Financing, Home, Home Buying, Home Loan, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Topic Tuesday: Credit Score and Home Buying


What is a Credit Score? 

Your credit score is a three-digit number that relates to how likely you are to repay debt. Banks and lenders use it to decide whether they’ll approve you for a credit card or loan. There are three main credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Your score is based on factors such as:

  • Your payment history
  • How long you’ve had credit
  • The types of credit you have (credit cards, auto loans, student loans, mortgages, etc.)
  • Your credit limits and how much of those limits you’re using
  • How much debt you have
  • Hard inquiries on your credit report

Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Home Buying Ability?

Yes. According to Mortgage Banker, Ross Bennett, of Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc. “Mortgage lenders more closely scrutinize loans with credit scores below 620 since it is known that these loans have a greater likelihood of default. Lenders will then look at other factors, such as accumulated assets, down payment, loan type, and percentage increase in housing expense or debt ratios when evaluating loans with lower FICO scores.”  To learn more from Ross visit his blog here.

Some Lenders may consider a score as low as 580, however, it depends on other compensating factors. Those factors may include outstanding court judgments, delinquent child support, defaulted student loans and tax liens. These things can negatively impact a borrower’s ability to borrow for a home regardless of an acceptable credit score. Additional information considered may be the amount of debt you already have, how much you have in savings, total assets and current income.

If your score is not quite where it needs to be, fear not! There are things you can do to get it there!

  • Pay all of your obligations on time
  • Keep your revolving balances to less than 20% of the maximum credit line.
  • Pay off outstanding collections, judgments and tax liens. Keep proof of payment.
  • Do not dispute credit accounts on your report. Disputing accounts can actually affect your loan approval.
  • and more…

Under federal law, you have the right to obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies once a year. You can do so here


Shout out to Ross Bennett for assisting with this blog post!

Until Next time…


Home, Home Buying, Home Selling, Real Estate, Uncategorized


the newest family member of RE/MAX Premier Realty…ME! 

I am pleased to let you know of my new position with RE/MAX Premier Realty in Mount Dora, FL. You can continue to expect the same commitment and dedication that I have shown for the past five years with the additional support of a company that offers properties and offices throughout Lake and Marion Counties. RE/MAX Premier has 8 offices and has closed 350 Million in real estate the past 12 months.
It is my hope with this change that I will be better able to serve you in all your real estate needs at the present time as well as in the future. The tools and support team afforded me and my fellow agents are what I am most excited about with this change! I look forward to sharing these exciting new features as your trusted Real Estate Professional. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, and let me know when I can assist you in finding your next property.
Come find me at 18097 N US Hwy 441, Suite A, Mount Dora, FL 32757!
Until next time…


Financing, Home, Home Buying, Home Loan, Home Selling, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Topic Tuesday: I Am Ready to Buy A House, What’s My First Step?


Ready to buy your first home, but have no idea where to begin? Just taking this simple step, first, will get the ball rolling on a successful home buying experience!


Get Pre-Approved by a Local Bank or Mortgage Lender 

Why? Getting pre-approved is an important first step because (unless you prefer or are able to pay cash) you will need financing from a bank or local lender to purchase a home and your pre-approval will tell you what price home you can afford to purchase. It is recommended you speak to at least 3 banks/lenders. While they will have similar loan programs to offer you, one lender may be able to offer you a better rate, down-payment, etc. and shopping around will ensure you get the best deal. A short phone call where the loan officer asks a few standard questions will give you an idea of what you will be approved for and you can then begin the home search! The questions will be regarding personal information about your specific finances and credit history, but will be kept private between you and the loan officer.

Once approved by the lender of your choice, you will then begin working on gathering requested documents for the lender. They will require documents such as pay stubs, bank statements, W-2’s and so on throughout the process to help confirm and guarantee your approval. You begin providing these documents immediately, but can continue to provide them along the way. So do not worry, you can begin the home search (the fun part) immediately! If you find out you are not yet pre-approved to buy a home, don’t be discouraged. You still made the right first step to getting pre-approved by speaking to a lender because they can give you some tips on how to work towards being pre-approved sooner rather than later.

Another good reason to have your pre-approval in hand when you begin your home search is it makes your offer, when you submit one, stronger and is most times a required document when submitting an offer. When you find “The One” you will be ready and won’t risk an opportunity to secure the home of your dreams! Some Sellers even prefer you provide proof of pre-approval before even viewing their home.

