Saturday, February 15, 2014

Homes for Heroes comes to Maine - By Michelle Libby

Now for the first time military personnel, police officers, firefighters, teachers, first responders and others who serve the communities and nation in Maine can be a part of the Homes for Heroes program.  This program was born after the September 11, 2001 events to help those who rush in when others are running out. The program partners with realtors, mortgage lenders, title companies, attorneys and other service providers who “agree to provide significant rebates and discounts to those who serve our nation and its communities every day,” according to a press release sent out by the new local affiliates. 
In Maine, Rick Yost of Keller Williams Realty is currently working with heroes to find affordable homes. Hal Inman of The Mortgage Network is a lender and Matt and Randee McDonald of Cumberland Title also provide a discount to heroes. 

“I stumbled across it on LinkedIn. I visited the website and did research,” said Yost. 

“Creating a network is more valuable to the heroes. The core is real estate,” said Randee. 

“A program like this is for the people who make your community a better place to be. We make it affordable for them to live in their community,” said Yost. “They can live in the community they work in.” 

“Some of the people put their lives on the line every day,” said Inman.

Yost and any other realtors in the program agree to rebate 25 percent of their commission back to the hero. On a $250,000 house, that could be as much as $2,500 that will go toward the closing costs. Inman waives half of the application fee for the mortgage and the McDonalds discount the mortgage title and some of the closing costs. The network is also looking to find discount property inspectors. 

The program also works for sellers to discount the cost of selling their home and buying a new one. It doesn’t have to be for a first home. “No hidden fees, no fine print. No catch,” said Yost. “It couldn’t be easier to use, couldn’t be easier to find.”  

“Those people have enough going on. We don’t want to make it any harder for them,” said Randee. 

Inman knew a family of two married teachers. “They were paying $1,200 in rent each month. They couldn’t imagine saving for a down payment,” he said. “This is a chance to help people like that for what they do. It makes you feel good,” he said. 

When Inman speaks to someone going through the program, he will qualify that person for how much he can afford. Going through Homes for Heroes does not exempt someone from using the different types of loan programs including VA, Rural Development or HUD. 

“This is money given to the hero. It’s coming out of our pockets. Nobody’s subsidizing me,” said Yost.  

If a person qualifies as a hero anywhere in the state, they will be assigned to this team until more realtors join the program. Contacting them directly is the best way to go, they said. The phone number for the Maine program is 207-482-0588.  

The program is 12 years old and has saved heroes an estimated $4.7 million. There are a few heroes involved in the program now, though none have closed on their property because real estate transactions take at least 20 to 30 days to close, said Yost. 

The trio is not done yet. They are looking for more to join in their network from a home inspector and builders to barbers and oil companies. “The way they can support us is to use us,” Yost concluded. 

For more information or to sign up visit and register as a hero or call 482-0588.

Homes for Heroes, Thanking Heroes One Home at a Time.

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