Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A beautiful Houston morning.

Houston in the morning.
Today brings cold weather and sunshine to the beautiful skyline of my city.

As a hometown boy who returned to the great state of Texas, specifically my home city of Houston, I sometimes forget how beautiful it can be here. I have been living in Germany for the past four years where we did not need air conditioning, but relied on open windows and standing fans. While that was essentially beautiful in its own way, I was missing something while I was gone.

It wasn't the mosquitoes or scorching summer heat. It wasn't the cowboy hats or rodeos. But those things are part of the overall package when a family decides to live in Texas.

Texas has an aura of hospitality and big personalities which I believe, is a large part of what welcomed me back home.

When I stepped off the plane that first night back in the USA, 3 months pregnant wife in-tow, I had only a vague idea of what challenges we would face in the coming days. The roller coaster of life is still in full swing today, but I count my lucky stars that perseverance and determination were qualities that military training only enhanced for me.

I did not know that I would be working in the mortgage industry. I did not know that I would meet a team of civilians who are passionate about helping Veterans while building a business. I really didn't think that I would have the chance to interview with big named companies whose names would be impressive on any young adults resume. I won't toot my own horn with specific name dropping, but I will take the opportunity to publicly praise the "Hiring our Heros" job fairs for all the work they are doing to train and hire Veterans.

A Hiring Our Heros job fair.
Without HOH, I most likely would have not been able to shake hands with so many great recruiters and speak with countless human resources professionals doling out advice like Santa's helpers on Christmas Eve.

I write about my transition because it is important to me to share the story of my new adventure and my new successes only so that another Veteran might benefit from hearing about the challenge and struggle to find work once discharged.

I was able to secure employment within 6 weeks of my return to Texas after taking only a single day off, to include weekends. This actually plays a significant part of my home buying process because when a Veteran is out of work for more than 30 days in a year and attempts to make a VA loan application, the loan specialist must justify to the underwriting department why the Veteran was not working and explain how the Veteran's new position is the same as their previous one.

That might have been a bit confusing so let me explain further. I was a combat photographer assigned to a public affairs office and held a few different leadership roles within the unit during my time there. When I was discharged, I knew that I wanted to follow the same career path so that I could utilize the expertise I learned while serving. I have witnessed to many young Veterans toss away their skillset in order to pursue new opportunities.

While this is an admirable practice and takes extreme dedication to be successful, this can actually prevent you from getting a home loan if you apply the same year you switch jobs. This is due to the underwriter's wanting to ensure career stability of the person who is receiving the loan.

A home loan is usually the largest purchase a person will make in their entire lifetime. Unless you are Warren Buffett.

So thankfully for me, I secured a position working in the same type of career as I was in when I left the service. This grants me the opportunity to place my family into a home without having to wait a full 12 months. If I chose to go into the oil business turning wrenches after service, I may have had a great high paying job, but I would still have to wait 12 months before I could move my wife and children into a home because of the career change.

This is something for all Veterans to consider prior to discharge and prior to making large career changes in the same year you would like to buy a home.

My search continues this afternoon when I take the wife and kids to see a couple of properties inside the beltway, close to the new City Centre area of town. Hopefully, one of these homes will be my American Dream.

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