Welcome to the Good Life Blog

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!


Why Work With Ann Marie McManus?

Here’s a little bit about me and how I can help you sell.

Today I just want to share a bit about why you should choose me to help you sell your home. If you want to get top dollar in the shortest amount of time, have someone truly listen to your distinct circumstances, and get a plan tailored specifically to you, then you’ll want to list with me. Often, when moving, many other life circumstances come with it, and I know how to bring my services to you. Selling is not a one-size-fits-all situation. 

I have the community contacts and will immediately pick up the phone and start connecting on your behalf. For me, it’s all about the personal connection and finding what best suits each client. I’m never going to pressure someone into doing anything that’s not in their best interest. I believe people trust me and know that I won’t simply sell their house at any price, but rather get the best deal I can for them.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to me about selling your property, reach out via phone or email. I would love to help you.

Click here to listen to more testimonials.


How Rising Lumber Costs Are Impacting New Construction

Here’s how the rising cost of lumber has affected new home construction.

Things have been changing in the new home construction market, and these changes are mainly tied to the rising cost of lumber. In fact, lumber costs have risen by 180% since last spring. In previous blogs, I’ve spoken in depth about our low home inventory levels and high buyer demand. Builders are doing their best to continue construction, but the high costs of lumber are making the process more expensive. On average, the cost to build a new home has increased by $25,000.

It’s been important for both buyers and builders in the new construction market to accurately calculate their costs and stay flexible. Buyers must watch out for price increases they’re unprepared for, and construction delays are always possible due to pricey lumber costs and shipments.

We’re continuing to work with buyers and builders to ensure everyone knows what’s happening with new home construction and why. If you’re looking for more information about a particular neighborhood, or you’d like to know how these changes may affect your situation, feel free to reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Advice for Listing Your Summerville Home

Here’s a quick tip for pricing and preparing your Summerville home to sell.

Today I want to talk to you about pricing and selling homes in the older areas of Augusta, specifically in Summerville. The market is moving very quickly overall, and we’re seeing jumps in the average sale price. In Summerville, we’ve also seen a 20% decline in inventory. There is only about a one-month supply of homes out there.

Your home has to be ready for buyers when you list it for sale.

Even with such a low supply, there are still certain tips you’ll need to follow to successfully sell your Summerville home for top dollar. Remember that it’s a price war and a beauty contest, even in a market with low inventory. 

It’s so important to have your home ready when it comes on the market. Things are moving so swiftly that I’m seeing buyers ask what’s wrong with homes simply because they have been on the market for 30 days. There are a lot of things that could cause a home to sit without selling, but most of the time the property simply isn’t prepared and/or priced properly. When this occurs, people are going to think something is wrong with a home when there really isn’t. Summerville is a fantastic area to live in and this situation should rarely happen. 

If you have any questions or need more advice on how to position your home to sell for top dollar, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


What’s Happening in the Luxury Market?

Here’s why luxury homeowners should be excited about recent market trends.

A few weeks ago, I told you about the double-digit price increases we were seeing in the real estate market overall. However, what applies to the market at our median price of $250,000 doesn’t always apply in the upper-end market. The luxury market in Augusta refers to homes priced at $750,000 and up. Right now, we have just a 14-month inventory in this section of the market. It might sound like a high number, but you also need to know that we had 23 months of inventory just a year ago. We always have a good bit of inventory in this market, and Augusta is known for its beautiful luxury homes.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a luxury home, this is a great time while inventory is low (relatively speaking). It’s also an advantageous time to sell a luxury home. In this market, people are better able to time their moves in the luxury market, so this is the time when you may consider making a move while inventory is down and sales are up. Applying supply and demand theory, this is a very advantageous market for sellers and an excellent time to sell.

If you have any questions about selling a home or the Augusta market in general, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.


Is Your Home Covered in the Event of a Fire?

A recent house fire reminded me of the value of good insurance.

Recently, I experienced a house fire, which caused my family and I to rediscover just how important it is to have up-to-date insurance that covers such an unfortunate event. When our neighbor saw the fire from her second-story window, she promptly called her dad, who came outside. They called 911 and attempted to combat the flames with a garden hose until the fire department arrived a short while later.  By the time we were awake and out of the house, eight fire trucks were on the scene with 28 firefighters. They did a fantastic job of containing it, such that we only have very minimal smoke damage. I’m glad to say our family is doing very well, all things considered.
Review your homeowners insurance policy and your current value.
The morning after the fire, we called a friend in the fire restoration business, who told us that we worked with a great insurance company. Now, we understand that the restoration process is going to be somewhat of an ordeal, given the inconvenience of construction. That said, it’s such a good feeling to know that we’ve kept up with our coverage and that we didn’t scrimp on the policy. That’s why I’m encouraging you to look at your homeowners insurance policy and your current value. Touch base with your insurance agent if you haven’t spoken with them in awhile, as they’ll likely have kept up with these things and can help you figure out whether your coverage is adequate. If you have any questions about homeowners insurance or anything else to do with real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

What’s Our Augusta Market Up to?

Here’s what you should know about our market as we get 2021 underway.

We’re finally into the new year, so you may be asking yourself, “How is the real estate market primed for 2021?” First of all, when interest rates are as low as they are right now (they’re one percentage point lower than they were at this same time last year), it bodes well for the real estate market and overall economy—2.38% is simply an unbelievable mark. 

Typically, low inventory is desirable for homeowners since it drives prices up, but our inventory shortage is quickly becoming downright problematic; the market can’t move forward if there just aren’t any houses for sale, and many would-be buyers are backing off a little bit. Some have been priced out of the market, others without a pressing need to buy don’t feel compelled to grind it out in a bidding war, and others still are taking a more “wait-and-see” approach. 

That said, our Augusta market is shielded from a lot of the national economic trends because we have so many people moving here all the time. All in all, now is an excellent time to sell your house, especially if you’re thinking about downsizing and want to maximize your equity amid an upturn in prices. It is important to note that national economists have flagged a few things that could pose legit problems for our market moving forward, such as the negative effect rising prices might have on the affordability index. (Thankfully, Augusta’s affordability index rating remains exceptional). 

Now is an excellent time to sell your house, especially if you’re thinking about downsizing and want to maximize your equity amid an upturn in prices.”

While no one has a crystal ball, we all know that the economy rises and falls; we’re in a peak now, so it’s a great time to ride the tide and sell your home for top dollar. If you have any questions on the market or are thinking about buying or selling property soon, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone or email. We’re always here to help, and we’d love to hear from you!


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.