Category Archives: Gay Real Estate News

NO LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS FOR ANTI-GAY HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN 28 STATES

While 28 States Provide No Non-Discrimination Housing Laws To Protect LGBT Members, GayRealEstate.com Is Dedicated to Matching Members of the LGBTQ Community With Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Offering Free Buyers Representation.

While there are no federal laws which specifically address housing discrimination against LGBT individuals, GayRealEstate.com, a service connecting clients with compatible agents, remains committed to the mission of finding safe, welcoming homes for LGBT individuals

In United States housing law, only 21 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and one additional state prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation only, leaving 28 states with no protection against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Wisconsin prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation only. The remaining states have no explicit laws which protect housing discrimination against LGBT individuals.

Some cities within the states without legal protections in housing have provided legal protections. Here’s a look at the Top 50 Cities across America:GRE-Infographic-TopUSCities-01 (2)

  1. New York, NY: New York City is subject to not only the New York State Human Rights Law but also the New York City State Human Rights Law; both prohibit housing and lending discrimination based on several protected characteristics. Included in these protected characteristics are sexual orientation and/or gender identity, passed in 2002 and 2015 respectively.    New York also has dedicated resources for service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.
  2. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1999 and/or gender identity in 2004.  The City of Los Angeles is also strongly committed to affordable housing that is nondiscriminatory, fully accessible, and in full compliance with fair housing and disability rights laws.
  3. Chicago, IL: In 2005, Illinois passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The City of Chicago has enacted two powerful anti-discrimination ordinances.  The Chicago Human Rights Ordinance prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, credit transactions, employment, and bonding.  The Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance prohibits housing discrimination.  Both ordinances prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  4. Houston, TX: Unfortunately, Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity but there are six cities, not including Houston, in Texas than have their own local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Those cities include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Plano, and San Antonio, which account for 12% of the Texas population.  Houston does have resources dedicated to service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  5. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia is one out of 50 cities in Pennsylvania that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment whereas Pennsylvania State has not. There are an additional two counties in Pennsylvania that have passed anti-discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The 50 cities and two counties account for 33% of the Pennsylvania population.
  6. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona State does not have any LGBTQ protection ordinances but there are five cities that have local legislation protecting against discrimination for housing, public accommodations, or employment based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Those five cities include Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, Tempe, and Tucson.  These five cities account for 35% of the Arizona population.  Phoenix also has resources dedicated to service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  7. San Antonio, TX: Although Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, San Antonio is one of six cities that have their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing and public accommodations. This does not include employment.  San Antonio also has programs that support/service LGBTQ youth and homeless, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, and Plano.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  8. San Diego, CA: San Diego is subject to California State law which passed legislation in 1999 that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and in 2004 for gender identity. The City of San Diego, specifically, is committed to furthering fair housing efforts by continuing to address discrimination in their community and supporting education programs regarding the right to equal housing opportunities.
  9. Dallas, TX: Texas State does not have discrimination protection for sexual orientation or gender identity, but Dallas is one of six cities that has their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment. Dallas also has resources dedicated to services/support for LGBTQ youth and elders and people living with HIV/AIDS.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, Plano, and San Antonio.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  10. San Jose, CA: San Jose is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, in 1999 and 2004 respectively. San Jose is one of the more progressive cities in California as the The San Jose City Council banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1979; 20 years ahead of the state law for sexual orientation.
  11. Austin, TX: Although Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, Austin is one of six cities that have their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing and public accommodations. This does not include employment.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Plano.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  12. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville is one out of 25 cities in Florida that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment; Florida has not passed these ordinances at the state level. There are an additional 11 counties in Florida that have passed anti-discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The 25 cities and 11 counties account for 60% of the Florida’s population.
  13. San Francisco, CA: At the state level, California has passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation, since 1999, and/or gender identity, since 2004. The City of San Francisco also has its own laws governing against discrimination of additional protected classes which include persons with AIDS, transgenderism, and height and/or weight.
  14. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana has not passed state-level ordinances protecting sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but Indianapolis is one of 15 cities, and three counties, that have passed ordinances at the local level. Indianapolis also has the Indiana Civil Rights Commission for NDO enforcement, non-discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity in city and city contractor employment, and services/support for people living with AIDS/HIV.  The 15 cities and three counties account for 32% of the Indiana’s population.
  15. Columbus, OH: While Ohio has not instated anti-discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Columbus is one of 21 cities in Ohio that has passed protectionist laws at the local level. Columbus ranks as one of the most progressive cities with NDO enforcement by the Columbus Human Rights Commission, a LGBTQ liaison to city executives, an LBGTQ police liaison and/or task force, and openly LGBTQ elected or appointed municipal leaders.  The 22 cities with local ordinances account for 22% of Ohio’s population.
