Finding the Right Contractors to Work on Your Property

While it’s 2019 and LGBTQ people are enjoying more and more acceptance, the sad truth is that there’s always the risk of running into someone who will discriminate against you. This is especially true if you live in a fairly conservative area. We’ve all heard the horror stories about bakeries and restaurants refusing service to LGBTQ customers. While you may have never directly experienced this type of behavior, you may be concerned that it could happen to you.

One area where it can be hard to hide the fact that you’re in a same-sex relationship is when you hire a contractor to either work on your home before you sell it or to do some renovations on your new home. How can you find contractors who won’t be judgmental or flat out discriminate against you?

Ask Your Agent

Finding the Right Contractors to Work on Your PropertyIf you’re working with a gay or lesbian real estate agent, they likely know contractors who do not discriminate. Simply ask them if they have any contractors they can refer you to. Most agents will give you several different contractors to talk to so you can get quotes to compare. Remember that these are only referrals. These contractors don’t work for the agent, and your agent has no control over the quality of their work. However, most agents only refer clients to contractors they know will do a good job or that previous clients have favorably reviewed.

Look in Local LGBTQ Publications

Most large cities have a LGBTQ newspaper, magazine, or other local publication. Many of these are even free and can be found at businesses that support the community. Many LGBTQ-owned businesses, including roofers, flooring experts, and other contractors, advertise in these papers. You may be able to find exactly what you need, and if you know they’re advertising in a LGBTQ publication, there’s no fear of discrimination.

Go Online

There are a number of websites out there that provide the opportunity for LGBTQ people who live in the same city or neighborhood to connect with each other. These sites are the perfect places to ask for recommendations or to inquire about specific contractors. There’s nothing better than getting a recommendation or a review from someone who has used the contractor and was very happy with their services.

These three resources will usually result in a number of different contractor options for you. Of course, be sure to talk to the contractor yourself before hiring them so you can get a good sense of who they are and if they will be a good fit with your projects.

Homeowner’s New Year’s Resolutions

Whether you’re gay, straight, pansexual, or don’t do labels at all, if you’re a homeowner, you share some common concerns and joys with others who own real estate. There are a lot of little tasks that come with homeownership. You’re in charge of everything from taking care of the lawn to replacing the furnace if it goes out. That can equal a lot of time and money if you’re not careful. With that in mind and with the approaching new year, here are a few resolutions homeowners, regardless of orientation, should consider making.

Don’t Put Off the Small Tasks

Homeowner’s New Year’s ResolutionsGot a crack in one of your walls from when your house settled? Have some tiles that are cracked in the bathroom? Do you see a fascia board coming off your roof? Don’t put these tasks off. While doing them in January may not be feasible due to the weather, take the time to make a list of all of these minor home repairs and set deadlines to take care of them. It may not seem like a big deal—a few cracked tiles might not be a problem—but these little tasks do add up. Some become much more troublesome if you let them grow into big issues, too.

Do You Need to Make an Insurance Claim?

Another thing homeowners tend to put off is making insurance claims. If your roof has taken damage due to a storm, you need to make your claim as soon as you can. Again, what might seem like minor damage could result in buckets of water leaking into your attic the next time it rains.

Is This the Year You Sell?

Are you thinking about selling your home? Even if you haven’t committed one way or the other, if you’re thinking about it, make a few New Year’s Resolutions related to getting your home in shape. Resolve to finally do some of that landscaping you’ve always thought about, or make the decision to paint the interior. These little updates and changes can all add value to your home. Doing them ahead of time will definitely make it easier when you do decide to sell, as any gay or lesbian real estate expert will tell you. If you ultimately decide to keep the house, then you have a nicer home to live in.

Commit to that Remodel

Do you keep going back and forth on remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, or other part of your home? If you do, what’s holding you back? Take a good look at what you really want out of your home. If it’s not there, ask yourself why. If it’s something you can add through a remodel, why not go for it?

Moving in with your Same-Sex Partner

Moving in with your same-sex partner after purchasing your first home is exciting. You’ve worked with a gay or lesbian real estate agent to find the perfect place to live, and now you’re ready to build your lives together in a house you own. If you haven’t lived together, though, you may be in for a few surprises. Of course, straight couples go through this, too, but with a same-sex partner, there are a few different and sometimes humorous twists to the adjustment period.

You’ll Create a Third Closet

moving-in-with-your-same-sex-partnerCouples often have a “his” and “his” or “hers” and “hers” closet arrangement, but if you’re a same-sex couple and near the same size, you may find that you need an “ours” closet. You’ll end up buying clothing that you both wear. This may be shoes, t-shirts, jackets, socks, and even pants! Unless the two of you have very different fashion senses, expect to find most of your clothing falls into the “ours” category. Just think of it as gaining a spouse and a whole wardrobe!

