Where Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Stand in 2018?

LGBTQ rights have come a long way in the past ten years. While the fight for equality isn’t over, things have gotten better in some areas. Thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage is now the law of the land. Being able to marry your partner provides you with many more legal protections and options.

This is especially true when it comes to buying a home. Some couples aren’t aware of these changes or where exactly same-sex couples stand when they’re buying a home. Things are different now, and you need to know about these differences before you begin your home search.

Marriage Makes It Easier

Where Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Stand in 2018If you’re married to your partner, buying a house is an easier process. You don’t have to worry about setting up joint tenancy documents or whether it’s better to be tenants in common. Unless you file as married filing separately, you also don’t have to decide if one person should claim the entire mortgage tax deduction or if it needs to be split. There’s no question that the two of you own the property as a married couple with all the rights and privileges that brings.

You’re also protected from discrimination from lenders. In September of 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is a federal agency, determined that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s protections on sex discrimination extended to orientation and gender identity. Banks, mortgage companies, and other lenders cannot deny your application just because you’re in a same-sex relationship or marriage.

More Protections Exist

Many states and cities have passed ordinances or other legal protections that prevent discrimination based on orientation or gender identity. According to Trulia, 55.2% of housing options (homes, apartments, etc.) are protected by laws. Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C. have passed protections that cover housing, employment, and public accommodations. Unfortunately, if you plan on buying in an area that doesn’t have these protections, you may find yourself facing discrimination.

Discrimination Is Still Lurking

LGBTQ discrimination is still widespread in some areas. Even if the seller isn’t upfront about it, if they want to deny your bid based on the fact that you’re a same-sex couple, they will find some way of doing so. Some real estate agents will also discriminate, showing you only a few houses or obviously not dedicating much time to your needs. That’s why many look for a gay or lesbian real estate agent. In addition to being a better fit for your needs, they also understand the legalities around housing discrimination.

The Best Cities in Hawaii for LGBTQ Individuals

Thinking about moving to Hawaii? The island state is gorgeous, and even better, it’s very welcoming to LGBTQ individuals and families. Hawaii is a diverse place where just about everyone will fit in. Of course, housing costs here are fairly high, especially if you’re living on or near the beach. For those who can afford it, though, Hawaii is a beautiful place to live. Here are a few of the best towns and cities for LGBTQ people who are thinking about making the move to Hawaii.

Honolulu

The Best Cities in Hawaii for LGBTQ IndividualsThe capital of the state and its largest city, Honolulu has a thriving LGBTQ population. The city is home to an annual pride festival along with a number of other events. Many are hosted by the Hawai’I LGBT Legacy Foundation. Honolulu has become a popular destination for LGBTQ couples planning a destination wedding.

Waikiki

Known for its gorgeous beaches, Waikiki is also a nice city for families. There are many things for children of all ages here, including the zoo and aquarium. You won’t find many single-family homes in Waikiki—most houses here are condos. If you’re looking for a place with very little maintenance, that might be perfect for you. You can exchange your yard work for a day at the beach! There are many gay and lesbian real estate professionals who can help you find the perfect condo here.

Lahaina

Lahaina, which is on the island of Maui, is a popular vacation destination for LGBTQ individuals. That doesn’t mean it can’t also be your ideal home. “Convenience” is the name of the game on Lahaina—you’ll find just about everything you need within walking distance. The city is fairly compact and dense, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. For those who are fine with this, Lahaina offers a lot of LGBTQ-friendly venues and activities.

Hilo

Hilo is the go-to destination for many LGBTQ people looking to get away from their daily grind for a bit. Some love it so much they retire here. Crime rates are low, and most everything is within walking distance. There are many different activities to do on the weekends for families, too. Hilo is nice for those who want everyone a large city has to offer, but would prefer some place that’s not as densely populated as Lahaina or Honolulu.

Manoa

One of Hawaii’s college towns, Manoa is a very diverse town. The University of Hawaii brings in many young people and offers a number of activities throughout the year. It’s also a fun town that’s fairly relaxed and offers very affordable housing.

