Monthly Archives: November 2015

Transgender Acceptance With Real Estate

Many people point to things such as the legality of same-sex marriage as signs that the LGBT community has become much more accepted, but while that’s certainly true of the LGB part of the acronym, transgender people still face major discrimination.  Caitlyn Jenner is proof of this—while many have celebrated her decision to live her life according to her personal truth, many others have derided her.  When it comes to real estate, gay and lesbian Realtors will tell you that transgender people are often the victims of discrimination.

The Lack of Legal Protection

Transgender People Tend to Feel Out of Place in Many Places, But the List of Places Offering Transgender Acceptance is Growing SignificantlyUnfortunately, everyone in the LGBT community is at risk of housing discrimination.  This is because the Fair Housing Act does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity.  In fact, there are no federal protections in place to prevent landlords or sellers from discriminating against gays, lesbians, or transgender people.  There are, however, 22 states that have laws protecting homebuyers from facing discrimination, but that means many people may still be turned away from their dream home.

A survey done in 2015 showed that almost three-fourths of all LGBT people were strongly concerned that they would face discrimination from sellers, Realtors, and others while trying to buy a home.  This is one of the reasons many seek out gay and lesbian real estate agents—they know they are much less likely to face discrimination.

Top States with Transgender Acceptance

If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ll certainly find less discrimination in some states than in others.  Obviously, the 22 states with legal protection are going to be more welcoming.  One such state is California, which probably isn’t that surprising.  The state is home to a good sized LGBT community, and transgender people are often welcomed into the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, even the smaller cities in the state still have a fairly high cost of living.  California is not budget-friendly for many people.

However, there are cheaper alternatives.  Massachusetts, for example.  Even though the cost of real estate in Boston may be a little on the expensive side, there are plenty of other great cities in the state that are very welcoming and affordable.  Another option is Connecticut.  It’s definitely cheaper to live here, and because the New England states are fairly small, you can still get to places like New York City pretty quickly.

Remember, there’s no obligation to disclose your orientation or gender identity to anyone involved in purchasing a home.  Many people simply prefer to say nothing and avoid even the possibility of discrimination.

How is a Gayborhood Unique?

Many gay and lesbian realtors have LGBT clients who ask about living in the gay neighborhood or gayborhood of their city.  There’s nothing wrong with this, but it does perplex some people.  What makes a gayborhood so much better than other parts of the city?  What, in fact, makes this area so different from any other neighborhoods other than the people who live there?  That’s actually the key difference, of course—a gayborhood is predominantly home to LGBT people.  Other than this fact, there are a few differences you may notice, and it’s these differences that attract other LGBT people.

The Demographics

Living In a Gayborhood Gives Many Members of the LGBT Community a Sense of Safety, Pride, and UnificationIt’s a given that gayborhoods are full of LGBT people, but they obviously don’t make up the entire population of the area.  However, the entire population (or at least a very high percentage of it) is welcoming to everyone.  The people who live in a gayborhood typically don’t care about orientation, gender identity, race, religion, or anything else.  This is one reason some straight people actually look for LGBT-heavy neighborhoods to move to – they know they will not be frowned upon if they don’t fit a certain mold.  These areas are incredibly diverse.

The Opportunity to Show Your Pride

Want to fly a rainbow flag or have a Human Rights Campaign bumper sticker on your car?  That welcoming attitude of a gayborhood extends to the opportunity to truly show your pride without fearing retribution.  In some areas, having a rainbow flag hanging from your porch might invite vandalism, but not in a gayborhood.  Here, you can paint your entire house in rainbow stripes and no one will care.

Representation

In some cities, the population of the gay neighborhoods is large enough that LGBT candidates can run for city council and other offices and receive the majority of the vote.  This is especially true in areas where the ward or district is set up so that it is basically the same area as the gayborhood.  Those who live there often feel like their interests are truly being represented by someone who understands them.

More Inclusive Schools

Those who live in a gayborhood may feel more secure in sending their children to the local school because they know there will most likely be other children with LGBT parents there.  They don’t have to worry that their son or daughter will be the only one with two fathers or two mothers.  This sense of security is often the number one reason LGBT people move to a gay neighborhood.

