Category Archives: Home Deals

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.

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.

Are there LGBTQ Friendly Towns in Kansas?

Kansas isn’t known for being at the forefront of the battle for LGBTQ rights. Because of this, some people wonder if moving to the state is a good idea. If you reach out to a gay or lesbian real estate agent, though, you might be surprised at the number of places they will tell you are very welcoming and diverse. Kansas does have a lot to offer the LGBTQ community. If you’re uncertain where to make your new home, here are a few cities where you can start your search.

Kansas City

Are there LGBTQ Friendly Towns in KansasYou might start your search for a great LGBTQ community in Kansas City, the largest city in the state. It’s very diverse and welcoming. This large city has everything you’d expect from a major metro area, including a thriving downtown area, an arts district, and more. The city has been called one of the most underrated LGBTQ-friendly destinations in the U.S. In addition to a number of gay bars in the city, you’ll also find the LIKEME Lighthouse, a LGBTQ community center.

Topeka

The capital of the state, Topeka also features a few gay bars. In fact, these bars bring in people from all around the area. The Kansas Equality Wedding Expo was held here in 2015 and brought together many wedding vendors who support the LGBTQ community. Topeka Pride, held every year, is a week of fun events and activities.

Wichita

Wichita is another underrated city that is quite welcoming to LGBTQ individuals and families. The city is home to The Center, a LGBTQ community center and safe space for those in need. It’s found in the downtown district and is located next to Equality Kansas, a group that works for LGBTQ equality throughout the state. Wichita is a great city for those who want to live somewhere with many amenities and comforts yet still want to feel like they’re in a small community. Living in the suburbs gives you both.

Lawrence

The University of Kansas is located in Lawrence, making it something of a college town. This university is known for having the largest LGBTQ student population in the state, and that’s reflected in how welcoming the city is. The university has built a LGBTQ resource center that anyone in the community can make use of. Many of the local bars transform into gay bars on Wednesday, too.

Ready to move to Kansas? These are just a few of the welcoming places to live in the state.

Finding the Right Location for Your New Home

Looking for a new home usually involves carefully picking and choosing what goes on your “must-have” list and what goes on the “would like” list. Many gay and lesbian real estate agents find that location is almost always on the must-have. Even if it’s not in a specific neighborhood, most people have a vague idea of where they want to live in the city. For some, the location may be defined by a certain school district. For others, it might be the distance from work. But these vague ideas may not always lead you to the right location. Here are a few tips to help you determine if you’ve found the right place.

Do You Know the Area?

Finding the Right Location for Your New HomeMoving into an area you don’t know very well is often risky. You might find that you really don’t enjoy living there for one reason or another. Instead of simply going to see the property a few times while you’re deciding if you want to buy or not, you need to investigate the neighborhood. Visit it at several different times, including at night and on the weekends. This will let you see how loud it is at night and how busy it is on the weekend. Also see what it’s like driving to that area when you’d be going to and getting home from work. This will let you see how the traffic is.

What Do the Neighboring Homes Look Like?

Take a look at houses on the same block and on a few blocks in either direction. Would you be happy living in one of those homes as it is now? If not, why not? Homes that look like they’re in disrepair or aren’t being kept up may indicate that the neighbors aren’t the best. If you find that most of the homes in the neighborhood look run down, you may want to reconsider your purchase.

Consider a Gay Neighborhood

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, you may want to consider moving into a neighborhood where like-minded individuals live. While not every city has what’s sometimes referred to as a gay ghetto, many of the larger metro areas do. These neighborhoods are usually very welcoming and populated by many diverse individuals and families. While it’s true that you may be welcomed in many parts of the city, you may find that you’re happiest in a neighborhood where you don’t have to fear being targeted for your gender identity or sexual orientation.

Is Chicago’s Boystown In Your Future?

Boystown is one of the most famous gay neighborhoods of Chicago, but it’s more than that—it’s actually the first recognized gay neighborhood in the country.  Many LGBT people flocked to Boystown, which quickly became one of the biggest gay and lesbian cultural centers.  Over the years, gay neighborhoods have come and gone, but Boystown is still going strong.  In fact, in 2014, it was named the World’s Most Incomparable Gay Neighborhood by Out Traveler magazine.  The award was voted on by the readers of the magazine, so it’s more than just an editorial pick—it was the overwhelmingly popular choice.

Where is it?

