Finding a place to live can be a very demanding task. But, there are services Soldiers can use to alleviate the stress built from the home-buying process.

Fort Belvoir’s financial readiness program, through Army Community Service office, offers step-by-step assistance to active-duty personnel and veterans through its two-hour home ownership class.

The free and confidential course allows participants to view their personal credit scores and learn about loans and interest rates. The class also stresses the importance of home inspections, appraisals and having multiple options when picking realtors and lenders.

“I think most people are financially savvy. They just need some encouragement,” said Erica Drame, FRP manager. Drame spent eight years working in real estate, four of which she spent as a certified mortgage planning specialist.

She said the home ownership class is designed to be flexible to the participants’ experience level and financial situation, so, there are no expectations of those seeking information.

FRP partners with SunTrust Bank to teach the class with Drame or a representative from the bank serves as the instructor.

FRP’s sole role is to educate, so neither Drame nor SunTrust recommends any business services to participants.
“You have to feel comfortable with the realtor or company,” Drame said. “I can suggest 1,500 people and you don’t like any of them. So, it’s better for you to do it yourself.”

Drame loves mortgages and is always open to helping Families in and out of the classroom.

“Ask questions,” said Drame, offering her best advice for home buyers. According to her, the more knowledge a consumer has about the community surrounding a potential home is critical. “No question is too simple because you want to know as much as you possibly can.”

In addition to home-buying counseling, FRP also offers Soldiers and their Families advice in selling homes, investing, budgeting and financing other items.

Another service veterans can explore is The Caring Tree Project, which is an off-post program designed to educate consumers searching for a home.

According to the company’s website, Caring Tree provides services for veterans by helping them structure the most affordable transaction with possibly zero down on the closing cost.

If a veteran processes a mortgage through Caring Tree, the company donates $250 to the charity of that veteran’s choice.

Visit the for more information on the company’s services.

Contact Drame at (703) 805-1833 for more information.

Page last updated Thu July 21st, 2011 at 13:25