  16. Fort Worth, TX: Fort Worth is one of six cities in Texas that have instated local ordinances that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. Texas State does not have these protections.  Fort Worth also has resources dedicated to service/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.  The other cities with local ordinances in Texas include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Plano, and San Antonio.  These six cities account for 12% of Texas’ population.
  17. Charlotte, NC: North Carolina is one of the few states that explicitly bans cities and counties from passing nondiscrimination provisions related to housing, public accommodations, and employment with 0% of the state population protected against discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity related to those categories. Charlotte does have nondiscrimination laws against city and city contractor employment regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  They also have NDO enforcement by the Human Relations Commission and they provide services/support to LGBTQ youth and persons with HIV/AIDS.
  18. Seattle, WA: Since 2006, Washington has protected individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity regarding housing, public accommodations, and employment. Seattle also has The Gender Justice Project which works to advance policy solutions that promote equality related to all-gender restrooms and guidance on gender identity in the workplace.  Their work ensures City of Seattle staff understand how to work with transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.
  19. Denver, CO: Colorado State passed ordinances in 2008 that ensure 100% of the population is protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These ordinances cover housing and commercial space, employment, public accommodations, private education institutions, and private health and welfare services.  The Denver Anti-Discrimination Office (DADO) is one of three municipal offices in Colorado that protects sexual orientation and gender variance.
  20. El Paso, TX: Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that offers protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity. El Paso is one of six cities that have their own ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity but only in public accommodations. Their legislation does not currently include housing or employment.  The other cities with local ordinances include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, and Plano.
  21. Detroit, MI: Detroit is one of 41 Michigan cities that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment. Michigan does not currently have any statewide protections for these categories.  In addition to nondiscrimination laws, Detroit also has NDO enforcement by the Human Rights Commission and provides support/service to people living with HIV/AIDS.  The 41 cities that have local ordinances only account for 22% of Michigan’s total population.
  22. Washington, DC: The District of Columbia amended state legislation in 1977 to cover sexual orientation discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment. The legislation was amended again in 2006 to include gender identity.  In 2015, the D. C. City Council approved the Human Rights Amendment Act, which protects LGBTQ students from discrimination.
  23. Boston, MA: Since 1989, Massachusetts state law has protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2011, nondiscrimination laws were also passed for gender identity and transgender employees of the state government.  Boston was also the first U. S. State to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, making it one of the most LBGTQ friendly states in the country.  Boston also allocated resources to assist with NDO enforcement, LGBTQ homeless and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  24. Memphis, TN: Tennessee currently does not have any nondiscrimination protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, or employment. The state also has laws preventing passage or enforcement of local nondiscrimination laws making it one of the least LGBTQ friendly states.  Regardless of the state law, the City of Memphis does do all that they can faced with the state law that restricts their ability to pass LGBTQ-inclusive ordinances including nondiscrimination in city employment, a LGBTQ liaison to city executives, and an LGBTQ task force.
  25. Nashville, TN: Tennessee currently does not have any nondiscrimination protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, or employment. The state also has laws preventing passage or enforcement of local nondiscrimination laws making it one of the least LGBTQ friendly states.  Nashville is the top inclusive city in Tennessee as it has NDO enforcement by the Human Relations Commission and provides services/support to people living with HIV/AIDS.
  26. Portland, OR: Portland is subject to Oregon State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in 2007. In addition to a Human Rights Commission, Portland also offers services and support to LBGTQ elders, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.
  27. Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma State does not currently have any nondiscrimination laws covering sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2016, Oklahoma City passed a protection for housing only based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Only 3% of Oklahoma State’s population is protected against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination.
  28. Las Vegas, NV: Las Vegas is subject to Nevada State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in 2011. Although the city does not have a Human Rights Committee, the state has the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.  Las Vegas provides services/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.  Las Vegas has also elected or appointed openly LGBTQ municipal leaders.
  29. Baltimore, MD: Anti-discrimination laws in Maryland for sexual orientation were passed in 2001 and gender identity in 2014. The laws cover housing, public accommodations, and employment.  Baltimore has NDO enforcement by a Human Relations Committee and provides services/support to LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  30. Louisville, KY: Kentucky does not have any state-level laws prohibiting the discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but Louisville is one of eight cities in the state that does prohibit sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Louisville does not have any additional services, programs or resources dedicated to the LGBTQ community.  The 8 cities, and two additional counties, account for 27% of Kentucky’s total population.
  31. Milwaukee, WI: Passed in 2018, Wisconsin has antidiscrimination laws that offer protection based on sexual orientation for housing, public accommodations, and employment but that does not include gender identity. Only 5 cities, including Milwaukee, and 3 counties in Wisconsin offer local laws that offer protection against gender identity discrimination for housing and employment, which accounts for 22% of the state’s population.  There is no gender identity discrimination protection for public accommodations in Milwaukee.  Milwaukee also offers NDO enforcement by the Equal Rights Commission and services/support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
  32. Albuquerque, NM: New Mexico has antidiscrimination laws, passed in 2003, covering sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Albuquerque specifically has the Albuquerque Human Rights Office for NDO enforcement and provides services/support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
  33. Tucson, AZ: Tucson is one of five cities that have instated local ordinances that protect against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing. Arizona State does not have any LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. The additional four cities include Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, and Tempe.  Those five cities account for 35% of the Arizona population.  Tucson also has programs to support LGBTQ youth, homeless, and elders, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
