The Downsides of Gentrification on the Gay Neighborhood

When people think of gentrification, they often think of older, rundown neighborhoods being reinvigorated and restored. Gentrification can do a lot of good to a neighborhood. It brings new life back into sections of a city that once flourished but then were typically hit by hard times. These areas often become home to a large amount of crime while in disrepair, so gentrification helps eliminate this.

Run down neighborhoods also tend to become home to those that the more affluent residents find “undesirable.” For quite some time, this included the LGBTQ community. That’s why many gay ghettos started out as poor, deteriorating neighborhoods in need of some repairs. Today, partly in thanks to the LGBTQ residents of these areas, many gay neighborhoods have gone through gentrification and are now more affluent areas with low crime and gorgeous, restored homes. But there are some downsides to gentrification, unfortunately. You may want to learn about these downsides before working with a gay or lesbian real estate agent to move into a gayborhood.

Low-Income Residents Are Forced Out

The Downsides of Gentrification on the Gay NeighborhoodAs gentrification takes hold, housing prices typically rise. In many cases, this makes it all but impossible for low-income residents of the gayborhood to remain there. If they rent, the rent goes up. If they own, their property taxes increase as the neighborhood becomes more valuable. They may also find that the cost of basic necessities such as groceries increase as higher-end stores move into the area.

Racial Tensions Can Increase

Another side effect of gentrification is that it can lead to increasing racial tensions. This is generally from the people who move into the neighborhood rather than those who have been a part of it for years. These new residents are looking at the gayborhood as an affluent, upper-class area. As such, they may also come in with preconceived racial notions that lead to conflict with their neighbors.

Certain Professions or Identities Are Pushed Out

Because these gentrified areas were once run down, they became home to a number of people who simply didn’t feel welcome elsewhere. In the LGBTQ community, this may include those are part of a subgroup such as leather daddies or those who enjoy BDSM. As the neighborhood becomes a desirable place to live, clubs and other businesses that cater to these subcultures may become targeted by those who look down on these groups. People may feel as if their neighborhood is no longer their home because they’re being pushed out for having particular interests or for identifying one way or another.

Many people may find it odd that an LGBTQ neighborhood, even after being gentrified, would turn against others due to their race or their interests. However, it does happen. It may not occur in every gay village, fortunately, but gentrification does transform the neighborhood in a number of ways, not all of them positive.

Ybor City – Tampa’s Gay Ghetto

Tampa, Florida, may not be home to Disney World, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the state’s busiest tourist areas. The Tampa Bay Area is home to over 4 million people, while the city proper has a population of over 400,000. With such a large city, it’s no surprise that it has a gayborhood. While Tampa is certainly very LGBTQ-friendly, the neighborhood of Ybor City tends to be the most welcoming and diverse.

The History of Ybor City

Ybor City – Tampa’s Gay GhettoYbor City is named after its founder, Vicente Martinez-Ybor. Originally, the area was home to dozens of cigar factories and populated mostly by immigrants from Cuba, Italy, and Spain. It was actually fairly unique because of this—few other cities in the South were home to an all-immigrant population. This had an impact on the food, the style of homes, and much more, creating a very unique neighborhood.

As Ybor City grew over the years, its population changed. During the Great Depression, cigars were a luxury few people could afford, leading to many factories closing. The neighborhood continued to decline during World War II, and by the 1970s, much of it was abandoned. Finally, in the 1980s, a number of artists took advantage of the low housing costs of the area, and gentrification began. By the 2000s, Ybor City had become known for its nightlife, and many of the old cigar factories had been renovated and transformed into bars, offices, and even apartment complexes.

The Gayborhood

A number of the artists who worked to renovate the area were part of the LGBTQ community. Their influence led to a number of different gay bars, restaurants, boutiques, shops, and other organizations opening up in Ybor City, many of which were situated between 8th Avenue and 15th Street. Today, this area is home to the GaYBOR Coalition, a nonprofit group made up of various LGBTQ-owned businesses in Ybor City. The group hosts the annual GaYBOR Days event around the Fourth of July and helps promote the LGBTQ community through Tampa and the entire state. The GaYBOR coalition is noted for including a number of businesses owned by straight allies.

