Our homes help define who we are. Everything in and about our homes – from the colors on the walls to the knick knacks on the shelves – is an expression of our families and our selves.
“I believe everybody deserves a home of their own,” Gerry Zagone, Senior Mortgage Loan Originator nmls#137008 with Sagamore Home Mortgage, said. “When you live in a house and raise a family, it provides a solid foundation, that’s my opinion.”
In the home mortgage business for 15 years now, Zagone purchased his first home in the Hessville neighborhood of Hammond several decades ago.
“I always wondered who owned the boarded up house down the street,” he said. “I asked around and finally found out that the owners had lost it due to back taxes. I decided to buy that house and make something old new again. I rented it to a family who ended up buying themselves about five years later.”
Partly due to the fact the he really enjoyed the process of taking something from dilapidated and run down to refreshed and updated and partly due to the response he received from his grateful neighbors who genuinely appreciated the transformation, Zagone was the landlord of remodeled homes for about 25 years.
“It’s a great thing for any neighborhood when you can keep a home from being vacant and vandalized,” he explained. “Every month when I open the sheriff’s report there are over five pages of people losing their homes to foreclosure. I’m here to help people recover from their mistakes. I can show them how they can make a plan to get back on track and then stay on the path of homeownership so they can once again have that pride and stability for their family.”
Along with going the extra mile to help people when no one else would, Zagone often works with first-time and move up homebuyers who share some of the very same concerns about homeownership today.
“Not only do I have my own personal experience in the business to draw upon, but as a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and an affiliate member of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors (GNIAR), I was hearing the same things over and over,” he said. “Even as the housing market is recovering and there are so many great opportunities out there for buyers, a lot of people just don’t know how to get started. That’s when I got the idea for the Lake County Home Buyers Workshop.”
Bringing together the expertise of some of the area’s leading real estate industry professionals, Zagone hosted the first workshop at the St. John Township Community Center yesterday.
India Castaneda, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and GNIAR’s Immediate Past President, joined Zagone for the session that was scheduled to run from 11:30am-12:30pm.
“One thing about the market right now is that it’s changing every day,” she said. “We’re seeing a variety of clients and homes in all price ranges in a lot of different markets. These workshops are a great opportunity for people to see what it takes to buy a home today, especially the mortgage pre-approval process. That’s really key right now, with things moving at such a brisk pace.”
Upcoming dates for the Lake County Home Buyers Workshop include April 6th and May 4th also at the St. John Township Community Center. Plans for other Lake County locations as well as Porter County are in the works. For more information, call Gerry Zagone at (219) 750-9591.