The Myths of Credit Scores

Does having my credit check hurt my score?

If your [FICO Scores] change, they probably won’t drop much. If you apply for several credit cards within a short period of time, multiple inquiries will appear on your report. Looking for new credit can equate with higher risk, but most credit scores are not affected by multiple inquiries from auto, mortgage or student loan lenders within a short period of time. Typically, these are treated as a single inquiry and will have little impact on your credit scores.

Does having my credit checked by more than one lender hurt my score?

Looking for a mortgage, auto or student loan may cause multiple lenders to request your credit report, even though you are only looking for one loan. To compensate for this, FICO Scores ignore mortgage, auto, and student loan inquiries made in the 30 days prior to scoring. So, if you find a loan within 30 days, the inquiries won’t affect your scores while you’re rate shopping. In addition, FICO Scores look on your credit report for mortgage, auto, and student loan inquiries older than 30 days. If your FICO Scores find some, your scores will consider inquiries that fall in a typical shopping period as just one inquiry. For FICO Scores calculated from older versions of the scoring formula, this shopping period is any 14-day span. For FICO Scores calculated from the newest versions of the scoring formula, this shopping period is any 45-day span. Each lender chooses which version of the FICO scoring formula it wants the credit reporting agency to use to calculate your FICO Scores.

After my credit is checked, why is the lender telling me that the score is different than what I see from my credit card company, bank, or credit karma

These companies are showing scores that are calculated for short term lending purposes like credit cards and auto loans. The credit bureaus use a different scoring model to provide credit scores for a mortgage. Although it gives you an idea of your score, most of the times your credit score used for mortgage approval is going to be different.

How do I increase my credit score?

• Pay bills on time.
• Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit products.
• Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed.

5 options that will change your life

When building a new home, everyone focuses on the big things like how many bedrooms and baths they need, two car versus 3 car garage, etc. And these items are of course, the most important. However, once you have the layout done, did you know there are many small things you can add to your home that will make living that much easier?

Air Switch

Since almost every new home design has moved the kitchen sink to the island and almost every island is flat now, there’s no wall or raised bar top to put the disposal switch on. That means it must go inside the sink cabinet under the sink. Now for those families who don’t use the disposal often, this is not a problem. But for those that do, having to open your cabinet door with wet hands and bend down to hit the switch each night is not the best arrangement. That’s where the air switch comes in. It’s a small button that matches the finish of your faucet and is installed on the countertop that you push to turn the disposal on and off. Not only is this much more convenient, but it also saves your cabinet finish from constant water drips.

Induction Cooktops

Up until recently, your only two choices in cooking were gas or electric. Electric cooktops allow you to have a nice, sleek glass top and some even have eliminated the knobs, but they aren’t always efficient in heating consistently or quickly. Gas, on the other hand, is known for the precision heat control it provides, but you do have grates to clean and the heat that escapes into your kitchen as a downside. Enter the induction cooktop. Induction causes the pot itself to heat up, not the cooktop which means that if you were to boil your pot over there’s no burnt-on residue to clean up, and no hot eyes to keep little fingers away from. Most induction cooktops can boil water within 90 seconds – a huge improvement over electric – yet they still provide the sleek glass top that many people like in their homes. Some of the higher end cooktops even allow for a flush installation with the countertop, so you can make them almost disappear.

Hand Showers

Hand showers are small shower heads that are attached on a metal hose. They can stand alone or be attached to a bar at the main shower head. While they are one of the more expensive items on this list, they give you quite a bit of functionality. Hand showers make cleaning the shower or tub much easier, as you can reach all the corners and walls that a normal shower head can’t. They are also great for washing pets, rinsing off feet, and are a quick way to clean a squirmy toddler. When you install them on their own valve, they also function as a second shower head for the shower.

Switched Outlets

Switched outlets allow you to turn on an item that is plugged into the outlet by flipping a switch on the wall. In a bedroom or living room, these are nice to have where a lamp will go so that you can turn them on as you enter a room. However, if you like to decorate with lights or put a Christmas tree in a room, then having a switched outlet can make turning the tree on and off much simpler. You can also put switched outlets on the exterior as well! Placing them in the eaves of the roof are great for Christmas lights, one on the back porch allows for string lights, and also consider putting one or two on the front of the house for other holiday decorations that need to be plugged in. Not having to go out in the cold to plug in several extension cords or deal with setting up multiple timers makes life much easier. Simply flip a switch and you’re done.

Additional Bath Cabinets

You can never have too much storage space, and adding a few well-placed cabinets in the bath can really expand your options. If your vanity is large enough, a wall cabinet that sits on the countertop makes finding medicine, makeup, and hair products so much easier. No more bending down and hunting for what you need. Another great place for a cabinet is over a toilet, especially in a master toilet room or powder bath. These areas are perfect for holding extra toilet paper and towels, acting as a linen closet without taking up any extra space.
These small additions can really improve how your home functions and make day to day tasks so much easier. During your design appointment, we can go over these in greater detail and see how we can make your dream home a dream to live in!

