Welcome to the Good Life

Ann Marie is your real estate expert! With a career spanning over 30 years Ann Marie knows what it takes to deliver results! Check out her videos below for some valuable information on buying and selling a home!


Selling a Home With an Outdoor Kitchen

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Outdoor kitchens are all the rage at the moment, especially among luxury homebuyers. For them, it’s an important feature in a home because you could spend anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 on it. I’ve seen it!

When it comes to putting in an outdoor kitchen, think about its timeliness and style. Those that aren’t as taste-specific will typically resell better than those that are distinct to the homeowner’s taste. If you decide to rent your home, people will love the outdoor space, possibly leading to added income.

I’m not saying that outdoor kitchens don’t add value to your home, but you cannot expect to get all of your money back if you go over the top.

If you’re thinking of selling your home and are wondering about the value of an outdoor kitchen or any other additions, reach out to me. I’d love to give you my advice about what your additions and upgrades could add to your home.

For more information check out this HGTV article on outdoor kitchens and if you’re interested in getting your own outdoor kitchen installed give me a call at (706) 481-3800.


What Should You Really Be Focusing on in Your Home Search?

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Today I’m going to talk to you about one very specific point that I think everyone needs to know about.

I spend the weekend showing houses and it grew more apparent to me that a lot of times when I’m working with people new to the area or buying their first home, they don’t realize that all square footage prices are not the same.

These buyers will come in with numbers from Zillow and Trulia and want to see certain houses, but don’t do enough research when it comes to the price per square foot. It is critical that you look for the value in the price per square foot for any home you’re interested in buying.

Quality, location, and condition all play a factor in the price per square foot.

You could find something that’s $73 per square foot here, and nearly $200 per square foot somewhere else. What’s the difference? Quality, location, and condition. These are all important factors to keep in mind as a homebuyer. I see a commoditization of real estate that is a little alarming because there’s so much data out there. Instead of focusing on every little thing, it’s important to focus on the important things like the price per square foot.

To help you navigate this, you need the help of an expert in the market. You also need to ask yourself why a home is more or less expensive than another similar property based on square footage.

If you have any questions for me in the meantime, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


3 Factors to Keep in Mind When Preparing Your Mother’s Home for Sale

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Today’s subject can sometimes be tough to talk about, but it’s important to address anyway: helping mom get her home ready for sale. Depending on where her next move will take her, it can sometimes even be overwhelming.

However, there are three points to keep in mind to help the process go smoothly and with as little stress as possible.

1. Timing. Be sure to time the move appropriately, but don’t wait too long if she needs to maximize the outcome of the sale to improve her lifestyle moving forward.

2. Phasing. Selling a home and moving are processes, and there are certain phases to go through, including decluttering the home, packing up her belongings, and preparing her current home to look its best.

3. Maximize her return on investment. This can involve staging, sprucing up the landscaping, and making general updates on the home to improve its market value so that buyers will be inclined to make an offer.

You can start this process by clicking the “Interested in buying” link above to look at all the available homes on the market. You can also click to receive a market analysis from me, where you’ll get an estimation of the home’s value.

If you have any other questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I look forward to helping you!


Join Us for an Open House at Our New Office

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Click here to RSVP for Our Open House

I just wanted to reach out to you today to invite you to our office open house. Our newly remodeled suite of offices is all finished and we’d love for you to come see them. Join us at 3519 Wheeler Rd. on Thursday, September 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. We can’t wait to see you all there and talk about all of the exciting ways we are ready to serve you in the years to come. To hear the full invitation, watch this short video.


An Overview of Some New Features on My Website

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I recently noticed there was a demand among buyers and sellers for easy-to-access, specific information on the varying lifestyles here in Augusta and for the ability to check out specific neighborhoods. Luckily, I’ve built some brand-new tools into my website to satisfy that demand. From neighborhoods to counties to lifestyles, each new tab on my website allows you to explore properties and areas based on the specifications you’re seeking. If you have any questions related to real estate that you’d like to ask me directly, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help!  


Then vs. Now: Our Luxury Market

Our luxury market has hardly remained static and, as you’ll learn from today’s update, conditions bode well for those ready to make a move.

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Today I’d like to take just a few minutes to talk about trends and statistics that have caught my attention in our higher-end market. 

By virtue of my certification with the Luxury Home Marketing Institute, I like to keep a watchful eye on the upper-end market—homes priced at $500,000 or higher for the Augusta area. The stats we’ll observe today come from the Aiken County, Richmond County, and Columbia County market, and we’ll compare the year-over-year numbers between January 1 to June 30. 

At the midpoint of this year, our overall number of sales have come down slightly from where they were a year ago. By the end of June last year, 70 luxury homes had sold compared to 61 this year. 

The average luxury home is spending 143 days on the market right now, which is the lowest market we’ve seen in our Augusta market in quite a few years.

This is because of a dropoff in inventory, and on top of that, luxury homes are spending fewer days on the market; between 2018 and 2019, the average number of days on market went from 154 to 143, respectively. 

In fact, 143 days is the lowest mark we’ve seen in our Augusta luxury market in quite a few years. Given the fact that our luxury market is moving well, now’s as good a time as any to jump into the market if you’ve been thinking about downsizing or if you’re ready to move up into a luxury home.   

