Uncharted Waters – Selling a Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In our country, and across the world, we find ourselves in an uncertain, and unprecedented time. In one way or another, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of our lives. It has changed our schedules, our routines, and our social interactions – and even more significantly, it may have impacted our job, our loved ones, or our health. Without question, these are concerns that demand our immediate attention – and to address them we must work together and rely upon one another – even if from a distance.

Beyond the day-to-day effects of the virus that many immediately consider, however, COVID-19 has also affected many other aspects of our lives in ways that no one could have anticipated. The real estate market is no exception. Buyers, sellers, agents, brokers – all find themselves in uncharted waters. At GayRealEstate.com, we’re working hard every day along with our excellent network of agents across the country to help find those answers for valued buyers and sellers like you.

As a seller, you may understandably feel overwhelmed and uncertain as to how – or whether – you should proceed with the sale of your home in this time of social distancing. Certainly, despite the current state of affairs, some feel that they have no choice but to sell their home – for any number of reasons. These reasons may be personal, financial, or job-related, but even in these uncertain times, there will be sellers – and buyers – on the market.

If you have decided to put your home on the market, here are a few things to consider:

  • Finding the right agent: If you’re determined to sell, in the current environment it will be more important than ever to find an agent who knows the community in which you’re selling very well. There will be few – if any – open houses during this time where potential buyers might notice your home and happen to stop by. There will also be far fewer opportunities for in-person showings, at least in the traditional sense.

An agent who knows the community and who has a strong network might already have some potential buyers in mind for your home – someone who, like you, might need to move for any number of personal reasons despite the current situation. Even if not, an agent who is well connected and familiar with the community might know other agents who have potential buyers.

Fortunately, at GayRealEstate.com, this is exactly our specialty – helping members of the LGBTQ community find the perfect agent for their buying and selling needs in communities across the country. We would love to help you find someone who can make the selling process easier and less overwhelming for you in this uncertain time.

  • Utilizing technology: Despite all of the extremely unfortunate consequences of COVID-19, one silver lining is that we have amazing technology available today that allows many of us to stay connected, even when we’re apart. Real estate is no exception to this rule. Already, even in the short time since the virus turned life upside down, agents have made effective strides toward making virtual showings of homes available in more detail than ever before. Potential buyers can view pictures, descriptions, and a video tour of a property in which they have interest – all from the comfort of their own home. If interested in a more in-depth tour, the agent can provide a personal tour for the buyer in which the agent alone goes to the home and provides the buyer with a personal video tour, answering questions and providing details along the way. Some brokers and agents are even allowing for remote online closings with electronic signatures – although this will of course differ depending upon technological capability and the rules in specific communities.
  • The market in your area: It is certainly well worth your time to speak to an agent who knows your community well about the market you your particular area. Although the entire country has been affected by the virus, different markets have been impacted more significantly than others. If your home is in an area where the market is particularly slow right now, consider taking this opportunity, if you are able, to wait to sell your home until the market bounces back. Use the time instead to declutter and reorganize, or to take on home improvement projects that will ultimately increase the value of your home so that when you are ready to sell, you will be in a great position to do so.

In these challenging and uncertain times, we all find ourselves in unexpected situations that we could never have anticipated. It can be difficult to know how to move forward, but one thing is certain. The best way to move forward is together. At GayRealEstate.com, we’re here for you. Please let us know how we can help.

Five Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Second Home

Without question, buying your first home is a momentous occasion. It’s a huge milestone in most people’s lives. It’s exciting. It’s wonderful. And if we’re being honest, it can also be a little intimidating. After all there’s a lot to learn.

By the time you’re considering buying a second home, chances are that you’re at a different place in your life. You probably feel more prepared, more knowledgeable, and less anxious – and understandably so. Certainly, when you buy your second home, you’ll have the benefit of knowing the basics about home buying because you’ve already been through it at least once. Despite this, however, buying a second home is also a momentous and significant decision, and there are some factors you’ll want to be aware of, and be sure to consider thoroughly. 

