot of people unable to afford a home. Rising prices also don’t help homeless people who live in Augusta. Fortunately, our community is coming together to address our homeless population’s needs in an incredible way.

In the last census, there were 470 recorded homeless people in Augusta. Some were able to find refuge in shelters, but many were not. While our numbers are small compared to Atlanta, there is still a need for solutions. That’s why I have always supported Turn Back the Block, a local program designed to provide consistent, affordable housing for people who would normally never be able to own a home.

Augusta is coming together to address this issue in an incredible way.

I love this program because it tries to address homelessness through the housing market. There is a severe lack of quality, affordable housing in Augusta, and addressing that issue is near and dear to my heart. If you are looking to invest, this could be a way to do it while making a positive impact in your local community.

If you have any questions about this program or anything else, please call or email me. I am always willing to help.

How Is the Upper End of Our Market Faring?

These latest stats from our luxury market are a promising sign.

A few weeks ago, I gave you some exciting news and numbers about the overall market here in Augusta, with the highlight being a 17% year-over-year increase in the average price range. However, in real estate, it’s impossible to paint with such a broad brush and still end up with an accurate picture of things; what applies to the $200,000 market doesn’t apply to the upper end of our market. So, how has Augusta’s luxury market been doing as of late?

Thankfully, the luxury market here is healthy—healthier, in fact, than I’ve seen it in many years. In Augusta, we classify luxury properties as those priced at $750,000 and up. This year in the executive markets of Richmond, Columbia, and Aiken counties, there were only 41 luxury home sales. At the moment, we have 43 luxury homes active on the market. By quickly applying the absorption rate, it’s easy to see that we have roughly a year’s worth of supply on the market, and while that would be a jarring figure for any of our lower price ranges, it’s important to keep the proper perspective; I remember when we had a 13-year supply of luxury homes on the market. 

I remember when we had a 13-year supply of luxury homes on the market.

Given everything that’s happened this year, these latest luxury market stats are actually quite reassuring. It’s important to note that selling a home in the luxury price range is simultaneously a price war and a beauty contest. That said, we have a balanced market overall, making it a great time for downsizers and upgraders alike. 

As always, I hope you found this update helpful; if you have further questions regarding the luxury market or want more information on any other real estate topic, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Happy Thanksgiving From Our Family to Yours

Here’s my message of heartfelt gratitude during this holiday season.

Today I want to simply give thanks. This is one of my favorite times of the year, and even though it’s been a tough one, we are so thankful for our health, our family’s health, and more. This year, I gained two children, as two of my children got married. I have so much to look forward to for many years to come, and for that, I’m very grateful.

I want to leave you with my twist on a popular Irish poem for this Thanksgiving: May your turkey be plump, may your gravy have nary a lump, may your pies win the prize, and may your dinner stay off your thighs.

If you have any questions for me or real estate needs I can assist with, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.

How Do You Know Which Offer to Choose?

Here’s why selecting the best offer isn’t as easy as glancing at the price.

If you’re a seller faced with the pleasant problem of having to sort through multiple offers on your home, there are a few considerations that will help make the decision process easier. The first consideration is, of course, price, but a close second should be the likelihood of closing. In the other words, can the buyer prove that they actually have the funds or financing to back up their offer, and are they working with a competent agent? 

The strength of a given buyer’s financing is of utmost importance. Here in Augusta, we have many VA buyers, and it’s likely that an offer from one of them may very well be the best offer you receive. That said, not all VA loans and VA buyers are the same; whether you have three VA buyers bidding for your home or just one, it doesn’t matter—you’ll still need to ask yourself questions like these before proceeding: Are they working with a local lender? Is this someone who I can trust to close on the loan? Do they have a track record of successful, timely closings? 

If your buyer is working with a national lender, remember that lending giant doesn’t care if your moving van is all packed up. If it’s 5 p.m. in their time zone, they’ll be out of the office, and your transaction becomes tomorrow’s problem. 

For those buyers financing their purchase via conventional loan, remember that the more money they put down, the stronger their offer becomes. Of course, cash is still king, so you may opt for a cash offer that’s slightly less than the rest simply because its likelihood of closing would be highest. 

Now, price isn’t the only thing that matters. You must be willing and able to look at all the other important factors of an offer, like the timeframe for closing. Would that buyer’s possession date be helpful to you, or would it be highly inconvenient? In the negotiations, could you push for a possession date that’s after the closing date? Some sellers like the assurance of seeing the proceeds from the sale hit their bank account before they move on to their next property; oftentimes, such an approach would be impractical (if not circumstantially impossible), but sellers with multiple offers to choose from are in the driver’s seat. 

You may opt for a cash offer that’s slightly lower than the rest simply because it has a higher likelihood of closing.

Also, consider opting for the cleanest contract possible—that is, the one with the fewest contingencies. In any transaction, contingencies equal uncertainty, and if you’re taking your home off the market and tying it up in a contract, you simply can’t tolerate too many “what ifs.” What if your buyer’s home doesn’t sell? What if their lender won’t give them final approval? What if they back out during the inspection period? 

