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Program aims to help Utahns in service professions buy homes

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Apr. 22, 2013 at 8:29 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A national program that offers home rebates and discounts to those who serve their country and communities has made its way to Utah.

Homes for Heroes unites those in the service professions — military, law enforcement, firefighting, teaching and medicine — with real estate professionals who want to help them and their families find homes.

"I believe our heroes, they just give so much," said Staci Powell with All American Realty. "I'm willing to say thank you by giving that back to them."

The program officially launched in Utah Monday. Utah realtors stepped up to recognize a few of these special "heroes" in our state.

Teachers, policeman and firefighters can go pick what they want to buy for their families in the neighborhoods they want to buy in.

–Mandi Henriod, Homes for Heroes Salt Lake City

"We love that Homes for Heroes does not limit the house, they don't dictate the neighborhood," said Mandi Henriod, a Salt Lake City affiliate lender. "Teachers, policeman and firefighters can go pick what they want to buy for their families in the neighborhoods they want to buy in."

Nine Utah families are now working with agents in the program. No one has closed on a piece of property yet, but several are hoping that will happen in the next few weeks.

Kevin and Angie Idle recently learned about Homes for Heroes.

"You hear a lot in the military about different programs, but you don't hear all of them," said Kevin Idle, a member of Utah's Air National Guard. "I never really looked into much up until now. We're starting to get more financially stable to actually go buy a home."

Steve and Katie Blackwell are new homeowners in the Omaha, Neb. area. They are law enforcement and military veterans, having served together in Bosnia and Iraq twice.

They said owning their house would never have been possible without Ruth Johnson, her children Casey and Mark and her sister Helen. Ruth sold her real estate company and created Homes for Heroes in Minneapolis after 9/11.

Homes for Heroes Foundation
Program discounts:
  • 25 percent off realtor's gross commission
  • Lending fees on purchase or refinances
  • Private home inspections
  • Closing fees

"When you can take all your knowledge and all your past experience to grow a company that helps people, it's wonderful," Johnson said.

The process is simple. Realtors participating in the program will give 25 percent of their gross commission back to the homeowner. Savings also come from lenders, title companies and home inspectors.

"It's wonderful," said Steve Blackwell, a military and law enforcement veteran. "It's more than what we ever thought we'd get."

There are an estimated 187,000 Utahns eligible for the Homes for Heroes program, but the local chapter members said most of them don't even know about it. The program has saved heroes across the country more than $2.3 million.

To sign up for the Homes for Heroes program, CLICK HERE.


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