At GayRealEstate.com, out top gay realtors have worked with countless clients looking to purchase a second home for one reason or another, and we have been honored to have the opportunity to help connect those clients with agents who have helped them find the second home of their dreams. In the course of doing that, here are five pieces of advice we’ve come to learn about making this exciting purchase:

  • Think Through Your Long-Term Needs and Goals: Spend some time to carefully think through what type of second home might best fit your needs and your lifestyle.  Are you looking for a home that you can visit as a quick weekend getaway? If so, purchasing a home within a days drive of your current residence might be a smart move. Or perhaps instead, you may be considering purchasing your second home as a retirement spot. If this is the case, really think through what you’ll want and appreciate in a home and in a location as you grow older. Are you purchasing the home as in investment, and planning to rent it to others throughout most of the year? If so, investigate the popularity of the area, and any rental requirements that may apply. Thinking things through in this way rather than simply making a spontaneous decision will pay off significantly in the long run.
  • Thoroughly Consider Extra Expenses: A second home is more than just another mortgage payment, and it’s important to keep that in mind when you consider making a purchase of this nature. It also means a second set of utility bills, budgeting for any additional maintenance or home repairs that will be necessary, potential homeowners association costs if the neighborhood has an HOA, and potentially a second insurance policy for your second home, depending upon the rules set forth by your insurer. Generally, in fact, second homes tend to be more costly to insure, particularly if they are going to be vacant for any prolonged period of time, or if they are in popular vacation destination areas which can be sometimes more prone to things like floods, hurricanes, or high winds. As a result, it can be wise to truly think through and lay out a detailed budget, taking into account not only the mortgage, insurance costs, and taxes on your second home, but also any other contingent expenses that you anticipate might arise. Doing so allows to you to be more realistic about whether you can truly afford a second home, and if so, what you might want to spend on it.
  • Understand any Renting Rules: Renting out your second home can be an excellent way to supplement your monthly mortgage payment, but it is important to realize that renting does come with its fair share of responsibilities. It means either hiring a qualified and capable property manager who can oversee the day-to-day rental needs, or being able and willing to take care of these matters capably and promptly on your own.  There are also important things to realize about renting from a tax perspective as well. Generally, you don’t have to pay taxes on rental income if you rent out your home for fewer than fifteen days a year.  If you rent the home for more than fifteen days a year, you do have to report the income on your taxes, but you will also be able to deduct expenses for maintenance and cleaning up to a certain amount. It’s also important to find out whether any rental rules exist in the community where you’re considering purchasing your second home. Some require a minimum rental time, and others have certain bylaws and other requirements that may apply. Be sure to be informed about these requirements before you make your purchasing decision.
  • Take Taxes into Account: Depending upon where you purchase your second home, property taxes might add a significant amount to your housing expenses.  This is not to mention the fact that all vacation homes are either classified by the IRS as a personal residence, or as a rental property. If you rent the home out more than 14 days per year, then it is classified as a rental property, and you won’t be able to claim the mortgage interest tax deduction that you would be able to claim on a personal residence. It’s also important to remember that you can only deduct interest paid on mortgages of $750,000 or less in total, on all of your homes.
  • Hire a Local Real Estate Agent: The truth of the matter is that no one will know and understand the area in which you’re interested in purchasing your second home like a resident of that area will.  The value of having an agent who is familiar with and knowledgeable about the community in which you want to purchase your second home in cannot be overstated. Nothing you can read online or in a book will substitute for this personalized assistance with your search for the perfect home. At GayRealEstate.com, we have access to the nation’s top gay real estate agents – agents who work in communities across the country, and who would be an excellent resource for your second home search.

Purchasing a second home is an exciting occasion – one that signals a wonderful new chapter of your future in a new place that you love. If you make that decision fully informed and aware of all the important factors that you should consider, chances are good that you’ll have many happy years ahead to enjoy the home you ultimately decide upon, and all that it has to offer. At GayRealEstate.com, we would be honored to have the opportunity to help you with the search for the second home of your dreams. Connect with a top gay realtor at our website, no cost or obligation plus, free buyers representation.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell My Home?

Selling a home is a big decision, and it’s one to which most people give a great deal of thought. After all, for many of us, our home is one of our most valuable assets. We want to think carefully and thoroughly about all aspects of the sale – not only about our list price, or the anticipated time it might take to sell the home, but also about the costs that might be associated with selling.

At GayRealEstate.com, we understand the importance of providing accurate information to help both buyers and sellers as they attempt to navigate the home buying and selling process. Some costs you might anticipate when selling your home include:

