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How to better serve former and current members of the military

New online program makes helping veterans easy

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The VA loan market is thriving, showing impressive increases in the past several years, due in part to the amazing benefits available to eligible homebuyers, including the opportunity to purchase with $0 down. In fact, nearly 90 percent of Department of Veterans Affairs-guaranteed purchase loans are made with no money down.

With this growth, it’s more important than ever to have a clear understanding of military and veteran homebuyers, the VA loan and its unique requirements. The “Did You Serve?” agent certification provides you with the knowledge you need to help more veterans, service members and their families achieve the dream of homeownership — all the while growing your business.

Did You Serve?

Did You Serve? is a new military-specific agent certification launched to educate and empower real estate agents so they might better serve VA homebuyers. It begins with a simple pledge to ask every buyer: “Did you serve?” By taking the pledge to ask the question, agents will identify veterans and service members who might be eligible for these hard-earned benefits.

Agents create opportunity by asking the question. Most importantly, agents can educate potential buyers on VA home loan benefits, as about 1 in 3 homebuying veterans still don’t know the benefits exist. The second opportunity is to increase the agent’s business by helping more veterans and service members purchase homes.

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There are an increasing number of opportunities available to help military homebuyers and their families. Programs such as Heroes Home Advantage and Homes For Heroes provide agents with the opportunity to say thank you by giving up to 25 percent of their commission to the buyer in the form of cash-back or closing credits.

If your market has mainly veterans, consider volunteering with organizations that cater to veterans. You might be able to present a homebuying readiness presentation to your local Veterans of Foreign Wars group or volunteer your time to work with local organizations — such as Welcome Home Inc., which serves the homeless veteran population. Demonstrating your commitment to giving back to those who’ve served our country can go a long way in gaining the trust of future military and veteran clients.

*It’s important to note in Massachusetts and a small number of communities, military status represents a protected class for fair housing where soliciting a buyer’s military status is prohibited.

Samantha Reeves is the senior real estate and homebuying expert for Veterans United Home Loans and the agent education director for Did You Serve? LLC. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Email Samantha Reeves.