Category Archives: Gay Realtors

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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.

Wilton Manors – A Gay Village for Retirees

Wilton Manors in Florida is home to a very large LGBTQ population. Many of these individuals are retired individuals and couples who have moved to Florida to spend their golden years in peace. The city has the second highest percentage of LGBTQ residents to total population (behind Provincetown, MA), with 140 out of every 1,000 identifying as a member of the community. This 14% is much, much higher than the national average of 1.1% of the U.S. population, so if you want to spend time with other LGBTQ people, Wilton Manors is definitely one of the places to go!

The History of Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors – A Gay Village for RetireesWhile it may not play as big a part in the struggle for equality as gay villages in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, Wilton Manors still has an interesting history. It’s a somewhat young city—it was incorporated in 1947. Despite that, it quickly became a haven for LGBTQ individuals. As more and more LGBTQ people moved to Wilton Manors, related organizations came into the area. This led to the funding of the Wilton Manors Pride Center, a branch of the Stonewall National Museum, and the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center. The city’s police department features LGBTQ officers and a liaison officer, plus a number of elected city officials, including at least one mayor, have identified as members of the community.

Senior Living

In addition to the condos, apartments, and single-family homes that retirees can purchase in Wilton Manors, the city is also home to an LGBTQ senior housing complex. This development features more than 50 housing units, all of which are priced for the limited income retirees often find themselves with. They also offer extra features to help those in need, including assistance getting to doctor’s appointments and other locations.

A Great Location

While Wilton Manors isn’t a huge city—it has a regular population of a little over 11,000, although that number greatly increases during vacation season—it is located near Fort Lauderdale and Oakland Park. Both of these cities are also home to a number of LGBTQ individuals and families, plus they offer many different shopping and dining options. The city is also considered a part of the Miami Metro Area, and thanks to several major highways, it’s easy to get to travel to many of the events Miami hosts.

Pricing in Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors does have a wide range of housing prices. Those who qualify for living in the senior living center may find that their housing costs fit nicely into their budgets. Those who are looking to purchase a home, though, may end up spending $500,000 or more depending on where in Wilton Manors they want to be located. A gay or lesbian real estate official can assist you with finding a home that fits your needs and your budget.

Things Straight Real Estate Agents Might Not Understand

There are many great real estate professionals out there, and chances are any of them will be able to help you find the perfect home. However, there are some things that gay or lesbian real estate professionals will understand right away while straight agents may not. Here are a few things these real estate experts might not grasp right away and why going with an LGBTQ agent might be a better option for you.

They May Not Realize You’re a Couple

Things Straight Real Estate Agents Might Not UnderstandSome straight real estate agents might assume you’ve brought a friend, or worse, your brother/sister, to look at the property with you. They won’t realize you’re looking for a home for the two of you. Correcting them can be a little stressful since you never know how they will react. An LGBTQ agent may ask if you’re together rather than assume you are.

They May Not Look for Family Homes

Another thing a straight real estate agent may do, often unconsciously, is assume that you won’t be starting a family. They may look for smaller homes for the two of you that simply won’t work for children. If you’re planning on starting a family either through adoption or surrogacy, it’s important to let them know upfront that you need a home that will support this. Some may assume that since the two of you can’t biologically have a child together, you’re not planning on a family.

They Sometimes Fall into Stereotypes

While even LGBTQ real estate professionals can do this, it’s more common for straight agents to stereotype gay and lesbian couples. They may assume that lesbian couples want a large shop for their home improvement projects or that gay men want very fashionable houses with a lot of color and extravagant décor. They might show you homes that play into these stereotypes at first, which can be frustrating.

They May Assume You Want to Live in the Gay District

If the city you’re moving to has a gay district, a straight real estate agent might assume that’s where you want to live. You might not have any interest in that area. A good agent, no matter what their orientation, should ask you upfront what part of the city you’re interested in or if there are any particular areas you need to be close to.

Overall, a straight real estate professional may simply make some assumptions. Often, they aren’t actively discriminating against you or purposely doing hurtful things. If you want to avoid any misunderstandings, though, working with a gay or lesbian agent will help you get your housing search off on the right foot.

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

Provincetown – The Gayest City in America

Data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau declared Provincetown, Massachusetts, to be the Gayest City in America in 2011. Most people weren’t that surprised when the 2010 census data showed that more same-sex couples lived in P-Town than anywhere else in the U.S. Overall, the data showed that there were 163 same-sex couples for every 1,000 households in the city. Even though this information comes from the last major census in 2010, anyone who lives in or visits Provincetown can see that things haven’t really changed that much.