  • Repair Fees: As you prepare to sell your home, you will likely take a close look at what wonderful, appealing, and unique features your home has – features that you will want to highlight to potential buyers. On the other side of the coin, you might note things about your home that could use some improvement, or upgrading. Making the effort to invest some time and a reasonable amount of money in making those upgrades and repairs will enhance your home’s appeal, and likely increase its value as well. In addition, if a potential buyer’s home inspector identifies problems with the home (a damaged roof, or a crack in the foundation, for example), you may be asked to fix those issues in order to move forward with the agreed upon sale. Obviously, depending on the upgrades and repairs you decide upon, costs will vary, but it is always important to keep these things in mind as you budget for selling your home.
  • Home Staging: Some sellers make the choice to stage their homes, in order to assist potential buyers in envisioning what the home might look like after they move in. This can be particularly helpful in vacant homes, as stagers can use furniture to help buyers envision the possibilities that various rooms in the home might offer. Staging may not be a particularly significant expense when compared with others, but it is still one that is worth considering.
  • Mortgage Payoff: For those who still have outstanding mortgages on their homes, the proceeds of the home sale will be used to pay off the remainder of the mortgage. If the payoff amount of the mortgage is less than what you actually owe, you will need to consider that as one of your selling costs as well.
  • Real Estate Commission Fee: Of course, when selling a home, the real estate commission is usually the biggest fee that a seller will pay.  How much that commission is will of course vary by agent and circumstance. As a general baseline however, the standard real estate commission is typically somewhere between 6 and 7% of the ultimate sale price. While that is a general number, in reality, real estate commissions are almost always negotiable. 

One circumstance in which this might be the case is if you use the agent that will be listing your home for sale, to repurchase your replacement property. When you repurchase a property, your agent will be paid a commission from the home seller of the home you are buying, therefore they likely can save you money on the sale of your home.

  • Closing Costs and Additional Fees: Typically, when a home is sold, closing costs are the responsibility of the buyer – although in some cases, particularly if it is a buyer’s market, you may be asked to pay the closing fees as part of the offer on your home. For this reason, it is wise to plan ahead for this potential cost, as well as other costs like property taxes, attorney fees, transfer taxes, title insurance, and other costs associated with the sale of a home about which a knowledgeable and experienced agent should be able to advise you.

If you are considering selling your home, rest assured that at GayRealEstate.com, we understand that it is a very significant and important decision, and it is not one that you make lightly. It’s one for which you need the assistance of a qualified and experienced real estate agent – one who understands and appreciates your goals with respect to the sale of your home, and will work diligently toward representing your best interests. At GayRealEsate.com, our mission and our passion is to match LGBTQ buyers and sellers with agents who know the communities well, are expert negotiators, will price your home correctly, and who also understand the unique desires and needs of our community. We would consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to help you find an agent to help you with the sale of one of your most precious and valuable assets.  Connect with an agent today on-line at www.GayRealEstate.com or call us Toll Free at 1-888-420-MOVE (6683)

The 1031 Exchange : What You Should Know

At GayRealEstate.com, we are dedicated to helping members of the LGBTQ community with all of their real estate needs. We realize that each of our clients is unique, and each client has his or own story, goals, and real estate dreams. Many of our clients have made the decision not only to purchase personal homes, but also to purchase rental and investment properties, and it has been our privilege to pair those clients with agents who know their communities well and who can help them find the perfect properties to suit those needs.

Depreciation Deduction and Recapture

Many who own real estate investment properties are aware that the tax code allows a depreciation deduction for each year you own a rental property – and certainly, a deduction is something that most of us are happy about.  In fact, for many real estate investors, depreciation deductions can result in significant tax savings each year when it is time to report rental income to the IRS.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that when you go to sell the rental property, you must pay what is called “depreciation recapture”. Imagine this – you’ve owned, maintained, and successfully rented an investment property for several years. Over the years that you’ve owned the property, you’ve taken a depreciation deduction each year as you’re entitled to do, even better, the property has increased in value. When you sell it, you expect to realize a significant profit. Unfortunately, however, after you do so, you receive a tax bill and you’re hit with the sudden realization that most (or even all) of the profit you’ve made is going to taxes.

Essentially, the concept of depreciation recapture means that you have to report the gain you realize when you sell your investment property as ordinary income for tax purposes. While the concept can be somewhat complicated, in essence, it means that you all of the deductions you’ve taken over the years will be considered as taxable capital gains income when you sell. Depending on the number of years for which you’ve taken deductions, this can amount to a significant amount of taxable income.

The 1031 Exchange Option

If you’ve ever owned an investment property, you may be familiar with what’s known as a 1031 Exchange – and if you aren’t, it’s important information to learn. Also known as a tax-deferred exchange, a 1031 exchange often provides significant tax advantages to commercial and investment property owners.

This provision of the tax code allows real estate investors to sell a property, and then reinvest the profits from that property into another, replacement property in order to defer a potentially significant tax payment on the sale. There are a number of rules and details that will apply to utilizing the 1031 option, but it is one worth considering, particularly if you are planning on purchasing another investment rental property.

Call GayRealEstate.com Today

If you own a rental investment property and you are considering the possibility of using the 1031 Exchange option, it is always a wise choice to consult with your financial advisor, if you have one, and your real estate agent as well. If you need help finding a real estate agent who will work well with you and who understands the unique needs of LGBTQ real estate investors, we would be glad to help pair you with the perfect person.  Call us soon 1-888-420-MOVE (6683).