  34. Fresno, CA: Although Fresno is subject to California State law, which prohibits discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the city itself is less progressive than other California cities as it does not have any additional councils or programs to assist with the LGBTQ community, persons living with AIDS/HIV, or transgender individuals. California passed legislation in 1999 to protect against discrimination for sexual orientation and again in 2009 for gender identity discrimination.
  35. Sacramento, CA: Sacramento is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The City of Sacramento also offers services and support to LBGTQ elders and persons living with AIDS/HIV.  Sacramento has also elected and/or appointed openly LGBTQ municipal leaders.  California passed legislation in 1999 to protect against discrimination for sexual orientation and again in 2009 for gender identity discrimination.
  36. Kansas City, MO: Although Missouri does not have any antidiscrimination laws related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Kansas City is one of 12 Missouri cities that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. Those 12 cities and 2 additional counties account for 35% of the state’s population.  Kansas City also offers services/support to LGBTQ youth, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the transgender community.
  37. Long Beach, CA: Long Beach is subject to California State law which passed legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The City of Long Beach also offers services and support to LBGTQ youth and persons living with AIDS/HIV.  Additional benefits from Long Beach include NDO enforcement by the Human Relations Commission, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, and non-discrimination in city and city contractor employment.  California passed legislation in 1999 to protect against discrimination for sexual orientation and again in 2009 for gender identity discrimination.
  38. Mesa, AZ: Unfortunately, Arizona State does not have any statewide LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. Arizona does have five cities that have instated local ordinances that protect LGBTQ individuals for housing. The additional four cities include Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, and Tempe.  Those four cities account for 35% of the Arizona population.  Mesa does not have any additional services, programs or resources dedicated to the LGBTQ community.
  39. Atlanta, GA: There are no housing, public accommodations, or employment nondiscrimination laws in the state of Georgia covering sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Atlanta, and one other Georgia county, have passed local ordinances that protect against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment.  Atlanta and Macon-Bibb County account for 6% of the total population of Georgia. Atlanta also has a Human Relations Commission to enforce the NDO as well as elected or appointed openly LGBTQ municipal leaders.
  40. Colorado Springs, CO: Passed in 2008, Colorado State offers statewide protection based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. While Colorado Springs does not have nearly as many protections or programs as Denver, it is still subject to state nondiscrimination laws.
  41. Virginia Beach, VA: Unfortunately, Virginia State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity. There are two cities and one county in Virginia than have their own ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and one city that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, and/or public accommodations.  The two cities and county are Alexandria, Charlottesville, and Arlington County, which account for 3% of the total Virginia population.
  42. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina is one of the few states that explicitly bans cities and counties from passing nondiscrimination provisions related to housing, public accommodations, and employment with 0% of the state population protected against discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity related to those categories. Charlotte does have nondiscrimination laws against city and city contractor employment regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  They also have the NC Human Relations Commission and they provide services/support to LGBTQ elders and persons with HIV/AIDS.
  43. Omaha, NE: Although Nebraska does not have any antidiscrimination laws related to sexual orientation or gender identity, Omaha is the only Nebraska city that has passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for public accommodations and employment. There are no regulations against housing discrimination for sexual orientation and/or gender identity at the state or local level.  Omaha accounts for 22% of the total population in Nebraska.
  44. Miami, FL: Miami is one out of 25 cities in Florida that have passed local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and employment; Florida has not passed these ordinances at the state level. There are an additional 11 counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade County, that have passed anti-discrimination ordinances including sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The 25 cities and 11 counties account for 60% of the Florida’s population.
  45. Oakland, CA: At the state level, California has passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation in 1999 and/or gender identity in 2004. The City of Oakland also offers services and support to persons living with AIDS/HIV.  Oakland also has anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in city employment and non-discrimination ordinances against sexual orientation, but not gender identity, for city contractors.
  46. Minneapolis, MN: In 2003, Minnesota passed legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment. The City of Minneapolis also the Commission on Civil Rights for NDO enforcement, a LGBTQ liaison to city executives, and an LGBTQ police liaison/task force.
  47. Tulsa, OK: Oklahoma State does not currently have any nondiscrimination laws covering sexual orientation or gender identity. The City of Tulsa has passed a protection for housing only based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Only 3% of Oklahoma State’s population is protected against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination for housing, public accommodations, and employment.
  48. Wichita, KS: At a state level, Kansas does not have any antidiscrimination ordinances based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Kansas has three cities and one county, not including Wichita, that have passed local laws preventing discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity for housing, public accommodations, and employment, which account for 11% of the total Kansas population.
  49. New Orleans, LA: While Louisiana does not have any nondiscrimination ordinances covering sexual orientation or gender identity, New Orleans is one of two cities that have instated local laws for housing, public accommodations, and employment against sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination.  New Orleans and Shreveport make up 12% of the total population of Louisiana.
  50. Arlington, TX: Unfortunately, Texas State does not have anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity but there are six cities in Texas than have their own ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in employment, housing, and/or public accommodations. Those cities include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Plano, and San Antonio, which account for 12% of the Texas population.