If you aren’t sure which local lenders to speak to, your Real Estate Agent can recommend a few for you. If you do not yet have a Real Estate Agent, see my last #TopicTuesday Blog “Choosing A Real Estate Agent”  for tips on finding the right Agent for you.

Next week we will discuss how your credit score affects your ability to buy a home. Until next time…

Home, Home Buying, Home Selling, Local Events, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Topic Tuesday: Choosing a Real Estate Agent…


Happy Tuesday Friends and welcome to the first Topic Tuesday! Topic Tuesday blogs will be reserved for commonly asked questions I receive and/or helpful information I have found beneficial to the consumer’s buying or selling experience. Today’s topic is choosing a Real Estate Agent and sticking with them!

“Do I need a Real Estate Agent?” There are so many positives to working with a Realtor, but I will just list a few. Sure, some aspects of real estate can be figured out on your own, however, you don’t need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a professional who does. You have enough in your daily life to handle, why add more to the list? Today’s purchase agreements run 12 pages or more, not to mention the federal and state required disclosures dictated by your local market and type of sale. Do you want the responsibility of filling those out alone and being liable in the event of a mistake? One mishap can land you in court and cost you thousands! There are volumes of forms, reports and technical documents that come with a real estate transaction. A knowledgeable expert will guide you through the process to make sure you have an enjoyable experience and help avoid costly mistakes. While you may be able to see a home online, its specs and photos, an agent can see any disclosures attached to the home, how many days on market and what it should sell for based on recent comparable sales. This ability helps make sure you list your home correctly or make a reasonable offer on your future home. A Real Estate Agent can also recommend inspections beneficial to your transaction and be present on your behalf in the event of scheduling conflicts.

“How do I choose the Right Real Estate Agent for me?” I recommend interviewing several agents, check online profiles and reviews, and ask friends and family members for recommendations. Don’t be afraid to let each agent know you are in the interview process as well. In fact, we prefer you do. This process is guaranteed to take 30, 60, 90+ days so it is important to feel comfortable with and trust the agent you will be working with. If you are still in the looking phase and decide your agent is not the one for you, politely let them know it’s not a good fit and find someone who is.

Once you have chosen an agent you like, stick with them! This bit is more for buyers. Many people do not know that one agent can show you any home and answer questions about any home on the market, even if it is not their listing. Wouldn’t it be easier to call one person for all your questions and needs as opposed to looking up and calling every single listing agent on each home you are interested in ? If you do the latter, you are guaranteed to have lots of follow-up calls from those agents vying for your business! Also, Real Estate Agents work for free until you close on the home. All the emails, phone calls, and leg work done by the agent requires time and effort. I speak from experience when I say how frustrating it can be to find out someone I thought was my customer is now under contract to buy a home with a random agent they called from a yard sign. Real Estate is my full-time career and how I provide for my family and chances are that is the case for most agents. Most of the time this happens because the consumer is not aware, so that is why I am talking about it here. This does not happen when an agent lists a home for sale because a Listing Agreement is signed. There is such thing as a Buyer/Broker Agreement that most agents do not use, but could be good practice to prevent any misunderstandings going forward.

“I cannot afford a Realtor.”  As a buyer, you do not pay your Realtor (unless there is a special circumstance discussed and agreed upon up front). The seller of each home agrees to a set commission that will cover the Realtor fees in a transaction. So WHY WOULDN’T you utilize a Realtor? Now, most sellers who feel they cannot afford a Realtor tend to list their homes “For Sale By Owner”, but that is a whole other blog!

There is more to be said, but I will leave you with these thoughts. Buying and selling real estate is, in most cases, an emotional experience. A home is more than four walls. You Home is your safe place, your refuge, where you fall in love, raise a family and make unforgettable memories. Having someone in your corner that is concerned, yet objective, can help you stay focused on what is important to you.

Until next time…



Local Events, Uncategorized

Local Events This Holiday Season


I am BACK! I was never far, however, I failed to get a post up for 2 weeks. Let’s blame it on being 9 months pregnant and move on, shall we? Great! I would normally be posting a #FreshListingFriday today, but I am switching it up this week to bring you a list of all the Local Events going on for the Holiday Season! (Events in no particular order.)


