We have two military bases in our area which include the ones in Meaford and Base Borden. As personnel are frequently posted into or out of the area, I have been fortunate to work with many military families over the past 20+ years. This has given me a profound respect for the special challenges they face and their ability to make it work.
Did you know that about 15,000 members of the Canadian forces move each year? Many families move to or from significant distances and the experience can be both emotionally and financially draining. Think about it. In many cases, the spouses need to work but cannot establish a career in one area due to frequent moves and, they are also have to start over in each town they go to. Families need to find new medical services, child care, education and personal networks. If they have special needs such as elder care, single parent status or disabilities, re-establishing themselves in new communities is even more difficult.
I’ve worked with several families this year who have been posted into the area. In each case, they came from out of province. This means they had to put their existing homes on the market and pray for a sale before they were due to arrive here. They each were given brief house-hunting trips of 5 days. 5 DAYS! That meant they had to get a sense of our area, the housing options, look at homes and negotiate a successful offer in less than a week. This requires a keen eye, a strong constitution, quick decision making abilities and nerves of steel.
When a new family makes contact with me, we usually communicate for some time by phone and email so that we get to know each other and so I can share as much information about the area as possible. We start watching listings together to see not only what may be available in their price range but also, what is likely to have good resale value when they move onto their next posting. When I get the call that their house hunting trip has been booked, Chris and I work to clear the decks because we know it’s going to be a cozy week together. Here is what typically happens:
Day 1 is usually spent touring and learning about the many communities and options in our area as well as just seeing things like the location of schools, churches, doctors, shops, services and recreational amenities. By the afternoon, we are starting our first home viewings which continue almost all of day 2. Often, we are preparing an offer at the end of day 2 or early on day 3. We tentatively book a home inspection for day 5 before the offer is even presented so we have an inspector on stand-by. We use the balance of day 3 and day 4 to negotiate an offer and sometimes we have to do so on more than once. Day 5 is the home inspection and we hope like heck that everything is okay. If not, we have to develop alternative plans.
Military families have to place a great deal of trust into their REALTOR® in regard to resale values, negotiation and other recommendations. The spouses carry an enormous load as they are often the ones setting up the other aspects of re-establishing a family and, they are all typically very cognizant of the need to prepare and keep their homes in excellent resale condition. They know what will help their homes to sell when the inevitable call comes down the road that it’s time to leave.
I have such respect for the men and women or our armed forces for the work they do however, I also have a great deal of respect and admiration for them and their families for the unique personal challenges and sacrifices they make every time they are posted in or out. I’ve been really blessed to get to know these amazing families and am grateful for their frequent referrals too. Even though I am a registered supplier with DND’s relocation program, most military families come to me through the referrals of other personnel. It’s a special privilege for which I am most grateful.