What to Expect: Design Center


Now that you’ve settled on a floorplan and signed your contract, the most fun part of the home building process begins! A week or two after the contract, it will be time to come to the design center and make the selections for the interior and exterior of your home. Since there are so many things to think thru when it comes to your home, we have a few tips to make the process easier and less overwhelming.


The first thing to consider is what rooms or what items are most important to you. These will be the areas where you want to concentrate your design budget. For example, if you love to entertain or have a very open floorplan, you might want to focus more on making sure the kitchen is exactly how you want it and if necessary, sacrifice some on the bonus room bath. Once you know what areas are a priority for you, start looking for pictures online to get a feel for what you want that space to look like. Houzz and Pinterest are great tools for this. Both allow you to create your own online “boards” where you can save the pictures you find. At your design appointment, we can then pull them up and recreate those looks for your home.
Our Pinterest page has not only inspiration photos but also several boards that act as an online design center. We recommend browsing thru these boards, in particular, to familiarize yourself with what we have to offer here. If there is a floor, cabinet, or countertop that you know you love, it gives us a great starting point to put the rest of the choices together.


One of the hardest things for most people to decide on is their exterior colors.  There are thousands and thousands of colors in the Sherwin Williams deck, so how do we narrow it down to just one?  We recommend driving around and looking at the homes in your area.  If you have a lot that is governed by an architectural review board (ARB), then the existing homes in your neighborhood should give you a feel for what types of colors will be approved.  Keep in mind as well that you most likely will not be able to do a color that is very similar to the houses on either side and across the street from your lot.   Another thing to consider is the style of your home.  For example, if you have a very coastal elevation, then breezy or bright colors work well; where Craftsman style homes lend themselves to earth and jewel tones.  Be sure to snap pictures of your favorites so we can find the right color for you.  Sherwin Williams has a color visualizer that allows you to try out colors on their site to see what you like best, which can be a very helpful tool if you’re debating between several different ones.


The final tip on preparing for your design appointment is to enjoy the process.  We have a wonderful, professional team that will walk you thru each step of the way.  We are here to provide our expertise in helping you create the look you want in a home that you can be proud of. Watching the drawings on your plans turn into a reality is very exciting, and we hope you enjoy every minute of it!

Home Buying Terminology


Investing in new home construction in Mandarin, FL, can be a daunting enough
process on its own without a bunch of complicated terminology getting in the way. Being
unfamiliar with some of these terms can make the entire process seem more overwhelming, so we’re
here to help explain some common home buying terms to help you understand and jumpstart the process.

Escrow – When an impartial third party holds on to something of value during a transaction. This can help protect both buyers and sellers alike, assuring all parts of the deal are held upon the seller’s end and the amount held in escrow forfeited to the seller if the buyer backs out with no reason.

Title – The legal document verifying the ownership of a home.

Down Payment – The initial cash amount paid up front on a home purchase before the rest is financed by a mortgage loan.

Mortgage – A home loan that is offered by banks, credit unions, or other lenders with various rates and varying term durations for repayment.

Amortization – The schedule that is determined to pay off a mortgage over a specified length of time, made in monthly installments.

Appraisal – An assessment given to determine the value of a particular property by a professional.

Learn more about the home buying process and new home construction in Mandarin, FL and the surrounding area at CollinsBuilders.net.

Cut Heating Costs

There are a lot of things to love about winter: the first snowfall, hot chocolate, and cozying up by the fireplace. One thing that puts a damper on the colder months is an increasingly large heating bill coming in the mail. However, there are ways to help decrease your monthly heating costs while still keeping your house cozy. Here are a few ideas:

Use the sun – When the sun is shining brightly during winter, it may still be chilly outside, but you can use those bright rays to your advantage to help save on heating costs. By keeping shades and curtains open during the day, especially ones on windows that allow a lot of sun in, you allow much-needed heat in through these rays. Additionally, closing them at night will help prevent drafts from cooling your house down more.

Invest in a smart thermostat – These devices can be programmed to automatically turn down the temperature during certain hours when it’s convenient to do so, such as when you’re at work or sleeping. They claim to save about 10-12% on heating costs, so your investment could easily pay for itself in a winter or two.

Another way to keep your heating bill down is to have it designed to keep the cold out with fixtures like energy-efficient windows. For more on design and new home construction in Jacksonville, FL, visit CollinsBuilders.net today.

Home and Garden Shows

The spring and summer are great times to revamp your current living spaces, do some remodeling, or even begin the process of building a new home! In order to create the right living space for you, it’s important to find the right inspirations for your plans for your household, and a great way to do that is by attending home and garden shows! We’ve compiled some information about some great home and garden shows in the area to help you get some ideas for home improvement this season.

Lake Nona Home & Garden Show – May 6th, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at Courtyard by Marriot Orlando, Lake Nona, FL

This home and garden exhibit aims to help homeowners discover the latest indoor and outdoor products as well as innovations for the home. Professional interior designers and builders will share tips and knowledge and there will be plenty of DIY information for home kitchen and bath projects.
Tampa Bay’s Largest Home Show – July 14th, 10:00 AM – July 16th, 5:00 PM at Tropicana Field, Saint Petersburg, FL

Presented by the Tampa Bay Times, this show includes great exhibits, seminars, giveaways, and information about the latest trends in home remodeling.  

