NORWALK, Conn. – Veterans, police officers and firefighters looking for homes in Norwalk and Westport can now get help via the Homes for Heroes program, which expanded to those towns last month.
Agent William Kerchere of Norwalk-based Platinum property Realty and Manny Gomes of Norcom Mortgage have teamed up as Homes for Heroes affiliates. The two will represent the program in the Norwalk and Westport markets.
Homes for Heroes is a national program that works with real estate agents and mortgage lenders to arrange for discounts for military personnel, police officers and firefighters. Some health-care workers and teachers also qualify for the program.
“Our true American Heroes are the most under-appreciated single group of citizens,” Karchere wrote in a blog post announcing the program. “These are the same people who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us all safe.”
Karchere’s father and uncle were both military veterans, having served in the Navy during World War II. His father stayed in the military through the Korean War and he says he grew up following his father from base to base. Karchere said his best friend was also a Vietnam War veteran and his participation in the program is a way to honor all of them.
Originally started in Minnesota in 2001, Homes for Heroes is now operating in 47 states. The foundation offers to pay a portion of its affiliates’ commissions for home sales for qualifying customers, and has arrangements for discounts on lender’s fees, closing costs and home inspections.
For example, taken together the discounts could save nearly $3,500 on a $400,000 home purchase, Kerchere says. To date the program has saved more than $4.5 million for veterans and public safety workers nationwide.
“These are the people who serve their community. These are people who put their lives on the line every day,” foundation President Ruth Johnson said in a promotional video. “We’re in the business of real estate, and we want to help them.”