New benefit: Housing help for employees

In the late 1970s, Reno insurance man Jim Davis worked with Saint Mary’s to create a pioneering preferred-provider organization.

Today, Davis has come out of retirement, hung up his shingle as a licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker Select, and set out to create yet another employee benefit he thinks has the potential to become as big as the PPO.

It’s sort of a preferred-provider network of real estate professionals.

Dubbed the “Employer Home Buyer Program,” the initiative developed by Davis provides a cash credit that can range from $1,000 to $10,000 to enrolled workers who use a designated set of vendors when they buy or build a house.

Employers don’t pay anything to participate, but they let their employees know the home-buyer program is available.

Employees who choose to use the fringe benefit use a Coldwell Banker Select agent to guide them through the home-buying process. Incentives and credits are provided by a group of suppliers who get a steady flow of clients through the Employer Home Buyer Program.

Suppliers who have signed on include First American Financial Title Insurance, Stanford Mortgage, Ticor Title of Nevada, U.S. Bancorp, Western Title Co. and Axia Home Loans.

Davis has pitched the program to well over two dozen companies within the first few weeks since it was launched, and he says the response been strongly favorable.

“We’ve been having great success,” he says.

Ron Hoy, broker at Coldwell Banker Select Real Estate, says the home buyer program provides yet another tool for the company’s 300-plus agents.

“It’s a help for an economy that’s not all the way back yet,” he says.

But at the same time, Hoy and Davis say they were careful not to rush development of the program, given the thicket of state and federal regulations that surround real estate brokerages, lenders and title companies.

Davis says he spent about a year researching and developing the program.

Colwell Banker Select is part of Select Group Real Estate Services headquartered in Yuba City, Calif.


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