I often recommend that sellers get their homes inspected prior to listing so that they can take any potential leverage away from the buyer and request a shorter due diligence period; even if you don’t repair every little foible in the home, you’re at least aware of its issues and can use that knowledge to your advantage when negotiating repairs. In our area, the due diligence period is usually about 10 to 14 days, depending on the availability of the inspectors. The shorter the period, the better, as you’ll be able to close that much sooner. 

Lastly, pay attention to the amount of earnest money a buyer is depositing. Some agents feel like earnest money isn’t all that important, but it’s indisputable that buyers who put up more earnest money have more skin in the game and are therefore more likely to close

So, there you have it: Financing, contract terms (e.g., possession date), “cleanliness” of the offer, and earnest money—four simple items that make a world of difference for a seller who’s wading through multiple offers. If you have further questions regarding any of the four, or want more information on another real estate topic, please give me a call or send an email. I’m always here to be a resource for you!

What Do the Stats Say About Our Augusta Market?

You have to see our latest Augusta market numbers to believe them.

I almost feel like I need to put on my glasses to read the latest real estate figures from our Augusta market. In my 36 years of selling homes, I’ve never seen anything like it. 

As we ended September, our average sales price stood at $241,632. While that does constitute a 17% increase year over year, our homes are still very affordable compared to the rest of the world. There were 808 closed sales and 880 new listings, but the slightly troubling stat is the 1,028 pending sales, which was a 40.6% increase compared to September 2019. 

“We expect continued growth, but we’ll eventually see the effects of a slowdown.”

The only thing we’re missing in Augusta is homes to sell. Since prices continue to rise, it’s a great time to put your home on the market. You may have received a letter from me a few weeks ago discussing the national market and putting things into perspective for what to expect from our Augusta market, but to reiterate: We expect continued growth, but we’ll eventually see the effects of a slowdown. 

We’re very optimistic about what’s happening now, though, and I want you to be prepared. In all my years in the business, I’ve seen many ups and downs—I was there in 2005 and 2007—and I can tell you that now is an excellent time to consider downsizing. 

If you’d like to take advantage of this market and list your home or have any real estate questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to speak with you.

How Buyers Can Win in a Multiple-Offer Situation

There are a few ways buyers can win in a multiple-offer situation.

How can buyers win in a multiple-offer situation? Inventory is very low, so it’s critical to have a strategy in place to get your offer accepted over another.

Of course, price is the largest consideration, but the financing, or how you go about purchasing the home, has a big impact. Cash is the strongest thing to offer, and a cash exhibit proves you’re able to get financing if needed. Also, a pre-qualification letter is crucial, as it will give you a head start on buying a house. I recommend going to a local lender so the other party will immediately recognize them. 

You want to make sure you have strong earnest money. Some real estate agents say this isn’t essential, but it’s a huge deal when it comes to multiple offers because it shows how committed you are. Additionally, if possible, have a shorter due diligence period; this is the number of days you’ll take to inspect the property to ensure it’s a solid deal. We sometimes have inspectors lined up in advance of finding a property to keep the due diligence period shorter, which makes your offer stronger. We try to keep this period to 10 days, when possible. 

It’s critical to have a strategy in place to get your offer accepted over another.

Often the tie-breaker is possession; I’ve had sellers choose an offer with this stipulation, even when another offer had a higher price. Consider what you need, then find out what will best suit the seller. For example, sometimes the seller needs to stay in the home a bit longer after closing for various reasons. 

If you have any specific questions about multiple offers or real estate in general, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send an email. I would love to help you.

What Did May Bring for Our Augusta Market?

Our latest market stats prove Augusta has a lot to feel good about.

I can honestly say that in my 36 years of studying homes and prices in the real estate market daily, this has been one of the most interesting times to track data. Our inventory shortage only worsened in May, dropping 20% over last May. This has caused our prices to rise by 10% amid an economic downturn and worldwide health crisis. In this sense, Augusta has a tremendous amount to be grateful for. Thanks to the housing shortage, we’ve been seeing the average list-to-sale price ratio reach beyond 100%, meaning that the average seller is fetching more than their asking price.  

Something I have seen before here in Augusta—and I’m seeing again now—is that certain sellers have opted to overprice their homes, which has caused them to stagnate on the market. It’s still important to remember that each price range and neighborhood has an individual strategy that needs to be employed, so if I can help you with that, please let me know. If you’re thinking of making a move, whether to downsize or upgrade, this is an excellent time to do so because your return will be very good. 

Reach out by phone or email if you have questions, want more information on a given real estate topic, or are ready to start the home selling process. I’m here to be a resource for you.

Is it Better to Downsize Now or Later?

Is now still a good time to downsize? Yes, and today I’ll tell you why.

With the recent economic downturn and all of the uncertainty in the air, are you better off downsizing now or waiting? Each seller’s situation is different, but you should know that economic downturns and upturns are nothing new.

If you were thinking of making a move before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and are already committed to buying a smaller house and reducing expenses, I say do it now. To learn more about why now is still a great time to downsize in our marketplace, watch this short video.