How to Choose an LGBTQ-Friendly Community You’ll Love When Considering a Relocation

Maybe you’ve received an offer for your dream job – but it requires you to move halfway across the country. Or, perhaps you’ve worked hard all your life, and now you’re ready to retire – and a house by the water on a beautiful stretch of beach is calling your name. Maybe you’ve fallen in love and you don’t want your long-distance relationship to be so long-distance any more. Or possibly, you just want a change of scenery and a fresh start. Whatever your reasons – and there could be many – relocation is often an option that many people find themselves considering.

Often, as people contemplate relocating, they consider a number of factors – things like job opportunities, cost of living, and housing prices to name only a few of many. While thinking through these sorts of considerations and contemplating a relocation thoroughly is important for everyone, here are some things particularly worth considering if you’re attempting to relocate to an LGBTQ-friendly community that you’ll love:

  • Spend some time in the community: One of the best ways to truly learn about a place is to experience it for yourself.  Consider taking an extended vacation, if possible, to the community to which you’re considering relocating. Visit the neighborhoods and amenities that interest you. Spend some time talking to those who live in the community and in the particular neighborhoods that interest you. Ask about the things they love – and the things they may not enjoy so much. Reading about an area online can provide valuable information, certainly – but it is no substitute for experiencing a place yourself.
  • Consider your social options: Some of us are more social than others. Some of us want to fill our days with activities and social outings and time with others who share our interests, while others of us are happier spending quiet evenings at home. If you are a person who enjoys social activities, it is a smart decision to look into how socially active the area you’re considering might be. Are there many LGBTQ-friendly restaurants, businesses, and social groups? Are there opportunities to become involved in things that interest you with others who share those interests? Spend some time looking into the social aspects of the community. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Consider the anti-discrimination laws in the area that you’re considering: In many cases, if the area to which you’re considering moving already has a large, socially active, and thriving LGBTQ community, the chances are probably good that the community has strong anti-discrimination laws and policies in place, and that it is a community which is accepting and friendly to LGBTQ individuals. Nevertheless, it can’t hurt to do a bit of research on the laws in the community that you’re considering. While all states now allow same-sex marriage, some have stronger anti-harassment and discrimination laws than others. Likewise, different states have different laws when it comes to things like employment, adoption, housing, and any number of other matters that might affect your quality of life generally. Taking the time to research will be well worth it in the long run.
  • If you’re job-hunting, consider the number of LGBTQ-friendly companies in the community: If you aren’t relocating for your job, and are instead hoping to find a job in the community of your choice, it is always smart to research whether there are LGBTQ-friendly businesses in the area. This might include asking those who live in the community, researching potential employers online, and reviewing the annual list of Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality published each year by the Human Rights Campaign[1]. For many of us, our jobs consume a large part of our time, and it is important to spend that time in a place where we feel truly and accepted and valued for who we are.
  • Choose a real estate agent who knows the community well: The importance of taking this step cannot be overstated. Finding an agent who you enjoy working with and who knows the community well will be a tremendous help as you explore the various neighborhoods and housing options in the community that you might be interested in. Additionally, you can request a free relocation kit for a city you may be considering. If you’re searching for an agent who will be an excellent fit for your needs, at GayRealEstate.com, we’re here to help.

At GayRealEstate.com, matching clients across the country with LGBTQ-friendly realtors who know their communities well and provide only the highest-quality professional representation for all buying and selling needs is our passion and our promise. We can’t wait to help you find the agent who will help you to find the home of your dreams in a community you’ll love. Contact us soon to let us know how we can help you too – we would be honored to have the opportunity to do so! Online or toll free 1-888-420-MOVE (6683).

[1] https://www.hrc.org/resources/best-places-to-work-2019

What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing a Community in Which to Retire?

Are you considering retirement? If so, congratulations! Retirement is certainly a life milestone to celebrate, and one that is often the start of a wonderful new chapter. Whether you’re interested in traveling, exploring new hobbies, or simply spending extra time with the people you love, there is so much to look forward to.

Two things that also often go hand-in-hand are retirement and relocation. Often, when people make the decision to retire, they also make the decision to move to a new area – whether it’s to be closer to family, to enjoy better weather or different amenities, or simply to explore and experience a part of the country they’ve always wanted to live in.

