Azusa Family Becomes First in Nation to Buy Back Foreclosed Home: Finance Group

Juana and Jaime Coronel fought their bank for four years and won, buying back their home for $280,000 through principal reduction

Millions of people who lost their homes to foreclosure have a long way to go in getting them back, but they can look to one family in Azusa for a glimmer of hope.

The Coronels were among the 5 million families whose homes foreclosed during the recession — but now they are the first ones in the country to buy their home back, a home finance group said.

Juana and Jaime Coronel bought back their home for $280,000 through principal reduction.

"I got a lot of memories. My brother, sister and my son — everybody," said Juana Coronel. "That's why I don't want to move."

The reportedly unprecedented victory came with the help of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, the nonprofit group of financial and home experts that helped them with financial solutions.

It was a four-year fight.

"(The bank) took their house from them and decided to rent it back to them for more than what they were paying in a house note," ACCE volunteer Peggy Mears said. "Just like you reduce the banks' liability, let's start reducing homeowners' liability."

Peter Kuhns of ACCE said the family convinced bank officials to sell them their house.

"It doesn't make sense to sell this house to someone else when we are qualified to pay the exact same amount," Kuhns said.

The housing industry will be looking to see if it was a one-time deal or a sign of things to come, lifting a ban on principal reduction to allow people to buy their houses back.

The ACCE hopes it's the latter.

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