GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (WOOD) – A West Michigan real estate agent is helping veterans and frontline workers become homeowners by starting a program called Home Girl Heroes.
Jennifer Gradnigo started with Blueberry Realtors in Holland Home girls heroes Earlier this year and described it as a rewards program that connects our heroes with multiple resources to save them money on home purchases.
Gradnigo, who served in the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 20 years, started the program to give back, especially to veterans.
“So many veterans don’t understand what a VA loan is and what many of its benefits are, and lenders and brokers don’t understand what a VA buyer is and what it means.”
This is where Gradnigo comes in. She helps veterans become homeowners by working with lenders and inspectors who have veteran loan experience.
“I have inspectors willing to give discounts to first-time buyers and veterans, and hopefully soon to frontline workers,” she said.
Gradnigo says working with this team is vital as veterans often face additional barriers when buying a home due to misunderstandings about VA loans.
“Because there is no down payment (on a VA loan), people assume they are a shortage of money buyer, but more than often it is not.”
One of Gradingo’s most popular success stories was helping a local Iraq War veteran become a first time homeowner.
Dan Conner had been grappling with lenders for a year and a half when he came into contact with Gradnigo.
“He gave financial information and was constantly being told to either increase his credit score, have more money in the bank, or they would not call him back at all,” she said.
Gradnigo said Conner was a strong buyer with solid credit.
Within a month of becoming one of Gradnigo’s Home Girl Heroes, Conner closed a house.
“Getting him a home was just an amazing feeling because he really wanted to buy it,” she said. “When you’re in the military and you have that feeling of independence … it made incredible sense to have your own home and support your family.”
As part of the program, Gradnigo will give each Home Girl Hero a check for $ 500 upon graduation.
“This is a way of giving back to our community and to our veterans and frontline workers,” she said.
For more information on the Home Girl Heroes program, please visit on-line.