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More often than not, when speaking about women in the workforce or business arena, female accomplishments are spoken about from a disadvantaged standpoint. But in fact, women have been making strides in every area of business while simultaneously maintaining their nurturing nature as mothers, sisters, and wives. Now that is true power. In addition to time, real estate is one of their most valuable assets.
The home buying process is a fundamental element in acquiring the “American Dream.” Maintaining mortgages helps ensure communities remain stable and neighborhoods viable. Housing experts are rarely educated on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, nor the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act and their purposes. There are many issues that differentiate servicemembers from regular civilians participating in the home buying and foreclosure process. Real estate professionals need to be aware of certain factors and laws that directly affect their military clients. Women in the military have a history that extends over 3,000 years and have played many roles in the military, from ancient warrior women, to the women currently serving in conflicts, even though the vast majority of all combatants have been men in every culture.
Beverly Frase—a former loan officer, real estate broker, and Army wife—understands the home buying process from a military standpoint. Frase developed a program “Boots Across America” that educates real estate professionals on the military and its many facets including the military compensation system, special situations and its impact on entitlements, foreclosure prevention and various regulations which protect servicemembers. She offers a certification program through the counseling’s corner. The program provides educational information on pay grades and explanations of military pay for all services including how to navigate the Leave and Earning Statement, the factors that affect military pay, tax-exempt pay and savings plans. Boots Across America educates professionals on how to work with military personnel and their families to help them transition into sustainable housing.
The current unemployment rate and income volatility are driving homelessness upward. Foreclosure rates have increased substantially over the years and have yet to stabilize. The Servicemember Civil Relief Act was signed into law on December 19, 2003. The Act amended and replaced the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940, to strengthen the nation’s defense by providing for temporary suspension of legal proceedings and financial transactions that may adversely affect the rights of servicemembers.
The Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects servicemembers from foreclosure of mortgages as long as the following facts are established:
• The relief is sought on an obligation secured by a mortgage, trust deed or other security in the nature of a mortgage on either real or personal property.
• The obligation originated prior to entry on active duty.
• The property was owned by the servicemember or family member prior to entry on active duty.
• The property is still owned by the servicemember or family member at the time relief is sought.
• The ability to meet the financial obligation is materially affected by the servicemember’s active duty obligation.
Termination of Lease provides a servicemember who receives permanent change of station orders or who is deployed to a new location for 90 days or more, the right to terminate a housing lease. The servicemember must provide his or her landlord with written notice of the termination along with a copy of orders. The termination becomes effective 30 days after the due date for the next rental payment. If the credit report shows charges for a broken lease, the servicemember can submit this documentation to have that information removed from the credit report. This law affects all parties involved and can have a dire effect on finances.
Another protection provided by the SCRA includes certain judicial proceedings until they return from military service, deployment or overseas tours of duty and for a time thereafter. Protection under the SCRA includes but is not limited to:
• Stay of Proceedings- Upon application, the servicemember can have the action postponed for a period no less than 90 days.
• Stay of Execution from judgments, court actions, attachments and garnishment. If a request for postponement is executed, it must be granted unless the court determines the member’s ability to comply with the order is not materially affected by their military status.
• Default Judgment.
• Statute of Limitations-Period of military service may not be included in computing any limitation period for filing suit, either by or against the servicemember.
Based on available resources and personnel, servicemembers and their families are provided free legal assistance. Each military service has specific regulations regarding the extent of legal assistance they provide, but can always help with a lease, a will or a notarized signature. Veterans are not eligible for these services. Legal assistance offices are located on base. One can access the full overview of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act at: www.military.com/benefits/legal-matters/scra/overview.
Esther M. Franklin is the owner and founder of Tri-State Paralegal Service and Tri-State Land Consulting Group, both companies are real estate service firms specializing in real estate transactional matters, oil and gas land administration and paralegal support services. Esther has an MBA in Finance and a BA in Legal Studies with certification as a Six Sigma Green Belt, Non-Profit Management and Paralegal Studies with 15 years of experience within the legal and real estate sector.
To view the original article please see our magazine titled “Advancements for Women” Vol 4, Issue 3 by Clicking Here