HACKENSACK, N.J. -- On October 17, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Bergen County Division of Community Development hosted its first ever weeknight Homebuyer Expo at Two Bergen Plaza in Hackensack that was attended by 175 Bergen County residents.

For the past 22 years, the Bergen County American Dream Program has sponsored an Annual Homebuyer Fair the first Saturday of every June (Homeownership month) that draws 300 to 400 people.

"A number of interested residents told us they were unable to attend a weekend Fair for work, family, and religious reasons so we decided to hold a 'mini-Fair' on a weeknight for the first time," said Jacqui Atkins, Director of the Bergen County American Dream Program.

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The event featured experienced professionals who specialize in the many areas that are a part of the home buying process, including realtors, bankers, mortgage companies, credit counselors, home inspectors, and other experts who were ready to answer questions ranging from how to work with realtors to how to obtain a mortgage. Hands-on, live workshops (Keys to a Successful Homeownership and Credit 101) that deal with the various stages of buying a home were also available for attendees.

"It was a smashing success. The speakers who led our workshops were selected from  among the Banks Sponsors who work with us in the American Dream program," said Atkins.

Representatives from the Bergen County Division of Community Development Homeownership Center were on hand to discuss government programs that can provide financing assistance with new home down payments and mortgages for those eligible as well as interest free, deferred payment home improvements loans for homeowner occupants who qualify.

The American Dream First Time Homebuyer Program provides an interest-free, deferred payback loan and matching down payment assistance to those interested in buying their first home in Bergen County. The loan can cover up to $40,000 towards their primary mortgage. For the matching down payment assistance, the program can cover up to $10,000. 

Dirtector Atkins said her department receives "anywhere from 25-30 calls a day normally," from residents in various stages of the process of buying their first home.

For further information on first time home buying, please contact Jacqui Atkins, Director of the Bergen County American Dream First Time Homebuyer Program at 201-336-7206 or jatkins@co.bergen.nj.us