A Great Place to Live and Work

Provincetown – The Gayest City in AmericaProvincetown is only home to around 3,000 people, but its summer population can hit 20 times that. It’s a major tourist location thanks to its beaches, artist community, and LGBTQ-friendliness. With its location on the very tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown entices people from around the world to spend at least a few weeks here during the summer. It’s relaxed, even when all of the tourists are in town, making it a great place to escape to and recharge.

Of course, if you’re living here, you may feel like you’re being invaded in the summer. It can seem more crowded than you’d like, but as a local, you’ll know where to go to escape the tourists. You also have the advantage in being on your home turf!

The History of Provincetown and the LGBTQ Community

Provincetown really started to grow in the 1960s. It attracted a good number of hippies thanks to its rural charm, cheap property, and gorgeous waters. While it was already attracting some vacationers, it wasn’t a major tourist destination yet.

In the 1970s, the secret of Provincetown reached the LGBTQ community, and many started moving into the area to both visit and to look for homes. While there had been a higher than average gay and lesbian presence in the town for years, it wasn’t until the 1970s that it really became an LGBTQ tourist destination. In fact, the Provincetown Business Guild was actually created in order to bring in more LGBTQ tourism! Today, the guild has over 200 businesses.

Provincetown Today

If you’re thinking about moving to P-town, you’ll need to have a nice budget. Gay and lesbian real estate agents point out a cheap condo is still $350,000 or more, while a single-family home starts at half a million. If you want beachfront property, be ready to pay in the millions.

Cities with the Best Pride Festivals

While an amazing pride festival may not be on your list of needs or wants for a new home, it is a nice perk. Being able to celebrate who you are with others in the LGBTQ community is a lot of fun. A big pride event is also usually a good sign that the community and the city are supportive of the LGBTQ community throughout the year. Here are a few of the cities that offer the most amazing pride events around.

San Francisco

Cities with the Best Pride FestivalsOf course it should come as no surprise that San Francisco has a great pride festival. There are more than 1.5 million people who come to the SF Pride event every year. With a couple dozen stages spread across the area, there are many different things to see and do. Of course, as any gay or lesbian real estate agent will tell you, San Francisco isn’t the most affordable real estate market. This is especially true if you’re looking at the Castro gay neighborhood.

Chicago

Chicago is home to another amazing pride festival and a great number of LGBTQ events throughout the year. June, however, features Chicago Pride and many other events. Things kick off Memorial Day weekend, continue through Pride Fest in the middle of the month, and close out with the parade the last weekend of June. Those considering a move to Chicago may want to look at homes in Boystown, the oldest gayborhood in the country.

Austin

If you’re from the south or considering a move there, Austin is one of the most welcoming cities in Texas. It’s also home to a major Pride parade. The festivities include dances, a fashion event, and much more. Many of the local bars participate, providing plenty of locations to hang out with other LGBTQ people and allies. Real estate in Austin is pretty affordable, too.

Boston

Up in the New England area, there are a number of great pride festivals. Boston, unsurprisingly, takes the cake with its Pride Week. With great food, live entertainment, and a parade that brings in people from around the state, Boston’s pride is definitely worth attending. Even if you decide Boston real estate isn’t for you, the suburbs and nearby towns may have just what you’re looking for.

Of course, there are many more amazing pride events held throughout the U.S. While some may be smaller than others, they all have one thing in common: bringing together the LGBTQ community to celebrate.

Up and Coming Gay Neighborhoods

Despite some reports, the death of the gay neighborhood is far from true. These areas may not be as prevalent today since more and more people are welcoming LGBTQ individuals and families into their neighborhoods, but they still exist. In fact, there are a number of new “gay ghettos” that have burst onto the scene, giving people options other than New York City, San Francisco, or Boystown in Chicago. Here are a few of these up and coming gay neighborhoods you could as your gay or lesbian real estate agent about.

New Orleans – the Bywater District

Up and Coming Gay NeighborhoodsNew Orleans has always been a very welcoming place for LGBTQ people, though it hasn’t achieved the fame some other cities have. It’s home to the oldest continuously open gay bar in the country, and many people come to celebrate Mardi Gras every year. While the French Quarter has served as something of a gay neighborhood over the years, the Bywater District has become more and more popular lately. This area contains many unique boutiques, artist stands, and more.

Denver – River North

Denver, Colorado, is another city with a long LGBTQ history. The city held one of the first pride events in the country and is home to organizations such as the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association. In 1990, the city even passed laws banning discrimination based on orientation, something few other cities were doing at the time. Today, River North is one of the up and coming gay neighborhoods. It’s an art district, which shouldn’t be a surprise—many LGBTQ people express themselves through art.

New condos have recently gone up in the area, but there are still a number of older homes here that are quite affordable. You’ll find new art galleries and boutiques next to older factories and historic areas, creating an interesting mix of old and new.

