Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

 1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.

 2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.

 3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.

 4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.

 5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

For more advice and tips, feel free to reach out at anytime! It’s my goal to go above and beyond for my clients! My advice is always free. Reach out to me here.

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Choosing to enter the home buying process is likely the largest financial decision you will make in your lifetime, so it is not one that should be taken lightly. Ensuring that your other current and upcoming financial responsibilities are under control is crucial to having a smooth transaction and being able to enjoy your investment fully. These tips will help you prepare your budget for purchasing your dream home.

Calculate your monthly income. How much money is coming in every month? This is the amount that is left after taxes, health insurance, and retirement savings are taken out of your monthly salary.

Understand your current expenses. Make a list of all your current recurring expenses month to month. Don’t forget to factor in things like loan payments, gym memberships, car maintenance, groceries, self-care appointments, etc.

Determine where you can find savings. Are there any ongoing memberships or subscriptions you don’t use that can be canceled? Can you cut out your daily coffee or eating out lunch? Make these adjustments right away to start saving more.

Boost your financial standing. Before buying a home, it is recommended that you dedicate extra effort to paying off other debts and boosting your credit score. Taking these steps will help you during the loan approval process.

Don’t move finances around. Your lender will review your bank statements during the pre-approval process and then again during underwriting. Any large withdrawals or deposits may throw a red flag so try to avoid these when possible. If you can’t, make sure you have proper documentation to explain the movement of money.

If you’re looking for more advice, lenders, financial advisors, or anything real estate related. Give me a call, text, or email and I’ll get you in touch with one of my many trusted professionals. It’s my goal to go above and beyond for my clients. Contact me here.

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4 Facts to Help You Choose the Best Offer

The nation’s real estate markets, for the most part, are still leaning toward sellers. Multiple offers on attractive, reasonably priced homes are common in many areas.

It only makes sense then that the higher the offering price, the better the offer, right? For many sellers, yes, but it isn’t always the case.

Sometimes the highest offer may have the worst terms, so it pays to scrutinize the entire contract before deciding on which to choose.


The buyer’s funding is also an important consideration. Most sellers give preference to a buyer who is offering to pay cash for their homes, at least in markets that favor them.

Barring that, a large down payment is attractive in that it lowers the amount the buyer must borrow for the purchase, making it more likely he or she will qualify for a loan.


FHA-backed loans have a more stringent appraisal process than a conventional loan, so if there are possible issues with their home, many homeowners put any offers using FHA financing at the bottom of the pile.


How much earnest money is each bidder depositing? The amount can vary, and the buyer with the highest earnest money deposit has the most “skin” in the game and is less likely to bail on the deal.


Some offers are contingent upon the sale of the buyers’ current home. When determining the value of contingent offers, keep in mind more variables need to be met for the deal to come to fruition. Therefore, their value should be measured accordingly.


Buyer offers can be deceiving and having the right assistance to ensure you are excepting the best offer while avoiding possible pitfalls is crucial. The above list is just an overview of what I’ll look at in the purchase contracts you receive. I’m happy to share the rest with you – feel free to contact me.

Buying a Home – Parts 2 to 4

When house hunting, determine your “must haves” and what your “would love to, but isn’t a must.”

Things to let your real estate agent know about your ideal home:

  • Price
    • Shop within your budget, the way the market is right now, I recommend you shop for homes that are about $50,000 below your ideal price point. The reason for this is because there is little inventory for the amount of qualified buyers that there are in the market. So, many homes are getting OVER asking price. This will give you some wiggle room to come in strong on your offer. Talk with your realtor about more ways you can make your offer stand out.
  • Square footage
    • Have a range here.
  • Home condition and possible need for repairs
    • Are you willing to put in some work or do you prefer turn key ready?
  • Access to public transportation
    • Do you commute for work, would you prefer to be in close proximity to bus stations and other public transport?
  • Number of bedrooms
    • Would you want an office, bonus room, exercise room?
    • Master on main?
  • Backyard/swimming pool
    • Exterior features of home
      • Size of lot
      • Garden area
      • Outdoor kitchen, etc.
  • Local entertainment options
    • Do you go to the movies a lot or love shopping?
      • How close would you like to be to shops, dining, movies?
  • Local school district ranking
    • Do you have children?
      • What kind of schools are you interested in?
        • Public schools and there ranking?
        • Charter schools?
        • Private schools?
    • Your realtor can help you locate these details so that you can make an informed decision that works for you.
  • Property/real estate taxes
    • This goes right along with the budget you set in Part 1 of buying a home.
    • Depending on the location you want to live in, this number could change drastically. Determine what amount in property taxes is too high for your budget.

Now you’ve found the home, it’s time to Make an Offer! Keep in mind that depending on the market in your area, your offer may be one of dozens of offers. Don’t get discouraged if the first offer you write isn’t accepted.

Once you have an accepted offer:

  • Congratulations, you are now UNDER CONTRACT!
    • Your Realtor® will help you with the entire process which includes things like:
  • Scheduling a Home Inspection
  • Home Appraisal (it is usually the lender that orders the appraisal, your real estate agent will keep in touch with your lender to keep things moving along)
  • Negotiate for Repairs or Credits
  • Schedule a Final Walkthrough
  • Schedule Closing on your new home with title company or real estate attorney.

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How to Buy a Home: Part 1

You’ve thought about buying a home…you’ve searched a few things and still just aren’t sure where to even start. This will likely be the most expensive purchase of your life. But, don’t get overwhelmed. I’ve broken down the home buying process into four parts. Let’s dive in.

Ok, so who am I and why should you listen to me? I’m Maranda, Realtor® with Tailored Real Estate and eXp Realty in Denver North Carolina 28037. I’ve helped buyers through the entire process of buying a home and have professionals of all things real estate by my side and eager to help.

Buying a home is nerve racking, as it should be. It will be one of the most expensive purchases in your life…

One step at a time = big results, less stress. You must start with the end in mind to know how to get there. These steps are finding out the “where” so you can find out “how”

Do you even know how much home you really can afford? Do you even know if you can get approved for a mortgage? It’s important to know this before spending your time scouring the internet for your new home.

  1. Decide Whether you’re ready to buy
    • Meaning, pre-qualify yourself before searching for a home or comparing mortgages
      • Be sure you have at least 2 years employment history – this shows lenders that you have stable and reliable income.
      • Know your debt to income ratio
        • Lenders typically like to see less than 36% and no more than 28% of your income going towards housing expenses.
      • Check your credit score – a credit score of 580 or higher is ideal. Although some loan programs allow for lower credit score.
  2. Set a budget and calculate how much house you can afford
    • Owning a home has a higher cost than renting. (yearly property taxes, maintenance costs, insurance, etc.)
    • For Simplicity: Use this calculator from Nerd Wallet to find out how much house you can afford.
  1. Start saving for your closing costs and down payment
    • Plan on saving 3-6% of home purchase price for closing costs. (*This does not include your down payment)
    • Many have the misconception that they need 20% down to buy a home and that just isn’t the case.
      • There are loan programs you may qualify for require as little as 0 (zero) down!
      • I like to advise to save at least 3.5%-6% for a down payment.

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You may also get a FREE pdf copy of my home buyers guidebook now. By clicking here.


When purchasing a home, there are several fees you have to understand and factor in to your budget before you hit the closing table. Here’s what you need to know.

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are the fees for services required to finalize your mortgage. Typically, the buyer is responsible for paying these costs unless otherwise negotiated to have the seller contribute. Fees include (but certainly are not limited to) attorney, appraisal, inspection, government taxes, title insurance, home insurance, mortgage insurance, and property taxes.

How much are closing costs?