The GayRealEstate.com team is committed to ensuring that their clients are connected with agents who will represent their best interests and treat them with respect. The real estate service links clients with trustworthy gay, lesbian and gay-friendly agents who have been interviewed and investigated extensively and maintain equal respect and dedication for all clients.

GayRealEstate.com is dedicated to eliminating the stress and uncertainty of searching for professionals who respect each client’s dignity. Clients are assured that agents will not refuse services or under represent their needs based on sexual orientation or same-sex relationships. Furthermore, agents affiliated with GayRealEstate.com understand the unique needs of LGBT community members and how to best meet them in their local regions.

With more than 25 years of experience as the industry leader, GayRealEstate.com is proud to support the LGBT community and strives to ensure that every real estate transaction is conducted with integrity and without discrimination or intolerance.

 

 

CEO’s Vision Leads GayRealEstate.com

GayRealEstate.com has been around for over 25 years! We wanted to share a little bit with you about how the company was started – from the CEO himself, Jeff Hammerberg. We did a quick interview with him so you can get to know him and see how his personal experience leads the vision of our company!

Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com

Jeff Hammerberg, Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com

What do you love about your job?

I have the amazing opportunity to align fellow members of the LGBTQ community with a top gay / gay friendly realtor in any city in the United States or Canada. Many of these agents I’ve known and have worked with for over 25 years! It’s very gratifying for me to know that a client’s best interests will be fully and legally represented by a full-time professional realtor that stands in full support of our LGBTQ community.

 

What led you to start this company?

In the early 1990’s, I witnessed an instance of “quiet homophobia” while working at a Re/Max office. A gay male couple stepped into the ReMax Professionals office in Littleton, CO interested in buying a home and were assisted by the floor agent. A floor agent is an “on-duty” agent that handles all of the incoming calls and walk-in traffic – an opportunity to pick up new clients.