Whatever your relocation needs and desires, at GayRealEstate.com, we have years of experience connecting retirees with excellent LGBTQ-friendly agents in communities across the country as they seek to find the perfect place and home in which to retire. Here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way about choosing a retirement community that will be a wonderful fit as you begin this next exciting chapter:

  • Consider the cost of living: The truth of the matter is that the day-to-day cost of living can vary quite widely in communities across the country. This is not only true with respect to the housing prices themselves, but also for basic living expenses – expenses for things like food, gas, grocery bills, and utilities. It is always wise to spend some time researching a community in which you might be interested and to consider those day-to-day costs carefully. Thinking through these factors before choosing a community in which to retire is always a wise choice.
  • Take a look at taxes: Along with considering cost of living generally, it is also important to consider the tax laws in the locations that you are considering. For example, some states have income tax, while others don’t. In those states, however, property and sales taxes may be higher. Of course, it might also be true of some communities that the prices on everyday purchases are higher, but the taxes are significantly lower, which could balance out the cost of living overall. Thinking through the tax consequences ahead of time can pay off significantly in the long run.
  • Compare your interests and goals with what the community offers: Spend some time really thinking through what you envision for your retirement lifestyle. Do you enjoy a more urban lifestyle, where you can easily walk to stores, restaurants, and other amenities, and a vibrant arts and culture scene where there are many activities to enjoy and participate in? Or do you prefer a more peaceful, less crowded environment, where you can enjoy the outdoors and have more room to yourself? If that’s the case, a more rural, small-town setting may be a better fit for you. Think through your interests, preferences, and retirement goals as you begin to research various communities and what they offer in order to make a choice that truly fits your needs.
  • Friends, family, and a support system: For many people, retirement is a chance to finally be closer to and spend more time with the people that they love. Moreover, as many people retire, they want the reassurance that they’ll have a support system and a community where they feel loved and connected as they age. While this may not be a necessity for everyone, if it is important to you, give it strong consideration as you make your choice about where to retire. Even if you don’t choose to retire in the same community as your family or your friends, you may consider choosing a community that is easy to travel to and from, or within a reasonable drive time to enable more frequent visits.

If you are ready to begin your search for the perfect retirement home in a community that you’ll love, we encourage you to contact us at GayRealEstate.com today. We are passionate about and committed to our mission of connecting LGBTQ buyers and sellers across the country with excellent agents who know their communities well, and can provide the highest quality professional representation for all of your needs. Call us today – and, congratulations on your retirement!

Combining Households? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Perhaps you’ve discovered this article because you find yourself in a relationship that makes you very, very happy – happy to the point that you’re considering moving in with the man or woman of your dreams. If so, congratulations! Love is wonderful, and there’s truly nothing in the world quite like it.

Maybe you’re young, and unencumbered, and falling in love for the first time. On the other side of the coin, perhaps you’re 30, 40, or 50.  Perhaps each of you already have homes full of furniture, full-time jobs with retirement accounts, pets, and well-established daily routines. If all of this sounds familiar to you, you may be asking yourself – how do we go about combining our lives, and everything they entail? That question is certainly a reasonable one, and at GayRealEstate.com, it’s one that we’ve heard often.

While love is certainly wonderful, the truth is that like anything in life, it’s not without its own particular kinds of stress. Despite how much you may love someone and want to be with them, there are still plenty of logistical matters to think through. This can be true if you live in the same city, and it is certainly true if you’re in a long-distance relationship that will require one or the other of you to relocate across the country.

The good news, however, is that no matter how far apart you may live, or how complicated your life may be, it doesn’t mean this transition can’t ultimately become the start of a wonderful new chapter in your life. When you think it through carefully, and take the necessary steps to combine your households after thoroughly planning ahead, it can be a very positive and life-changing experience for both of you.

What sorts of things should you consider, as you think about combining households? At GayRealEstate.com, we have been fortunate enough to help many couples, just like you, transition from two households to one.  Here are a few helpful tips that we’ve learned along the way:

