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By Chuck N. Baker
Veterans leaving the military who are considering real estate as their next profession must face some harsh financial realities. All facets of real estate require specific education and cash when it comes to starting out. In order to be licensed, one must pay for and pass a state exam, pay annual dues to the local real estate association, pay for continuing education, pay for advertising and share sales commissions with a broker. If one is developing or rehabbing property, there are additional licenses and hoops to jump through and there is no guarantee of success.
But two recent celebrated veterans are doing something to help those leaving the service transition into the industry. Andy and Ashley Williams are veterans who host HGTV’s “Flip or Flop Fort Worth.”
The couple plans to change the conversation on military transition and empower veterans to succeed and prosper by renovating homes and selling them at a profit. Backed by a group of corporate partners, the couple said they hope to help train as many as 10,000 veterans nationwide in such skills as obtaining capital, how to access resources and how to find select homes that have fallen into disrepair but that can be renovated and sold at a profit instead of being demolished. Andy Williams added that this will give veterans an early defined mission, effectively reintegrating them into society, while positively impacting the economy.
Williams said his real mission is focused on using real estate for something much bigger — turning a generation of military veterans into real estate entrepreneurs. “Real estate is our business. Veteran reintegration is our passion,” he said. He explained that there are many ways to enter real estate. Buying and selling property lead the parade, although transitioning veterans might prefer to begin locally in smaller ways such as landscapers, lenders, appraisers or inspectors. But eventually, Andy wants his fellow veterans to own as much of America’s real estate as possible. “Patriots need to start buying up America,” he said.
The couple said it has developed a national coalition of corporate partners and community leaders committed and equipped to empower veterans to start and grow as entrepreneurs in the real estate industry. Without leaving home veterans can be schooled in such reintegration vehicles as residential rehabbing, home building and developing affordable housing developments in their respective communities. Simultaneously they will have a social impact through community revitalization. Calling their initiative Veterans Buy America, Recon Realty states it has joined with several partners to form a coalition designed to help veterans. A sampling of the partners include RCN Capital, with $100 million available for veterans to start residential rehabbing and rental property investing; Roof Stock, an online investment marketplace exclusive to veterans offering rent-guaranteed income properties; Ralley Point, a military digital platform network offering solutions to reintegrating through real estate; and ThinkRealty, a free 12-month subscription service for veterans offering education on rehabbing fundamentals, income property ownership and information on events, resources and supplier discounts to help form and grow real estate businesses.
More of the details concerning Veterans Buy America and Recon Realty as well as contact information can be found at: TeamRecon.org.