Monthly Archives: April 2015

5 Great Places for LGBT Youth

Being LGBT in the current political climate can already be pretty complicated. The situation is even more complicated when you have a child to think about. On top of thinking about things like school district funding and average college admission, you should also think about LGBT support groups and overall social climate.

Whether you’re a heterosexual couple with an LGBT child or a gay/lesbian/trans couple who’s adopted a child, here are some great places that go above and beyond in their support for LGBT associated children.

Los Angeles

There Are Many Great Cities to Raise Children, Especially for Members of the LGBT CommunityLA has a very dense LGBT population, complete with support groups, pride events, and favorable legislation. Your child will almost never be made to feel “othered” here like they would in so many other places.

LA does have a pricey downside. Its price per square foot value is an expensive $347. It might be best to look elsewhere if you’re not already established.

The State Of Connecticut

The state of Connecticut is already very welcoming of LGBT people regardless of where you live. There are a great deal of support groups and other resources that you can easily find using the internet. In fact, many of them actually go to the kids themselves, and make their presence known in high schools and middle schools around the state.

Connecticut also contains a large amount of Ivy League schools, and even the community and state schools such as UCONN are top tier.

Connecticut has a pretty good breadth of options when it comes to housing. Depending on what area you choose to live in, the prices of homes can vary quite a bit. Shop around and see what you like!

San Francisco

This one is quite obvious. San Francisco has been a haven for gay culture for decades, and this shows no signs of changing. LGBT people are extremely common in San Francisco. In fact, it’s more common to see us than heterosexuals! San Francisco, LA, and Connecticut are alike in that their school system is covered in resources for gay teens and young adults. Every school has at least one GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) or other pride group.

San Francisco shares something else with LA. They’re both very expensive. However, San Francisco’s $847 per square foot is more than double the price of LA’s. A moderate sized home in San Francisco can run you over $800,000.

New York City

New York City is one of the most densely populated metropolitan centers in the country. There’s no shortage of diversity, which means that your child will be exposed to many opposing viewpoints. It’s also within range of Connecticut’s great Ivy League colleges, so you can take advantage of that when the time comes.

However, New York life can be somewhat cramped unless you have an above average income. The price per square foot is $585, and the public schooling system in New York City isn’t always the best. However, some of the private schools are fantastic if you want to go that route.

Ogden, Utah

Ogden Utah is great for several reasons. The first is that they have positive legislation to protect members of the LGBT community. This isn’t limited to gay marriage rights either; there are laws in place to protect against discrimination to LGBT and Trans individuals, as well as laws specifically made to discourage bullying in youth.

The price of living is fairly low, ranking 87.2 points versus the 100 point U.S. average. On top of that, worker’s earnings are fairly high. This means that Ogden residents get the most out of their salary here, which is important due to the expense of raising children.

Ogden has a large variety of activities, including those that bring you close to nature, making sure that you and your little ones will never be bored. There’s a lot in Ogden for children. So give it a chance.

Posted on April 22, 2015 in Buying a Home, Gay and Lesbian, Gay Marriage

Don’t Buy a New Construction Home without YOUR OWN Realtor

There are a ton of things to consider when you decide to buy a new home. Should you buy pre-owned, or freshly built? What area should you move to? What’s your minimum and maximum price point?

imagesBuying a new home that’s being freshly constructed has quite a few perks. For example, there’s no likelihood of past wear and tear damage; however, the buying process can be a bit more confusing than usual. Because of this, you absolutely need representation. GayRealEstate.com agents have the proper knowledge, decorum, and experience needed to successfully negotiate a new property’s price on your behalf.

The Seller’s Representative Isn’t Looking Out For Your Best Interest

The representatives (agents) in the sales center at the new home construction site represent the seller. This agent(s) is looking out for the best interests of the property and the seller. This means that they may omit details about the construction, the neighborhood, the schools, the soils (anything) unless you ask. They won’t inform you of other local properties that may be similar at a lower price. And most importantly, they’ll charge the highest price they can get out of you. The seller of the property has an agent on-hand that is primarily invested in their best interests. Therefore, you should too.

Your Representative Can Communicate Better Than You Can

Your representative can communicate with the seller’s agent using industry jargon. Not only does it garner more respect for the both of you, it also means that both of you are more likely to be kept in-the-loop on every detail moving forward. This also takes haggling into account. When you haggle, it’s very easy to come across as condescending or rude by accident just because haggling in real-estate is complex. Your seller may be willing to haggle if it’s offered in a roundabout way. For example, instead of reducing the list price of the home from $500,000 to $485,000.00, they may be willing to front the cost of something else that costs $ 15,000.00. The list price of the house doesn’t decrease, and you still saved $5,000.00. The real estate agent representing you has experience in business dealings, so you won’t have to worry about making this potentially costly misstep.

Your Representative Has More Information Than You

Sites like Zillow are great for general information and pricing. However, your agent will be privy to different, in-depth sources that you won’t have access to. They also have the benefit of industry connections. Without this information, you could be working with a seller or seller’s agent who is known for making bad deals, or worse, building crappy homes, without knowing it!