  • Living Arrangements: Perhaps first and foremost when merging your households and your lives is deciding which house you will actually live in. If both of you own a home, your first step should be to discuss which of the two homes is the more ideal spot for you to reside as a couple. For some, this may be dependent upon a job – perhaps one partner is able to work from home, while the other has to be on-location for his or her job. In other cases, it might be dependent upon family circumstances – does one partner have young children who are happy in school and used to a daily routine? In other cases, perhaps it’s more about location – where do you, as a couple see yourselves living? Where, ideally, would you like to be? You may also take a look at the markets in your different communities – is one market better for selling right now than another? All of these factors are important, and can be helpful to consider as you decide whether to sell or rent out one or both of your homes, or buy a new one entirely.
  • Envision Your Space: It’s likely that if each of you have lived on your own for some time, you’ve likely accumulated a good deal of furniture and other household belongings. As you prepare to combine your households, it only makes sense for each of you to consider paring down some of your own belongings so that together, you can combine the things that you truly love into one happy home. For example, when you’re living together, chances are that you won’t need two toasters, two coffee makers, or two master bedroom sets. Think carefully about which items have personal meaning and value and keep those, but be willing to discard or donate some of the rest. Work together to make the space you share peaceful, happy, and personal to you both.
  • Planning for Pets: Do you, or your partner have a pet (or several pets) that you love? If so, you may be worried that your pet might not like your partner’s pet – that they might literally fight like cats and dogs. While this is an understandable concern, the good news is that gradually, most pets do adjust. It is best to be patient, to not try to force the pets to spend too much time in close quarters at first, and to reward them for instances where you do see them behaving well and getting along together. Eventually, your pets will likely adjust, and you can all have a happy home together.
  • Thinking Through Your Financial Future: As you initially begin testing the waters of living together and all that it entails, it is generally wise to keep the majority of your finances, retirement accounts, and investments separate. As your relationship deepens, or if and after you marry, you can decide how much you want to comingle your finances.  For some couples, particularly those who come together after both are financially established, some make the choice to keep the finances they accumulated prior to moving in together in separate accounts, but to combine their incomes to contribute toward their home and lifestyle moving forward. In truth, each couple, and each set of circumstances is different, and an arrangement that might be perfect for one couple may not work out well for another. Often, as you try to determine what is best for you as a couple, it may be wise to meet with a financial advisor who help you understand your options and decide on what’s best.

If you, or the special person you love find yourself considering selling an existing home and relocating, at GayRealEstate.com, we’re here to help. If you’re both considering selling and buying a new home together, we’re here to help with that too. With our helpful free relocation kit, free seller’s market analysis and buyer’s representation, and access to a network of talented and experienced gay, lesbian, and gay-friendly real estate agents across the country, we’re here to make your buying, selling, and relocating experience the best it can be. Wherever you ultimately decide to begin this chapter, we can point you toward an agent who will be able to help. Congratulations on the love you’ve found, and the life you’re working to build together. We would be honored to help. Call us today 1-888-420-MOVE (6683).

It’s true, the Gayborhood is changing.

Prices and rents are rising as many longtime residents of neighborhoods like The Castro in San Francisco, The Village in New York, and Boystown in Chicago are aging up, moving out and taking their businesses with them. Time-tested old gayborhood haunts can still be found in each and are fun for a weekend but, for most homeowners, they are hardly sustainable places to live.

The disappearance and gentrification of the gayborhood does not mean that you cannot find your own LGBTQ community to call your new home, it only means that you may need to look outside the places most people initially think of.

LGBTQ people have always existed and lived in places all over the globe. You only need to look at Queering the Map for a heartwarming archive of LGBTQ experiences worldwide.

The oldest gayborhoods in the United States were formed as safe havens from the homophobia, misogyny, and racism, of straight culture in the surrounding cities. In fact, the Greenwhich Village Society for Historical Preservation writes that what eventually became part of New York’s Gay Village between Spring St. and West 3rd was, in the 19th century referred to as “Little Africa,” and was populated around the farmland of “partially-freed slaves.” Throughout the 20th century the area was also populated by transgender sex-workers and then later by many others from New Work’s disaffected queer community.

Marginalized and underpaid, the neighborhoods they created tended to be low-income and offered places where diverse people and communities could gather with moderate safety. In the last few decades, astronomical price increases in many of the gayborhoods and increased acceptance of LGBTQ people has meant that some were forced out, and some left with a fat wallet able to move to new builds and new places.

Access to technology has likewise mitigated the necessity for self-contained neighborhoods. Thanks to apps like Facebook, Grindr and Tinder almost any place can host an impromptu gaythering which means there is more flexibility in where to live than ever before.

Still many LGBTQ people choose to search out housing with their intersecting communities. Gayborhoods continue to form in new places all across the United States: east-coast, west-coast, and no-coast.

Many lesbians opt for more rural places. The outskirts of Iowa City, for example, a liberal bubble and home to the University of Iowa, has a thriving lesbian community. In places like this Heather Dockray, writes “Lesbians may feel more accepted in rural areas, where female masculinity isn’t as tightly policed as male femininity; lesbians have less capital than gay men (women, including queer women, continue to make less than men) and therefore may not be able to afford urban neighborhoods; lesbians are statistically more likely to have children (and therefore different housing requirements).”

The Marmalade in Salt Lake City, Utah is now the site of affordable living and a sizable amount LGBTQ owned and operated businesses and clubs. It is located just blocks away from the state Capitol building and offers easy access to the best of the city and to scenic rolling foothills beyond.