Cookies with Santa

Sat, Dec 9, 2017 10:00am – 12:00pm Come get pictures with Santa and enjoy cookies. This free event is hosted by Eustis Historical Museum Location: The Clifford House 536 N. Bay Street Eustis,  FL 32726.

‘Night of Lights’ at Waterman Village

Thu, Dec 14, 2017 6:00pm – 8:00pm Waterman Village Retirement Community is holding its first annual ‘Night of Lights’, where the general public can drive through the community to see their Christmas lights. Location: Waterman Village 445 Waterman Avenue, Mount Dora, FL 32757

Holiday Concert

Thu, Dec 14, 2017 7:00pm – 9:00pm This is an annual city-sponsored concert to benefit Lake Cares Food Pantry. This is a free event. Location: Mount Dora Community Building 520 North Baker Street, Mount Dora, FL 32757

The Great Songs of Christmas

Sat, Dec 16, 2017 7:00pm – 9:00pm Tenor Edward Bryant will sing wonderful songs of Christmas in this historic Eustis setting. Limited seating  so early ticket purchase is recommended (only a $10.00 donation to Eustis Historical Museum). Location:The Clifford House 536 N. Bay Street, Eustis FL 32726


Children can enjoy free sledding and ice skating in downtown Mount Dora’s Donnelly Park.  There will be a ‘fast pass’ line for the snow slopes available to children with the donation of a canned good or a new unwrapped toy.  The event is free and the fun starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m.


Holiday themed trains rides depart from Tavares and go on an hour-long train ride to the North Pole. Tickets can be purchased at the Tavares train station located at 305 Ruby Street in downtown or by calling 352-742-7200. Tickets range from $48 to $182 depending on the class of ticket.

Historical Sydonie Mansion Evening of Lights

Sat,  December 9th 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM 5538 Sydonie Drive, Mount Dora, FL 32757 $30.00 Per Person 90 minute Special Guided Tour with Holiday Music and Treats. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED! Call guest services at 321-236-1534 for more information.

Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra – O’ Holy Night 

Date: Dec 14, 2017 7:30 pm-09:30 pm Duration:2 Hours Epiphany Celebration Anglican Church 1724 South Bay St. (rte 19 N.) Eustis, FL 32726 For tickets and more information:

22nd Annual Leesburg Christmas House 

Start: November 24 @ 8:00 am End:December 9 @ 5:00 pm ViaPort Florida 10401 US Hwy 441 Leesburg, FL 34788 United States Phone:352-365-0053 Website:

A Christmas Carol

December 8th-17th, 2017 Melon Patch Theater 311 N. 13th Street, Leesburg, FL 34788. Visit Leesburg Partnership for Event Times.

Nutcracker Christmas Show Spectacular 

December 9 @ 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm Anastassia Ballroom & Dance 32624 Blossom Lane, Leesburg, FL 34788.

2017 Festival of the Trees Presented by Apopka Historical Society

Enjoy the beauty of the season with trees, wreaths and lanterns decorated by local businesses on display in the City Hall Lobby for two weeks from Sunday, December 3 to Sunday, December 17. The trees and wreaths are up for silent auction. City Hall Lobby hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday with extended viewing hours as follows: Thursday, December 7 – 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Saturday, December 9 – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Sunday, December 10 – 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm Thursday, December 14 – 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Saturday, December 16 – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Top Tree bidders will be announced at the closing ceremony starting at 5:30 pm on December 17 at City Hall.

41st Annual Foliage Sertoma Club of Apopka Christmas Parade 

Date: December 9, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Location: Parade Route runs northbound on Park Avenue from First United Methodist Church of Apopka to Votaw Road, Apopka, FL 32703.

Holiday Movies in the Park

December 8, 2017 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Location: Kit Land Nelson Park 10 S Forest Avenue, Apopka, FL 32703. Free event. Parking at Edwards Field.

Downtown Mount Dora becomes a free street party at Sunset Park.  Food, music and fireworks.

I hope you find this list of Local Events helpful as you enjoy this Holiday Season!

See you next time…

Home, Home Buying, Real Estate, Vacant Land

Pine Ave, Mount Dora, FL 32757

This week on #FreshListingFriday…

Click Here to view more details!