Are there LGBTQ Friendly Towns in Kansas?

Kansas isn’t known for being at the forefront of the battle for LGBTQ rights. Because of this, some people wonder if moving to the state is a good idea. If you reach out to a gay or lesbian real estate agent, though, you might be surprised at the number of places they will tell you are very welcoming and diverse. Kansas does have a lot to offer the LGBTQ community. If you’re uncertain where to make your new home, here are a few cities where you can start your search.

Kansas City

Are there LGBTQ Friendly Towns in KansasYou might start your search for a great LGBTQ community in Kansas City, the largest city in the state. It’s very diverse and welcoming. This large city has everything you’d expect from a major metro area, including a thriving downtown area, an arts district, and more. The city has been called one of the most underrated LGBTQ-friendly destinations in the U.S. In addition to a number of gay bars in the city, you’ll also find the LIKEME Lighthouse, a LGBTQ community center.

Topeka

The capital of the state, Topeka also features a few gay bars. In fact, these bars bring in people from all around the area. The Kansas Equality Wedding Expo was held here in 2015 and brought together many wedding vendors who support the LGBTQ community. Topeka Pride, held every year, is a week of fun events and activities.

Wichita

Wichita is another underrated city that is quite welcoming to LGBTQ individuals and families. The city is home to The Center, a LGBTQ community center and safe space for those in need. It’s found in the downtown district and is located next to Equality Kansas, a group that works for LGBTQ equality throughout the state. Wichita is a great city for those who want to live somewhere with many amenities and comforts yet still want to feel like they’re in a small community. Living in the suburbs gives you both.

Lawrence

The University of Kansas is located in Lawrence, making it something of a college town. This university is known for having the largest LGBTQ student population in the state, and that’s reflected in how welcoming the city is. The university has built a LGBTQ resource center that anyone in the community can make use of. Many of the local bars transform into gay bars on Wednesday, too.

Ready to move to Kansas? These are just a few of the welcoming places to live in the state.

Great LGBTQ Cities in Missouri

Missouri is often lumped in with the southern states, but it’s really more central. It’s a place where diversity is more welcome than you might think. If you’re a part of the LGBTQ community, there are a number of places in the state where you’ll find that you’re not just accepted, you’re celebrated. So, if a move to Missouri is in your future, grab a gay or lesbian real estate agent and look for properties in one of these great locations:

Kansas City

Great LGBTQ Cities in MissouriStraddling the border between Missouri and Kansas, Kansas City is known as being one of the most welcoming cities in both states. It’s even been called one of the best in the nation for its openness. Kansas City hosts an annual pride festival, has several LGBTQ support group and community centers, and more. If you’re looking for a large city to settle in, Kansas City should be on your list. Housing prices are even very fair here, especially if you live in the suburbs.

Columbia

Columbia is home to the University of Missouri, which means that it’s something of a college town. This centrally located city is home to many open-minded young people. The university itself offers a number of LGBT clubs and other services, plus they host many great art exhibits and theater performances throughout the year. Housing costs in Columbia are even more reasonable than Kansas City. If you find a place near the university and have a spare bedroom you can rent out to a college student, you can even make a little extra money.

Joplin

Joplin made news in 2011 when it was hit by a major tornado, and it has spent the past years rebuilding from that disaster. Everyone in the community, regardless of sexual orientation, pulled together to make this happen. Today, the city is still has that atmosphere to it. Everyone is friendly and welcoming here, making it a great city for LGBTQ individuals and couples. While it’s a good sized city, Joplin also has a bit of a small town feel to it, making it a good option for those who are looking for a quiet place to live.

Kirkwood

Finally, there’s Kirkwood. It’s technically classified as a suburb of St. Louis. It’s considered a fairly trendy city, but even so, housing costs aren’t outrageous here. If you have a job in St. Louis but don’t want to live in the city itself, Kirkwood is a good option.

