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NAR’s Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification Gives Real Estate Professionals the Upper Hand When Working With Military Clients 

Kathleen Ricketts has been working in real estate for just shy of 30 years, and believes deeply in giving back to her community. But for Ricketts, an agent with CENTURY 21 Affiliated, her community is more than just her friends and neighbors. It’s also the military community in her region of Northwest Chicago.

Nearly 40 percent of Ricketts’ clients are active military members or veterans, and she points out how difficult a permanent change of station (PCS) can be for military professionals and their families.

“If you’ve ever relocated, you know how difficult that can be,” Ricketts notes. “Now, multiply that by 100 percent. A service member doesn’t have a choice in where they’re going, and many times, it’s not exactly where you would want to live and/or raise your children.”

In 2014, to better serve her military clients, Ricketts received the Military Relocation Professional (MRP) certification.

“I’d been working with military families prior to the MRP class, but by attending and receiving my certification, it brought more credibility to what I was doing,” Ricketts explains.

Following the certification, Ricketts went on to become an instructor for the MRP certification course in order to help other agents and brokers understand how they can serve military clients, and debunk several of the prevalent myths around working with military families. One common misperception is that agents need to live in a base state to earn the MRP, but REALTORS® can work with veterans anywhere.

Another myth? All veterans are relocating.

“Currently, we’re seeing a large number of our veterans downsizing or purchasing second homes,” says Ricketts.

And while working with military clients requires navigating a unique schedule, it may not be that different from working with non-military clients.

“With any relocation client, the agent needs to clear their schedule,” says Ricketts. “The client doesn’t have a lot of time [if visiting]. It’s up to the agent to be in contact prior to their visit, providing them with specific information, previewing homes, Skyping those homes with prior permission of the seller, and being available at odd hours.”

This is the same for military buyers, and when working with military in active duty, you may need to keep your schedule extra flexible.

Another misconception when working with military clients is the role of the military spouse.

“Many civilians think that a military spouse is only a woman,” says Ricketts. “In 2018, there were approximately 74,000 women in the Army, which equates to 16 percent of enlisted forces; 46 percent were married [to men]. Thus, we have many men who are military spouses, as well.”

Ricketts also points out that many picture the role of a military spouse as a stay-at-home mom or dad.

“This is definitely not true,” says Ricketts, who explains that most have professional careers.

Whether they’re MRP or not, brokers should train their agents to learn more about veteran benefits, which many veterans themselves are unaware of.

“This is so important,” Ricketts stresses, “as many of our veterans don’t know that they can take advantage of their benefits forever.”

Ricketts reminds agents to always ask clients if they have a military background.

“Many agents have worked with veterans and didn’t even know it, so be sure to ask any potential client whether they’ve served.” 

For more information, please visit www.militaryrelocationpro.org.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

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