When it comes to military relocations, Adrienne Downing has “been there, done that.” An Air Force Veteran, Downing was also a Military Spouse for 27 years, and her son is currently on Active Duty.
Now a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices based in Virginia Beach, Va., Downing says her motivation for entering this profession came from her own experiences of moving—often—while in the Military.
Once, for example, she had fewer than 72 hours to find a home in a location far from where she was at the time. Her agent went above and beyond: emailed her suggested listings, coordinated a tight schedule of showings, picked her up from the airport and arranged for the closing to be handled remotely.
Downing now does the same for her military clients. “Military members have unique needs surrounding moves,” from scheduling movers on a government timeline—which often affects closing dates—to navigating the VA loan process, she says. “Military-friendly agents are familiar with these needs and will have resources available to educate and help Service Members.”
Here are four reasons Downing says it pays to work with a military-friendly real estate agent.
1. They’re used to accelerated deadlines.
“Military personnel are usually working on very tight timelines,” says Downing, so there’s not much time to sell a house, buy a house, and move. Military-friendly agents understand these constraints and work diligently to accommodate them.
2. They understand the VA loan process.
Most lenders say they do VA loans, but those who lack experience often don’t understand the special circumstances or documentation required. Military-friendly agents often work in tandem with lenders who know the VA loan requirements inside and out, says Downing. These agents are aware of the maximum loan amounts for their markets and how that will affect the funding needed for closing. Plus, they’ll be familiar with the unique VA appraisal process, which evaluates (among other things) whether the home is move-in ready.
3. They can maximize your benefits.
“You want to ensure that your agent is educated on every benefit that’s available to you as a military buyer or seller,” says Downing. One way to know: Ask if your agent is a certified Military Relocation Professional, a designation by the National Association of REALTORS® indicating that an agent has completed special training pertaining to military personnel. They’ll have special insights into the timelines, pay levels and potential benefits available to their clients.
4. They’re used to long distances.
Because military clients are often located far from the area they’re moving to, it’s important to find an agent comfortable with taking and sending photos and videos, as well as working with documents electronically. Downing does video tours of properties and video calls with home inspectors, so clients can ask questions in real time.
GEICO has been a proud supporter of military members and their families for more than 75 years. To find out more about military discounts and benefits you could receive, go to geico.com/military or call 1-800-MILITARY.
Read more: Relocating soon? Follow these insider military moving tips.
By Kelly Couturier