No Need to Put Down the Seat

Living with your female partner means you never have to worry about the toilet seat being left up (unless you have male friends over, of course). Men don’t have to worry about putting it down. Yes, this is a stereotypical situation, but it’s also based on some truth.

You Need More Space for Hair Care Products

Another stereotype, of course, but it can be true—for gay men as well as women. If you both use different brands of shampoo, conditioner, and other hair care products, you may find that your shower simply can’t hold them all.

You Have Double the Stuff

When opposite-sex couples move in together, they may have some overlapping movies and cooking items, but when same-sex couples with similar tastes buy a house together, you may find that you have a lot of duplicate items. For example, men who love working out may both own similar sets of weights or other exercise equipment. You might have to both give up some of your possessions if you own things you don’t really need two of. Just try to make it an equitable downsizing – you shouldn’t give up all of your stuff, and neither should your partner.

Remember You Love Each Other!

No matter what gender your partner is, moving in together is a big step, and it’s going to change your relationship. You’ll find you each have many little things that bug each other, and you’ll have to work through that. But if you love each other, you’ll find a way to settle into your new house and begin transforming it into your home.

How to Recover From Buying a Dud

At the end of the day, real-estate is a business. And in every business there’s bound to be a few bad deals. Things like structural issues or faulty plumbing aren’t obvious to the average homebuyer, and some problems might even slip past your inspector.

Your Realtor Has the Responsibility of Helping You Buy a Safe Home, So Make Sure You Pick the Most Reputable Real Estate Agent You CanOwning an unfit house can make you feel helpless. You can’t sell it to anyone else because you could lose 30% or more of your investment (not to mention selling damaged houses are illegal) and you can’t fix it because it’s expensive and you might not have the money.

You don’t need to feel helpless as you have a few options. First, it’s critical to know how to find a good agent to keep yourself on the good side of the real estate market.

Preventative Tip: Always Use a Good Agent

Agents are your eyes and ears when buying a house. Therefore, it’s imperative that you put the time into finding a good one. Picking a realtor out of the Yellow Pages at random won’t work. Instead, work with realtors with experience and desire to find you the best house, as you will find at

Likewise, find your own inspector. If you can, find an inspector that isn’t recommended by the seller or the seller’s realtor. You can never over-inspect a house. Also make sure you attend the inspection to avoid any unscrupulous behavior.

Look at testimonials and past work history to ensure your realtor and inspector are the real deal so you don’t wind up with a house with severe preexisting problems.

However, if you’re one of the few who buys a home with severe preexisting problems, there are a few things you can do.

Determine the Severity of the Issues

The first step is determining the severity of the issues. If your house has minor plumbing or electrical issues, you’re still in pretty good shape. However, if the central support beam in your home is threatening to collapse, or your house is caked in asbestos, it’s imperative that you mobilize right away.

Get the house inspected again (multiple times if you have to) to get a true look into the situation.

See If the Seller or Inspector Knew About the Issues

If you can find a way to prove that the seller or the seller’s agent knew about the preexisting issues, you have leverage. They’ll have to pay for the damages in full. But if your problem is minor, you might just want to pay for it yourself. If it costs $5,000 in legal fees to get $3,000 of compensation it’s clearly not worth it.

If the damage is higher, you might have legal recourse against the home inspection company for negligence if it was inspected. Things like mold damage should be picked up during an inspection, and if your inspector didn’t catch it, it’s on them.

If you can prove that the seller knew about the issues, or the inspector neglected to tell you about the issues, then you have a case. Consult an attorney right away to see what your options are to make good on your investment!

6 Things To Do When Touring A House

Picture yourself purchasing a beautiful bag of produce from the grocery store. The ones at the top look shiny and fresh. But as you eat more and more of them, you find out that the ones towards the bottom that were out of sight were spoiling.

When Touring a Home, There Are Specific Things You Need to Take Note Of, In Order To Make Sure You Are Getting the Perfect Home for You And Your FamilyMany homebuyers suffer a similar issue when they buy homes. They buy houses that look beautiful on the outside, but then a few months later they notice all sorts of nicks and structural problems that could’ve been found during their tour.

Avoid this by using these six quick tips to make sure you don’t ever suffer from home buyer’s remorse. All you need to bring with you is a measuring tape, a pencil, a notepad, a light bulb, and a portable electronic device.

Inspect The Perimeter of the Home First

The outside of a house can tell you just as much as the inside. Circumnavigate the entire house and pay special attention to the basement windows and corners.

You should also take a quick glance at the neighbor’s houses as well. If you’re in the process of closing on the home, go over and introduce yourself. Remember that your neighbors can color your experience in the house as well.

