By Lolly Spindler
It pays to serve. Latter & Blum, the 34th largest brokerage in the United States by unit sales, launched a real estate scholarship program for military veterans late last year. Thanks to a redditor (a member of Reddit) who’s participating in it, I was able to learn about this incredible program and how much it offers our Veterans.
The brokerage, located throughout Louisiana but its primary offices in New Orleans, was founded in 1916 and specialized in commercial real estate, later branching into residential sales. After being purchased in 1986 by Robert W. Merrick, the brokerage grew and eventually merged with brokerages around the state.
Late last year, Latter & Blum launched the Robert C. Penick Military Scholarship Program, stating:
Our culture at The Latter & Blum Family of Companies is to be a team of people who are leaders and supporters in our communities. In keeping with this belief and in appreciation of all Veterans, we are pleased to announce the start of The Robert C. Penick Ph.D Military Scholarship Program.
The program is named after Robert C. Penick, the company’s senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Penick served in the US military for 29 years, joining the US Army in 1967 and serving in Vietnam, the Louisiana National Guard, and the US Army Reserve before retiring in 1996 as a Lieutenant Colonel.
According to the Times-Picayune, Rick Haase, the President of Latter & Blum, said in a press release:
In light of all of the conflicts, past and present, around the globe and the incredible commitment and sacrifice being made by service members and their families, we felt it was important to assist in this way. Re-entry after service can be challenging and the scholarship program is our way of saying thanks and lending a hand.
The program, designed to “help make the transition from military to civilian life a little easier for our Veterans,” offers a bundle of services to assist Veterans and their spouses with the cost of entering the real estate industry.
The bundle includes the following services at no cost:
- Real Estate School Pre-Licensing Course (Online)
- Application and Licensing Fees
- Post License Course and Business Sales Training
- State Exam
- Errors and Omissions Insurance
- Business Cards
- Announcement Cards and Press Release
- Yard Signs
- Full Year Subscription of the brokerage’s Technology Suite’s Tools & Services
- Featured Announcement in the Local Newspaper, Public Website and on Social Media
In addition to the scholarship package, Latter & Blum states that their offices are fully staffed with full time sales managers and administrative assistants who are there to “train, guide and support your achievement of personal and financial success.”
Furthermore, after program members have spent some time and gained experience in the real estate industry, they will be eligible to become a member of Latter & Blum’s USAA Preferred Agent Team, enabling them to work with USAA buyers and sellers.
The redditor who brought this program to my attention said that to become an agent it only cost him the MLS fees and Realtor’s Association dues (which were bundled together as you must be a Realtor to be a real estate agent in his area). In total, the fees he incurred were $525 for the first year and about $400 a year after that.
In order to take advantage of Latter & Blum’s Military Scholarship Program, the agent had to agree to not work for another brokerage for a period of two years.
Other similar programs include Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers’ Veterans to REP Program, which includes a scholarship that covers the cost of real estate school and the first six months of real estate expenses (an investment of over $3000 in each recruit). Like Latter & Blum’s program, recruits must sign a 24-month commitment to work with the brokerage.
Know of any other brokerages offering military scholarships or programs for veterans? Please fill us in by leaving a comment.