Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Foreclosure Came with a Few Issues

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Foreclosure Came with a Few Issues

Article excerpt

Buying a home rarely proceeds without obstacles. Patience, persistence and the guidance of qualified professionals were the keys to success for Lara and Saed Atieh as they purchased their first house.

The family had been renting in Hawthorne, where the three Atieh children are thriving at the high school.

"We are very happy in the town," explained Lara. "We did not consider moving to another town, but we wanted to have our own house for the kids."

After searching online and visiting a few houses that were on the market, the couple hit it off with one of the listing agents, Pat Cornett of Defino Realtors in Wyckoff.

"It's my first time, and I don't know many things," said Lara. "Pat was holding my hand, step by step. She is like a friend now, not just a Realtor."

They made offers on several homes. Some were short sales, "which takes forever!" said Lara. "At the other one, the owner didn't like our price. We would get excited, and then when our offer was rejected, we'd say, 'It's fine.' We kept looking."

It took a year of hunting to find the right house. They finally came across a three-bedroom, single-family home in a nice neighborhood, within walking distance of the high school. It was a foreclosure. The Atiehs offered close to the full asking price and settled quickly.

A mortgage representative, George Kirchner of Wells Fargo, helped the buyers apply for an FHA loan, which makes housing purchases more affordable for first-time homebuyers and those with low to moderate income.

The loans require minimal downpayment -- usually around 3.5 percent of the purchase price -- and allow family members to contribute to the downpayment.

"I was worried," admitted Lara. "It was very stressful. But he stayed on top of everything and explained everything to us."

Some flaws

When the appraiser went through the home, he said the FHA loan required that all systems be operational.

The house had been shut down for the winter, so the mortgage holder had to turn on all the systems and put several thousand dollars into bringing them up to code, an extra bonus for the buyers.

Inspection still turned up a number of flaws, including the need for new windows, roof, and siding, as well as a dead tree that should be taken down. …

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