“Land is the secure ground of Home…” – Stephen Gardiner

If building your home is your dream or you are looking to start an Investment, then consider this 0.42 acres on Pine Ave in Mount Dora, FL. This quiet street is minutes from all of Mount Dora’s charm and festivities while also being a hop, skip and a jump from the 429 for quick access to the Orlando Attractions! This land is zoned for Residential Development or C-1 (The C1 zone is intended to implement the commercial category of the Comprehensive Plan. The purpose or intent is to provide for commercial uses which are restricted to retail, downtown businesses, or shopping center types of uses, having no permanent outdoor sales or storage areas.)

This property is partially fenced and has been mostly cleared with trees at the back of the property for added privacy. Additional details include: 70 feet frontage on Pine Ave, no utilities at this time but would be Public Utilities, sale includes an adjoining lot. Added Bonus: Your future home or business is within walking distance to the famous Renninger’s ! Renninger’s offers two markets on one property, the Vintage Antique Center and the Farmer’s and Flea Market. Renninger’s is also home to a large number of special events including antique extravaganzas, car and guitar shows, garden shows and much more! Open every weekend, this is sure to become a favorite weekend activity!

Not looking to build…yet? It’s said that you should purchase land one to five years BEFORE you plan to build! Pre-buying allows you to benefit from value appreciation rather than paying more for the land in the future.

For additional details, click the link under the photo or give me a call! Until next time…

Home, Home Automation, Home Buying, Real Estate, Smart Home

1751 Water Rock Drive, Apopka, FL 32712

Welcome to the first #FreshListingFriday! Each Friday I hope to spotlight a home or land for my readers by providing information you won’t find on Zillow! First up…


Click Here to view your new home on my website.

Safety, Security, Savings…Peace of Mind. That’s what comes to mind when thinking of 1751 Water Rock Drive. Why, you ask? This Smart Home is Home Automation at it’s best! Home automation provides the luxury of keeping tabs on your home at all times. Remotely monitor your home anytime, anywhere, with almost any device. From lighting, security, thermostat and more the benefits of this home include savings and convenience. On average, people with home automation receive home insurance savings up to 20%!

This Energy Star Certified home was built in 2015 by Meritage Homes. If you have a large family or are looking to expand, this 6 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 3,072 square foot pool home should be first on the list! Three of the spare bedrooms have walk-in closets ensuring you have storage at your fingertips.

Smart Home features include:

  • Z Wave Switches and Plugs that allow you to schedule, control and dim any hard-wired light while cutting energy costs and keeping your home safe.
  • Ring Video Doorbell instantly notifies you when visitors press your Doorbell or trigger the built-in motion sensors. Use the free Ring app to see, hear, and speak to guests from your smart device.
  • Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat controlled through your smart device.
  • Door Locks
  • Security Cameras and more….

Other Energy saving features in the home include LED lights and fixtures, spray foam insulation, high performance windows with tint, water sense fixtures and a high-efficiency A/C. I was blown away when the home owner shared how affordable their energy bill was for this size home!

*Fun Fact: This home includes tons of fruit trees including mango, papaya, banana, orange, grapefruit and more! 

Located in the quiet and small community of Lester Ridge Apopka. A quick commute to Sorrento, Mount Dora and Orlando via the 429! Contact me for more information or to schedule your personal tour!

Until next time…

Blogging, DIY, Home, Home Buying, Home Selling, Home Staging, Local Events, Real Estate

Welcome Readers


Hello and Welcome! I am so glad you are here. My blogging skills are a little rusty, so be patient with me as I get back in the groove. I have been wanting to get back into blogging for some time now, but was over thinking the process because I want it to be perfect for you, the reader! The above Albert Einstein quote was my push to just sit down and get down to business.

Blogging is another way for me to be a resource for my friends, family and YOU! I intend for this blog to be your go to source for all things “Home”. We will talk about frequently asked questions regarding Real Estate, home buying and selling, home staging and decor, DIY projects for the home, local events and more. As the blog evolves, I hope to introduce guest voices to share their knowledge and expertise as it relates to “Home”.

I want to hear from you and encourage you to click the Contact tab to submit your questions, let me know what you would like to see on the blog or to just say Hi! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss out on all the exciting thing to come here at Official Audrey James. You can do so by entering your email at the top right of this page. Until next time…