ORLANDO (November 11, 2012) – In honor of Veteran’s Day, the National Association of Realtors® thanks and recognizes America’s veterans and active duty military for all that they do to serve and protect our nation’s freedom.
Today Realtors® gathered at an educational session during the 2012 Realtors® Conference and Expo to learn about valuable tools and resources to assist active duty military and veterans with their housing transitions and help them achieve and sustain homeownership.
“Realtors® build communities and are proud to honor and support America’s service members and their families today and throughout the year,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates, Inc., in Miami. “We are committed to helping the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country by doing everything that we can to meet their unique housing needs and ensure that the American dream of homeownership remains affordable and accessible to them.”
Panelist Pili Meyer, a former NAR regional vice president, opened the session by saluting veteran attendees. “As Realtors® we can help serve our active duty military and veterans by working with them and their families to help solve their real estate needs,” she said.
Meyer said that in addition to helping military families buy or sell homes or seek financing, Realtors® can also provide community and market information after relocation orders, identify sources of moving costs, find affordable housing options, and identify relocation assistance programs or pre-move workshops.
Veteran and Realtor® Mike Schoonover, vice president of government affairs for the Washington Association of Realtors®, said there are 22 million veterans in America and almost 1.5 million active duty military personnel.
“There are many benefits available to veterans and active duty military personnel; the Department of Veterans Affairs offers important medical and educational benefits as well as homeownership benefits,” he said. One of those programs is the Department of Veterans Affairs home loan program, which provides affordable financing to the nation’s veterans and military families through a zero-down payment loan.
VA loans consistently have one of the lowest default rates, and many types of military clients qualify for the loans including honorably discharged veterans, career and active duty military, medically disabled, and some spouses or dependents.
NAR is a strong supporter of the VA loan guaranty program and worked closely with Congress and the administration earlier this year to pass legislation that raised VA loan limits through 2014 and made adjustable rate mortgages permanent. NAR also recently participated in an event to celebrate the 20th million loan given to a military family.
“We are committed to working closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to promote the VA home loan guaranty program to our Realtor® members and their military clients and all of the invaluable benefits it offers for achieving homeownership,” said Veissi.
Meyer and Schoonover recommended that Realtors® interested in working with members of the military assemble a team of experts, including loan and escrow offers who understand the VA loan process. In addition to helping military families with their housing needs, Realtors® can also help those families with the sale of rental income properties and determining the best housing option for their situation.
The speakers also offered tips on how to market to military families and suggested hosting an event to honor them, joining the Navy League or the Association of the United States Army, or providing local real estate info to housing offices on military bases. They also recommended developing frequently asked questions and community tips sheets and creating a listing presentation specific to military families and veterans.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.