I caught a visual on the way to the office this morning. It was an advertisement offering services to heroes.

It brought a flood of memories back to my LAPD days. While I was a cop, I was also viewed as a Hero.

I remember it often being spoken about on the bulletin boards at every police station I visited while on routine patrol, working motorcycle enforcement, as a defense representative and a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor.

While most coppers work at the same division and rarely travel to other stations, I have been to them all at one point or another. At that time there were Over 22 LAPD Divisions, not including metro and bomb squad - but I made it to those as well.

That number is larger today because of the additions of more LAPD stations due to the growing need and I'm sure there are bulletin boards at those stations.

When I bought my first car in California from Sage Nissan our salesperson took me for a ride because I was a hero. I did not know it at the time, but after the other cops saw what I had bought and how much I had paid, my 22-year-old ego was hurt at how I was taken for a Hero Ride.

This was one of the dealerships that advertised to us "Hero's" in our LAPD newspaper - the Thin Blue Line.

They also had advertisements on the LAPD bulletin boards stating what a great discount they were going to give us heroes and how they appreciate our service.

You know what. I don't think they really care about the Hero's. I think they only care about making money from the trust that the Hero chooses to extend.

Since 1998 I have been in the real estate representation business. We represent home sellers and home buyers in Santa Clarita Valley and elsewhere in Southern California.

During that time I have heard many stories from those in Law Enforcement and in the Military who were wanting to sell and or buy real estate how they were taken by a Hero program.

There are so many Hero Programs, like organic types of food - who's to say they are really what they proport to be.

It's the same with the on TV advertising to veterans about obtaining a home loan using their VA loan accessibility. 

There is nothing awry about a veteran using their VA loan availability to buy a home. That is GREAT and should be honored.

It's when the commercial is not pushing for howe ownership and all the benefits therein, but pushing for the veteran to take money out.

Removing their hard-earned equity to pay for "stuff and crap" they don't need is a great idea. And you know what, they make it easy! Why, because you are a Hero and have the right to take out money against the real estate you own in the form of another loan to buy junk you don't need.

Of course, the VA loan and benefit is outstanding. Just read between the lines when you are being told it is.

In the real estate representation world, I have personally been called many times to join a Hero real estate program.

Basically, it's a lead generation service for those of us real estate agents who is comfortable working with Heroes.

Believe it or not, someone who is in Law Enforcement and who is or has been in the military has a different way of sizing up an individual. Some agents are and other service providers are not up to the cut.

The hero listens to them talk for a few minutes and it's "game over". The Hero shuts down and you'll never prove to them that you care for them 100% in anything.

The precision of a Hero

I have a cop client that I have known for a long time. He reminds me of that character in that movie that had the "300" guy in it. "Law Abiding Citizen", that's it. I had to google the title - that is who he reminds me of. The guy who had his life destroyed.

Now, Rick has not had his life destroyed and is a great cop. When I sent Rick and his son to a lender that I know, it was a no go.

He said that the lender was double-talking. The lender was dancing around the questions that he was asking. This was to be the first home for Rick Jr. and he wasn't about to have his son taken advantage of.

(BTW, we don't work with this lender any longer)

They see things, they have seen things and they know things. Maybe at 22, I was taken advantage of by a typical car salesman, at 32 it would have never happened.

There are way too many online resources, such as my Santa Clarita home experts website that will give you the truth about how Hero Programs should work.

Remember, Verbal promises are malarkey

You are flipping through your veteran or cop newspaper and come to an add that says this person has a Hero program in place for you to do such and such.

Well, you have been considering for a long while to have "such and such" done and you are going to call.

Questions to ask the Hero Program person and make sure you get them answered in writing via a response to an email.

You can tell them that you are going to send them some questions about their program in an email. You want them to answer the questions and you will let then know if you wish to proceed or not.

  • Are you going to be helping me directly or are you pawning me off to someone else?
  • If you are sending my information to someone else who are they?
    • I will need their contact information so I may follow up with them with my questions.
  • What is the true Hero Advantage of me using your services?
    • Is it direct monetary compensation?
    • Is it saving money for application costs, commissions, or other service charges?
    • or will I be saving money off of the product/service itself?
    • How is the benefit paid? Off of the top, a percentage discount or some other way?
  • Do you have any references, clients who have worked with you with the same program I'm calling about, who I may call or have them call me so I can get more information?
    • This last one is usually the Hero Progam Killer, FYI. If you are being looked at as a number, which it's my experience with Hero Programs you are, they won't respond and you won't hear back.
  • Final Question - Are you going to give me your cell phone and be available after normal business hours, during holidays and on weekends just in case I have questions or concerns come about?
    • For my clients in real estate, who are all Heroes, I am available, just saying!

What happens next

From the responses, you will quickly gauge if they are in your corner or just in it for the money.

Everyone loves money, it seems you can never have too much, however - treat people fairly and don't say you are for them when you are not.

Remember, when you are asking the questions if you choose to do that verbally, still send them the email with the questions so they can put their "hero" program promises in writing.

I hate being misled. This applies to me buying a box of twinkies to buying a high-value item such as real estate.

Who is a Hero?

In my eyes, everyone falls into this category. Hero's are mothers, fathers, the chosen single, the longer, the conversationalist, the churchgoer, those who have no faith, everyone.

We all have our moments in life where we able to be a Hero, some act and some don't. 

The bottom line is we are all HUMAN. Simple, straight forward - HUMAN.

I know one thing as I am crushing 50 years of age, when you have been around awhile, all people are HERO's in their own right.

Those in the Military, those who have served their country and those who have protected us from criminals and fire always deserve a standing ovation and to have the flag saluted.

Don't let some clever marketing sway you into making a mistake and get overcharged because you thought you were going to be treated special.

When you look at the good faith estimates, the sticker versus the offered price, the invoices, the labor costs, the sellers score sheet, how much they paid versus how much you are paying. You will know if you are being treated as a hero or a jacka$$.

At the end of the day, people figure out these scams. I just wish it were at the beginning.

I'm Connor MacIvor, REMAX Realtor with my offices Head Quartered in the Santa Clarita Valley at 25129 The Old Road, Suite 114, Santa Clarita CA 91381.

As with all my home clients, I meet with them via whichever way they are most comfortable. I will tell you that the cops and military-like the face to face, hearty handshake type of meeting.

My older kid's generation like Zoom Meetings and texting, then you have all the others in between.

No matter the method, when you first start considering making a move call me so I can provide you with all the right questions to ask the service providers in the process.

The lender, mortgage broker, bank, credit union, or other financial entity from which you are going to borrow the money from that will be used to buy the home.

There is an entire process of getting their bottom line and I'm happy to help you do it.

When you are buying real estate, you don't pay my fee. I get paid by the seller, no matter who that is.

My compensation as a Santa Clarita buyers agent also applies to the new homes which are for sale in all of southern California. Never sign anything, don't give up your name or personal information and remember to call me for a new home tour.