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In the mid 1990’s Jeff Hammerberg a Gay REALTOR working at a successful ReMax Office in Colorado witnessed discrimination first hand and has spent his career changing the way the Gay & Lesbian Community buys or sells a home. “My goal is to make sure when you walk in to or call a real estate office, you have an appointment with a top producing agent that you know stands in full support of you as a gay or lesbian person and works with you as your advocate throughout any transaction. Let’s make sure the commissions earned by an agent you employ, are not being used to fund positions or causes that don’t stand in full support of the LGBT Community. Many of our Gay & Lesbian REALTORS are Top Producers in their communities, offering unparalleled service today and in the future. There is no cost or obligation to use any of our services or directories.”

Phoenix – A LGBTQ Haven in the Southwest

The southwest is known for its dry heat, native American influences, and deserts. It’s not exactly known for being an LGBTQ destination or a place to live, but Phoenix, Arizona, has a thriving gay and lesbian community. This metro area is gorgeous all year long, so if you love bright, sunny days, it may be the perfect place to call home. There’s a lot to do in both the LGBTQ community and in Phoenix as a whole.

Phoenix is home to dozens of luxury resorts, so there are many tourists here throughout the year. Many of these tourists and residents alike love taking hot air balloon rides or riding horseback through the unique landscape. Golf is another popular hobby in Phoenix, and the city has an astonishing 200+ golf courses. With shopping, art exhibits, and sporting events, there’s a ton to do in the city.

Phoenix’s LGBTQ District

Phoenix – A LGBTQ Haven in the SouthwestUnlike some cities, Phoenix doesn’t really have a major LGBTQ neighborhood. The city is very spread out, and the LGBTQ community is, too. Even though there’s not really a gay ghetto here, there are a number of LGBTQ-owned businesses in the Melrose District. You’ll also find the Central Phoenix LGBT Community Center there along with some great clubs and bars. The Phoenix Pride festival is held every year at Steele Indian School Park and brings in thousands of LGBTQ individuals and allies from Phoenix and the surrounding areas.

One of the more unique things about the Phoenix LGBTQ community is that it spreads out beyond Phoenix. Many of the suburbs and nearby cities that have grown into Phoenix have large gay and lesbian populations. Scottsdale, for example, has a thriving LGBTQ community thanks to the large arts movement there.

Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, and Apache Junction, collectively called the East Valley cities, also have a good number of LGBTQ communities. Arizona State University brings many younger LGBTQ individuals to Tempe, while Mesa is one of the fastest growing cities in Arizona. Many have moved there in response to the commercial boom the city is experiencing.

No matter what brings you to the Phoenix area, it’s certainly a great place for LGBTQ individuals and families. Home prices in the area are reasonable, especially if you compare them to other large metros such as New York, LA, or Chicago. You’ll find many gay and lesbian real estate agents who can help you find the perfect home in Phoenix.

LGBTQ-Friendly Cities Where the Real Estate Market Will Improve in 2019

As with any year, you can expect 2019 to bring about many changes in your life. Will one of those changes include moving to a new city? If so, you might want to be aware of which cities are going to have a higher-than-average housing market. Moving to one of these cities may be a bit more costly, but it could also be a major opportunity for you.

Of course, you also want to make certain these cities are fairly welcoming to the LGBTQ community. Working with a gay or lesbian real estate professional is certainly one way of learning about the area and finding the right home for you. If you already live in one of these cities and have been thinking about selling, now may be the time.

Dallas, Texas

LGBTQ-Friendly Cities Where the Real Estate Market Will Improve in 2019Dallas has always been a fairly open metro. It’s home to the Cathedral of Hope, one of the largest inclusive church congregations that’s mainly LGBTQ. The city has also received a score of 100 on the HRC’s Municipal Equality Index, which shows that it’s very progressive and that city officials have made it a point to protect and include the LGBTQ community.

Experts in real estate and the economy expect homes in Dallas to continue to sell for slightly above the national average, but they will continue to sell. Homes will improve in value, which means even if you’re not looking to buy, you may want to consider selling. For example, if you’re an older couple and your children have left home, selling your current home and downsizing could net you a very nice profit.

Washington, D.C.

