Homes for Heroes Offers Big Savings to U.S. Veterans
Veterans often receive thanks for their service from strangers, grateful citizens who wish there was some way to show their appreciation to military members who sacrifice so much. But when a veteran could really use assistance – like the moment they are purchasing a home or if they fall on difficult financial times trying to pay their mortgage – it’s not always clear to whom they can turn for help.
Who Started Homes for Heroes?
One family of realtors has dedicated their professional lives to thanking veterans and other service professionals in a very tangible way. After being inspired by the heroes of 9/11, Mark Micek and his mother, Ruth Johnson, were searching for a way to help veterans, law enforcement members, firefighters, and first responders; they realized there was no organization dedicated to helping these heroes find and purchase homes, and the inspiration for “Homes for Heroes” was born.
Micek and Johnson, along with Micek’s aunt and sister, all of whom were realtors, teamed up to create a “profit with a purpose” business that specifically helped veterans and service professionals locate new homes and sell their existing homes. The company would also aim to help improve credit, increase a home’s resale value, and generally make the entire process run more smoothly. Even more impactful was the fact that the realtors committed to donating back 25 percent of their gross commission to their hero customers in the form of a “heroes reward check” based on the price of the home. Their first year, the team made $177,000 in gross commission and gave back $48,000.
Today the company has grown to 25 full-time employees, with more than 11,000 homes – a value of more than $1.8 billion – sold. The company has expanded into an affiliate network of more than 2,200 real estate professionals such as lenders, title companies, and inspectors who offer reduced rates for heroes, further driving down the total cost of selling or purchasing a home. According to the company’s website, every hour a hero closes on a home, and the company has received a 98 percent “Excellent Satisfaction” rating from surveyed customers. They’ve also expanded their “hero” list to include educators and health care workers.
During the growth of the company, the Home for Heroes founders, employees, and stockholders recognized the fact that oftentimes veterans and other heroes – especially those injured in the line of service – faced additional hardships and needs that extended beyond the home-selling process. While they tried to help as they could, they realized they needed a more formal way to address these more intensive needs, so they soon took another step forward by officially forming the charitable “Home for Heroes Foundation. “
How Does Homes for Heroes Work?
The Home for Heroes Foundation organizes contractors and donors to help veterans in dire need, in ways ranging from modifying homes to make them more accessible, helping pay for large one-time expenses like a new furnace or water heater, to helping with first and last month rental fees, or even mortgage payments. Many veterans and other heroes face these difficulties as a result of their injuries and the resulting inability to work. Having access to professionals able and willing to assist can offer a ray of hope and make a big difference to their entire families.
It is the hope of the Home for Heroes team and their extended network that America’s heroes truly feel and experience the gratitude of their country in a very real and tangible way. They believe it is only right to give back to the people and families who have sacrificed so much to serve others. To get involved as an affiliate, to donate your time or related skills, or to become a sponsor for the foundation, visit homesforheroes.com.
Written by Megan Hammons