When the housing bubble bust nearly a decade ago, millions of Americans who had been buoyed by inflated property values came crashing down to Earth as foreclosures increased at an alarming rate.

In fact, the National Association of Realtors noted that between 2006 and 2014, more than 9 million homeowners had a short sale, went through a foreclosure, or received a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

As the real estate market rebounds from the housing crisis, the question remains: How can the millions of Americans impacted by the bursting bubble rebound along with it?

Just because someone has gone through a foreclosure, that does not mean they are out of the game. These types of buyers, looking to rejoin the ranks of homeowners, are called  “boomerang buyers.”

According to a report in the Lansing State Journal, conventional loans typically require a 7-year waiting period before purchasing after a foreclosure. For FHA and other government-backed loans, the period is shorter, about 3 to 4 years.

What happens during this timeframe can be important to the prospects of securing another home loan, Eloy Martinez, senior loan officer with American Portfolio Mortgage, said in a press release.

“Everyone has a different story of why their first foreclosure happened, and in some cases, circumstances made it unavoidable,” he said. “To ensure you get back into the market on the right foot, be proactive during the waiting period and focus on getting yourself back into a strong financial position.”

For many potential home buyers who lost homes during the housing crisis, enough time has passed that they may once again be able to get a mortgage to buy another home – if they can meet today’s more stringent qualifications.

A key, according to Martinez, is repairing credit scores, a critical factor in the mortgage-approval process.  Scores above 740 will get buyers the best possible rates, but there are some conventional lenders that will bend at 640.  So, though it may seem like an uphill battle, with patience, it’s possible.

By 2015, about 1 million of those who lost homes between 2006 and 2014 had already bought homes again, according to the NAR.

“If you’ve had this event, you’re most likely to get a loan if you understand why it happens, and you’ve taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Bay Area mortgage professional Casey Fleming, author of “The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage” told U.S. News & World Report. “Whatever you did wrong, you need to set yourself up so that it doesn’t happen again.”

Building your savings also can demonstrate good habits to potential lenders.  Having savings shows you are ready for life’s hurdles and won’t slip into economic trouble. A stable job and good payment history will also help your cause.

Lastly, coming back from a foreclosure can be a long and winding road. Take advantage of experts in your area. Visit lending experts and nonprofit groups for additional advice to navigate the choppy seas that may await boomerang buyers.

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