Your Representative Might Find You Something Better

An experienced representative keeps themselves up-to-date with all of the current housing trends in the area. That means that they’ll tell you if a better home appears nearby at a similar or cheaper price. They’ll give you a giant list of options to consider before you commit to one home.

Buyer Representation is FREE!

When the seller contracts an agent, they agree to pay the agent a portion of the total commission when the house is sold. If you do business with the seller, the seller’s agent must pay your agent a portion from that commission as well. Buyer’s representation doesn’t cost you (the buyer) anything, so there’s no reason not to be represented!

Find the perfect LGBT Realtor to represent you FREE in your home purchase at www.GayRealEstate.com.

Pros And Cons Of Relocating To Texas

Texas might not show up on your radar of great places for LGBT folk to live. There are a few good reasons for this, as LGBT rights in Texas aren’t the most progressive. However, there are quite a few reasons why moving to Texas might be a good idea depending on your circumstances.

Texas Is Heavily Influenced By Spanish Culture

Texas Has a Growing LGBT Population, and Is Becoming Far More Tolerant Than It Used to BeTexas has a huge Hispanic population, which means that every aspect of the local flavor is filtered through the Spanish cultural lens. In fact, street signs and product labels sometimes actually display Spanish before English.

Texas is one of the few places where you can get an authentic Spanish experience while still living in the US. If you’re interested in Spanish culture or are Spanish and want to reconnect with your roots, this place is fabulous.

Lots of Spacious Ranch-Style Houses

Texas’s housing market is full of spacious ranch-style houses that are available for less than $150,000. For a little more money, you can find homes that come with large tracts of open land around them. This would be perfect for a large garden, villa, or even a smaller home built nearby if the land is big enough.

Low Cost Of Living

Moving to Texas from virtually anywhere else in the US is very easy to do. In 2012, the cost of living index for Texas was 82.3, which is drastically lower than the 100 point average for the US. For comparison, places like Brooklyn, New York have indexes of 181, and Manhattan has an index of 216! This means that for the average salary of a New Yorker, you could live quite wealthily in Texas.

Not Progressive At All

Legislation in Texas isn’t progressive.  There are no laws in place that protect against discrimination in the workplace or in crime situations. There is also no widespread recognition of LGBT family rights such as adoption.  Same sex unions of any kind are forbidden in most places in Texas as well. This means that Texas doesn’t recognize gay marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, or anything else of the sort. Same-sex sexual activity wasn’t legal until 2003 either. While LGBT rights are slowly being given to Texas residents, activists and protesters still have a lot of work to do.

Low Property Values

The low property values in Texas are great if you plan on moving there permanently. However, if you ever decide that you want to leave, getting out is difficult. Moving from Texas to somewhere like New York or Connecticut is almost impossible.

Texas is somewhere that you’d go to retire. The low cost of living combined with the robust housing market means that your retirement home will be quite luxurious. The weather is also warm year-round, with the average temperature of the coldest months being around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you’re a young person or someone who likes to travel northward, you might want to look elsewhere.

My Partner and I Want to Hire an Agent to Help Us Purchase a Home. What is the Difference Between an Agent and a Broker?

The term ‘real estate agent’ is generally used interchangeably between both types of agents, but there is a difference. Following is a general definition and duties of an agent and a broker.

downloadReal Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a person that has passed both state and national exams to become licensed by the state where they will be working. The requirements vary, depending on state laws, but general qualifications include minimum age and education and/or experience and real estate pre-license or college courses. Once licensed, an agent must work under a real estate broker and cannot be paid directly for his or her services.

The general duties of a real estate agent that represents buyers include interviewing clients to determine the type of property they are looking for, preparing documents related to the purchase, presenting purchase offers to sellers, and acting as an intermediary in negotiations between the buyer and the seller. The agent also coordinates with lenders, home inspectors, escrow companies and others to ensure that the conditions of purchase agreements are met before the closing date, coordinates the actual closing, and oversees signing of documents.

Real Estate Broker

A real estate broker is required to have more education and/or experience than a real estate agent in most states. For example, to apply for a broker license in Montana, the person must have two years experience as licensed real estate salesperson. In California, a person must have a four-year degree and eight real estate courses at the college level. Two years experience as a licensed real estate salesperson may be substituted for the four-year college degree.

Broker’s are authorized to work independently, own real estate businesses, and to employ real estate agents. If the broker hires real estate agents, he or she is required to oversee all aspects of selling and buying real estate by those agents to ensure proper representation of clients within the confines of the law.

What is a Buyer’s Agent?

When you hire a real estate agent or broker to assist you in finding and purchasing real estate, he or she will be your buyer agent. Your legal relationship in most states will be with the broker that the agent works under. Some states allow an agent to act for a buyer, rather than the broker, so that the business can take advantage of working for both buyers and sellers without creating a conflict of interest.