On this particular day, the floor agent was a straight friend of mine; honest, nice and kind, but someone who had probably never met an openly gay person. After he consulted with the couple, and they left, the agent took a lot of ribbing in the back room from fellow agents that had witnessed the interaction. It was shocking what I witnessed.

While the agent went on to sell these guys a home, I questioned how well they were represented. Were these clients’ best interests being represented? Was there a better way to ensure members of the LGBTQ community could be assured of fair, equal and honest representation by someone that understood the unique needs and desires of our community?

I realized in that moment, that by creating a database of gay, lesbian, and gay-friendly realtors, I could help other LGBTQ individuals and couples avoid discomfort, uncertainty, unenthusiastic representation or even hostility.

Individuals could be assured of a comfortable, smooth buying or selling experience while being fully represented.

So I created what today is known as GayRealEstate.com

 

Why is what this company does so important?

Listen, this is potentially the largest investment you’ll make in your lifetime. It’s not only important to know exactly where your realtor stands in reference to their acceptance and support of the LGBTQ community – it’s equally important to know the very large commission they will earn is not partially going to support a church, or political candidate or party that is not standing in full support of our LGBTQ community. Where we spend our dollars is of huge importance, especially in this day and age.

 

What sets Gay Real Estate (GRE) apart?

We’ve been representing members of our LGBTQ community for over 25 years!

In that time we’ve not only continued to build our business and systems and processes, to ensure they are cutting edge and seamless for our potential clients, we’ve given back to our community! We annually support dozens and dozens of organizations and individuals that continue to fight for our freedom and rights. We recognize this is as important a commitment today as it was back in the early 90’s when we first started.

 

What life experience has most influenced your career?

I was brought up in a “born again” family in Northern Minnesota – I dated women into my late 20’s and came to terms with my sexuality at age 30. My mother’s first comment when I came out to her was “you’re going to hell, you know that, don’t you?”

I guess I spent a great deal of my life exceeding at everything I did, and often that was to “make up for being gay”… that’s a tough way to spend half your life, but I know it’s not unique to me, and I also know it’s been part of my perfect path.

I learned early on in the US Navy that life would give back to me, what I gave to it. I’ve learned that each day if I take even the tiniest step in the direction of the life I’d like to have – it unfolds perfectly! I’m always taking action, and I’ve always been willing to work harder than anyone else would expect of me.

 

If you weren’t running this (and other) companies – what would you be doing?

It’s a good question. I have this HUGE entrepreneurial spirit – I’ve always got my hands in something! What business idea do you have? Lol! At a younger age I thought about motivation speaking – I’ve been a junkie of motivation since my childhood, where my dad had me listening to Earl Nightingale, Robert Schuller and others. I like coaching (I’m a Certified Professional Coach, CPC ®), mentoring and brainstorming.

The most gratifying for me, and I believe the biggest contribution I can make to society, is volunteering. I currently volunteer through SAGE, visiting elderly members of our LGBTQ community that leave their homes, transitioning into senior living facilities, retirement homes and assisted living. A large majority of them go back into the closet, a potentially very difficult, confusing and depressing readjustment in life.

 

What is a fun fact about you?

After 27 years in Denver, CO my husband and I are moving full-time to Palm Springs, CA. We’ve been visiting Palm Springs for a number of years, spending a couple of months during the Colorado winters. We’ve finally decided to make it full time.

If you haven’t been, I’d recommend a visit! Palm Springs has a wonderful pace of life. Amazing theatre, amazing restaurants, amazing hiking, amazing pool parties, and just 1.5 hrs. to Los Angeles. The Palm Springs community is 40% LGBTQ, and the ENTIRE city council and mayor are LGBTQ, it’s just comfortable… and where else could you live, where Leonardo DiCaprio, Barry Manilow and Suzanne Summers are your neighbors!

Posted on July 17, 2018 in Gay Real Estate News, Gay Realtor News, Gay Realtors

Should LGBT Couples Rent or Buy a Home?

If you’re in a same-sex relationship, but aren’t married, you probably assume that you should rent a house or apartment together. Many couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, do this because they don’t want to be tied to a mortgage together if they decide to split up. While same-sex marriage is legal now, some couples either don’t want to get married or are not ready to take that step. However, because interest rates on mortgages hit record lows in 2016 and are still quite reasonable, many people see it as a very good time to purchase a home. Should you do it, or should you continue to play it safe by renting?

