When Sam Miller learned about the obstacles facing military families looking to buy a home, he found a way to help – and grew his business along the way.
It’s not unusual for buyers to wrestle with uncertain timelines or the confusing process of taking out a mortgage, let alone finding a home that meets their needs while sticking to a budget.
Add to the mix the special circumstances of serving in the military, and buying a property becomes especially complicated.
After learning about the Military Residential Specialist, or MilRES, program at a recent conference, Sam Miller of RE/MAX Stars in Mount Vernon, Ohio, realized that his team was lacking an in-depth understanding of the housing challenges faced by members of the active military and veterans. This specialized market was hugely underserved, and represented an opportunity for growth.
“The number of active duty military members and veterans is mind-blowing,” says Miller, a perennial Top 100 star who joined RE/MAX in 1989. “The mission of MilRES instantly resonated with me and I wanted our team to help this underserved market.”
Miller, along with four other members of his team, completed his MilRES certification in November 2014. He says the team now has a new awareness about the unique needs of their military clients.
Miller’s top takeaways for working with the military:
- Know the lingo. “The bottom line is that we didn’t know the military language. The course provided a Field Manual with a section titled ‘Mili-speak’ covering the acronyms you want to know and use when working with military clients and their families.”
- The usual rules don’t apply. “It’s not uncommon for someone to come into a community and buy a home without his or her deployed spouse ever seeing it. Real estate agents are typically trained to have all decision makers at the listing or showing appointment, but with many relocating military clients you find an important exception to that way of thinking.”
- Focus on the market to generate leads. “A new awareness that came out of the MilRES course is that we weren’t getting the word out that we want to serve those who have served our country. Now we’re making a conscious effort to create specific marketing materials that spread that message. It’s already helped us forge new connections in our community.”
- Meet your audience where they are. “The course taught us about specific outlets we can use to connect with military clients, such as printed publications, websites, blogs and social media groups.”
- It’s possible to learn on your own time. “Our team enjoyed taking the MilRES course through REMAX University and we especially liked the flexibility of not having to take days away from the office or travel to attend the course out of state. The entire process was easy to navigate, and the pace of the material worked well for each member of our team.”
The MilRES Certification is offered for a one-time fee of $225, including program updates. For each course registration, a $10 donation will be made to a fund that supports military families.