If you have any questions or you’re interested in luxury homeownership, please give me a call at 706-481-3800. I look forward to talking to you! 


Cybersecurity Tips With Juanita McDowell

Staying safe online is more important than ever these days. Juanita McDowell joined me recently to talk about some of the top tips for protecting yourself on the internet.

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Today I’m very excited to be joined by national trainer Juanita McDowell. Just about four years ago, I heard her speak about the importance of getting good, local, reliable information out to our databases through video. Really, I’m here today because of her.

I was just in a class with her for a few days receiving the e-pro designation, which is a designation through the National Association of Realtors that’s based on technology and with a heavy emphasis on data breaches and how we can protect our client’s information. I asked Juanita to join me to talk about three tips for maintaining good cybersecurity:

1. When you open an email, hover over the address and any links to avoid being taken to the wrong website. If the links or addresses don’t match up, don’t click them. Phishing emails are always a threat, so make sure you hover before you click.

2. Freeze your child’s credit by going to equifax.com, experian.com, or transunion.com. Most kids don’t have credit, but that doesn’t mean their info isn’t vulnerable to getting stolen. You can ensure this won’t happen by freezing your child’s credit on the three websites listed above.

3. Avoid using free/public WiFi networks unless you have a VPN. If you’re in an airport or coffee shop, stay away from the “free” WiFi network unless you have a Virtual Private Network. Honestly, it’s a good idea to get a VPN anyways to encrypt and protect your information.

Thanks so much to Juanita for joining me to explain these tips. If you have any questions for her, you can reach her at (404) 401-6209 or send her an email to Juanita@InMotionConsult.com.

If you have any other questions for me in the meantime, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


2 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Market

You only get one shot at making a good first impression.

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You’ve decided to list your home in our summer market. Congratulations! In order to take advantage of all the opportunities in front of you, you’ll need to be at the top of your game when it comes to your preparation.

After all, you only get one shot at making a good first impression, so today I’ll share two ways you can make your first impressions count.

You’ll first want to declutter and depersonalize the house. One of my specialties is helping sellers make minor adjustments after their home has gone unsold for a while. Recently, I did this very thing with a seller who asked me to lend my expertise and experience. We did some decluttering and depersonalizing and, just like that, the home sold.

Once that’s accomplished, consider repainting your home—especially if the home’s colors are a little passé. You’ll be amazed at how much more bang for your buck you’ll get with an updated interior and/or exterior paint job. Nowadays, white shades like “jersey cream” and gray shades like “agreeable gray” show really well with buyers.

If you have any specific questions about how to best prepare your home for today’s market or real estate in general, please give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!


Should I Put My Home on the Market This Summer?

If you’ve been on the fence about selling your home, now is the time to get off. Here are three reasons why.

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Is now the time to list? The answer… YES!

If you’ve been on the fence about selling your home, now is the time to make a move. 

The Real Estate market in the River Region (Augusta, Aiken, and the surrounding area) is moving quickly. In fact, according to Realtor.com, Augusta is one of the two three cities seeing the biggest growth in their inbound to outbound ratio. 

“With a high inbound/outbound ratio signaling strong external interest in a market, relative to the desire of locals to look elsewhere, an improvement in the inbound/outbound ratio can signal a potential shift in the attractiveness of a local area’s real estate market and suggests that migration trends could improve as well.” – Realtor.com

As one of our regions most experienced agents, I’m often asked, “Should I put my home on the market this summer?” If you’re asking this question, please read on!

Right now is an excellent time to list your home. 

1. Supply is low. There aren’t as many homes for sale as there are buyers looking, so families who are listing now are positioning themselves favorable in our current market. 

2. A New Demographic. A record number of millennials are entering the market for the first time. I’ve seen that some in this generation have delayed in purchasing until now.  But, with student loans nearly paid off and their families growing, there is a new demographic looking for their next home. This will allow first-time homeowners to move up and allow those looking to downsize to take full advantage of the current conditions.

3. Homes are affordable. Currently homes are affordable, interest rates are low, and there is no shortage of buyers. According to CoreLogic,  a real estate data and analytics company, “Potential buyers who tested the waters in recent years should have an easier time now, which should be especially good news for anyone who made an offer but lost their bid for a home,” said Justin LaJoie, general manager at RealEstate.com. But if mortgage rates fall further, resulting in more buyers entering the market this spring, the competition could get fierce again.

If you have any questions for me about the current state of the market or what you can be doing as a homebuyer or seller, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


A Sneak Peek at Our Brand-New Office

Our brand-new office is the signal of a brand-new era for Good Life Augusta. Here’s a sneak peek at the construction phase of our new home.

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After being in the same office for 20 years, my team is finally moving to a new spot. It’s the same building, but our new space is a little bit newer, a little bit bigger, and a little bit fresher. We’re looking forward to an exciting new era for Good Life Augusta.

We are excited to take you behind the scenes of the construction that’s going on today. In the video above, you can get a better look at all of our new offices and spaces. We’ve picked out all the colors and all the furnishings, and we’re looking forward to improving and getting better with this new space.

Our team office has beautiful, large windows and our new flooring is being installed at the end of the week. This new space is going to allow us to serve our clients even better, and our tech guys have been in the office setting up all of our new technology.

If you have any questions for me in the meantime or any real estate needs that I can assist you with, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.