Chicago's Boystown Is a Great Option for Those Looking to Move to an LGBT Friendly Area In the MidwestBoystown is loosely defined as the area between Irving Park Road and Wellington Avenue and the area between Broadway and Sheffield Avenue.  Part of this area actually overlaps with the Lakeview East neighborhood.

Boystown Attractions

There are many different attractions in Boystown.  It’s well-known for its nightlife, which can get pretty lively, and its theater.  The Chicago Off-Loop Theater is located here, as is the Laugh Factory comedy club and the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre.  Then there are the different fashion boutiques, wineries, locally owned shops, and even a few popular chain stores.  Some popular spots include the Hydrate Nightclub, Roscoe’s, Nookies Tree, Yoshi’s Café, and Cram Fashion.

The Center on Halstead, the local LGBT community center, is on the corner of Waveland and Halstead.  It’s the Midwest’s largest LGBT community center, and over 1,000 people visit it every day.  The center offers everything from STI and HIV testing to cooking classes and sports.

Pride

Boystown is home to Chicago’s annual LGBT Pride Parade.  It runs down Broadway from Montrose and ends up on Sheridan Road.  The city of Chicago also made its pride in its LGBT citizens known in 1997 when $3.2 million dollars was dedicated to providing improvements and updates to the area.  As part of this project, 23-foot-high pillars featuring brightly colored rainbow rings were added.

Houses in Boystown

Thinking about moving to Boystown?  Local gay and lesbian real estate agents can show you some of the amazing brownstones and greystones in the area.  Boystown is known for these walk-ups, and many of them are fairly old.  The area is full of historic architecture and grand, older buildings that have been kept up.

A Place to Visit… and Maybe Call Home?

If you’re visiting Chicago, you’ve got to take a stroll through Boystown just to see this historic LGBT neighborhood.

5 First Baby Steps to Real Estate Investing

This blog is covered with helpful guides that cover every aspect of the buying process. However, it is primarily geared towards people who are already actively seeking homes.

But if you’re someone like a recent college grad or a long-term homeowner, you may not know or remember the very first basic steps it takes before you even contact your agent or bank.

Here’s a quick list of all the things you’ll need to do.

Real Estate Investing is Not Difficult to Get Started In, If You Know The Right ApproachGet All of Your Financial Documents

You can’t make a real estate budget or a long-term plan unless you know how much money you have to work with. Gather all of the paperwork you have that has an impact on your net worth. These things include your properties, debts, loans, and your retirement/investment/savings.

If you don’t have these things in paper form, there are plenty of handy internet tools that can help.

Check Your Credit and Spending

Now that you have your paperwork together, you should read through them and see what your cash flow is and base your real estate budget on that cash flow. If your finances aren’t in good standing, you may want to sort the issue out and come back to it in a year.

Also do beware that if you move to a place with a low cost of living, your salary will probably decrease to match.

Obtain a Record of Past Payments

After you’ve figured out your cash flow, get a record of some of your past payments like loans and bills. If you saved your stubs, then you’re golden. If you didn’t, your bank or the organization you’re paying will be able to give you another copy.

Decide the Area You Want To Live In

This is the fun part.

Look through a real-estate website or search engine and narrow down the areas you want to live in. If you find a house you’re interested in, that’s great! If aren’t able to, don’t worry about that so much. We will be able to help you when you contact us.

Begin Setting Cash Aside For Your Down Payment

Mortgages and apartments of any kind require a down payment.

For a typical mortgage you’ll need between 5 and 20 percent of the total price of the house to put down in cash. If saving that much sounds like a tall order, don’t worry. There are many different financing options and loans that can help you lower the down payment amount even further.

For apartments, the process is much less involved. You’ll need to pay for a background check and the security deposit. You’ll also probably need to pay the first month’s rent in advance. Overall, it shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars plus rent.

LGBT Homeowners and Taxes

It might seem odd to be thinking about taxes in the fall, but for LGBT people who are considering buying a home, it’s important to understand how taxes affect you before April 15.  Fortunately, things have become more simplified since August of 2013 when the IRS ruled that all legally married same-sex couples would be put on equal footing with opposite-sex couples when it comes to federal taxes.  This ruling held for all married same-sex couples even if they currently lived in states that banned gay marriage.  However, because they’ve never filed joint taxes before, many same-sex couples don’t know exactly what this means for them.

