On average, military families move every two to three years. One of the biggest stressors when it comes time to PCS is finding the next right place to call home. Decisions about living on-post vs off-post, renting vs. buying must be made. And if the decision is made to invest in a new home at a new duty station, service members and their families often struggle to find the best way to evaluate schools and neighborhoods. They wonder about commute times and crime rates. And while a good real estate agent can help to put a potential buyers mind at ease, there is no substitute for the knowledge and assistance that someone who has been-there-done-that can offer. Enter MILLE, a nationwide network of veteran and military spouse real estate agents who know exactly what it’s like to PCS from the next state over or from halfway around the world.
Two Great Business Ideas Become One
Launched in 2014, MILLIE is a collaborative effort of two military-owned businesses: AgentHero & Scout. “I absolutely love that we are helping our military family. We are building something from the ground up,” shares CEO, Ken Robbins. “The only limit is our imagination. The most challenging thing is actually staying focused because we have so many great ideas.”
AgentHero, co-founded by Ken Robbins and Jason Dempsey, provides MILLIE’s network of military real estate agents. “During my transition out of the Army in the fall of 2014, I decided that I really wanted to try entrepreneurship instead of just going to work in "another job" for a big company,” says Robbins. “So far, our entire company is made up of veterans and military spouses. We are truly representative of those we are serving.” Robbins shared that more team mentorship is on his current to-do list. “We get so busy in the day to day that it can be hard to take that step back My goal is to have all of our people not only be successful with us, but go on to bigger and greater things in the future.”
Both Robbins and Demsey retired after 20 years of active duty service and have PCSed nearly two dozen times between them. Finding seed money to get the company started was one of their earliest challenges. “Our networks are military based and not from your typical angel investment crowd,” says Robbins, “but many investors are very appreciative of military service and that provides a chance to get "your foot in the door" when it comes to opportunity to pitch your company.”
Military affiliation (either service or spouse) is a requirement for all agents in the AgentHero network, but it’s also a benefit. Having an agent who knows what it’s like to deal with household goods and report dates and the local real estate market helps buyers feel at ease. Better still, AgentHero offers buyer/sellers a rebate on real estate commissions when permissable by law. After closing, the company also makes donations to military charities on their clients’ behalf.
In addition to experienced real estate agents, MILLIE offers a unique relocation and property management assistance service called Scout. Started by two military spouses, Lauren Rothlisberger and Amy Shick, Scout offers the much needed boots-on-the-ground help for military families unable to visit a new duty station prior to PCSing. Scouts are all military spouses, so they are familiar with the challenges PCSing can bring, and can do everything from FaceTime with potential buyers on walk through a neighborhood or house, to let contractors into rental properties for military landlords.
As if all of this wasn't enough to ease a multitude of PCSing woes, MILLIE adds another layer of service for its clients. For each duty location serviced by the company, additional information about schools, neighborhoods, even commute times is readily available. And it’s not just the canned content you can find on any real estate app. The information provided is from a unique military perspective, yet again helping to reduce the stress and strain associated with a move.
Moving? Let MILLIE Be Your Secret PCSing Sidekick
Since its launch MILLIE has seen amazing growth and is currently in talks with a large strategic partner that will help take their business to the next level. "If things go as planned," says Robbins, "we will be able to do so many amazing things for the military community."
Interested clients can get more information about MILLIE services or make contact with a real estate agent or scout by visiting MILLIE’s website or connecting with them on Facebook. Military Veterans and spouses interested in joining the MILLIE team can also find more information online.