Posted by Brian Lamb Marketing and Associates

1. Why do I need to talk to a bank before starting to look for homes?

Talking to a bank will help you determine how much you can afford. If you are a first-time homebuyer, there may be programs your bank knows about that are applicable to your personal situation. Also, there are additional costs associated with purchasing a home that your bank can help bring to light to ensure that you are fully aware of the financial decision you are making. Also, a mortgage professional will help you find the best interest rate that you can get based on your financial history and credit score.


2. Why do I need a Real Estate agent to help me buy a home? Can’t I just work directly with the seller or seller agent?


Getting a Real Estate agent will be one of the best financial decisions you might make when buying a home, yet most of the time, you don’t even have to personally pay the agent. Your agent’s fee will likely come from the seller and/or the listing agent. Your agent will help you through every aspect of the buying process. An agent will find out your preferences and requirements and find homes that you might not otherwise have access to and give you advice based on the current market and local area. Agents help with the negotiation process. An agent advocates for your best interests. They help with the vast amount of paperwork and make sure you understand every step of the transaction. A Real Estate agent likely knows the industry better than you do and will be someone you can trust to help you with one of the biggest decisions of your life.


3. What kind of credit score do I need to purchase a home?


In most cases, you will need at least a 620 credit score or higher to get the best interest rate. The higher your credit score, the better your lending terms will be. There are some lenders who will approve home buyers with a score of 600 or less, but most likely, the interest rate would be higher than it would with a higher credit score.


4. How much money do I need for a down payment?


For an FHA loan, you usually need between three and five percent. For other conventional loans, ten to twenty percent is recommended or required.


5. What are the costs outside the loan and the down payment?


Many home buyers miscalculate the costs of purchasing a new home. In addition to the down payment, there are generally closing costs associated with a home purchase. You also need to consider the costs of taxes, homeowners association fees, home inspection costs, utilities, homeowners insurance, and any repair or maintenance fees. Always be prepared to make some repairs to the home, whether it’s new or old. Have approximately three months of living expenses saved up in addition to the down payment and closing costs for an emergency repair fund. Always know beforehand the costs of utilities and taxes, so there are no surprises.

Posted by Brian Lamb Marketing and Associates

When buying or selling a house, choosing the right Real Estate agent is essential. And choosing the wrong Real Estate agent can be a disaster. Here are five red flags to watch out for when choosing your Real Estate agent:


  1. The agent is hard to reach, shows up late for appointments, or doesn’t show up at all. The first sign that your Real Estate agent is likely unreliable and doesn’t have your best interest in mind is that he doesn’t return calls or emails, shows up late of showings, misses appointments, and doesn’t make you a priority. While Real Estate agents are indeed busy, failing to keep commitments and being unreliable is a big red flag.
  2. The agent is your relative. This is a touchy subject. However, many home transactions have turned good familial relationships very sour. If you have a relative that is a full-time agent who specializes in your area, it could work out. But if anything does not go as initially planned, resentment can build, or even worse, your transaction can completely fail. Hire a Real Estate agent who is an expert in your area and maintain the peace during the holidays.
  3. The agent is not familiar with your local market. Whether you are buying or selling a home, having an agent who is an expert in the local market is important. Real Estate is a local business, and you need an agent who is familiar with your area.
  4. The agent is not detail-oriented. If you’re a buyer, you need an agent who will be able to keep track of all your information, your preferences, the homes you want to see or the ones you’ve already seen. The agent needs to make sure there are no liens on the home and a good agent knows that things to look for that might cause you grief down the road. If you’re a seller, you want an agent who is going to know all the details about your home and what you want in a buyer, and a good agent will do what she can to make sure the sale goes through. A detail-oriented agent is familiar with all the paperwork and the contracts involved in a transaction and will ensure all bases are covered.
  5. The agent’s current online listings have poor quality photos. The best agents know that most home searches start online and that many first impressions are made with photos on online listings. If the photos are bad quality, are hard to see, or if the home looks messy in the photos, find another agent. If the agent does not take the photos herself, she will at least make sure the ones she posts are good quality and show her listings in the best light possible.
Posted by Brian Lamb Marketing and Associates

When thinking of building a new construction home, follow these five tips to ensure you get the most out of your money.


  1. Get a Real Estate Agent. A lot of people overlook this helpful tip and try to represent themselves in the building process. However, builder contracts and the building process can be more complicated than buyers generally anticipate. Also, some buyers believe that if they don’t use an agent, the buyer will reduce the price of the home by the amount of the commission. However, in most cases, this isn’t true. An agent who specializes in new construction and the area in which you want to build can be invaluable. In addition, builders’ model homes and offices represent the builders’ interests because they are staffed by the builder. Buyers need also need someone to represent their interests that is not affiliated with the builder.
  2. Buy during the winter holidays. Very few people buy homes during this time of year, so there is less competition. While inventory may not be high, it may be a great time to get a bargain.
  3. Remember that a model home is the very best version of the home. The model home may not be a good representation of what you will get. The builder generally hopes you will like the upgrades in a model home and pay extra for them yourself. When touring the model home, ask what options are standard and what additional options cost.
  4. Do your research. Always research your builder and their reputation. Search for online reviews and testimonials. Talk to other homeowners and visit other communities the builder has built in. Ask your agent if they know anything about the builder’s reputation.
  5. Get an inspection. A home inspection isn’t only necessary for previously built homes. Get the inspection before the drywall has been installed. This will allow you to see any mistakes that have been made during construction, uneven walls, electrical or cable outlets in the wrong location, etc.