MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce ranks the U.S. Army & Redstone Arsenal as the largest employer in Madison County. Stats from May of 2022 list the Arsenal as employing 38,000 people.

While not everyone who works at the Arsenal is a military member, a good portion of them are.

To better serve military members and their families, the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS® hosted a course for local real estate agents on Thursday.

Completion of the course with giving realtors a Military Relocation Professional (MRP) certification. That certification gives local realtors expertise to provide the best relocation assistance to military professionals and their families.

Maura Neill, a realtor and instructor, said “We have to become advisors, and consultants, maybe to a greater extent” when dealing with military clients.

Part of the course explained the military Permanent Change of Station (PCS) process.

“It can mean that they move every two to three years, and it’s always based on the needs of the service,” she said.

Neill said part of what they do in the process is consult with their clients and determine if buying is even a good idea in their circumstance.

“It may not always be the best decision for those service members to buy, maybe renting is a better decision,” Neill continued.

Zelda Friedman, the chair of ValleyMLS.com, said she sees the certification as a great opportunity.

“It gives me an opportunity to promote myself as having that expertise,” she explained.

When it comes to the current state of the home-buying market, Neill said she’s reluctant to say things are slowing down. However, she said they are returning to a market that’s more like what we saw pre-pandemic.

“The market needed to change because we couldn’t sustain the growth in value that we were seeing in the spring,” she said. “So this re-balancing of, or this shifting of the market, I think is a healthy response to what we’ve gone through in the last 12 months.”

The Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS® (HAAR) said military moves typically happen in waves. They said the last wave brought about 2,000 people to the area.