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26 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE A s national lender Caliber Home Loans, Inc. continues to strengthen its support for the military and veteran community, the Military Lending Team remains committed to expanding its education initiatives. By educating military home - buyers, real estate agents, and mortgage professionals, Caliber ensures customers are provided with the best experience possible. Caliber's National Director of Military and VA Lending, Bryan Bergjans, and Caliber's Military Lending Team, have been working with a growing number of real estate agent associations across the country. Caliber is aiming to obtain approval at state levels so they can deliver Caliber's VA training courses to a larger audience. These courses include topics useful to real estate professionals including understanding VA loan eligibility, understanding Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and, most importantly, reading Certificates of Eligibility (COE). Managing these successfully is critical to a military customer's homebuying experience, as it helps ensure service members receive all the benefits and advantages of VA financing they have earned. Operation: Education R eal estate agents must under- stand BAHs and COEs; other- wise, the process can become difficult and potentially prevent a buyer from purchasing a preferred property. Housing allowances across the nation are rarely static, as they are based on several fac- tors. For example, cities known for expensive home prices, such as New York City, Boston, and San Francisco, will have consider- ably higher BAH rates. Other fac- tors affecting individual housing allowances include pay grade and dependency status. Active-duty service members' entitlement is another factor that is often misunderstood. For exam- ple, during a permanent change of station (PCS), loan officers and real estate agents may incorrectly believe a borrower has no entitle- ment left, or that only one VA loan is allowed at a time. This often results in military members or veterans being pushed into another loan product that may not be the best fit for them. "The VA loan is a great prod- uct, if you've done your home- work. Military and veteran clients need specialized practitioners who are knowledgeable in VA lending so they can advise their client on the best way forward," Bergjans said. "Ultimately, our goal is to set every client up to have the best possible experience throughout the transaction and achieve a suc- cessful result from the beginning." Real estate agents and others in- volved in the homebuying process need to understand their military clients' situations before they refer them to a mortgage professional. This can prevent errors from oc- curring down the line. Karen Dunn, Director of Professional Development and Project Management for the St. Louis Association of REALTORS ® , commended Caliber for its commitment to educate and partner with real estate profession- als across the country. "We are very proud of our relationship with Caliber," Dunn said. "Our agents have gained so much knowledge and expertise around working with military and veteran families. It has been a priceless experience and we look forward to building on the partnership for years to come!" Building Momentum V A loan purchases have in- creased considerably during the last six years, nearly doubling since 2012. As volume increases, Caliber is working against misconceptions in the marketplace that may unfairly impact military customers. Their efforts in this area have led to collaboration with the National Association of REALTORS Gov- ernmental Affairs Department in Washington, D.C., and congressio- nal leaders on Capitol Hill. Caliber is also leveraging inter- nal education courses for its own Loan Consultants. The education program guides team members through various scenarios they may encounter when working with military and veteran clients, as well as with their families. Caliber aims to provide its team members with a balanced, fact-based approach to VA lending, replacing stereotypes and miscon - ceptions with proven statistics. Team members are designated as Caliber Military and Veteran Lending Professionals after they complete the core courses and are required to take additional courses annually to maintain their specialized certification. As part of its internal education efforts, Caliber strives to build a strong foundation for those who want to become practitioners in this area of the market. As an active reservist in the Navy, Bergjans has personal experience with the complexity of purchasing a home with a VA loan product. On the Homefront In Part One of this two-part series, the October issue explored Caliber Home Loans' move to hire more military veterans. In Part Two, Caliber emphasizes education and dispels outdated beliefs to help veterans and military families find a home. By Lauren Abney

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