Federal Tax Returns

Tax Benefits for LGBT CouplesLGBT couples can now file either a joint return or file as married filing separately.  This gives them access to a number of different tax benefits.  They can also now claim children as dependents, together on a joint return, and they may be eligible for certain child tax credits.  Another option is for one of the spouses to file as the head of household, which will most likely result in paying fewer taxes.  It may even be possible for both to file as married filing separately and, if the family has more than one child, each spouse claims at least one child as a dependent.  Both then may be eligible for head of household status.  Your LGBT real estate agent may be able to help you in this area or may know of a tax professional who can assist you.

State Tax Returns

In states that recognize marriages or have put domestic partnerships or civil unions on the same level as marriages, couples can file state taxes jointly.  Again, a tax professional can help you navigate through this unknown legal arena if you’re not familiar with how joint tax returns work.

If you live in a state where marriage is not recognized, you’ll have to file as married on your federal taxes and single on your state taxes.  There’s no other option at this time.

The Tax Benefits of Marriage

Couples who are legally married are exempt from many different federal taxes on the transfer of real estate between the couple, both while they’re living and after one of the spouses has died.  A person can give as much as $5 million in gifts to another without paying taxes on it.  There are some gifts that are exempt from this, though.  If a same-sex couple is recognized as being married, one spouse can inherit a large amount of property without paying taxes on it.  If they are not recognized as being married, though, one spouse may have to pay a large amount of taxes upon inheriting the property.

Buying in Miami? Versace Home $25 Million Price Cut

Discounts and price cuts occur all the time in real estate, especially for homes that have spent some time on the market. Those discounts, however, usually register in the thousands — occasionally a couple of million. But a $25 million price cut? That’s significant no matter how you look at it.

VersaceThe late Gianni Versace’s former Miami home has had not one, but two of these significant price cuts. The house, known as Casa Casuarina, first hit the market with a hefty price tag of $125 million a year ago; at the time, the price made it the most expensive home on the U.S. market. (Not so anymore  an apartment is listed at $125 million in Manhattan, and an estate in Greenwich, CT is priced at $190 million.)

By November, the home was discounted by $25 million to $100 million.

By the end of May, the price was slashed another $25 million, putting it at the current list price of $75 million, which by many accounts, still puts it on the most expensive homes list.

The home at 1116 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach FL 33139 was purchased by the Italian designer in 1992 for about $10 million. He spent some $33 million expanding it, adding an entire south wing and exterior plazas as well as a mosaic pool lined in 24-karat gold. Versace was murdered outside the home in 1997, and telecom entrepreneur Peter Loftin bought the home for $19 million. Loftin used the home as a private residence for a few years and then turned it into a boutique hotel, Villa by Barton G, in 2009.

Built in 1930, the house measures 23,462 square feet with 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, many of which have views of the Atlantic from the home’s perch on Ocean Drive.

Original Post

Posted on June 13, 2013 in Home Deals

Sellers Calling the Shots on Home Deals

In a dramatic about-face for the housing market, sellers are now calling the shots.

A survey of more than 2,000 Americans found that 33% of the 365 who were searching for a home have been on the hunt for more than a year and many were willing to make compromises on where they live or the type of home they would buy in order to close the deal, Century 21 Real Estate reported Wednesday.
“The recovery has transformed the mindset of many buyers and sellers who grew accustomed to the buyers’ market we saw for years,” said Rick Davidson, CEO of Century 21. “Buyer confidence is

Currently, there are 2.16 million existing homes for sale, down 13.6% from 12 months earlier.

With fewer homes for sale and more buyers coming onto the market, sellers are less willing to negotiate on price like they were during the housing bust. According to the survey, 42% of the people shopping for homes have placed offers in the past six months, yet only 11% of the bids were accepted.

That has caused buyers to rethink their positions: 85% said they’re willing to compromise to get deals done. Just over half said they would be flexible on the closing date; 31% said they would purchase a home “as-is;” and 29% would pony up more cash than they originally planned.

The home shoppers said they are also willing to let go of some of the items on their “wish lists.”

More than half would give up on an in-ground pool; 49% would sacrifice a finished basement; 37% would compromise on either an updated kitchen or walk-in closets.

A majority of buyers are also more willing to look beyond their preferred locations, willing to live farther away from work, from family or from restaurants and shopping.

The author of this article is: Les Christie

See the original post at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sellers-calling-shots-home-deals-094100235.html

Posted on June 12, 2013 in Home Deals