According to, closing costs usually total about 2 to 5 percent of the home’s purchase price, and they generally vary depending on the property purchased and state you reside in. Your lender will provide you with an estimate of your closing costs following your loan approval, and although that number can change slightly, your final costs should be similar. If you would like a recommendation on lenders in North Carolina, reach out to me and I’d be happy to give you a few recommendations.

How can you reduce closing costs?

Some of the fees that fall under your closing costs can be reduced by doing ample research on lenders at the beginning of the homebuying process. Then, compare any potential discounts or deals they offer before making your choice. Additionally, you can attempt to negotiate with the seller to cover part or all of your closing costs.

Do keep in mind, asking for the seller to cover costs may weaken your offer in a seller’s market. Right now in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina and much of the nation, it is a SUPER seller’s market. Meaning, the seller has all the cards. Inventory is low and demand is high. Homes are getting 30+ showings on day 1 and nearly the same amount of offers. If you’d like to discuss more on how to make a stronger offer in a sellers market, give me a call anytime! I’m happy to talk real estate. 🙂

Can you avoid upfront closing costs?

If you think you will be unable to afford the closing costs upfront, you can opt to roll them into your loan. However, choosing this route often costs you more in the long run. At a minimum, you’ll have to pay interest on your closing costs, or depending on your lender, you may face a higher interest rate on your entire loan.



Before finalizing your home purchase, one crucial step in the process is the home inspection, during which a licensed inspector looks at the structure, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and more. Here are 5 common home issues inspectors keep an eye out for.

Faulty electrical systems. Out-of-date electrical systems, lack of adequate power supply, faulty circuit breakers, or exposed wiring can spell disaster for a home. Inspectors can sniff these issues out and recommend repairs to ensure the home is wired safely and properly.

Poor drainage. If the home has landscaping that causes water to drain towards the home, it can cause foundation shifts or cracks, wet crawl spaces, mold, and rot. This can be incredibly costly to correct, so it’s important to determine this before going through with the home purchase.

Leaks. Inspectors look for leaks in the roof to ensure there are no damaged shingles, gutters, flashing, or other issues. They also look for any possible causes of plumbing leaks, such as broken seals, corrosion, clogs, damaged pipe joints, and more.

Mold. Showers, tubs, air conditioning and heating vents, attics, and basements are some of the most common places inspectors find mold. This can lead to various health issues for the home’s occupants, like headaches, skin irritation, and respiratory issues.

HVAC issues. During an inspection, the inspector looks for issues that could impact your ability to heat or cool your home. These include blown fuses, pilot and ignition issues, damaged coils, dirty filters, gas leaks, and cracks in the ductwork and pipes.

With the inspector’s report, you can head to the closing table with more confidence and be prepared to negotiate repairs with the seller if necessary.

Have more questions? Reach out anytime, I promise to take care of you to the best of my abilities.


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate market continues to trend upward. According to analytics firm CoreLogic, in November, home prices were up 8.2% year over year. Interestingly, Idaho (15.7%), Maine (15.4%), and Indiana (13.6%) were the states with the highest increases. Plus, this past year saw record low interest rates, which is certainly a driving factor in the current hot real estate market. While this is great news for existing homeowners, it has posed some difficulties for lower income individuals to afford homes.

One major challenge facing the industry is inventory for would-be buyers is at a 12-month low. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), inventory nationwide is down to a 2.1 month supply. This is a 30% decrease in available homes for sale from the same time period last year. Most real estate professionals consider a six-month supply of homes a healthy balance between a buyer and seller market. This low supply, or low inventory, generally indicates a strong seller’s market. NAR also reported the median days on market in December 2020 was only 16 days, further indicating that it is a strong seller’s market.

Because the real estate market is very dynamic, whether you are thinking about selling or buying, it’s more important than ever to work with an agent who understands the local market. Often, homes are sold where the seller may have netted a higher amount or there are buyers who lose out on a great home because their agent may not understand these market forces. Find an agent with knowledge and experience locally who can understand your unique needs.

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