2006-11-03 / Community

Potential Homeowners Drawn To Home Fair At St.Mary's

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor

Part two of a lecture geared towards first time homebuyers takes place in the basement of St. Mary's School. Part one took place on October 21. Part two of a lecture geared towards first time homebuyers takes place in the basement of St. Mary's School. Part one took place on October 21. Gray skies and heavy rains during the early part of the day didn't keep a huge crowd of potential homebuyers away from St. Mary's School in Far Rockaway last Saturday when Margert Community Corporation hosted its Home Fair 2006.

The five hour event featured workshops for those who hope to buy a home, or who own a home and want to protect their investment. Seminars offered during the afternoon centered on understanding the importance of credit, preparing for homeownership, finding an affordable home and how to keep from being ripped off by scams.

The Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEPAD) which, among other things, works to educate homeowners against predatory lending (high cost, unaffordable loans) was among those offering advice.

"High costs mortgages are more likely in neighborhoods of color," said NEPAD's Mark Winston Griffith. He also said a lot of refinance scams are directed at seniors.

"They are people who don't make a lot, but have equity in their home," Griffith said. "They are talked into high cost mortgages for home repair and [before you know it] they are faced with foreclosure."

HPD's Mobile Resource Center - which highlights ways to save energy, and Margert's Weatherization van - which shows ways to weatherize a home, sit in St. Mary's parking lot for people to inspect. HPD's Mobile Resource Center - which highlights ways to save energy, and Margert's Weatherization van - which shows ways to weatherize a home, sit in St. Mary's parking lot for people to inspect. Sometimes, tucked in with the papers for the mortgage is the deed to selling your home, Griffith explained.

Legal Aid lawyer Oda Friedheim advised homebuyers to "beware of onestop shops, companies who say they take care of all aspects of home buying" from finding a home to providing an attorney for closing.

Also attending were representatives from the Department of Housing and Preservation (HPD) - whose program

Home First' provides grant assistance for down payments on a home to qualified

individuals and HPD's PACE - which also combats predatory lending. Presenters were available for private consultations after the workshops.

Legal Aid lawyer Oda Friedheim warns homebuyers to "throw away any solicitations received in the mail, the worst of which are notices that look semi-legal, like they are from a court or a law firm." Legal Aid lawyer Oda Friedheim warns homebuyers to "throw away any solicitations received in the mail, the worst of which are notices that look semi-legal, like they are from a court or a law firm." A representative with Margert Community Corporation answers questions and give out literature on various programs offered by the organization to assist low and moderate-income tenants and homeowners in the area. A representative with Margert Community Corporation answers questions and give out literature on various programs offered by the organization to assist low and moderate-income tenants and homeowners in the area.

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