Category Archives: Home Sales

Gentrification and the LGBTQ Community

If you’ve looked at homes in a gay neighborhood or have lived in one before, you’ve likely heard the term “gentrification.” This term is used when a poor neighborhood is improved and maintained to the point that those who once could afford to live there are no longer able to. Gentrification is often connected to the LGBTQ community due to its history in areas such as the Castro and Boystown. Once, these were the only neighborhoods where LGBTQ people felt safe. Today, however, many find that they simply can’t afford to live in these historically gay areas.

The LGBTQ Community After WWII

Gentrification of GayborhoodsThe history of gentrification begins after World War II. Those who had fought in the war were quickly and efficiently kicked out of the military if the let it be known that they were gay. Others found themselves the victims of hate crimes and were forced to leave the neighborhoods they were living in. With often little money and nowhere else to go, they settled in poor, often run down parts of the city.

Over time, these brave LGBTQ individuals and families began changing the communities they were forced to live in. They repaired the homes, improved the landscaping, and in general made the neighborhoods nicer than they were before. Developers saw these up-and-coming neighborhoods and began building new apartment complexes and housing developments in them. The result is that after a few decades, suddenly these “gay ghettos” were affluent neighborhoods with rising property values.

The Benefits of Gentrification

On one hand, the LGBTQ community is able to take advantage of the benefits of gentrification. Many of these homeowners are able to sell their houses for much more than they paid for them. Many even make a profit after subtracting out the cost of maintenance. The neighborhoods such as Harlem, East Village, and West Village were once mostly LGBTQ communities, but today that’s no longer true because many of the gay or lesbian homeowners sold their properties for a nice sum. Those who continue to live in these areas now enjoy safe neighborhoods that are the envy of many.

The Downsides

Of course, there are some downsides to gentrification. Young LGBTQ couples and individuals may find it impossible to move into the gayborhood of their choice. Those who continue to live in a gentrified gay district are likely to find their property taxes have greatly increased. Their overall cost of living may have increased, too. Some may even find themselves forced to sell their beloved home because they can no longer afford it.

Whether you love it or hate it, gentrification is something that many LGBTQ people have to face at some point. Fortunately, there are great gay and lesbian real estate professionals here to help you buy a home in the gay neighborhood of your choice or sell a property you already own.

The History of the Gay Village

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, you may feel more comfortable living around other individuals, couples, and families who are also a part of the community. This often means moving into an area that has become known as a gay village, gayborhood, or gay ghetto. While you’re working with a gay or lesbian real estate professional to find your perfect home in one of these neighborhoods, you may find it odd that so many LGBTQ people decided to live together. Where did these gay neighborhoods come from?

The Gay Village Started in Germany

The History of the Gay VillageThe first neighborhood to be recognized as a gay village was in Berlin. The neighborhood of Schoneberg became popular with LGBTQ homeowners during the 1920s, several decades before the idea of the gay village even existed. Most LGBTQ people gathered in bars rather than certain neighborhoods.

In the U.S., the gay village didn’t become a recognized concept until the late 1960s and 70s. Thanks to the Stonewall Rebellion in 1965, the LGBTQ community became more recognized, leading to the appearance of more gay neighborhoods across the country. The shift from bar to community was a major transition for the LGBTQ community and helped to show that its members were just like anyone else—neighbors, co-workers, and families.

What Makes a Gay Village?

What exactly is a gay village, though? Is it simply a neighborhood where a certain percentage of homeowners or renters identify as LGBTQ? For some, that is enough of a definition. Most neighborhoods do have more identifying characteristics, though. Originally, gay ghettos were run-down areas that were fairly cheap. These parts of town were considered areas where “disreputable” people lived. Many LGBTQ people were forced to move to these areas due to threats of violence and intolerance in the more affluent parts of town.

Because many of these LGBTQ homeowners took care of their homes, many gay villages went through gentrification. Today, these older historic homes are often worth a lot of money. In Chelsea, New York, for example, home prices have dramatically increased since the area became a gay neighborhood in the 1990s. The same is true with areas such as Andersonville, Chicago; South End, Boston; and West Hollywood.

