Last Updated on May 31, 2022 by Luke Feldbrugge
The Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving is more than a symbol. It is the practical steps we take to support our heroes – who support our communities – in their journey to a new home. What started as a simple way to reward heroes has evolved into a series of efforts to support heroes and the larger community. It’s primarily about homes and real estate, but it has grown into so much more.
For the record, the heroes we help are:
- EMS Professionals
- Law Enforcement
- Military – Active, Reserves and Veterans
- Healthcare Professionals
And the ways we help them are fivefold. Here’s the breakdown.
CONNECT – Connecting Heroes with Committed Specialists
One of the first ways we help heroes is by connecting them to our local real estate and/or mortgage specialist. They are licensed real estate agents and mortgage lenders who have committed to serving the heroes in their communities.
You want someone on your side when you are entering the real estate market, and the more competitive it is, the more you need that committed and helpful relationship. Many of our local specialists have served as heroes in the past and have a good understanding of the challenges faced by heroes due to the requirements of their profession. Our specialists know the housing and lending trends in your community. They also know how to maximize the savings heroes can receive through the home buying, selling or mortgage refinancing process. On average, heroes can save $2,400 when they close with our local specialists.
Abby Waltz, National Director for Homes for Heroes, sums it up nicely. “Helping facilitate the connection between our heroes and our real estate and mortgage specialists is more than it seems on the surface. Forging a strong relationship is vital for heroes to achieve their homeownership goals to buy and/or sell a home – especially in tough markets. While real estate and mortgage professionals are there to guide you through the complex process, our Homes for Heroes specialists are experts in representing heroes, understanding their unique needs and challenges.”
“I bought and sold using this program and had a great experience using the Homes for Heroes program. My real estate agent was outstanding and the bonus check at the end was very helpful.” – Chris, Law Enforcement in Alabama
SERVE – Heroes Serve Us. We Proudly Serve Them.
Serving a community of heroes is, first and foremost, an honor. We are trying to make a difference for a lot of heroes across the nation. In 2021 alone:
- Through our specialists, we served heroes in over 3,000 U.S. communities
- Helped over 9,000 heroes buy and/or sell a home
- Saved heroes $19.7 million in Hero Rewards® savings
“As a 1st time home owner, we were very satisfied with how our home buying experience turned out. As a Naval Veteran, and a Healthcare Worker, it gives me great pleasure working with a company that gives back to those who put others before themselves. I know personally that these individuals don’t ask much for themselves, but it’s always nice to feel appreciation and respect. Nice job, Homes for Heroes!!” – Kevin W., Hero Rewards savings recipient
Buying or selling a house can be a complicated process, and the heroes in our communities have jobs that are already very stressful. They need someone in their corner to get them successfully through the process. Homes for Heroes puts a whole team in their corner so they can achieve an important goal – home ownership.
REWARD – Saving Heroes Money is Our Way to Say, “Thank You for Your Service.”
The reward is what started the whole Circle of Giving. We began by giving rewards to the heroes in our groups when they closed on a house. It was a thank you for all they do in our communities. We soon realized that rewards work both ways: when we reward heroes, they reward us with their stories, their inspiration, their gratitude.
Here is how we calculate the average $2,400 Hero Rewards® savings when a hero closes with our local specialists:
- Average of $1,700 savings from our local real estate specialists. This one fluctuates based on the home purchase price for a buy or sell transaction. Taking 0.7 percent of the home purchase price ($700 savings per $100,000 price) is how the savings is calculated. This dollar amount is given back to the hero after closing. These dollars come from our local real estate specialist. They give back part of their gross commission after closing and Homes for Heroes sends the hero a check to purchase items for their new home or anything else they may need.
- Average $500 savings from our local mortgage specialists is a reduction in lender fees when a hero closes on a new mortgage or refinances a current mortgage.
- Average $150 savings from our local title company specialists is a reduction in title service fees when a hero closes on a home.
- Average $50 savings from our local home inspector specialists is typically a home inspection service discount.
One of the most common purchases our heroes buy with their rewards are appliances. Some have made simple cosmetic upgrades to their home, and some have used the funds for complete renovations. That’s the great thing about getting a check back, the hero can use the money for whatever they need!
“Homes for Heroes is easy to sign up for, and that was appreciated by me as a travel nurse and my husband as a Navy veteran. Thank you for all of your support. We plan to use the money to help work on the house, and it will help with our projects we are ready to start.” – Samantha, U.S. Navy in Kentucky
GRANT – Homes for Heroes Foundation Helps Heroes in Need
Funding for the foundation is driven by the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving. When a hero works with Homes for Heroes local real estate and mortgage specialists to buy or sell a home, Homes for Heroes, Inc. donates a portion of its earnings to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. Therefore, the hero that bought or sold a home had an influence in supporting the well-being of other fellow heroes.