It’s no secret that living in the capitol city of the U.S. is expensive, which is why many people prefer to live nearby and commute to work. Those who do own property in D.C. will see housing market do exceptionally well. One of the reasons some experts are giving for the growth in D.C. is because Amazon has selected the city and New York City for its new headquarters buildings. Originally, the company was only going to build one additional headquarters, but executives later decided to build two smaller bases.

Denver, Colorado

Denver may not have been chosen for Amazon’s HQ, but it was a finalist, and even that has had an impact on the city. With a number of LGBTQ neighborhoods, it’s certainly a great place for anyone looking to live in the Midwest U.S. While there is some concern about the housing bubble bursting, analysts believe those concerns are unfounded and that the Denver housing market will grow in 2019.

These are just three LGBTQ-friendly cities that are going to see a strong housing market in 2019. While that may not affect your housing decisions, it is something to keep in mind if you’re looking to buy or sell in these cities.

Delaware’s Gay Ghetto, Rehoboth Beach

If you love the Northwest, you may want to think about moving to Delaware. While it may not get as much recognition as other northern states such as New York and Pennsylvania, Delaware has a lot to offer. For those who are part of the LGBTQ community, Delaware even has its own gay neighborhood in Rehoboth Beach. Unlike some gay ghettos, Rehoboth Beach is actually its own recognized city. It’s located in the Cape Region, one of Delaware’s up-and-coming areas, and is a part of the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metro Area.

Rehoboth Beach and the LGBTQ Community

Delaware’s Gay Ghetto, Rehoboth BeachRehoboth Beach was officially founded in 1873, although people had lived in the area for quite some time before that. While it originally was a Methodist camp area, the area soon became a vacation area for those from Washington, DC, and later the nation.

In the 1940s, the LGBTQ nightlife scene took off. Poodle Beach, the area at the southern end of the boardwalk, became a haven for gay men. Bars such as the Pink Pony Bar sat on the boardwalk itself, drawing in many LGBTQ people. Despite having a reputation as a family resort, the area became more and more popular with the LGBTQ community, leading to dance clubs, hotels, and other businesses that catered to the community.

The 1990s and Gay Bashing

Unfortunately, not everyone in Rehoboth Beach was welcoming. IN the early 1990s, there are a number of incidents of gay bashing. The phrase “Keep Rehoboth a Family Town” appeared on signs and bumper stickers as a slogan for rallying anti-homosexual sentiments. One of the popular clubs in the city, the Strand, became the central point of the conflict when it was denied a liquor license. City officials passed a law banning any bar that wasn’t attached to a restaurant. This mostly affected LGBTQ businesses.

Because of this, LGBTQ activists, leaders, and allies formed an organization dedicated to bringing the Rehoboth Beach community together. Today, the city’s LGBTQ population has expanded and is seen as a welcome, equal voice in the community. Rehoboth Beach has been named one of the country’s beast gay beaches and one of the best retirement destinations.

If you’re considering retiring to the area or simply want a change of location, Rehoboth Beach should be on your list of options. Its welcoming attitude and amazing coastline make it an ideal place to live, work, or just visit.

Gentrification and the LGBTQ Community

If you’ve looked at homes in a gay neighborhood or have lived in one before, you’ve likely heard the term “gentrification.” This term is used when a poor neighborhood is improved and maintained to the point that those who once could afford to live there are no longer able to. Gentrification is often connected to the LGBTQ community due to its history in areas such as the Castro and Boystown. Once, these were the only neighborhoods where LGBTQ people felt safe. Today, however, many find that they simply can’t afford to live in these historically gay areas.

The LGBTQ Community After WWII

Gentrification of GayborhoodsThe history of gentrification begins after World War II. Those who had fought in the war were quickly and efficiently kicked out of the military if the let it be known that they were gay. Others found themselves the victims of hate crimes and were forced to leave the neighborhoods they were living in. With often little money and nowhere else to go, they settled in poor, often run down parts of the city.

Over time, these brave LGBTQ individuals and families began changing the communities they were forced to live in. They repaired the homes, improved the landscaping, and in general made the neighborhoods nicer than they were before. Developers saw these up-and-coming neighborhoods and began building new apartment complexes and housing developments in them. The result is that after a few decades, suddenly these “gay ghettos” were affluent neighborhoods with rising property values.