In Chicago, Andersonville and the neighboring Edgewater, on the north-side just off the coast of Lake Michigan, have become alternatives to the rapidly developing Boystown. Andersonville, an originally Swedish enclave, maintains that culture with a wide variety of bakeries and restaurants, the Swedish American Museum, and is home to the relocated Women and Children First feminist bookstore. Edgewater has become a popular location for the city’s lesbian women.

Bywater, New Orleans, is also a neighborhood with a vibrant history rooted in the struggles and successes of people of color. Located in the city’s 9th Ward, Bywater is a quieter and more affordable alternative to the French Quarter, but still allows access to colorful artwork, mosaics, music and, of course, bottomless mimosas.

What can you do to find the gayborhood of your dreams?

First, determine what it is you are looking for. Do you want to be in a place with a queer history you can see, where plagues adorn the buildings and benches? Are you looking for affordability without compromising commonality with your neighbors? Are you looking for nightlife? Would you like to be somewhere urban or rural?

Seek out the local LGBTQ community in many cities. There is no better way to get your bearings in a new place than by finding your local center. Even if you do not end up moving into the block adjacent, the people you will meet there can introduce you to new resources, assistance, and events. Everybody wants neighbors they like and the community center may be the best place to find your new neighbors.

Finally, connect with an LGBTQ Realtor at www.GayRealEstate.com – Start a conversation with agents that have been serving our community for over 25 years! Nobody is more familiar with the culture and affordability of queer neighborhoods than queer people. The most important rule to finding yourself a new gayborhood to call your own, is to learn about the individual history of the space and your neighbors.

Palm Springs: The Largest LGBTQ Community in the Country

Laidback and resort casual, Palm Springs is the American epicenter of the LGBTQ community. Boasting over 325 days of sunshine and a 50% gay population, residents here feel truly at home. From charming village shops to unique artsy stores, wrapped up in old-Hollywood glamour, this desert town is far from sleepy.

Hollywood’s Waiting Room for Heaven

That’s the city’s nickname due to the large population of celebrities that live in Palm Springs. Located within Coachella Valley (yes that famous festival) the city is 107 miles east of L.A. Native Americans settled the area for thousands of years and many streets in the Palm Springs have Native American names.

The municipality became a booming resort in the 1900s when tourists arrived to treat health conditions with dry heat. Today, it is a sprawling desert empire where everyone and their mother are LGBTQ-friendly.

Quick Palm Spring Stats

  • Palm Springs has the highest per capita gay population in the country.
  • The city covers approximately 94 square miles.
  • There are more than 50,000 pools in the city.
  • Palm Springs is home to more than 100 golf courses.
  • Palm Springs has one of the greatest mineral water aquifers in the world.

Here are some more fun facts about Palm Springs.

The LGBTQ Palm Springs Community

 LGBT Community Center of the Desert

The cornerstone of the LGBTQ community in Coachella Valley, affectionately called “The Center,” they see more than 65,000 guests every year. Classes include everything from painting to yoga and AA.

Desert Business Association

The gay Chamber of Commerce, the Desert Business Association is a network of gay and gay-friendly businesses that offer a variety of resources to the community.

A Laidback and Arid Climate

Palm Springs has a dry, desert climate. The winter months prove the most comfortable. Summer can get quite hot with an average July temperature of 108 degrees. So, it’s best to have your air conditioning ready to go before moving in.

Key LGBTQ Events in the City

Palm Springs International Film Festival – January

This is a popular film event held every January that features hordes of A-list celebrities

The White Party – April 

This has widely been considered the largest gay dance festival in the country. Over the years, the event has evolved to become a social and cultural phenomenon. It is attended by over 30,000 people every year.

The Dinah – April

Named after the great Dinah Shore, Dinah Shore Weekend is the biggest girl party for the LGBTQ community this side of the Mississippi! The Dinah has been doing it for over 30 years now.

Gay Pride Week – November

Gay Pride is a sanctioned Palm Springs event that happens every year and can’t be missed. It starts off with a parade, followed by food, fun, dancing, and live entertainment. The party doesn’t stop when everyone heads over to the many bars on Arena’s Street. The festival is free and held in downtown.

The Best Palm Springs Neighborhoods

Palm Springs is half gay, so virtually anywhere you move you’ll feel comfortable. Two zip codes are both 30-times higher than the national average for LGBTQ residency. These are:

92264

This neighborhood has a diverse economy with lots of recreation. The cost of living is 23% higher than the national average but the median commute is only 18 minutes. In this community, there are 12.4% LGBTQ couples per household. Homes range from 1-4 bedrooms with beautiful landscaping and Spanish flair.