Finding the Perfect New Home in Minnesota

Are you ready to move to Minnesota? While it might not be the place some LGBTQ people want to call home, for others, this northern state is the ideal destination. If you love the cold, you’ll find Minnesota has it in spades! But there’s more to this gorgeous state than that. There are many welcoming places for those who identify as part of the LGBTQ community, and there are many gay and lesbian real estate professionals here just waiting to help you find a new home. If you’re thinking about heading to Minnesota, here are some of the most welcoming cities.

Minneapolis

Finding the Perfect New Home in MinnesotaLet’s start with Minneapolis, one of the most well-known cities in the state. It’s also considered the most welcoming city for those looking for a great LGBTQ neighborhood to settle in. Many of those look to live in either the downtown or the uptown area. Unfortunately, housing can get expensive there. Fortunately, Nokomis, Hiawatha, and Linden Hills are all very affordable, quiet, and safe neighborhoods. If you decide to make your new home in Minneapolis, don’t miss out on the annual Midwest Pride Week festival or performances by the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus!

St. Paul

The capital of the state, St. Paul may not be quite as large as Minneapolis, but it’s still quite welcoming. In fact, some say that its downtown area is actually a better place to live than the downtown district in Minneapolis. The city does host Twin Cities Pride and has a number of different LGBTQ support groups and organizations. Those who think about moving to St. Paul might want to check out Como or St. Anthony Park, two very diverse and quiet neighborhoods.

Rochester

Rochester is definitely not as well-known as either St. Paul or Minneapolis, but it should be among the LGBTQ population. It’s a very welcoming city that also has a lower-than-average unemployment rate. The city and the Gay Lesbian Services of Southeast Minnesota, which is headquartered here, host Rochester Pridefest every year. That’s an event you don’t want to miss.

Pine City

Want to live in a small town? You should start your search in Pine City. This small town is just as welcoming as Minnesota’s larger metro areas. You’ll find everything here, including East Central Minnesota Pride, an outstanding annual event. There are also a number of LGBTQ organizations and businesses in this quiet little town.

These are just a few of the places in Minnesota you might find fit your tastes. Don’t discount this state just because of its weather!

Where’s the Best Place to Live in Wisconsin if You’re LGBTQ?

Thinking about moving to Wisconsin? The state may not be known as a beacon of hope for the LGBTQ community, but it also doesn’t have a negative reputation. In fact, it’s a fairly neutral state. That said, there are a number of cities here that are very welcoming and progressive. If you’re considering a move to America’s Dairyland, as it’s sometimes called, here are some towns and cities to think about. Many are home to gay and lesbian real estate agents who can help you find your dream home.

Milwaukee

Where’s the Best Place to Live in Wisconsin if You’re LGBTQOne of the most well-known cities in Wisconsin, Milwaukee is known for being the home of the Green Bay Packers football team. It’s also the home of PrideFest Milwaukee and a number of LGBTQ events and businesses. In fact, many in Milwaukee identify as progressive, open-minded individuals. The housing market in the city has recently undergone several changes. The downtown area has been revitalized, and a number of neighborhoods are experiencing gentrification. While that means housing prices have gone up, it also means the properties here are in great condition.

Madison

Another large city, Madison is often considered Wisconsin’s my LGBTQ-friendly area. In fact, The Advocate has recognized the city as one of the most welcoming in the country. As the capitol of the state, Madison is a fairly large city with many different events and activities. There are some great LGBTQ-owned businesses here, plus you can take advantage of the local LGBTQ community center, too. With an average age in the 30s, many in Madison are young professionals who are ready to seize the future.

Eau Claire

Eau Claire is another city where the average age is fairly young. This is mostly because it’s the home of the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, which attracts many students from around the country. The city is known for being a gay getaway, especially during the annual Chippewa Valley Pride festival.

Oshkosh

Another college town, Oshkosh is also home to a branch of the University of Wisconsin. While its median age may be a bit older than Madison or Eau Claire, it’s still young enough that the city overall is very welcoming and liberal. You can visit a number of different LGBTQ businesses here, including a few bars and clubs.