Along with the real estate agent general duties described above, your buyer’s agent has the duty to act in your best interests and do everything possible to gain an advantage for you. For example, he or she must assist you in paying the least amount of money possible for a home you would like to purchase. He must disclose any facts that he has about the value of the real estate and any knowledge about the seller, such as his or her motivation to sell, that may have an effect on negotiations.

How To Find a Qualified LGBT Real Estate Agent

Although you may find a gay real estate agent by looking in your local yellow pages, there is no guarantee that he or she is a good agent. The best way to find a reputable  LGBT real estate agent is to conduct a free search at GayRealEstate.com. The professionals listed are all highly qualified in their particular areas of expertise and have been interviewed to ensure that their approach to working with the LGBT community meets our standards.

Posted on April 14, 2015 in Buying a Home, Gay Realtor News, Gay Realtors

5 Best LGBT States to Find Jobs

The best thing you can do before moving to a different state is to get to know the job market. After all, it’d be silly to move somewhere and get a shiny new mortgage without having a way to pay for it! Luckily there are many places for the LGBT community to settle down with a promising job and to fit right in with the community!

California and Washington

Some States Have More LGBT Friendly Jobs Than OthersCalifornia and Washington are both tied for the number 5 spot. In 2014, their job markets both saw a 2.2% increase which (while good) is pretty modest compared to some of the other cities. However, the thing that distinguishes them is their social attitudes. They both are extremely liberal and very welcoming of LGBT folk.  They both have had gay marriage, gay adoption, gender reassignment, and hate crime laws for some time now. If you’re looking to build a life for yourself, you absolutely cannot go wrong in either of these states.

The thing that distinguishes them from the others is the housing prices. Washington is moderate with an average of $268,400. But California is guaranteed to put a dent in the average person’s wallet. California’s average price is a whopping $439,500.

Delaware

Delaware is number 3 with a job growth of 2.5% in 2014. It’s progressive, and all of the major LGBT rights such as marriage, gender reassignment, and adoption are all legal. There’s also a meticulously crafted system of hate-crime laws that protect LGBT people. It’s not quite as progressive as California or Washington, but it’s not bad by any means. Delaware housing prices are quite affordable. They average $203,500

Colorado

Colorado’s employment market growth in 2014 was 2.7%, which is very good. Colorado is also quite liberal, meaning that adoption, marriage and gender reassignment are legal. Colorado also has laws banning the use of conversion therapy on minors, which is a VERY good thing. The housing prices are moderate, as they average around $265,000.

Nevada

Nevada wins the top spot for job growth with a giant 3.6% increase in 2014. Public opinion polls as well as legislation in Nevada also indicate that the social climate is very tolerant. Straight couples and LGBT couples are treated the same. Opinion polls taken in Nevada show that over 75% of Nevada citizens agree that same-sex couples should be legally recognized; 39% of people believe that same-sex marriage should be legal, and another 38% believe that it should be civil unions. The average housing price is tied with Colorado for $265,000.

Gay Lifestyle and Legislation in New York

There are so many reasons to move to New York! Let’s start with the fact that many people regard the Big Apple as the northeastern mecca of gay culture. This name is rightfully deserved, as New York’s legislation is very LGBT friendly. New York has recognized same-sex domestic partnerships since 1998, and has had legal gay marriage since July of 2011. Since 1995, New York has given benefits to same-sex partners of state workers and there is also a law against homosexuality being used for defamation purposes.

There is Significant Legislation in Place to Protect the Expanding LGBT Community Within the State of New YorkNew Yorkers can freely change their gender identity, and New York issues new birth certificates to anyone who has undergone sexual reassignment surgery. However, New York doesn’t require a sex change or proof thereof for a new certificate.

New York even has a legitimate law in place against sexual discrimination, called SONDA. The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act was put into effect in 2003. SONDA directly prohibits discrimination based on sexual identity, perceived sexual orientation, or gender identity in public education, finances, employment, and civil liberties.

Legislation is not the only thing New York has going for it; the state also has a thriving gay scene that is so vibrant that there are multiple gay pride parades throughout the year. These pride parades cater to specific niches within the gay community that may not be as noticeable as well. These niches include African Americans, Latinos, and transgender individuals, each of which get a chance to celebrate themselves without the racial and heteronormative tension that surface in other gay events.

Up until a generation ago, gays were largely confined to the West Village. However, due to evolving social attitudes, gays have spread to every part of New York in huge numbers. For example, Chelsea has nightlife, shopping, and a happening gay scene. But it’s not limited to Chelsea – neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Fort Greene, and more have quite a few LGBT folks living in them.

New York has every type of house you could dream of – old Brownstones, simple apartments, high rises with doormen, condominiums in the suburbs, and even some classic “white picket fence” style houses are all for sale in New York’s boroughs. The prices tend to run a little high, but in this case, you get exactly what you pay for.

New York is the perfect place for any type of LGBT person. There are endless job opportunities in every field for young LGBT folk looking to spread their wings and there’s proactive legislation that defend the rights of LGBT citizens. New York also has some safe neighborhoods like the Upper East Side and great schools for LGBT couples looking to settle. New York’s the entire package for any LGBT individual or couple ready to settle down.