Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Military Residential Specialist Program and I learned some very interesting things all agents should know in learning how to better assist our veterans.
I must admit, even though several members of our family served in the military, I didn’t have a full understanding of the needs of veterans because I personally didn’t lead that life. This class has helped shed a light on some of those things.
I’ll share a few facts many people may not know. When someone is active duty military, they tend to get moved around quite a bit. Each member must find housing. Some rent, some buy. They get orders for periods of time, but you can just imagine how up in the air their life is. Many have a family behind they care about deeply, so housing is important.
Because they never really know where they’ll be for great periods of time, making housing decisions can be difficult. If they buy today, they may need to sell in 2 years. What if the market declines due to base cutbacks or other economic factors in a community? We don’t pay them a lot for their service, and they may not be able to afford the loss. Many around here in SW Florida understand what it’s like to be stuck with a property that isn’t worth what you paid or what you owe.
People don’t realize that if a veteran or active duty military is foreclosed upon, or does a short sale, they lose their military benefits forever. That’s a pretty steep price to pay. Remember, we, the United States, are the ones moving them around. They don’t have a say, and yet they suffer all the consequences.
Here’s another scenario. Let’s say a doctor, lawyer, pharmacist; anybody really is now in the Reserves. A Reservist can get called up for duty, just like many were for the Iraq wars. When you get called up you leave behind the pay you were making and only get the pay the military pays you. People tend to live a lifestyle depending on their job, so if you’re a doctor making a certain amount, and all of a sudden you get called up your pay may be cut 50% or more. Your bills don’t go down 50%, they remain the same.
People need to understand the burden placed upon our military. Not only do the serve our country, but they risk their life, and do so many times for less money than they could make back home. Unemployment is 7% higher for veterans returning home than it is for the general population, and we all know unemployment is too high anyway.
The largest employer of veterans is the postal service. What is the number one thing our government is trying to cut right now? You got it. In addition to cutting the military, we’re cutting the postal service. Somehow we’ve got to do a better job protecting our vets.
As a real estate professional, we need to encourage a vet to use their benefits. Several agents shudder when they see a buyer come in with an offer with VA financing. Actually, VA loans are easy to do if you know what you’re doing. An offer with a VA loan shouldn’t be looked down upon; it should be treated equally with other financed offers. I understand cash is king and the seller only cares about their own sale, I just think we can portray these offers in a more positive light.
SW Florida a Hot Bed for Military Veterans
SW Florida has in excess of 250,000 veterans living among us. Veterans are 9.5% of Florida’s population. They served our country well. The freedoms we have today can be directly linked to their efforts. Some of our military were spit upon when they returned. The public has turned off on them in the past, and will in the future.
They may not be a cash buyer. They have certain needs other buyers may not have. Let’s at least try to give them a level playing ground and an opportunity to enjoy the good life SW Florida has to offer. They’ve earned it.
If you’d like more information on the Military Specialist Certification, give me a call. I’d love to share with you how you can learn to better serve this segment. Call Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 or email Brett@TopAgent.com