What makes veterans a great fit for real estate?

3 Chicago-area veterans-turned-agents give their take

Real estate is a great career choice for returning servicemembers like myself. There are so many traits, characteristics and skills that former military servicemembers have that translate well in real estate. In fact, I use a lot of things the Army instilled in me during my day-to-day real estate work.

We wanted to hear more about why real estate has become a good career choice for returning servicemembers, so we asked these Chicago-area agents to share their insights.

Below, you’ll learn about some of the experiences my colleagues and I have had and how they have lent to our careers.

Jaime Luevano, Baird & Warner agent, Army veteran

Jaime Luevano

Jaime Luevano recently started his real estate career with Baird & Warner, the nation’s first, and Illinois’ largest, family-owned real estate services company. He has represented Baird & Warner at military recruitment events because he’s passionate about sharing why he feels the qualities that make a great military member are comparable to those contributing to a successful real estate career.

I would say there are a lot of things that the Army has instilled in me that I use in my real estate career. The main thing I would say is putting others needs ahead of mine.

I feel very comfortable and rewarded knowing I’m helping others through a process that can be stressful and overwhelming. During deployments when it would get hard, I would always think how it was my duty as a soldier to help civilians.

Also, I would say my military background has prepared me for success in terms of knowing how to rebound from failure. It can be so disheartening when you go to listing presentation after listing presentation — and fall short of getting the results you want.

So many people quit after failure because it’s easy, but that’s simply not an option in the infantry.

We are on the front lines where people are relying on us, and you don’t quit or retreat until you get the job done. There are so many people depending and counting on you to keep getting up and keep pushing forward, so for me, to hear “no” or to fail is not the end of the world — it just means I have an opportunity to learn and grow as a Realtor and make my next presentation or open house even better.

Being in the infantry is about taking advantage of each day to be better than yesterday and be the best version of yourself possible. That’s what agents do — day in, day out.

Brande Hampton, vice president of sales, Centered International Realty, Navy veteran

Brande Hampton

Prior to becoming a Realtor, Brande Hampton served in the U.S. Navy for more than nine years, earning numerous awards including Sailor of the Year, and the Navy Achievement Medal.

The military trained me to focus in on the task at hand and execute accordingly. As a Realtor, you need a strong skill set in organization and execution, for at any given time, you’re juggling more than four or five items.

The military has a focus on service, dedication, loyalty and hard work. In my view, giving amazing customer service is one of the most important skills you can demonstrate to your clients if you want to be an excellent Realtor. Dedication and hard work is transparent, and being dedicated to your clients is how you demonstrate to them that you have their best interests at heart.

The military, by nature, gives you experiences with a wide variety of people in various situations; the military made me more conscious of people and their situations in general.

As a veteran and a Realtor, I strive to be an exceptional service provider, which is who a Realtor should be at heart — we should be enhancing our clients’ experiences so that they make the best and most educated decisions for themselves and their families.

Kevin Van Eck, executive vice president, innovation and education, @properties, Army veteran

Kevin Van Eck

Kevin Van Eck entered the real estate industry in 2008 with the mission to create value and to be a trusted adviser for friends, neighbors, previous colleagues and family. Prior to real estate, Van Eck served in the U.S. Army. He currently serves on the Chicago Association of Realtors board of directors.

My experience in the military has been an asset in real estate in two key ways.

First, in the military there is a process outlined for how to handle all situations. While there are unexpected situations that arise, being educated, prepared and having a process in place to handle them is important. It’s the same with real estate and real estate transactions.

No two transactions are ever the same, nothing fits in a box, so having a process to follow is extremely important. While our clients are the ones that make decisions, the one thing we can control is a process.

The second is in practicing. In the military you train every day. You may train for weeks, months and years to make sure that you have already been through whatever you might face. While real estate’s not life or death, you don’t want to be with a client the first time you try or encounter something new.

As professionals, we need to continuously learn from others and practice our skills to create as many opportunities as possible for ourselves and to create as much value as possible for our clients.

If you are a veteran-turned-real-estate-professional, please share in the comments section below why real estate is a good fit for you.