Category Archives: Homeowners

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.

LGBTQ-Friendly Cities Where the Real Estate Market Will Improve in 2019

As with any year, you can expect 2019 to bring about many changes in your life. Will one of those changes include moving to a new city? If so, you might want to be aware of which cities are going to have a higher-than-average housing market. Moving to one of these cities may be a bit more costly, but it could also be a major opportunity for you.

Of course, you also want to make certain these cities are fairly welcoming to the LGBTQ community. Working with a gay or lesbian real estate professional is certainly one way of learning about the area and finding the right home for you. If you already live in one of these cities and have been thinking about selling, now may be the time.

Dallas, Texas

LGBTQ-Friendly Cities Where the Real Estate Market Will Improve in 2019Dallas has always been a fairly open metro. It’s home to the Cathedral of Hope, one of the largest inclusive church congregations that’s mainly LGBTQ. The city has also received a score of 100 on the HRC’s Municipal Equality Index, which shows that it’s very progressive and that city officials have made it a point to protect and include the LGBTQ community.

Experts in real estate and the economy expect homes in Dallas to continue to sell for slightly above the national average, but they will continue to sell. Homes will improve in value, which means even if you’re not looking to buy, you may want to consider selling. For example, if you’re an older couple and your children have left home, selling your current home and downsizing could net you a very nice profit.

Washington, D.C.

It’s no secret that living in the capitol city of the U.S. is expensive, which is why many people prefer to live nearby and commute to work. Those who do own property in D.C. will see housing market do exceptionally well. One of the reasons some experts are giving for the growth in D.C. is because Amazon has selected the city and New York City for its new headquarters buildings. Originally, the company was only going to build one additional headquarters, but executives later decided to build two smaller bases.

Denver, Colorado

Denver may not have been chosen for Amazon’s HQ, but it was a finalist, and even that has had an impact on the city. With a number of LGBTQ neighborhoods, it’s certainly a great place for anyone looking to live in the Midwest U.S. While there is some concern about the housing bubble bursting, analysts believe those concerns are unfounded and that the Denver housing market will grow in 2019.

These are just three LGBTQ-friendly cities that are going to see a strong housing market in 2019. While that may not affect your housing decisions, it is something to keep in mind if you’re looking to buy or sell in these cities.

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.

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.

Cities You May Not Realize are LGBTQ Friendly

Everyone knows that New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are very LGBTQ-friendly and have well-known gay neighborhoods. But there are a number of other cities out there that you might not know are very friendly to the LGBTQ community. These smaller cities don’t make huge headlines for having gay neighborhoods, but they do. If you speak to a gay or lesbian real estate expert in one of these cities, they would tell you that their LGBTQ community is thriving. Here are a few of these cities.

Missoula

Cities You May Not Realize are LGBTQ FriendlyYou’ve probably never heard of this little city in Montana, which isn’t surprising at all. It’s the home of the University of Montana, a liberal arts university that brings in a good number of young people to the city. Missoula also features the Western Montana LGBT Community Center and a number of gay bars and other businesses. If you love the outdoors, you’ll enjoy the national parks that surround the area.

Anchorage

One of the bigger cities in Alaska, Anchorage is home to a thriving LGBTQ community. The city also ranked highly on the HRC Municipal Equality Index with an 85 out of a possible 100. That shows that the city itself has a number of inclusive policies and is LGBTQ-friendly. Anchorage hosts Alaska’s Pride every year and is home to several LGBTQ support groups. If you love the colder temperatures and don’t mind the ice and snow, Anchorage may be the winter wonderland you’ve always wanted.

Bloomington

While Chicago may be the midland LGBTQ paradise, it may not be for everyone. If Chicago is too large for you, you might take a look at Bloomington, Indiana. This smaller city scored a perfect 100 on the HRC index. Like Missoula, Bloomington is a college town, so you can expect its average age to skew younger than many other cities. The city is home to a great number of LGBTQ-owned businesses, restaurants, and bars. Bloomington also hosts the Pride Film Festival, an event that has run for more than a dozen years.

These three cities are just a few of the most unexpected LGBTQ friendly cities in the country. They’re great examples of places where the LGBTQ community not only exists, but also thrives even though they’re not that well-known. If you’d like to know more about what it’s like to live in Bloomington, Missoula, or Anchorage, contact a gay or lesbian real estate professional in that city.

Cities with the Best Pride Festivals

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

San Francisco

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

Chicago

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

Austin

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

Boston

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

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

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.

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.