Moving to Ybor City

Thinking about moving to the Ybor City neighborhood? Homes here can range from around $150,000 to $300,000 or more. It all depends on the size and the exact location in the neighborhood. A gay or lesbian real estate expert can help you find the home that’s perfect for your needs.

Hell’s Kitchen – Don’t Let this LGBTQ Neighborhood’s Name Fool You

Hell’s Kitchen is one of the more notorious-sounding neighborhoods in New York. Just based off the name, it certainly doesn’t sound like a place you’d want to move. While it’s true that the area did once have a poor reputation, in recent years it has undergone gentrification. While it was originally the home of many poor immigrants, today Hell’s Kitchen is populated by many actors and young professionals. It’s also one of New York’s primary LGBTQ communities.

How Hell’s Kitchen Got Its Name

Hell’s Kitchen Don’t Let this LGBTQ Neighborhood’s Name Fool YouThe neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen is more officially known as Clinton, but few people call it that. It occupies the area between 34th and 59th and from Eighth Avenue to around 43rd Street. No one is actually certain how the neighborhood got its unique nickname. There are a few different stories. One claims that Davy Crockett coined the term while making horrible comments about the Irish immigrants in the area. Another says Hell’s Kitchen was originally used to describe a building on 54th Street but later expanded to the entire district.

Greenwich Village and the Gay Exodus

Greenwich Village was one of the first gay villages in New York City, but because of gentrification and other changes in the neighborhood, the cost of living has increased over the years. In the early 1990s, the neighborhood saw something of an exodus due to the expensive housing prices and other costs. Many gay and lesbian residents moved to nearby Chelsea. However, it didn’t take long for housing prices in this area to also skyrocket.

The gentrification in Chelsea led to a number of people moving to Hell’s Kitchen. The neighborhood is now considered by some to be the new gay center of Manhattan. However, while it’s still more affordable than Greenwich Village and Chelsea, it’s true that costs are increasing in Hell’s Kitchen.

Points of Interest

One of the central locations in the Hell’s Kitchen LGBTQ community is the Metropolitan Community Church of New York. This church is primarily focused on serving the LGBTQ community, though it does have members of all orientations and gender identities. The church was founded in Los Angeles, but it has moved several times until it found its current location in 1994.

The Actor’s Studio, an organization for actors, directors, and writers, is located in Hell’s Kitchen. A number of well-known actors have studied here under the direction of Lee Strasberg. The studio draws a number of aspiring actors to Hell’s Kitchen, many of whom live in the Manhattan Plaza.

The USS Intrepid is docked on the Hudson River Pier 86 on 46th Street. The aircraft carrier serves as the main part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which also includes a Lockheed A-12 plane, a submarine, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

Interested in moving to Hell’s Kitchen? The many restaurants, studios, and other locations make it a great place for aspiring actors, directors, and writers. A gay or lesbian real estate agent can help you find the perfect place in this unique LGBTQ neighborhood.

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.

Capitol Hill – Denver’s Gay Ghetto

When most people think about gay neighborhoods, many think of sunny California or busy New York City. Few people would name Colorado as a gay-friendly state, but Denver actually has a very active LGBTQ community. The Mile High City is home to a great gay neighborhood called Capitol Hill. This part of the city is not only the focal point of Denver’s LGBTQ community, but is also a major epicenter for artists and musicians, especially those in the alternative punk genre.

Defining the Neighborhood

Capitol Hill – Denver’s Gay GhettoCapitol Hill is almost a perfect square. To the north is Colfax Avenue/Highway 70. Its southern border is Seventh Avenue, while the east and west sides of the neighborhood are defined by Downing Street and Broadway respectively. Some people define Capitol Hill to also include the neighboring Cheesman Park, but the city officially defines that area as its own neighborhood. There’s also a North Capitol Hill that sits above Colfax Avenue, but it’s more often called Uptown.