What LGBT Life is Like in Indianapolis

Thinking about moving to Indiana?  If so, Indianapolis may be on your list of potential destinations.  There are a number of gay and lesbian real estate agents in the city, and they can tell you all about the capital of the state.  It’s the second largest city in the Midwest, for example, so you know you won’t be alone in the LGBT community.  The city’s residents are about as diverse as their economy, which includes major corporations in areas such as transportation, business, education, health, government, leisure, and manufacturing.  Of course, the city is also known as the home of the Indianapolis 500, the world’s largest single-day sporting event.

LGBT Rights

Indianapolis Has a Lot of LGBT Resources for Those Thinking of Moving to This Part of The CountryIndianapolis is one of the areas in Indiana that offers more protection for its LGBT citizens.  Marion County, which the city is a part of, does have its own laws prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of both orientation and gender identity.  Government employment at the state level is protected statewide thanks to a 2005 gubernatorial order.

Unfortunately, Indiana Senate Bill 101 went into effect in March of 2015.  This law allows businesses to use as a legal defense that their right to practice their religion is substantially burdened by serving LGBT customers.  The mayor of Indianapolis has come out against the bill, stating that he wants everyone who lives in the city to feel welcome no matter what their orientation or gender identity is.

Domestic Partnerships

Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, Indianapolis was one of the few cities in the state to offer domestic partnerships for anyone who lived in the city.  The registry was established at the beginning of 2013.

Gay Neighborhoods

There are a couple of gayborhoods in Indianapolis.  The downtown area is full of LGBT-owned businesses, plus a number of gays and lesbians live in the downtown condos, apartments, and homes.  It’s considered a fairly artsy area, too.  You’ll find historic homes here as well as an area that, even with its high traffic, is also very safe.

Another LGBT community is Whitaker Valley Estates.  This is a newer area that was built around 2008.  It wasn’t planned as a gay community at all, but some of the first people to move into Whitaker Valley Estates were LGBT couples.  They spread the word about the area, and soon it was a full gay ghetto.  Those looking for new homes with all of the amenities will love this part of Indianapolis, but it’s not as cheap as some other parts of the city.

2015 National LGBT Real Estate Conference a Success

On October 12th through the 14th, gay and lesbian real estate agents, lenders, appraisers, and many others who work in the industry headed to Fort Lauderdale for the 2015 National LGBT Real Estate Conference.  This annual gathering is organized by the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals and included a number of speakers from some of the top real estate agencies and other organizations in addition to breakout sessions, presentations, and more.  This was the second year for the conference, and more than 250 people attended.

Keynote Speakers

There Were Many Successful Parts to the 2015 National LGBT Real Estate ConferenceThe conference had lined up a number of outstanding keynote speakers for the event.  Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, and Thomas Roth, the President of Community Marketing and Insights, opened the first day of breakout sessions with a keynote address focused on the trends in the LGBT real estate market.  Later that day, Sea Becketti, the chief economist for Freddie Mac, talked about home sales and the economy.

The next day featured a keynote address by Budge Huskey, CEO of Coldwell Banker, on where the real estate market was headed.  He was followed by Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, the leading Coldwell Bankers real estate team, who candidly talked about building their business.

The conference came to an end with a frank talk by Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges.  The now-famous gay real estate agent spoke about the landmark Supreme Court case and why he continued to fight for the right to marry all the way to the top court in the country.

Many other top real estate agents, brokers, loan specialists, PR professionals, and others spoke in general sessions and breakout sessions.

Marriage Equality at the Conference

The founder of NAGLREP, Jeff Berger, later reported that he felt that the theme of equality, especially marriage equality, ran through the conference.  It was, of course, especially prevalent in Mr. Obergefell’s discussion, but it was discussed in a number of sessions.  Many experts talked about already seeing an increase in the number of LGBT people looking at buying a home now that they were married.

This discussion also brought up the other battles LGBT people still have to fight.  Berger said that housing discrimination was a major concern of many LGBT people, and those at the conference did discuss what could be done about this issue.  Panels discussed actual verses perceived discrimination and how both could be addressed.

All in all, Berger and many others who attended the conference felt that it was a great success, and plans for the third annual National LGBT Real Estate Conference are already in motion.