The Benefits of Gentrification

On one hand, the LGBTQ community is able to take advantage of the benefits of gentrification. Many of these homeowners are able to sell their houses for much more than they paid for them. Many even make a profit after subtracting out the cost of maintenance. The neighborhoods such as Harlem, East Village, and West Village were once mostly LGBTQ communities, but today that’s no longer true because many of the gay or lesbian homeowners sold their properties for a nice sum. Those who continue to live in these areas now enjoy safe neighborhoods that are the envy of many.

The Downsides

Of course, there are some downsides to gentrification. Young LGBTQ couples and individuals may find it impossible to move into the gayborhood of their choice. Those who continue to live in a gentrified gay district are likely to find their property taxes have greatly increased. Their overall cost of living may have increased, too. Some may even find themselves forced to sell their beloved home because they can no longer afford it.

Whether you love it or hate it, gentrification is something that many LGBTQ people have to face at some point. Fortunately, there are great gay and lesbian real estate professionals here to help you buy a home in the gay neighborhood of your choice or sell a property you already own.

The History of the Gay Village

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, you may feel more comfortable living around other individuals, couples, and families who are also a part of the community. This often means moving into an area that has become known as a gay village, gayborhood, or gay ghetto. While you’re working with a gay or lesbian real estate professional to find your perfect home in one of these neighborhoods, you may find it odd that so many LGBTQ people decided to live together. Where did these gay neighborhoods come from?

The Gay Village Started in Germany

The History of the Gay VillageThe first neighborhood to be recognized as a gay village was in Berlin. The neighborhood of Schoneberg became popular with LGBTQ homeowners during the 1920s, several decades before the idea of the gay village even existed. Most LGBTQ people gathered in bars rather than certain neighborhoods.

In the U.S., the gay village didn’t become a recognized concept until the late 1960s and 70s. Thanks to the Stonewall Rebellion in 1965, the LGBTQ community became more recognized, leading to the appearance of more gay neighborhoods across the country. The shift from bar to community was a major transition for the LGBTQ community and helped to show that its members were just like anyone else—neighbors, co-workers, and families.

What Makes a Gay Village?

What exactly is a gay village, though? Is it simply a neighborhood where a certain percentage of homeowners or renters identify as LGBTQ? For some, that is enough of a definition. Most neighborhoods do have more identifying characteristics, though. Originally, gay ghettos were run-down areas that were fairly cheap. These parts of town were considered areas where “disreputable” people lived. Many LGBTQ people were forced to move to these areas due to threats of violence and intolerance in the more affluent parts of town.

Because many of these LGBTQ homeowners took care of their homes, many gay villages went through gentrification. Today, these older historic homes are often worth a lot of money. In Chelsea, New York, for example, home prices have dramatically increased since the area became a gay neighborhood in the 1990s. The same is true with areas such as Andersonville, Chicago; South End, Boston; and West Hollywood.

The Modern Gay Village

Fortunately for the LGBTQ community, there’s no longer as much antagonism as there once was. Today, while there is still some persecution towards LGBTQ individuals and families, it’s not as wide-spread, and fewer people are finding themselves run out of a neighborhood because of who they’re in love with. Because of this, there aren’t many new gay neighborhoods appearing. The gay village isn’t likely to vanish overnight, but there is, thankfully, less of a need for them.

Buying within Budget – Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Spend More?

According to studies done by Nielsen and by Prudential, LGBTQ individuals and families tend to spend more than straight individuals and families. Some believe this is because LGBTQ individuals feel a pressure to look a certain way in order to fit in. For example, gay men often feel as if they have to be fashionable because the stereotype is that gay men dress very nicely. This often leads to a large amount of credit card debt.

According to the studies, many LGBTQ people spend their money at liquor stores and on wine. This corresponds with the fact that many young LGBTQ people often turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with their conflicting emotions about their orientation or gender identity.

But what about housing? Does this trend of spending more continue?

 

Buying in the Gayborhood

Buying within Budget – Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Spend MoreFor those who want to buy in a gay village or gayborhood, it often does. That’s because these neighborhoods are often gentrified or historic. The Castro district in San Francisco, for example, is home to some amazing properties that have been maintained over the years, thus pushing the price up. New York, especially Manhattan and other neighborhoods where LGBTQ people often live, is also highly expensive. It’s more than housing costs, too—the price of living in these cities is also much higher.

While this isn’t true for every gay village or neighborhood, it is the case for many of them. These homes are generally more expensive due to their condition. Those that are considered historic houses may be even more expensive.