It’s Got Everything from Sun Rise to Sun Set

You can start your morning in Capitol Hill by getting coffee at one of the trendy little cafes that dot the neighborhood. Then it’s off for some light morning shopping at one of the boutiques before lunch. During the evening, there are a number of concert venues and bars where you can party the night away. Cheesman Park and nearby Civic Center Park may not fall within the neighborhood, but they’re not far, and both hold a number of different festivals. Several clubs in the area cater to the LGBTQ community, of course.

A Neighborhood in Gentrification

While it’s something of a stereotype to say that all LGBTQ neighborhoods go through gentrification, it is true of Capitol Hill and, in fact, most of central Denver. Many of the historic homes in Capitol Hill are large and fairly elaborate. That’s because the area was originally home to some of Denver’s high society families. Following the 1893 Silver Crash, however, some of these homes were demolished and cheaper apartments were built. Capitol Hill was then solidly middle class until the 1950s, when it became a fairly poor area.

Since then, Capitol Hill has slowly been rebuilding. The gentrification effects peaked in the mid-2000s, and today, those cheap apartments have been replaced with luxury condos. Despite this, some of the older housing is still quite affordable. On average, Capitol Hill isn’t as expensive as some of the other neighborhoods. One of the local gay or lesbian real estate agents can help you find a home in this area that fits your budget.

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.

Protecting Your Interests with the Remodel Contractor

Hiring a reputable contractor and that you are comfortable working with him is one of the most important aspects of your remodel project. Following are some tips on protecting your interests with the remodel contractor.

images1. Ask your friends or your local gay real estate agent to recommend some contractors that they have had a good experience with on their remodel project. Their suggestions can help steer you to some reliable remodel contractors who do quality work.

2. Obtain an estimate from each contractor. Make sure you understand what the covers and that it contains a complete listing of all of the work that you would like completed on your project.

3. Check to make sure that the contractor is licensed. State licensing laws vary, but many states offer dispute resolution services and may have state funds available to help settle disputes and compensate the homeowner. In addition, licensing is a good indication that the contractor is qualified to do the job.

4. Do not sign the estimate unless it clearly states that it does not constitute a contractual agreement to complete the work. Instead, once you have chosen a contractor, draft a contractor agreement. The contract should cover work to be completed, cost, approximate timelines to complete the job and any other aspects of the remodel that you and the contractor are agreeing to. This will help ensure that there are no misunderstandings during the course of the work.

5. Include a payment plan in the contractor agreement. For example, 10 or 15 percent to begin the project and then payments at each phase as it is completed. Be sure to inspect the work to make sure it has been completed to your satisfaction before making a payment.

6. Payments to the contractor should be made by check. This method will ensure that you have proof of payment in the event that there is a dispute.

7. After the work begins, make sure that you monitor its progress. A good way to do that is to visit the site at the end of each workday. Check to see that progress is being made and that items that have been delivered for installation are the quality of material and the color that you wanted.

8. Subcontractors and material suppliers can put a mechanics lien on your home if they are not paid. Make sure they have all been paid before you release the final payment to the contractor. You can do this by requesting proof from the contractor, or releases from the subcontractors and material suppliers. The releases should list how much is owed and contain a statement that the lien will be released once the listed amount is paid. If the amounts have not been paid once the project is complete, pay them out of the final payment and remit the remainder to the contractor.

9. Do not make a final payment to the contractor until any final inspections required by state laws or county ordinances have been completed satisfactorily.

10. Make sure that you obtain all the paperwork, including warranty cards, from the contractor for the appliances and equipment that have been installed.

Protecting your interest with the remodel contractor will help ensure that the job goes according to plan and that it is completed in a timely manner. It will also make the remodel process less stressful so that you can enjoy watching your project come together.

