Former homeowners ready to buy again

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- It's a case of deja vu for lots of buyers in the Valley.

After losing their homes to foreclosure a couple of years ago, they're now looking to buy again.

“It was everything that we wanted,” said Elena Seefeldt, reflecting on the Phoenix home her family lost to foreclosure nearly four years ago. “It was a little scary and definitely sad because we loved our home.”

But after her husband lost his job, it was impossible to keep the family home.

The Great Recession has taught this family some tough lessons, forcing them to make some major adjustments to get out of debt and save a down payment for a new home.

“We just had to sacrifice," Seefeldt said. "Sacrifice cable, those fancy cell phones. We were clipping coupons."

It all paid off because now the Seefeldt family is ready to buy again.

“We want to own a home and we want to have roots," she said.

They aren't alone.

“Everyone is tainted by a bankruptcy, a foreclosure, a judgment or a short sale,” said mortgage originator Dean Wegner.

He says nearly every call he gets is from someone recovering from the recession.

“The public perception is you have to wait seven years to buy again, and the truth is you can buy in as little as one year after foreclosure, two years, three years and then the seven years. There's several programs that open up a door to somebody,” he said.

Still, realtors say these rebound buyers are facing a new reality.

“Their expectations have to be readjusted to the new reality because they simply cannot obtain the kind of loans that they were able to obtain before,” said Erin Holman, broker at Home Smart. “A lot of ... previous homeowners are coming back into the market and the top thing they want is just to be homeowners again, and they want to rebuild that sense of community that we lost here in Arizona when the communities got torn apart through the housing crash."

The Seefeldt family, less focused on the frills and square footage, hopes to find that sense of community again in central Phoenix.