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Affordable Housing East Orange, New Jersey

NeighborhoodLIFT Program: Natima Lavine

After years of living in East Orange, Natima Lavine set her sights on buying a home in the heart of her community. The mother of five turned to NeighborhoodLIFT, a program in partnership with Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America designed to boost homeownership for Essex County residents.

A Place to Call Home

What made you want to be a homeowner?

I’ve always wanted a house in East Orange since I was a little girl. Plus — plain and simple — I got tired of renting. I had always wanted a place I could rest and settle in and call home. It was time for me to have a place for my kids.

How did you get started?

I straightened up my credit and applied for preapproval. Getting the application in was such a good feeling. After that, I started doing my research about the homebuying process. I attended a first-time homebuyer workshop and ended up getting information about the NeighborhoodLIFT program. I knew I didn’t have a 20% down payment, so it seemed like the perfect program for me. I went to an info session, and I was right – it was exactly what I needed.

How was your experience with the NeighborhoodLIFT process?

The experience was very smooth. Everyone that helped me out from the beginning to the end was excellent. I have absolutely no complaints. I was taken care of from start to finish. I really want to thank the NeighborhoodLIFT program for its expertise, professionalism and process. Even if I had had a hard time, there were so many resources in place to help.

Why do you think the Neighborhood LIFT program is special?

This program is helping families like myself achieve the impossible. As first-time homebuyers, the income isn’t always there for that down payment. It wasn’t there for me. But you came through at the right time, and everything was just right. My wish is for all families to have the kind of support NeighborhoodLIFT gave to me.

How have you adjusted to your new home?

I love it. It has that home feeling from head to toe, walls to ceiling, kitchen to bathroom. It’s a good feeling. I’m blessed to live in my dream home.

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