The Advantages to Buying

Should LGBT Couples Rent or Buy a HomeBuying a home does mean that you can take advantage of a number of different tax breaks. You can deduct the amount you pay every year in interest to your mortgage from your income taxes. If you’re not married, though, you and your partner will have to file separately. This means you can’t claim the deduction together. You can split the deduction, or one of you can claim it all. It really depends on what your income is and where the deduction will do the most good.

If one of you makes a good amount more than the other, it makes sense for that person to claim all of the deduction. It helps if that person’s name is first on the mortgage, but it’s not a requirement. If you plan on splitting the deduction, it can help if you’ve both paid the mortgage through two separate payments.

Establish Joint Tenancy

If you are buying a home, you will need to establish that you have a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. This way, if one of you dies, the other person automatically becomes the sole owner of the property. If you aren’t both on the title and have it specified that you are living in the home as joint tenants, one partner may end up with nothing if the person whose name is on the title dies. A gay or lesbian real estate agent can provide you with additional information on how to establish joint tenancy.

The Downsides

Purchasing a house isn’t as easy as renting a home, of course. You do have to qualify for a mortgage, deal with property taxes, and handle all of the repairs yourself. However, you’re also building up equity in your property and have control over everything. That’s why many see homeownership, even if they’re not married, as a reward worth working towards.

How Tennessee Cities Rank in the 2016 HRC Study

The Human Rights Campaign has completed its fifth Municipal Equality Index. This study looks at how cities across the U.S. rank based on their policies, laws, city hiring practices, school polices, and other practices protect their LGBT citizens. The study looked at the capital cities of each state as well as several hundred of the most populous and largest cities. In Tennessee, that included eight different cities.

how-tennessee-cities-rank-in-the-2016-hrc-studyThe highest scoring city in Tennessee was Nashville, which scored a 60. That’s slightly higher than the national average score of 55, but the other seven cities fell short of that goal. Knoxville, the second-highest scoring city, hit the average with a 55, but Memphis came in just under at 53. The other cities in the state scored even lower, dropping Tennessee’s average to 33 points out of 100.

Despite this, Tennessee is working to improve its reputation in the LGBT community. Cities such as Murfreesboro have held pride celebrations for the first time in 2016. While the state does still have a number of challenges that must be addressed, groups such as the Tennessee Equality Project are working with local and state legislators to address these issues.

While Memphis has improved its HRC ranking over the years, the city does still have a number of areas that need work. For example, the city does ranks a zero out of 30 in the non-discrimination laws section. This part of the evaluation looked at Memphis’s laws that prevented discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. The city has had a number of debates over inclusive housing laws, especially those aimed at protecting transgender individuals.

Another area where Memphis failed was in healthcare benefits for transgender individuals. The city has no benefits for these citizens. Looking at all of the cities in the study, this was an area of major improvement across the board. In 2012, there were only five cities with inclusive healthcare. This year, there were 86.

Memphis did not fail in all areas, though. For example, the city did score a full five points for the fact that the mayor’s office has an LGBT liaison. Another area Memphis received full credit for was for having full non-discrimination laws regarding city employment.

Many LGBT activists see opportunities to improve Memphis’s score next year, especially with the mayor’s office working with the LGBT community.

Housing Availability in Several Popular Cities

Thinking of moving to San Diego, Miami, Phoenix, or Seattle?  These are four fairly popular cities that many LGBT people move to.  While they’re not San Francisco or New York City in terms of the LGBT lifestyle, they also aren’t as expensive or as crowded.  But not all four of these cities have the same housing availability.  In fact, moving to a couple of them can be difficult if you’re looking to purchase a home, but have a fairly strict budget and needs.

San Diego

Housing Availability in Several Popular CitiesSan Diego is a popular destination in California.  It’s close to LA and San Francisco, but it’s nowhere near as crowded, plus it’s more affordable.  But it’s not easy to find single-family homes or condos in the city.  In fact, according to Zillow, the available housing in San Diego dropped more than 30 percent in 2015.  More people are moving than are leaving, which makes it difficult to find a home that fits your needs and budget.  At the end of 2015, there were less than 6,000 properties for sale.  That sounds like a lot, but when you factor in needs, price, and location, the number that fit your idea of a dream home is fairly small.

Seattle, Phoenix, and Miami

Seattle, likewise, is down to less than 7,500 properties for sale.  The city has become very popular with younger generations, while the older generations who already own homes in the city don’t want to sell.

