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.
The 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.