Superior

Superior is located in the northern part of the state and is great for those who love the outdoors. Of course, that also means it has some pretty cold winters, but if that doesn’t bother you, Superior is a great place to live. It and its sister city, Duluth, host a combined Pride festival every year.

Great Cities in Kentucky for LGBTQ Families

Making the move to Kentucky can be the right decision for LGBTQ families. Even though the state is a part of the more conservative south, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great places to live here. Kentucky is home to a number of cities that welcome everyone regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. If you’re looking at Kentucky as your next home, here are some of the best places to live.

Lexington

Great Cities in Kentucky for LGBTQ FamiliesLexington, Kentucky, is a good-sized city that features a number of LGBTQ bars and other, similar businesses. Lexington is actually known for being a very diverse and accepting city. Moving here can be a great move, especially if you want to live in a larger city that still feels somewhat like a small town. Every year, you can attend the local pride parade and enjoy a number of other festivals. Housing prices here aren’t so bad, either, especially if you look in some of the more up-and-coming neighborhoods instead of those that are currently popular.

Newport

Newport, which is located near the border of Kentucky and Ohio, also has its own LGBTQ businesses, clubs, and bars. It’s close enough to Cincinnati that the two share many of their gay and lesbian events. Many residents step across state lines to visit the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Cincy, while some stay in Newport to enjoy everything it has to offer.

Frankfort

The capital of the state, Frankfort, welcomes people from all walks of life. LGBTQ residents can enjoy the annual pride festival, features a number of different businesses that cater to the gay and lesbian community, and hosts many other events that residents enjoy. Housing prices are very reasonable here, too. It’s not unusual to find good-sized houses in the city for much less than you’d pay in other states.

Campbellsville

Campbellsville takes its name from Andrew Campbell, who founded it in 1817. Today, the city is known for being home to Campbellsville University. If you’re on the search for a college town, this could be the home for you. The historic downtown area is gorgeous, and many people take weekend trips to enjoy the scenery at Green River Lake State Park during the warm months. Because the university attracts many of the more progressive younger generation, LGBTQ individuals find that living in Campbellsville comfortable and easy.

These are just a few of the different cities in Kentucky that you might want to call home. Check with a gay or lesbian real estate professional to learn about other great places to live in the state.

Is Gaytrification Real?

You’ve probably heard of gentrification, the term for when a run-down neighborhood is built back up until it attracts residents who are more affluent. Often, this means those who used to live there are unable to afford the area and are forced to move to a cheaper place. Recently, another, related term has been coined: gaytrification. It’s basically the same idea as gentrification, but it’s occurring in gay ghettos and neighborhoods across the country.

The Founding of the Gay Neighborhood

Is Gaytrification RealDuring the 70s and 80s, most LGBTQ people were in the closet. Discrimination was very real, and many who were out or even hinted at being out were denied rental properties or housing. Many found that they were only really accepted if they lived near other like-minded individuals. Since they weren’t always able to find housing in the more popular parts of cities, they ended up moving into the less desirable neighborhoods. These were the first gay villages.

But while they may have moved into run-down houses and old apartments, it wasn’t always because they lacked money. These modest mortgage payments meant these LGBTQ homeowners were able to put more money towards renovations, transforming areas that were once somewhat abandoned into gorgeous neighborhoods.

It’s Not a Thing of the Past

Today, these older gay neighborhoods such as San Francisco’s Castro District or Chicago’s Boystown are quite pricy. Many people can’t really afford to buy a house there, while those who did purchase a home with prices were lower don’t want to sell. These areas have definitely gentrified, but the process is still going on. When they’re unable to purchase homes in the traditional gay villages, LGBTQ homebuyers may start to congregate in a new area of the city, starting the process of gaytrification all over again.

It’s Not Just Homeowners

It’s definitely a stereotype to say that any LGBTQ homeowner is going to transform their property into a shining house worth millions, but it does certainly happen. Part of the reason these areas grow so quickly is that where the LGBTQ homeowners go, the businesses that cater to them follow. Bars, clubs, and other businesses owned by LGBTQ entrepreneurs help build up these neighborhoods, bringing in more revenue and developers.