But then there’s the other end of the spectrum.  Both Phoenix and Miami are definitely in a buyer’s market phase at the moment.  Miami has more than 37,000 properties available, while Phoenix has more than 19,000.  Have people been leaving these two cities in droves?  Not quite—instead, developers have been building many more units than were needed, leaving the housing market with too many properties and not enough buyers.

What Does it Mean?

If you’re a seller with property in Seattle or San Diego, you’re in a very good position.  With fewer competing properties, you shouldn’t have much trouble selling your property.  If you’re looking to buy, though, be aware that you’re going to have to pay the asking price or even a little over.  If you hesitate, you’ll lose the property to someone else.

The opposite is true in Miami and Phoenix.  Buyers control the market here, picking and choosing the properties they want and often getting away with lowball offers.  Sellers who want to offload their properties quickly will have to accept these offers.

Questions to Ask Before Any Potential Move

Many people have questions about the city they are considering moving to, but if you’re a member of the LGBT community, you’re likely to have many more questions than the average person.  That’s because you will want to know if you’ll be accepted in your new home.  A gay or lesbian real estate agent can be very helpful in this process, especially if you haven’t made the move yet and are in need of help finding a home.  If you’re not sure what questions you should ask, this list may help.

How Many Hate Crimes Have Occurred in the Area?

Questions to Ask Before Any Potential MoveHate crimes, especially those that target LGBT people, can be a very good indicator of what your new neighborhood will be like.  While no one may have actually been attacked, property may have been vandalized.  Your Realtor may also know of altercations that took place.  Of course, there are times that one particular person was the cause of all of these issues, and if that person has moved, the neighborhood may no longer have any issues.  Take the timing of any anti-LGBT incident into consideration, too—if it was in the past month, you have a right to be concerned.  If there haven’t been incidents for a year or so, don’t pass up your dream house if it happens to be in the area.

Do Other LGBT Families Live There?

While it may be difficult to tell how many LGBT people are in a neighborhood, a gay or lesbian real estate agent will probably have an idea of which areas LGBT people cluster.  Even if there’s not a gay neighborhood in the city, there are always areas where LGBT people tend to cluster.  Knowing you won’t be alone in the area can help you determine where you want to live, especially if you’re looking to be a part of the LGBT community.  It also helps to know where things like the local LGBT community center, gay bars, or LGBT-owned businesses are located.

Is There Any LGBT Representation in the Local Community?

Are there any LGBT people on the board of the home owner’s association or the community association?  If there’s not, it doesn’t automatically mean that the neighborhood is a bad place to live.  However, if there is, you can definitely take it as a sign that the community is very open and welcoming to LGBT people.  Like with everything, don’t assume the lack of diversity is due to any discrimination—the LGBT people who live in the area may simply have no interest in being active in the community.

2016 LGBT Trends to Be On the Lookout For

Now that same-sex marriage is legal, the LGBT community is changing and adapting to the new normal.  This new year and new status quo is sure to bring new trends to the LGBT community.  These new trends will include more than just more same-sex marriages—it will include greater visibility, a move for more rights, and many other trends.

More Homebuyers

There Are Quite a Few Things to Expect for the LGBT Community Over the Course of 2016In the second half of 2015, many same-sex couples married.  Now that they’ve done that, many are preparing to do what most opposite-sex couples do when they get married: they buy their first home together.  While some LGBT couples have lived together for years and bought a home years ago, some have continued to rent because of the fact that they would have to apply as two single people on the mortgage.  They would not have the same type of protection that a married couple would have when purchasing a home.  Today, that’s not true, and many are looking to become homeowners in 2016.

Small Businesses Will Focus More on LGBT Customers

More and more small and medium-sized businesses are entering and driving the market, and these businesses are seeing the value of the LGBT community.  Until recently, the LGBT community has only been courted by airlines, cruises, hotels, and other big businesses.  In the coming year, however, many smaller businesses are starting to focus more on advertising to the LGBT community.

Along those same lines, expect to see more and more businesses of all sizes come out in support of LGBT rights.  While some will certainly see this as a move to simply get more business (and for some companies, it may be), it’s also a sign that businesses believe all of their employees and customers should be treated fairly.