Measure The Rooms and Closets

It’s entirely possible that the home was mis-measured when it was listed. Measure it yourself to ensure that the price matches the actual size of the house.

There’s also the possibility that your 4,000 square foot home is made up of lots of little rooms. Measure each one yourself to make sure you know what you’re getting.

Check The Plumbing

Go into the kitchen and each bathroom and make sure that the toilets and faucets work properly. Check underneath the sink fixtures and the bases of the toilets to find out if there’s any need for repairs. You should also time how long it takes for the hot water to kick in.

Test The Electricity

Turn on every light switch to find out if there are any broken fixtures or faulty wires. If you find that any of the lights don’t turn on, you should screw in your own lightbulb to find out the source of the issue. You should also take something like a portable radio or electric night light to find out if each of the outlets works.

Check The Heating and Cooling Systems

The only way for you to truly know if the heat and air conditioning work properly is by getting a real inspector. However you should check the hot and cold air vents, and the thermostat anyway. You’ll still be able to find any major problems.

Thoroughly Inspect Countertops, Walls, and Floors

The last thing you should do before you leave is look at all the floors, countertops, and walls to see if there are any bumps or mistakes that need to be removed. If it’s something that can be wiped away with a damp cloth, you have nothing to worry about. But dark spots on the walls or cracked counters can mean some hefty post-purchase renovation costs.

Environmental Issues Same Sex Couples Should Be Aware of When Buying a Home

There are environmental issues that you should be aware of before you purchase a home. If those issues arise after you purchase the home, it may be your responsibility to correct the problem rather than the sellers. Once you find a home that you are interested in, you should ask both your real estate agent and the seller if there are such issues. If the seller does not inform you of issues that he or she knew or should have known about, he could be charged with fraud. Following are some of the environmental issues same sex couples should be aware of when buying a home.

images (1)Asbestos

Asbestos is a strong and durable fibrous mineral that is found in the rocks and soil worldwide. In the past, this substance was used in building materials such as insulation until it was found that it caused cancer. If you plan to purchase a home that was built prior to the 1990s, this substance may be present. It is not a danger unless it has deteriorated or is crumbling or flaking. It can be expensive to correct the problem because the materials containing asbestos will have to be removed and, when that occurs, the fibers will be released into the air. For safety, a professional who specializes in asbestos cleanup should be hired.

Lead Paint

Lead Paint may be a problem in homes built before 1978. Generally, lead paint is not harmful if it is not cracked or peeling. If it is in bad repair, it will need to be removed or sealed to eliminate the danger it can pose. High levels of lead in the body can lead to permanent damage to red blood cells, the brain, kidneys and the central nervous system. Federal law requires that real estate agents obtain information from the seller and provide that information to a potential buyer in pre-1978 residential properties. A problem may arise if the seller chooses not to disclose this information or is not aware of its presence.


While mold generally occurs in homes in varying degrees and is generally not dangerous, certain types of molds can produce toxins that cause health problems, including  allergy and upper respiratory tract symptoms including runny nose, eye irritation, coughing and wheezing. Recent studies have indicated that the presence of toxic mold may cause asthma in children.

Removing mold on hard surfaces is as simple as cleaning using a specialized mold removal procedure. If the mold has infested porous surfaces such as carpets and drywall, the only way to get rid of it is to remove and replace the material involved. If the mold has gained access behind walls and other inaccessible places, extensive rebuilding may be required.


Radon is a tasteless and odorless gas that results from the natural decay of uranium and is present in the soil and the atmosphere worldwide. The problem arises when the radon levels become too high. Testing the inside of the home for the level of radon should be completed prior to purchase so that you are aware if there is a problem and can decide if you would like to go to the expense of installing a reduction or mitigation system in the home.


Water quality should be a concern and should be tested before purchasing a home. Testing will reveal the presence of lead, arsenic and bacteria such as E-coli. The test will also reveal the levels of pH and water hardness as well as the presence of iron, manganese, fluoride and iron.

If you feel that the home that you would like to purchase may have an environmental issue, you can have an environmental inspection performed. The inspector will check water quality, test for radon and mold and test the soil and groundwater for contamination. If the home is old enough, testing for asbestos and lead paint can also be performed.

Before looking for a home to purchase, you should hire a professional LGBT real estate agent. He or she will be aware of any environmental issues in the neighborhoods where you are looking and will be aware of state laws that may require the seller to disclose any or all of the above environmental issues in a home you are interested in purchasing. To find the best LGBT agents available in your area, you should conduct a search on

What You Should Know About Home Inspection Problems

Real estate agents generally recommend that buyers have a home inspection completed before purchasing a home. The purpose is to protect the buyer from issues with the home that were either unknown or undisclosed by the seller. There are no laws that require home inspections in any state, it is completely up to the buyer.

images (1)What is Inspected?