While gay neighborhoods haven’t been growing as quickly now that LGBTQ acceptance has become more popular, they do still exist. A gay or lesbian real estate agent can help you find one of these areas if you’re looking to move into one.

Posted on February 6, 2018 in City & Neighborhood Information, Gay and Lesbian

The Top Cities for LGBTQ People in Indiana

Moving to Indiana? The state may not seem that exciting to some, but it’s actually got a lot going for it. Indiana residents have shown great support for those in the LGBTQ community. In addition to this, the state has a fairly strong housing market and has shown economic growth in recent years. If you’re moving to Indiana, here are some of the most welcoming cities in the state.

Indianapolis

The Top Cities for LGBTQ People in IndianaAs the capital of the state, it’s no surprise that Indianapolis is home to a diverse population. It’s one of the most welcoming places for LGBTQ people in Indiana and has a number of businesses owned by members of the community. The city also hosts an annual pride parade and has a gay and lesbian community center. Home prices are quite affordable in some of the suburbs, while the downtown area tends to be a little more expensive.

Evansville

Home to several universities, including the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana, Evansville’s demographics tend to skew younger. This means the city is quite welcoming since the younger generation tends to be more accepting of everyone. Evansville has passed several city ordinances protecting individuals on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Homes here tend to sell for around $100,000. That’s fairly affordable compared to many other cities in the area.

Carmel

Carmel is a welcoming city that has worked hard to pass laws protecting LGBTQ individuals in employment, housing, and other areas. The local government has offered domestic partnership benefits to employees, too. The only downside to Carmel is that it’s one of the most expensive places to live in Indiana, with the average home selling for more than $350,000.

South Bend

South Bend, on the other hand, is one of the more affordable places to live in the state. Homes here often sell for less than $80,000. Just because home prices are lower, though, doesn’t mean that South Bend is any less diverse or welcoming. In fact, its population is quite diverse. This is partially thanks to St. Mary’s University and the University of Notre Dame. Many LGBTQ people choose to stay in South Bend or the surrounding area after graduation. The city is also home to a large number of same-sex married couples.

These are just a few of the best places to live in Indiana. Other great cities include Michigan City, New Albany, and Bloomington.

Finding the Right Location for Your New Home

Looking for a new home usually involves carefully picking and choosing what goes on your “must-have” list and what goes on the “would like” list. Many gay and lesbian real estate agents find that location is almost always on the must-have. Even if it’s not in a specific neighborhood, most people have a vague idea of where they want to live in the city. For some, the location may be defined by a certain school district. For others, it might be the distance from work. But these vague ideas may not always lead you to the right location. Here are a few tips to help you determine if you’ve found the right place.

Do You Know the Area?

Finding the Right Location for Your New HomeMoving into an area you don’t know very well is often risky. You might find that you really don’t enjoy living there for one reason or another. Instead of simply going to see the property a few times while you’re deciding if you want to buy or not, you need to investigate the neighborhood. Visit it at several different times, including at night and on the weekends. This will let you see how loud it is at night and how busy it is on the weekend. Also see what it’s like driving to that area when you’d be going to and getting home from work. This will let you see how the traffic is.

What Do the Neighboring Homes Look Like?

Take a look at houses on the same block and on a few blocks in either direction. Would you be happy living in one of those homes as it is now? If not, why not? Homes that look like they’re in disrepair or aren’t being kept up may indicate that the neighbors aren’t the best. If you find that most of the homes in the neighborhood look run down, you may want to reconsider your purchase.

Consider a Gay Neighborhood

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, you may want to consider moving into a neighborhood where like-minded individuals live. While not every city has what’s sometimes referred to as a gay ghetto, many of the larger metro areas do. These neighborhoods are usually very welcoming and populated by many diverse individuals and families. While it’s true that you may be welcomed in many parts of the city, you may find that you’re happiest in a neighborhood where you don’t have to fear being targeted for your gender identity or sexual orientation.