More Attempted Anti-LGBT Legislation

This trend isn’t as positive, but it’s already happening: conservative state legislators are pushing back against the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage by introducing bills with a decidedly anti-LGBT slant to them.  For example, before 2016 was even a month old, the Oklahoma legislature had 26 bills or resolutions being considered that in some way involved discriminating against LGBT people, including a ballot initiative that, if approved, would give private businesses the ability to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages.  They would be protected from lawsuits and any other legal consequences and be allowed to freely discriminate.

While with the exception of the last trend, which we can hope dies off fairly quickly, 2016 is looking to be a good year for the LGBT community.  With one major battle over, couples can now marry and purchase property more easily, trends that are sure to continue through this year.

Posted on February 19, 2016 in Gay and Lesbian, Gay Real Estate News

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.

Now that Gay Marriage is Legal, What Does it Mean for the Mortgage Market?

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling on the case of Obergefell v. Hodges.  This ruling gave gays and lesbians the right to marry in all states and struck down all current gay marriage bans.  While we may not realize exactly how this ruling affected the country for a few years, experts are already anticipating changes in a number of industries.  Those in the real estate industry have a few predictions for how same-sex marriage will affect the mortgage market.

CoupleMore Same-Sex Couples will be House Hunting

Gay and lesbian real estate agents have been helping LGBT couples find and purchase their dream homes for years.  Now that same-sex marriage is legal, many expect the number of gay and lesbian couples searching for a home to increase.  Newlyweds may want to jettison everything from their single lives, including their individual homes, now that they can legally create a life together.  This means that more houses are going to sell, and the number of mortgages is going to increase.

More Couples May Qualify for Mortgages

Some experts are going back and forth on this, but overall, most agree that married same-sex couples are likely to have a better chance at qualifying for a mortgage, which means lenders will be making more mortgages.  This is because when married couples apply for a mortgage, they’re considered as one unit.  The low income or bad credit of one can be counterbalanced by the higher income or better credit of the other.  When two people apply for a mortgage jointly as individuals, this isn’t always the case.  Of course, bad credit can still hurt a married couple, but it’s not necessarily going to deny them the mortgage.

More Refinancing

The mortgage market can also expect to see a surge in refinancing soon.  There are a couple of reasons that many predict this will happen.  First, now that they’re married, many couples will want to jointly own their property and share the responsibility.  This means putting both spouses on the mortgage, and that requires refinancing.  Second, as mentioned above, as a married couple, they may have a chance of getting better mortgage terms than they would have or did have when applying jointly as individuals.  Savvy newlyweds may be able to take advantage of lower interest rates and other savings by refinancing their home.  What better way to start their married life together than by lowering their house payment?

How Legal Gay Marriage Will Effect Getting VA Loans

When the Supreme Court handed down their landmark decision on June 26, 2015, that reversed the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Obergefell v. Hodges and effectively made same-sex marriage legal in all states, it affected more than just LGBT couples. It also affected the mortgage market in a number of ways.

images (1)The first is that now same-sex couples can legally marry in any state, and those marriages are recognized throughout the U.S. This means that they now have all of the same rights as opposite-sex couples, including the right to hold property together. It’s now much easier for same-sex couples to apply for mortgages and get financing because lenders have always favored married couples over two single people applying for a mortgage jointly. Many experts expect to see more LGBT couples make the move from renters to homeowners in the very near future. Those who did purchase a home as two single individuals and are now married may also look to refinance their mortgages.

Couples who are married also have a tendency to feel more secure and stable. The results from a number of surveys show that single people, even those in a long-term relationship, feel like purchasing a home is something that’s done only after marriage. The fact that more same-sex couples can now legally married is expected to result in a number of new homeowners.

Another advantage that comes with the Supreme Court decision is the fact that same-sex married couples will be able to make use of the mortgage program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to this, the VA only provided benefits to same-sex couples who lived in states where those marriages were legal. Now veterans across the country will be able to add their spouses to their mortgages no matter what state they live in.

There will also no longer be any question about inheritance or title issues. Prior to this decision, the many different laws across the country regarding same-sex couples and their right to marry created a patchwork of different rules and regulations regarding property ownership and inheritance. Those issues are now gone, and same-sex couples can be treated exactly the same as opposite-sex couples. Spouses no longer have to create extra paperwork or go out of their way to make certain the title to their property is worded in such a way that there can be no challenge to who inherits the property if one of them dies.