The median sales price for 92264 is $337,500.

In this area, homes are selling for about $258 per square foot and the neighborhood typically has hundreds of homes for sale. Home appreciation in the last few years has been 2%.

92262

This is a bustling residential area with many hotels, spas, and cafes right around the corner. This zip code is closer to North Palm Springs and in the same vicinity as the airport. There are 11.3% LGBTQ couples per household with 1-4 bedroom homes.

The median sales price for 92262 is $433,000.

Homes are selling for about $281 per square foot and there are currently over 350 homes for sale in the area.

A City Known for Art

Palm Springs Village Fest

Every Thursday night, Palm Canyon Drive is closed off to traffic and becomes a lively street fair. Local vendors, artists, craftsmen, and residents all share in the free entertainment. The fest is held down the entire length of Palm Canyon Drive from one end to the other and is a great place to people watch.

Parks and Recreation

Joshua Tree National Park

Everyone has heard of this park, and it’s a favorite spot for hiking and off-roading. There are plants and rock formations that are entirely unique to this one spot on the earth. The region is named for the twisted and brittle Joshua Trees that pop up everywhere and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is known for the incredible views of the desert. Ascending to 5,783 feet (1,790 meters), the tram carries you to a peak in the San Jacinto Mountains. From Ponderosa trees to mountain spires and unspoiled wilderness, the ride ends at Mountain Station where you’ll be there just in time for a cocktail.

Never Ending Nightlife

Oscar’s Cabaret

A fun evening of drag emceed by beloved James “Gypsy” Haake, meet your favorite stars like Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire. You can choose a three-course meal and watch the world-record-holding oldest female impersonator.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge and Cabaret

Established over two decades ago, this is a fun and fruity spot that’s dedicated to everything tropical. It has the city’s longest-running drag show, with drink specials and a comedy cabaret.

Palm Springs is perhaps one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities you will find. With a long-running history of acceptance (the first all gay city council), it continues to flourish as the community grows steadily each year.

Connect with a Palm Springs Gay Realtor for a no obligation conversation today! 

Move Myself or Hire a Mover?

When it comes to the question of hiring movers or doing it yourself, the answer is largely dependent on time, money, muscle and distance. Clearly, moving across town isn’t the same as moving across the country. A long distance move will require extensive forethought and planning. Likewise, a move within Los Angeles, Chicago or New York City could quickly devolve into a nightmare if you try to do it yourself—crowded streets and cramped staircases make for a lot of beat-up knees and potentially broken backs.

Which do you have more to spend – time or money?

Unless you are moving out of an eight bedroom Tudor, a handful of friends, a lot of boxes, tape and hard work is all that is required to move anyone out. If you are taking this approach, presumably you are renting a truck. You should consult with your rental truck service about the capacity and limitations of different truck sizes. Many well established rental truck companies have online tools that will calculate truck size based on the dimensions of your home—square footage or how many beds and baths.

You should budget for fuel. This is especially true if you are making a long distance move, as gas is expensive. Organizations like the American Automotive Association (AAA) have helpful online fuel-cost calculators that you can program with different distances.

Once you have drawn up a do-it-yourself moving budget that includes rental cost, gas and other miscellaneous fees that you may incur (friends need to eat – and drink), you should call the top 3 moving companies on Yelp.com for a quote. If money is the determining factor, then inquiring will give you your answer.

Money isn’t an issue – my time is more important

Your best bet to guarantee the best experience with a moving company is to hire an outfit with high customer reviews. And take the time to get copies of the movers insurance and guarantees, etc. This is important in big cities where there are major moving days like October 1st, movers have been known to overbook and back out at the last minute!

A good moving company will move with the speed and agility of a small army. If you can get a decent quote – or you are so lucky as to find a moving company that is cheaper than the cost associated with a DYI move – jump on it! Moving can be extremely stressful, and a moving company is a great way to get your things organized and out in a timely fashion.

It should be noted that movers often work for tips as well as a salary. You should calculate a fairly sizable tip, 15-20%, on top of your moving quote.

Deciding whether to hire a moving company or do it yourself is determined by your individual needs. If time is a total issue – say you are a starting a new job in a new city -you don’t want to overburden yourself. At the same time, money and necessity may dictate that you do it yourself.

If you’re moving with pets request a free copy of our eBook “Moving with Pets – Easing the Transition” with a request to manager@gayrealestate.com.

Professional Real Estate Agents at www.GayRealEstate.com in the city you are moving to or from are always a great source for mover referrals ~ they and their clients deal with movers on a weekly basis, don’t be afraid to ask your agent for a referral to a mover, home inspector, mortgage professional and the like.