Alford: Homes for Heroes gives thanks to those who serve

I love my new house. It’s a bit funky, not cookie cutter at all, with a Santa Fe style and lots of skylights. And I owe a huge thanks to Homes for Heroes for making it possible.

Elsie Alford

I was a combat medic with the Army for nine years. After I left the military, I learned there are a lot of perks for the lifers, those who remain for 20 years or more. There’s not so much for the rest of us.

Homes for Heroes helps to fill that gap.

Created after 9/11 as a way of saying, “thank you,” it brings together real-estate agents, lenders and closing services who reduce their fees for active or veteran military, police, firefighters, teachers, medical professionals or clergy — people who put their time and talent into helping others.

Or as John Coats, owner of Pinnacle Capital Mortgage, puts it: “It is a way give back to serve those who serve. Sure, I make less money in commissions, but there is a satisfaction in making the dream of home ownership more affordable to those heroes. That transcends money.”

I was blown away that these professionals would sacrifice their commission for someone like me. To be clear: I’m very blessed, co-owning a successful business with a combined 15 employees. The other professionals this program helps are all gainfully employed.

But it is tremendous to have someone say: you served or still serve your community or nation, and we want to show our gratitude. I’m proud of my military service that took me overseas on some challenging assignments. I persevered through some tough days — I’ve now shifted from taking care of soldiers to taking care of cars.

Police, firefighters and nurses can tell similar stories. And, we know that teachers often dig into their own pockets to provide classroom supplies. We do what we do because it is our calling. None of us expect additional rewards, so having real-estate professionals say thanks in this way is so gratifying. They’re not getting anything out of this except a cut in their income.

When you find a Realtor or mortgage lender willing to do this for you, you have confidence that you are doing business with amazing people. I compare them to CarLife Auto Repair, a business I own and operate. They are warm and sweet, and they care.

Buying a home is, for most people, the biggest buying decision of their life. It’s a big deal. Homes for Heroes helped remove the stress. They’re amazing. And then they handed a personal cut of their money to me. It’s a beautiful ending to such a smooth process, with a sweet hug at the end.

I walked out of closing with a check for $2,128. While I love my new home, it needed a little work. Isn’t that the first thing anyone does after buying a house? You go out and buy some paint or drapes. I’m using the money to remodel the master bathroom, because a girl needs a bathtub sanctuary.

Editor’s note: Ms. Alford is the owner of CarLife Auto Repair


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