November 11th is Veterans Day, a day to honor those who have worn the cloth of our country.  Did you know that Virginia is home to well over 720,000 veterans? Additionally, we have over 115,000 active duty service members. One in ten Virginians is serving or has served in the military. This large footprint in Virginia’s population naturally impacts the real estate market.

The home ownership rate for veterans is higher than that of those who have not served in the military. This is certainly the case here in Virginia, where veterans own homes at a rate of 75.5%, as compared to a rate of 65.6% for those without prior military service.

So, how can we better educate ourselves and assist those with prior military service in their home buying or renovation processes? Here are a few steps:

  1. Ask if your client, “Have you ever served in the military?” This question is preferred over asking, “Are you a veteran?” because several service members, although they have prior military service, do not consider themselves veterans. This is common amongst those who have served but did not deploy or serve in combat.
  2. Make your clients aware that due to their military service, they may qualify for unique loans or grants. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers direct and backed home loans–many of which require no down payment–for veterans, service members, and surviving spouses. The VA also offers housing grants to veterans and service members with certain service-connected disabilities to assist in the purchase or renovation of a home to meet their needs. These alterations may include updates such as widening doorways or adding ramps.
  3. Look into become a Military Relocation Professional. This certification assists real estate professionals in working with veterans and service members by increasing their understanding of the military relocation process, ability to explain basic VA financing, and provision of information to help service members rent, buy, or sell a home. This course is also an approved elective for the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation.
  4. Share other helpful resources with clients who are veterans or have family members who have served in the military. The Virginia Department of Veterans Services is home to an array of resources for veterans and their families–from filing claims with the VA, to employment and education, to military transition assistance, to behavioral health support.

Thank someone for his or her service today. Happy Veterans Day!