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Seminar helps family find a place to call home

November 25, 1999

Zufall familyBy DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




The living room walls are splashed with three or four different colors, as the painting has taken a couple more weeks than expected to finish.

cont. from front page

And they're planning on converting the attic into a bedroom.

Lorie and Wes Zufall are responsible for all the fixing up at their first home, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

It's their first Thanksgiving as homeowners and the Zufalls are thankful they own the place they call home, and thankful for the people at the Hagerstown Home Store who helped them turn their hopes of homeownership into a reality.

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"There's things that have to be done and we don't have to ask anybody for permission to do them," Lorie said.

"It's having something to call your own," she said. "Feeling you've accomplished something."

The Zufalls, both 25, had looked into buying two or three houses but nothing had worked out. Then in March they went to a home-buyers workshop at the Hagerstown Home Store at 21 E. Franklin St., Hagerstown.

"When we went to the home store seminar we weren't really looking (for a house)," Lorie said.

"We had heard about the home store from friends, so we went because we were curious about the different programs," she said.

The Zufalls didn't immediately go out and renew their search for a new house.

Then in early July, Home Store Housing Adviser Debbie Yost contacted the Zufalls about a 4 percent mortgage program, and the Zufalls began seriously looking for a new house.

A low interest rate on a mortgage meant lower monthly payments on a new house.

Before the end of July they had signed a contract for an Elizabeth Street home in Hagerstown's West End.

"As soon as we saw this place we really liked it," Lorie said.

On Sept. 25, the Zufalls and their now 18-month-old son moved into their first very own house - half of a white three-story duplex with four bedrooms and a fenced-in back yard and a swing set. And the Zufalls' monthly mortgage payments are $8 less than their rent was.

"It's not the dream house but how can you pass it up? It's yours," Lorie said.

The Zufalls are just one of many success stories for the Home Store.

In its first year of operation the Home Store has helped guide 52 households through the home-buying process. Another 23 households have homes under contract.

And more than 300 people have attended one of their 24 home-buyer workshops.

"They were always there to help you with each step," Lorie said about the Home Store staff.

Wes, who works as a home builder, said the Home Store helped him better understand the process.

"I know about building houses but I didn't understand the business end of it - like the difference between a fixed rate and variable rate (mortgage)."

Wes said he also appreciated that the Home Store helps people put together a budget to see how much they can afford to spend.

Cheryl Ferguson, who also bought her first house with the help of the Home Store staff, said getting help developing a budget was "very helpful."

"Anybody looking to buy a house should go to the Home Store," she said.

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