A home inspector will, at a minimum, check for the following:

  • Roofing including shingles or tiles and flashing to make sure it is in good repair.
  • Foundation problems including cracks or water damage.
  • Electrical system to ensure that everything works, including electrical fixtures and light switches. He or she will also ensure the correct fuses are being used and that there are no bad connections or overloaded breakers.
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, HVAC, system to ensure it is functioning properly.
  • Plumbing, both inside and out, to make sure it works and has no leaks.
  • Installed systems in the home, such as garbage disposals, to make sure they are working properly.
  • Water leakage that could damage or has damaged the homes. Leaks can be caused by faulty plumbing or outside drainage problems. He will check in areas including the basement, foundation, ceiling, floors, roof and windows and doors.

A home inspection does not include a pest inspection, although if he sees the obvious termite damage, he will mention it to you. If you are concerned about pests, you will need to have a termite inspection. An inspector also does not do a specialized mold inspection, but will alert you in his report if he notices mold or mildew. You will need to hire inspectors who specialize in those areas to conduct those types of inspections. Other areas that are generally not inspected include swimming pools, septic systems and appliances such as refrigerators and stoves.

What Happens After the Inspection

The home inspector will create a home inspector’s report and then review that document with you so that he can explain any problems that he found and what may be required to have it corrected. At that point, you can choose to accept the home with any problems that the inspector located or you may renegotiate with the seller. Your options may include asking the seller to correct the problems, asking for a lower selling price to offset your costs of repairing it, or decide that you do not want to purchase the home at all. If a home inspection was listed in your proposal as a condition for the purchase, you can get out of the contract without losing your good faith deposit. Your real estate agent will assist if you decide you would prefer to renegotiate.

How Do I Hire a Home Inspector

Your real estate agent will commonly give you a referral to an inspector that he knows is qualified and dependable. If you prefer not to hire his or her referral, you could ask friends and relatives for referrals or look in the local yellow pages under building or home inspectors. Note that, since not all states require inspectors to be licensed, you should be careful to choose someone who is qualified.

If you are in the market to purchase a home, it would be wise to hire an LGBT real estate agent. He or she will assist you with the entire process involved in finding and purchasing a home. To find a professional LGBT agent, conduct a search at The results will include only qualified LGBT real estate agents in your area.

6 Tips for Handling Undisclosed House Defects

If you purchased your perfect home with your partner and found out it had major flaws once you moved in, your recourse will depend on a variety of factors. Most states have laws that prohibit sellers from hiding major defects from buyers. Generally, major defects include plumbing and sewage, water leakage, termites, roofing, heating and air conditioning systems, property drainage, foundation, title problems and lead paint. Following are 6 tips for handling undisclosed house defects.

RE1011. The first step is to review the seller’s disclosure form and read your home inspection report if you have one. There have been instances where the buyer missed the disclosure in the excitement of the purchase. If you find that the problem was in fact disclosed, it will be up to you to pay for the repairs.

2. If the defect was not disclosed, document the problem, take pictures, and obtain estimates of the repair costs.

3. If you had a home inspection completed before purchasing the home, you should contact the inspector. If he or she missed problems that should have been found by an expert, he or she may be liable for the repairs.

4. Contact the real estate agent that assisted you with the purchase. He or she can review your evidence and let you know about some of the options that you may have. For example, he or she may be able to resolve the issue the seller, or refer you to an experienced LGBT attorney if needed.

5. Contact the seller and/or his agent and request that the defects be repaired at his or her expense. You may want to hire an attorney to send the seller a letter outlining the defects and the remedies that are being sought by you, the buyer. If the seller declares that he was not aware of the defects and refuses to pay for the repair, your only recourse is to file a lawsuit against him. In order to succeed, you will need to prove that the owner knew or should have known about the defect. For example, the seller patched over the problem or neighbors informed you of the difficulty that the seller had in dealing with the issue while he or she lived there.

6. Contact a real estate attorney for advice and assistance in filing a lawsuit in a court of law. If the court finds in your favor, you could recover the cost of repairing the defect and any other damages resulting from the defect, attorney fees and costs of filing the suit, and punitive damages if the court finds that the failure to disclose was fraudulent. The court may also rescind or invalidate the sale and return the property to the seller.

In order to avoid purchasing a home with undisclosed defects, it would be wise to hire a reputable LGBT real estate agent to assist you. He or she is a professional and is trained to spot any inconsistencies in the documentation and to let you know your options. Many times, issues with a home can be worked out prior to the sale to the satisfaction of both the seller and the buyer. A professional, trustworthy LGBT real estate agent located in your area can be found by conducting a search on