Homes for Heroes, Inc. also covers all the foundation expenses which allows all donated dollars to be used to help the lives of heroes in need.
History of the Homes for Heroes Foundation Grant
The Homes for Heroes Foundation started off as a way to provide even more assistance to heroes in the community who needed additional assistance. Foundation grants started as individual need-based grants. For example, it could be a grant for $500 for a security deposit for a military veteran, $250 for a past due electric bill for a nurse, or $1,000 to avoid eviction for a firefighter.
As time went on, the foundation changed its approach. Instead of helping individuals, they turned their attention to local and national nonprofits who were using their knowledge, talent, skills and expertise to help heroes. Lisa Welsh, Homes for Heroes Foundation Director, said “By giving grants to nonprofits, we bring awareness to great local organizations that can build on the awarded grant dollars, and do even more for our heroes.”
These organizations are already involved in their communities. They know:
- The needs of their clients
- Where to get assistance at the local level
- The best way to distribute the funds
By awarding grants to these nonprofits, the Homes for Heroes Foundation was able to start making a larger impact.
Some of the recent organizations that have received foundation grants include:
- Nurses House
- National Coalition of Homeless Veterans
- Tunnel to Towers
- National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC)
- Grand Strand MOAA – Military Officers Association of America
- Million Dollar Teacher Project
- Ezras Nashim – Financial Assistance for Women EMT’s
- Running 4 Heroes
There is also a video playlist of grant recipients on Youtube.
How do we find these organizations? Our affiliates can nominate a nonprofit to receive a grant. Then we vet the organization to make sure the nonprofit fits one of the Foundation’s three areas of focus:
- Housing crises
- Disaster relief
- Assistance for the health or family of a hero
Homes for Heroes Foundation Milestone
The Homes for Heroes Foundation reached a milestone in 2021 when it went over $1 million in awarded grants. It met this goal at the same time Homes for Heroes, Inc. was rewarding its 50,000th hero who purchased a home using their local specialists – Stefan who is a police officer in Knoxville, TN. The Foundation was able to present the Tennessee Fraternal Order of Police Foundation a grant of $3,000 in honor of Stefan to support his law enforcement brothers and sisters. This was one example of the Circle of Giving in motion.
The Homes for Heroes Foundation also accepts donations from outside sources such as individuals and corporations.
STRENGTHEN – Giving Back to Heroes Builds Community Strength
There are four primary ways the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving works together to help strengthen U.S. communities throughout the country, and we’ve covered each of them in detail, but here is a recap:
- CONNECT: Connect Community Heroes with Committed Local Professionals
- SERVE: Assist Community Heroes with the Homeownership Process
- REWARD: Help Community Heroes Save Money on a Home or Mortgage
- GRANT: Award Grants to Help Community Heroes in Need
By providing extraordinary service and savings for our heroes, we help them become homeowners, and we help put more money in their pocket. This strengthens the community by helping to build and sustain the local economy. Plus if heroes can establish roots in the communities they serve through homeownership, the relationships between local heroes and community citizens become stronger.
“Buying a home while living in a different state makes house buying a daunting and scary thing to do. Homes for Heroes made this process an amazing adventure through their open communication, home video walkthroughs, vast knowledge, experience, and instantaneous updates. They care about going above and beyond in serving their customers… the entire process will make your home buying experience with Homes for Heroes feel as though you’re there in person working with an expert colleague and friend. Thank you Homes for Heroes.” – K, U.S. Navy in Florida
“Our real estate agent mentioned [Home for Heroes] to us and it was a very important part of choosing him as our real estate agent. The savings we received we used to improve the house we purchased. It feels great to be appreciated for the job we do.” – Juan, Teacher in New York
Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving Saves Heroes Money When They Buy, Sell or Refinance
If you’re a firefighter, EMS, law enforcement, active, veteran or reserve military member, healthcare professional or teacher and you’re ready to buy and/or sell a home or refinance a mortgage, we would be honored to work with you to get it done and save you money in the process. If you close on a home or mortgage with your local Homes for Heroes real estate or mortgage specialists you can save an average of $2,400. Simply sign up today to learn more about how our specialists can assist and save you money.
The Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving sends ripple effects through our communities. By helping the heroes that are the glue that holds our communities together, we are confident that what we do makes a difference. Help us extend the effects of our Circle of Giving by spreading the word about our program. If you know a hero who is looking to buy, sell or refinance a home, tell them about us. It would be an honor to serve the heroes you know.