Home Improvements and Resale Value

Any real estate agent will tell you that improving your home is always a good idea.  It adds extra value that you can recoup if you ever decide to sell the property.  However, realtors will also tell you that the type of improvements you make will affect your property differently and that you shouldn’t always leap without looking to see how the improvements will change your home.

Making Home ImprovementsBasic improvements, maintenance, and repairs, are always good.  Replacing your rickety old deck with a new one, for example, is a no-brainer.  It’s obviously going to add to the home’s value.  If the deck is in really bad shape, it may be something the buyer wants you to fix before the sale, anyway.  Doing it early means you get to enjoy that improvement.  It’s best to do some of these basic improvements, especially easy ones, when you first notice them.

Larger renovations, remodels, and improvements, however, can be more complicated.  One example can be found in the bathroom.  If you don’t use your bathtub at all and want to replace it with a large walk-in shower, that can be great for you.  But if that’s the only bathtub in the house and you replace it, your home suddenly becomes less attractive to families with young children.  In that case, what’s an improvement for you, can actually become a deterrent for some buyers.

Are you changing something in the home to fix your particular needs or desires?  Uniqueness can go a long way towards either making a home in high demand or driving off a large number of potential buyers.  Customizing a house so that it’s perfect for you may mean making that house absolutely wrong for a lot of people.  If the features you’re adding to the home aren’t in demand, you’ll have to face the possibility of being unable to easily sell the property or, worse, have to undo the changes you made!

One rule of thumb that realtors use for improvements is the ten year rule.  Will you be in your home for the next ten years?  If the answer is yes, make the improvements you want to make that you know you’ll benefit from.  Replace that tub with a large shower.  You’ll get ten years of enjoyment out of it, so it’s worth it.  But if you’re not certain you’re going to be living in the property for another ten years, then you may want to look at how the improvement affects the resale value.

Apps for Testing Out Color Schemes

Have you ever walked into a new home for sale to see its walls all painted that sterile white or neutral cream tint and then wondered, “What would this place look like if I painted the walls a different color?”  It used to be that we had to hold up color chips from the paint store and work our imaginations quite hard before we could picture how a place would look if the walls were redone in a different shade.  Nowadays, however, there is an app for that!

Stylish-green-color-living-room-at-modern-trends-and-interiors-design-ideas-from-the-living-room

If you own an iPhone, Android or Blackberry you are able to download any of the virtual room painting and color visualizer apps that are available online for absolutely free.  The very best ones enable you to walk into any room in a house, take a photo of a wall or room and then choose a color from an electronic palette.  With the tap of a finger your can deftly obtain a photo of the room that you think might look better painted with a certain hue and then share and upload it on social media or with someone with a similar interest in the personalization of the property.

These apps are not just handy for buyers to have on hand but they also are of great assistance to people trying to choose paint colors for the walls in a staged home as well as real estate agents that might want to show an interested party the possibilities of newly painted walls.

Big paint companies also sponsor many of these apps, so it is easy for you to just order the paint that you want online or at your local seller.   You can also save your color choices in a “favorites” color list on most of these phone programs.

Good examples of smart phone paint apps that will take the picture of the room on the spot and then virtually paint the photograph are Behr Colorsmart and Benjamin Moore Color Capture. An excellent app that is not owned by a paint store company is Paint Harmony and this are available for download on Mac or Android. You can get Mac programs by shopping the Mac store or iTunes and you can get Android apps by shopping the Google Play store.  Blackberry World is the main place online from which to download paint color visualizer programs from the Internet.

If you don’t want to upload a smart phone app you can also find online paint visualizers for your desktop or laptop computer.  Behr Paint Your Place, Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer and Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer will all allow you to upload a photo of the room you intend to paint and allow you to “drag and drop” colors where you intend to paint.  The Benjamin Moore program can be used as either an online or offline program but the Sherwin-Williams  and Behr color visualizers might require you to install or update programs such as Java or Flash.