MINT HILL, NC – September 11, 2001 is a date that will be forever engraved in our nation’s history. But for 1st Choice Properties Owner Anna Granger it holds added significance: September 11, 2001, was also the date Granger closed her first real estate deal.
Granger came to the United States in 1994 as an intern for a German company. She planned to stay for six months and return to Germany to complete graduate school; instead, she met her husband here. Granger and her husband married in 1995 and had their first child in 1997. A second child followed in 2000. Reluctant to put her children in daycare, Granger began searching for something she could do “on the side” before her second child was born.
Granger finished her MBA in 2001 and began to dabble in real estate, purchasing foreclosures and flipping them for sale or rental. Today you can’t turn on the TV without seeing a show about flipping houses, but that wasn’t the case in 2001. “There was no flipping homes on HGTV,” says Granger. “I was very fortunate to meet another broker that introduced me to the concept. back then you could get really good financing. You didn’t have to have a lot of money down. I would buy the house at a discount, and then I would tell the appraiser what improvements we would make. They would appraise the house based on that future value. I would get 80% of that future value and oftentimes walk away from closing with money in my pocket.”
On September 11, 2001, Granger had her first bid on a foreclosure accepted. She continued flipping houses for several years through the birth of her third son in 2003. In 2004, Granger got licensed as a real estate agent and quickly struck out on her own.
Real estate proved to be a great opportunity for Granger to work while still being a full-time mom to her three young children, but as her kids grew, it became more than just a side hustle. More than simply a job that suited her schedule, real estate became a career she enjoyed.
“I enjoy matching houses with clients,” she says. “I enjoy the hunt. I hate losing more than I like winning,” she admits. “It’s competitive, and I like competition. The market fluctuates, but what you put in is what you get out. You have to be self-motivated. You have to push yourself, but when you do, there’s no ceiling.”
In the early 2000s, Granger and her family were living in Matthews, but with all three kids at Queen’s Grant Community School, she found her life increasingly centered around Mint Hill. In 2008, she relocated to Farmwood, where she ran 1st Choice Properties out of her home office. But while Granger’s life was centered more and more around Mint Hill, the real estate business left her running to every corner of the city and beyond.
“I was running from literally Lancaster, South Carolina, up to Lake Norman, and I was running myself ragged,” she recalls. “I’m a person that really likes proximity. I like to support local, but I also just don’t like wasting my time in the car! Ultimately, I feel like you’re the best agent in an area that you know really well.”
When Granger made the decision to make the Mint Hill-area her hub and main focus, she started to expand. Today she works with a team of about 15 agents from her office in downtown Mint Hill.
Granger prides herself on being an agent who doesn’t focus on a single price point. “To me, every client, no matter if it’s a first time homebuyer or one that pays 2 million deserves the same attention,” says Granger. “Like I said at the Chamber meeting, every deal is a big deal, because it’s a big deal to that person, no matter what price point they are at, and it’s so gratifying to help anybody on any level.”
It’s that flexibility that has allowed Granger to continue growing her business even through drastic fluctuations in the market. “A lot of people that didn’t do well in 2008 were the ones that went after all the high end houses, and when the market crashed, they couldn’t sell anymore,” says Granger. “My clientele goes from first time homebuyers to over 3 million. When the market crashed, I wasn’t out of business.”
Granger also takes pride in being an integral part of the fabric of the Mint Hill community. She’s an active member of the Chamber of Commerce who has served on the board and currently serves as an ambassador. “I like giving back to the community,” says Granger. “As much as I can, always give. That’s why I sponsor so much. If I can afford it, I can do that. “
Granger is currently working with the Lions Club and sponsoring Mint Hill’s annual photo contest. Of course efforts like this help garner exposure for 1st Choice Properties, but for Granger, things like Beer with a Broker and Oktoberfest are simply a way to create some fun in her hometown.
It’s no secret that today’s real estate market is extraordinary. “I have not seen anything like this before,” says Granger. “People are paying top dollar right now, over and above asking, large due diligence fees that are non refundable. Sellers are now saying, as is, don’t make any repairs. Some buyers are actually paying for some sellers’ closing costs!”
For Granger and her agents, a market like this is both a blessing and a curse. “It’s lovely to be a listing agent,” she says. “It’s really tough to be a buyer’s agent.” And she doesn’t think it’s going to change soon. “It’s supply and demand,” continues Granger. “Demand is huge. Where is the supply coming from? Builders can only build so fast, and often sellers are not going on the market because they have nowhere to go.”
With such a booming real estate market, you might expect Granger to have plans for expansion, but that’s not necessarily the case. “Honestly, I like to stay at a boutique size,” she says. “To me, quality is more important than quantity. I’m not against growing, but it would be a very controlled, and intentional growth.”
Ready to buy or sell? Take advantage of Anna Granger’s 20 years of experience by calling 1st Choice Properties at (980) 272-6300.