Salt Lake City – The Marmalade

Salt Lake City is often a surprise to LGBTQ people. They think of the city as home to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religion that hasn’t exactly been welcoming to LGBTQ individuals. But Salt Lake City is actually fairly liberal and welcoming. The city has actually had an openly gay mayor and hosts a major pride celebration every year. The Marmalade district is the city’s biggest gay neighborhood, although it is a fairly new part of the city. Despite that, it’s growing quickly and has become home to many young professionals who have moved to Salt Lake City.

These are just three of the newest gay neighborhoods. If you’re looking at moving to a different area, do a little research—chances are, there’s a gay district there!

Where Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Stand in 2018?

LGBTQ rights have come a long way in the past ten years. While the fight for equality isn’t over, things have gotten better in some areas. Thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage is now the law of the land. Being able to marry your partner provides you with many more legal protections and options.

This is especially true when it comes to buying a home. Some couples aren’t aware of these changes or where exactly same-sex couples stand when they’re buying a home. Things are different now, and you need to know about these differences before you begin your home search.

Marriage Makes It Easier

Where Do LGBTQ Homebuyers Stand in 2018If you’re married to your partner, buying a house is an easier process. You don’t have to worry about setting up joint tenancy documents or whether it’s better to be tenants in common. Unless you file as married filing separately, you also don’t have to decide if one person should claim the entire mortgage tax deduction or if it needs to be split. There’s no question that the two of you own the property as a married couple with all the rights and privileges that brings.

You’re also protected from discrimination from lenders. In September of 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is a federal agency, determined that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s protections on sex discrimination extended to orientation and gender identity. Banks, mortgage companies, and other lenders cannot deny your application just because you’re in a same-sex relationship or marriage.

More Protections Exist

Many states and cities have passed ordinances or other legal protections that prevent discrimination based on orientation or gender identity. According to Trulia, 55.2% of housing options (homes, apartments, etc.) are protected by laws. Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C. have passed protections that cover housing, employment, and public accommodations. Unfortunately, if you plan on buying in an area that doesn’t have these protections, you may find yourself facing discrimination.

Discrimination Is Still Lurking

LGBTQ discrimination is still widespread in some areas. Even if the seller isn’t upfront about it, if they want to deny your bid based on the fact that you’re a same-sex couple, they will find some way of doing so. Some real estate agents will also discriminate, showing you only a few houses or obviously not dedicating much time to your needs. That’s why many look for a gay or lesbian real estate agent. In addition to being a better fit for your needs, they also understand the legalities around housing discrimination.

The Best Cities in Hawaii for LGBTQ Individuals

Thinking about moving to Hawaii? The island state is gorgeous, and even better, it’s very welcoming to LGBTQ individuals and families. Hawaii is a diverse place where just about everyone will fit in. Of course, housing costs here are fairly high, especially if you’re living on or near the beach. For those who can afford it, though, Hawaii is a beautiful place to live. Here are a few of the best towns and cities for LGBTQ people who are thinking about making the move to Hawaii.

Honolulu

The Best Cities in Hawaii for LGBTQ IndividualsThe capital of the state and its largest city, Honolulu has a thriving LGBTQ population. The city is home to an annual pride festival along with a number of other events. Many are hosted by the Hawai’I LGBT Legacy Foundation. Honolulu has become a popular destination for LGBTQ couples planning a destination wedding.

Waikiki

Known for its gorgeous beaches, Waikiki is also a nice city for families. There are many things for children of all ages here, including the zoo and aquarium. You won’t find many single-family homes in Waikiki—most houses here are condos. If you’re looking for a place with very little maintenance, that might be perfect for you. You can exchange your yard work for a day at the beach! There are many gay and lesbian real estate professionals who can help you find the perfect condo here.

Lahaina

Lahaina, which is on the island of Maui, is a popular vacation destination for LGBTQ individuals. That doesn’t mean it can’t also be your ideal home. “Convenience” is the name of the game on Lahaina—you’ll find just about everything you need within walking distance. The city is fairly compact and dense, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. For those who are fine with this, Lahaina offers a lot of LGBTQ-friendly venues and activities.

Hilo

Hilo is the go-to destination for many LGBTQ people looking to get away from their daily grind for a bit. Some love it so much they retire here. Crime rates are low, and most everything is within walking distance. There are many different activities to do on the weekends for families, too. Hilo is nice for those who want everyone a large city has to offer, but would prefer some place that’s not as densely populated as Lahaina or Honolulu.

Manoa

One of Hawaii’s college towns, Manoa is a very diverse town. The University of Hawaii brings in many young people and offers a number of activities throughout the year. It’s also a fun town that’s fairly relaxed and offers very affordable housing.