Making Homeownership a Reality for Local Military
Special to NHOME
“…Dedication to professionalism and the highest quality of care for their clients [has] caused local REALTORS® to see the necessity for better understanding the needs of those who serve.”
San Antonio has long been referred to as Military City, USA, and it’s no surprise why. Since the first soldier arrived at Fort Sam Houston in 1845, the city’s military presence has blossomed into more than 95,000 employed by military and civilian jobs today. San Antonio is home to one of the largest active and retired military communities in the country and boasts the Department of Defense’s largest medical center at Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston.
But did you know that our city’s military personnel often have unique needs when it comes to buying and selling real estate? For example, they are frequently relocated and only have a short time to get their homes sold. Some have medical conditions as a result of their service and therefore have certain accessibility requirements for their home. Also, because of their military status, there are many financial options available to them.
It is because of these intricacies of the life of military service members that the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® developed a program called Heroes Welcome Home, a one day education initiative especially for REALTORS® to help them understand how best to counsel active military as well as veterans on their real estate options.
REALTORS® already hold themselves to a higher standard, adhering to a Code of Ethics that distinguishes them from other real estate professionals. It is this dedication to professionalism and the highest quality of care for their clients that caused local REALTORS® to see the necessity for better understanding the needs of those who serve. The Heroes Welcome Home program was created as a result and in its first year in 2012, REALTORS® poured in, eager to enhance their ability to identify and expertly respond to the questions, requirements and interests of military service members.
The Heroes Welcome Home curriculum is unique: it changes every year to keep up with the emerging trends in both the real estate and military communities and each session of the program is taught by experts in their fields. Topics have included working with service animals, understanding post-traumatic stress disorder, the military spouse perspective, legislative affairs affecting military, and financial housing options for active and retired military. This powerful training program even earned the prestigious “Education Program of the Year” award in the Innovation category from the Texas Association of REALTORS® in February 2014.
The Heroes Welcome Home program will celebrate its fifth year in 2016, and has continued to draw hundreds of REALTORS® to participate each year. The event also serves a dual purpose: not only does it provide tremendous education to the REALTOR® members, but the revenue made from admission as well as community partners goes toward a local veterans’ organization. The 2015 event raised over $20,000 that was donated to the San Antonio Coalition of Veterans and Families (SACVF), a local organization whose goal is to connect service members, veterans, their families, caregivers and widows with community resources to improve their lives. To date, more than $62,000 has been given to SACVF on behalf of SABOR and its members through the Heroes Welcome Home program.
In addition to this valuable education, SABOR also offers further training to continue building the knowledge base for REALTORS® working with military personnel. The best example of this is the Military Relocation Professional certification, this course is a full day of learning for REALTORS® to understand the processes and procedures involved in a military relocation.
Buying or selling a property can already be a stressful endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be; with so many moving pieces, having a REALTOR® who has taken the time to understand the circumstances and financial options available can dramatically ease the tension and make the process much smoother for military service members and veterans.
For more information on the program and to find a list of REALTORS® who have participated in the Heroes Welcome Program, visit www.saheroeswelcomehome.com.
Photo courtesy of Sabor