By attending these events, you may be able to get some useful ideas or tips and tricks for any remodeling you want to do this season. If you’re look into building a new home, and are in need of home builders in Orange Park, FL, contact CollinsBuilders.net today.

Flexible Living Spaces

Finding your dream home can be difficult if you already have an image in your mind of what that home is. If you’re constantly being disappointed by the options you’re seeing, you should consider enlisting the help of Jacksonville, Florida home builders so you can construct your very own dream home instead of having to settle for one that doesn’t feel right. There are a lot of benefits to custom homes that we’ve touched on in the past, and one reason that’s becoming a popular addition in new custom homes is that you can create your home with flexible living spaces.

Flexible living spaces are rooms in which the layout is designed to allow the room to serve a number of different purposes. This because especially beneficial since not every homebuyer is going to want the exactly the same things – one may want an elaborate dining room, another may want the room to serve as an office space. Either way, flexible living spaces are designed to accommodate either purpose to make it easier for the owner. Other common flexible spaces include rooms that can be combined to create in-law suites, music and/or media rooms, craft or hobby rooms, dens, guest rooms, and offices.

If you’re in the market to build a custom home, consider including a flexible living space. They not only make it easier for you to design the perfect home but also often make it easier for additions and modifications in the future. For Jacksonville, Florida home builders you can trust to help make this an easy and enjoyable process, visit CollinsBuilders.net or call us at (904)371-0882.

Reasons to Build a Custom Home


When it comes time to build your first home (or your second, third, and so on), there are a lot of decisions you need to make. So many, in fact, that they can occasionally outweigh the excitement you should be feeling about it! Disappoint can also outweigh the excitement if you’re looking at a lot of homes and never feeling that “this is the one” feeling. So, if you’re searching for your dream home, you should consider a custom home for a variety of reasons.

Control over the destination
When you pick the lot you want a custom home
on, you have much more control over where your house is located. And, location can be of large importance when choosing schools for children, proximity to family, and proximity to jobs.
Organized how you prefer
Some people enjoy large, spacious rooms with high ceilings and minimal furniture and others prefer small, cozy spaces they can cuddle up in. Having a preference is great, and being able to control the space you’ll be living into your preference is even better.
Built around your budget
One of the best reasons to build a custom home is because it makes it easier to adhere to your budget. With custom home builders in Jacksonville, you can maximize what you get out the budget you’ve decided on for the home that’s perfect for you.

So, when it comes time to find your next home, consider custom home builders to get the most out of your experience and your home. For premium custom home builders in Jacksonville that you can trust, contact the professionals at CollinsBuilders.net.

Guest Restroom Placement

When it comes to building your own, custom home, there are a lot of things that need to be considered. You have wall colors, flooring, countertops,
layout planning, windows, and many more details all clouding your brain. It can be easy to overlook some details with all of this going on, which is why custom home builders in Jacksonville are something you should consider to help you with your building process. One thing that professional custom home builders like our staff at CollinsBuilders.net can help you decide is something you may not have considered before: the location of your guest bathroom.

Guest bathrooms are not a necessity, but they are definitely a luxury you should consider. When you have guests over, whether they are family, friends, colleagues, or even clients, they will more than likely have to use the restroom at some point. And, while you’ve definitely tidied up before having company over, there are still reasons you may prefer to have space for them to go besides your personal restroom. You may be wary of snoopers looking through your cabinets or you may just prefer that your guests aren’t subjected to viewing all of your children’s bath toys lying about – either way, a guest restroom will help.

To start, a guest bathroom is best suited to be on the main floor of the home. It is also best to ensure that the view into the bathroom is a pleasant one if it is attached to a common area like a living or dining room. Common placements for guest washrooms are off of the kitchen and/or near the exit toward the garage.

There are many different options for where to place your guest restroom, and we can help you decide! Contact CollinsBuilders.net for custom home builders in Jacksonville you can trust.

The Benefits of Building a New Construction Home

Is your current home too small for you and your growing family? Are you and your spouse empty nesters and your current home is just too big? If you have very specific needs and wants, building your own custom home will be a great option for you.

There are so many benefits of having a home custom built for you. Having a home custom-built provides you with the ability to build something that is your very own from the start; you won’t have to worry about making any modifications because the home will be built to your own wants and needs.

The Biggest Perks of Building a Custom Home
Your needs will be met. Imagine being able to live in a home that has all of the features that you desire. The layout, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the design, the amenities — everything you have ever wanted will be in your home.
You pick what you want. Another benefit of having a custom home built is that you will be able to choose the materials that are used. Your home builders in Jacksonville will make sure you get all the custom details you desire.
Increased energy efficiency. Many homes have already been built are not energy efficient. When you build your home, you can ensure that it will be as efficient as possible.
Choose the location. Yet another perk of having your home built is that you will be able to choose the land you want to live on. When you have your home built, you get to choose where you live.
That new-house scent.  No stained carpets, no horrid paint colors, no tacky wallpaper.

With so many benefits, it really is easy to see why newly constructed homes are such a great option and why you should consider building one.