Current and former military members are among the best real estate clients you can hope for. They are extremely loyal customers, quick to make referrals to family and friends. They are a pleasure to work with because of the efficiency and discipline with which they handle stress and take last-minute complications in stride. They are open to the advice of an established expert, though they may be shy about asking questions. Not only that, but they represent a potentially lucrative niche market.
Don't assume that just because there is no military installation near your community that there are no veteran homebuyers in your community. Following discharge from the service, veterans may settle all over the country. One step toward reaching the veteran market is by making a habit of asking each prospective client, "Did you serve?"
Most current or former service members who are looking to buy a house use a VA home loan to do it. These are great products that provide 100% financing with no mortgage insurance and typically lower interest rates. Even veterans with low credit scores can often qualify for them.
However, VA loans have their own unique requirements. You can best serve your clients if you understand the specific requirements of a VA loan and can explain how they apply. The Department of Veterans' Affairs may offer educational programs specifically for realtors to train you on the nuances of VA loans. For more information, you can contact the VA Regional Loan Center in your area.
As a realtor, it often falls to you to facilitate contact between the buyer and other members of the real estate team, such as contractors, lenders, and home inspectors. These professionals must also understand the specifications required of a property financed by a VA loan. Your clients may not know which professionals are familiar with VA loan requirements and which are not. They will appreciate you putting them in touch with professionals who have the desired knowledge of and experience with this unique loan product.
This requires you to do the legwork beforehand. First, you must seek out professionals who are VA-savvy on your clients' behalf. Second, you must establish a relationship with them that will be mutually beneficial to all parties.
Every buyer has individual needs and expectations from the home-buying experience. The needs of military members, particularly those still on active duty, tend to be unique compared to other homebuyers but consistent among servicemembers.
For example, veterans and active-duty personnel alike may be relocating to a new and unfamiliar area. They will be relying on you for information not only about the housing market but the community at large. Be sure you are able to answer their questions about school districts, transportation, etc.
While a veteran may be looking for a forever home, an active-duty member may expect to move again within a matter of years. Therefore, he or she may be looking for a home that has potential as a rental property or significant resale value so that he or she can reap a significant return on investment upon redeployment.
Active-duty servicemembers may have only a short amount of leave time in which to visit a new community and conduct a search of available homes. Therefore, if you want to work with military clients, you will have to be prepared to act fast. A process that may take weeks or even months with civilian clients may need to be completed within a matter of days.
If you want to serve the military homebuyers' market, one of the most valuable steps you can take is to involve yourself in veterans' organizations. This gives you opportunities to learn more about what members of the military require from real estate professionals, find new clients, and network with other professionals catering to the same niche. Many realtors who help servicemembers report a unique satisfaction from helping those who answered the call to serve their country.
Publish Date: April 22, 2020 6:06 PM