How to Locate a Real Estate Agent Who Is Military-Friendly: Oak Park Financial
Purchasing a house is the single largest purchase that most families will ever make. Finding a real estate agent aware of aspects like housing allowances, permanent changes of station (PCS), and the application procedure for VA-backed mortgages may speed the process for veterans and military members Oak Park Guarantee.
Duan Rockette, a retired Marine 1st Sgt., understands how much a difference an excellent real estate agent can make. After a tumultuous experience purchasing a property during his own PCS from Okinawa to the United States, Rockette decided to pursue real estate after retiring.
“I wanted to do something I like, which is interacting with and assisting people,” said Rockette, who resigned from the military in 2007 after more than 21 years of service.
Now, Rockette serves as managing broker with Omaha, Nebraska-based NP Dodge Real Estate. He and his over 200 real estate agents often assist military families and veterans locate homes at Offutt Air Force Base, south of Omaha and around the country.
“I want military members to know that there are individuals out there who respect their sacrifice, wish to assist them, and will do all necessary to represent them,” Rockette said.
Some of Rockette’s recommendations for locating a military-friendly real estate agent include the following:
Collaborate with Your Lender
If you’re considering a VA-backed loan, the VA suggests that you begin your search for a lender before contacting a real estate agent.
Additionally, Rockette said that it’s advantageous since the appropriate lender can often link you with the best real estate agent for your scenario.
He advises contacting lenders with a military emphasis, such as Veterans United Home Loans, USAA, and Navy Federal Credit Union, and inquiring about their military-friendly real estate agents networks.
If you’re shopping during a PCS relocation, remember that someone in your unit or another military family you know has most likely already visited the station to which you’re relocating. Rockette said that those neighbors, friends, and colleagues should be able to assist you.
“When someone has a positive experience with an agent who delivers outstanding service and has genuine concern for them, they will speak about it — just as they would if they have a negative one,” he said Oak Park Financial.
Make Use of Social Media
Military spouses at your next service station and support groups on social media may have tips.
Army Capt. Joel Fulsang used social media to document his last permanent change of station from Alaska to Georgia. “When I checked at one of the Fort Gordon spouses’ groups on Facebook, I saw real estate brokers were advertising their services,” he said.
According to Rockette, agents who deal with military members and veterans may advertise in base periodicals or leave information at base resource offices, such as the Navy Fleet and Family Support Centers.
Some real estate salespeople are veterans themselves; thus, inquire at your local Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion branch. Rockette said he had gained business due to his membership in veteran organizations such as the VFW and the Marine Corps League.
If your local group does not have a real estate agent on staff, ask other members for recommendations.
Rockette advised that with every reference, one should always do due diligence.
“It’s a synthesis of what you hear and what you investigate,” he said. “Send out your scouts. Conduct an internet search for agents and do not be afraid to ask questions.”
Locate Organizations That Assist Veterans and Military Personnel
Apart from the formal lender networks, other networks of real estate specialists assist military and veteran populations. The majority are clustered near major military bases and are associated with more prominent real estate corporations. Therefore, even if you are not close to the bottom, they may still be able to assist you.
Rockette suggested visiting Homes for Heroes, a nationwide network of real estate, mortgage, and small business experts dedicated to serving veterans, first responders, healthcare professionals, and educators.
Another group, the MilHousing Network, is dedicated to active-duty military members and has over 3,000 pre-screened agents with verifiable expertise dealing with military homebuyers and sellers.
“The typical civilian family moves once every 12 years, while the average military family moves three times,” said Lindsey Litton, co-founder of the group and a military spouse who saw a need for “military supporting military” in the real estate market.
Additionally, the Military Movers Real Estate Group strives to help military personnel with the home-buying and selling process to “ease their PCS.” The group’s website lists its properties primarily located near military bases in Alaska, Colorado, and Florida.
Locate Personnel Certified to Work with Military Personnel and Veterans
Finally, Rockette said, look for certificates demonstrating a real estate professional’s expertise in dealing with exceptional military circumstances.
Rockette said he formerly possessed the National Association of Realtors Military Relocation Professional designation.
This certification indicates that an agent has completed a course focused on military housing requirements and veteran benefits. Certain real estate firms may also use the abbreviation VAMRES, or veteran and the army real estate expert, to refer to agents who have experience with both VA-backed house loans and active-duty station moves.