 

States with Lower Costs of Living Are Often Not as Welcoming

It’s easy to say that you’ll simply move to a state with a lower cost of living, but it’s not always that simple. Many of those states that do have lower costs of living are also the ones where LGBTQ people do not have as many protections.

Most of Arkansas, for example, has a cost of living that is between 15 and 20 percent lower than the national average. But it’s also a state that does not have hate crime laws or protections in place for LGBTQ individuals and families. The one area that is very welcoming, Eureka Springs, is also more costly.

Still, you can often find places even in the most conservative of states where you’ll be welcome, just like there are places in states with high costs of living that are more budget-friendly. Simply find a good gay or lesbian real estate agent to help you find the perfect home.

Cleveland: A Great Place for LGBTQ People

When you think of some of the most popular and well-known gay villages and welcoming cities, you probably don’t think of Cleveland, Ohio. In fact, Cleveland is often the butt of jokes because it seems so boring and dull. But Cleveland is home to at least four gay ghettos, and its LGBTQ community is quite large and active. If you’re considering a move to the Midwest, you can do much worse than the “Forest City.” Let’s take a look at the different neighborhoods in and around Cleveland that are considered gay villages.

Detroit-Shoreway

Cleveland A Great Place for LGBTQ PeopleThis neighborhood is located on the western side of the city and sits on the shore of Lake Erie. For those who love swimming and other beach activities, it may be the ideal home. Shopping in Detroit-Shoreway centers around Gordon Square, an area with a number of retail buildings and restaurants. Capitol Theatre offers some amazing shows and concerts, while residents can quickly travel to other parts of Cleveland via rapid transit and the Cleveland bus system.

Ohio City

One of the historic neighborhoods of Cleveland, Ohio City is also home to many LGBTQ individuals and families. Like Detroit-Shoreway, it also sits on the shore of Lake Erie. It was once its own city, but in 1854, it was rolled into the expanding Cleveland metro. For those who love craft beers, Ohio City is the place to go. It contains a large number of breweries and pubs. The neighborhood is also home to the auxiliary location of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Tremont

Tremont, like Ohio City, is an historic neighborhood. It was once home to many German immigrants. Today, the area includes a number of art galleries and restaurants. It has been going through a revival of sorts since 2000, becoming an area where many LGBTQ professionals, hipsters, and even older couples find attractive. The dog park, historic Lemko Hall, and the various older churches make the area feel homey and add to its historic charm.

Lakewood

Lakewood isn’t a neighborhood in Cleveland, but it is a nearby suburb. Home to more than 50,000 people, Lakewood provides a gorgeous view of Lake Erie to its residents. This thriving city is home to many LGBTQ individuals and couples. It’s been named as one of the best places to raise children by Business Week and as one of the Top 10 suburbs in the country.

As you can see, not only is Cleveland a great place for LGBTQ people, it also has plenty of options. Contact a gay or lesbian real estate agent in the area today to begin finding your perfect home.

Federal Law and LGBTQ Housing Discrimination

One of the worst feelings is being discriminated against. Sometimes it’s obvious. You know right away that someone isn’t treating you fairly simply because you identify as LGBTQ. Other times, it’s much more subtle. This can almost be worse than obvious discrimination because you’re left wondering if it’s actually happening or if you’re just imaging it. When it comes to housing, there are laws in place to protect you against discrimination. It’s important that you know these laws and your rights, so you understand how to battle discrimination if it affects you.

The Fair Housing Act

Federal Law and LGBTQ Housing DiscriminationThe Federal Fair Housing Act is the single legal document you need to understand when it comes to housing discrimination. This Act states that no one can be discriminated against based on color, race, sex, religion, national origin, familial status, or disability. While that doesn’t specifically say anything about gender identity or sexual orientation, the Justice Department has gone on record as stating that “sex” does include discrimination against transgender buyers and renters.

In addition to the Justice Department expanding this definition, the Housing and Urban Development department has also gone on record stating that the Act protects you from being discriminated against for “gender nonconformity.” This means that if you are biologically male, but choose to dress feminine, you cannot be discriminated against for not fitting the male stereotype.

Because the Act does mention familial status, many see it as protecting married LGBTQ couples or those who have chosen not to get married but want to live together. As with many laws, the way the Federal Fair Housing Act protects LGBTQ individuals and couples is still being tested and determined.