The Modern Gay Village

Fortunately for the LGBTQ community, there’s no longer as much antagonism as there once was. Today, while there is still some persecution towards LGBTQ individuals and families, it’s not as wide-spread, and fewer people are finding themselves run out of a neighborhood because of who they’re in love with. Because of this, there aren’t many new gay neighborhoods appearing. The gay village isn’t likely to vanish overnight, but there is, thankfully, less of a need for them.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Great Cities in Kentucky for LGBTQ Families

Making the move to Kentucky can be the right decision for LGBTQ families. Even though the state is a part of the more conservative south, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great places to live here. Kentucky is home to a number of cities that welcome everyone regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. If you’re looking at Kentucky as your next home, here are some of the best places to live.

Lexington

Great Cities in Kentucky for LGBTQ FamiliesLexington, Kentucky, is a good-sized city that features a number of LGBTQ bars and other, similar businesses. Lexington is actually known for being a very diverse and accepting city. Moving here can be a great move, especially if you want to live in a larger city that still feels somewhat like a small town. Every year, you can attend the local pride parade and enjoy a number of other festivals. Housing prices here aren’t so bad, either, especially if you look in some of the more up-and-coming neighborhoods instead of those that are currently popular.

Newport

Newport, which is located near the border of Kentucky and Ohio, also has its own LGBTQ businesses, clubs, and bars. It’s close enough to Cincinnati that the two share many of their gay and lesbian events. Many residents step across state lines to visit the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Cincy, while some stay in Newport to enjoy everything it has to offer.

Frankfort

The capital of the state, Frankfort, welcomes people from all walks of life. LGBTQ residents can enjoy the annual pride festival, features a number of different businesses that cater to the gay and lesbian community, and hosts many other events that residents enjoy. Housing prices are very reasonable here, too. It’s not unusual to find good-sized houses in the city for much less than you’d pay in other states.

Campbellsville

Campbellsville takes its name from Andrew Campbell, who founded it in 1817. Today, the city is known for being home to Campbellsville University. If you’re on the search for a college town, this could be the home for you. The historic downtown area is gorgeous, and many people take weekend trips to enjoy the scenery at Green River Lake State Park during the warm months. Because the university attracts many of the more progressive younger generation, LGBTQ individuals find that living in Campbellsville comfortable and easy.

These are just a few of the different cities in Kentucky that you might want to call home. Check with a gay or lesbian real estate professional to learn about other great places to live in the state.

Great Places in West Virginia for LGBTQ Families

Are you considering a move to West Virginia? If you’re looking to relocate to a city where LGBTQ families are not just accepted, but welcomed, there are a few different places to consider. West Virginia overall is known as a friendly, accepting state, so you don’t necessarily have to avoid any certain places. However, it’s always great to live in a city that values all of its residents equally. Here are some places where you’ll find that.

Athens

Great Places in West Virginia for LGBTQ FamiliesAthens is a small college town where many people’s lives revolve around Concord University and the events on campus. Even though it’s small, it’s considered a gorgeous hidden paradise. Bush Creek Falls provides an amazing outdoor experience, and there are plenty of places to hike and picnic. The university puts on a number of different events throughout the year, and the town is home to a functional drive-in movie theater. Local ordinances protect people from discrimination based on orientation.

Morgantown

Is Athens a bit too small for you? Morgantown is a nice mid-sized city with around 30,000 full-time residents plus another 25,000 students. It’s another college town, so you have that welcoming atmosphere that often accompanies these areas where the demographic skews younger. With an average home price around $150,000 it’s also quite affordable. Morgantown’s located in a central area that makes it quick and easy to get to a number of large metro areas.

Charleston

Charleston is the capital of West Virginia, and it’s one of the most liberal cities in the state. LGBTQ individuals are protected from discrimination in a number of areas thanks to city ordinances. You’ll also find that the housing market here has revitalized itself. Today, everything from trendy downtown lofts to traditional homes with classical layouts are available at reasonable prices. In fact, the median price for houses is even less than Morgantown, so you’ll find some great deals here. As the capital, you can also expect to find many cultural activities in Charleston, and there’s always something to do.

Huntington

Another city of around 50,000 is Huntington. Like the other cities on this list, it also has a number of anti-discrimination ordinances that offer protection to its citizens. The city’s homes are even more reasonable than Charleston’s, and many people will pay less than $100,000 for a nice single-family home. If you’re looking for a city that’s affordable yet very welcoming, talk to a gay or lesbian real estate agent about homes in Huntington.