State Protections

Unfortunately, there aren’t sweeping state laws that protect LGBTQ homebuyers. Various states offer different protections. Some offer next to none, while others have passed legislation fully protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. Some states protect people based on sexual orientation, but not on gender identification. Then there are city ordinances that protect only those who live within certain metro areas. If you believe you’re dealing with discrimination in housing, it’s important to learn how your state and city offer protections. Speaking to an experienced legal expert is recommended.

Avoiding Discrimination

If you want to avoid discrimination in your search for the perfect home, one way of doing so is to use a gay or lesbian real estate agent. These agents understand what it’s like to be the target of discrimination and will go out of their way to make certain you’re treated fairly.

Should You Come Out to Your Real Estate Agent?

When buying a house as a member of the LGBTQ community, do you have to come out to your real estate agent? Should it matter what your orientation is or if your agent knows? It shouldn’t matter, although it does leave you open to discrimination, especially if you’re not working with a gay or lesbian agent. However, whether or not you do come out is up to you.

If You’re Married, It’s Important

Should You Come Out to Your Real Estate AgentIf you’re married, you’ll have to disclose that information when you’re applying for a mortgage. You’ll also want to have both of your names on the deed to the property. This means that your agent will need to know about your relationship. You’ll also have to come out to your lender and to the title company. The easy part about this is that you’ll “come out” in your paperwork. You don’t need to have any kind of conversation with anyone—they will see that you’re married on the loan information.

It’s Helpful in Some Situations

It can be helpful for your real estate agent to know that you’re looking for homes in the gay district or that are near LGBTQ businesses. Knowing that you’re a part of the community also means that your agent will know to show you homes in more accepting neighborhoods rather than those that tend to lean more conservative. Every piece of information you can give your agent will help them narrow the search and find homes that are absolutely perfect for you and your family.

It Depends on the Area

Of course, some cities and states are more conservative and less welcoming than others. If you’re looking for a home in one of these areas, you may not want to immediately come out to your agent. Even if you’re looking at homes with your partner, your agent may not immediately assume that you’re together. Some agents simply won’t care either way, and even those who aren’t supportive of the LGBTQ community will often be professionals. That’s not to say discrimination doesn’t exist—it does—but don’t assume that you will automatically be discriminated against.

If you’re single, there’s really no reason to say anything to your agent unless you want to. The same goes if you’re in a relationship, although your behavior towards your partner may give it away. If you’re at all concerned about being the victim of discrimination, find a gay or lesbian real estate agent. They’re more common than you might think.

Posted on September 20, 2018 in Gay and Lesbian, Gay Marriage, Gay Realtors, Realtors

What to Look for in a Gayborhood

If you’re ready to talk to a gay or lesbian real estate agent about moving into a gayborhood, you may be so focused on the overall area that you don’t stop and consider other aspects of where you’re moving to. Yes, it can be great being surrounded by other LGBTQ neighbors, but sometimes, a gay village has too many downsides to truly be the right place for you to move. Here are a few factors you should always take into consideration before you move to one of these neighborhoods.

Is it Conveniently Located?

What to Look for in a GayborhoodGay districts are often located in great parts of the city, but sometimes those locations simply aren’t that convenient for you. If you have to commute 30 minutes or aren’t in the right school district, you may need to weigh living in a gay neighborhood against being located closer to work or school. Even if you think the commute won’t be that bad, you may find yourself considering another move in a few years because you’re tired of it.

What Are Your Neighbors Like?

Many people love the idea of living near other LGBTQ individuals and families, but don’t stop and consider what their neighbors are really like. For example, some people aren’t comfortable or don’t see the need to make a big deal out of their sexuality. If you’re one of these people, are you really going to like living next to someone who has rainbow flags hung everywhere? If you like living on a quiet street, will you want to be near people who throw dinner parties or come home late at night after the clubs close?

Don’t simply look at your neighbors as LGBTQ people—look at them as the people they are. If you drive through the neighborhood and hear a lot of noise or see a lot of cars parked up and down the street on the weekends, you may not be happy there.

Do the Homes Meet Your Needs?

This is perhaps the most important question—are the homes in the gay neighborhood what you really need? You don’t want to buy a home that’s too small or too large for you and your family. You also don’t want to purchase a home that costs more than you can afford. Sometimes, moving into the gayborhood simply isn’t financially a good idea. When that’s the case, you shouldn’t hesitate to look elsewhere.