Category Archives: Homeowners

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.

Home Tasks to Do This Fall

Taking care of your home can be a full time task, especially if you do things the wrong time of year. There are actually better times of year to maintain your home when it comes to specific tasks. Do you know when you should buy new appliances, and when you should wait if it isn’t an urgent fix? Most homeowners do not. Here are a few tips on how to keep your home maintained, along with why this time of year is the best.

Buying Appliances is Great for This Time of Year

Home Tasks to Do This FallRight around the end of the year, but before the holiday rush, is when you should seek out new appliances for your home. The stores want to move the models that will be replaced with new versions in the next month or two, and they are more willing to negotiate on prices. So, if you need a new range, fridge, dishwasher, washer, dryer, or other major appliance, now is the time to go buy it.

Make Sure to Clean All Your Windows

The end of the year is an important time to clean your windows. It may not seem like it is that important, but it can actually help you avoid things like seasonal depression. This time of year, we have fewer hours of sun. This means that we need as much natural light as possible. By cleaning the windows, we let more light in and we get the advantage of each minute of natural sunlight possible.

Have Someone Check Your Chimney

It is really important that you have someone come out and check your chimney before the weather hits where you would need to use it. If you have a build up inside your chimney, and it is not inspected and cleaned before you light a fire, it could start your entire chimney on fire. Plus, it could also trap carbon monoxide in your home, which could hurt you or your family. Make sure to have a professional come in to help check your chimney before the cold weather hits. It leaves you and your family in a safer, cozier place.

For more tips on how to maintain your home this fall, contact us here at GayRealEstate.com. We can help you with anything from buying or selling a home, to helping you maintain the home you have for years to come.

Posted on October 18, 2017 in Home Ownership, Homeowner, Homeowners

The Most Important Considerations Before Buying a Home

Have you decided that you are ready to begin the process of buying a home? If so, it is important that you know what you are getting into. You need to have the right resources at your disposal, and know who to turn to. Buying a home is not a simple process, but it also does not have to be a complicated one. Knowing these considerations first, makes it a bit easier.

1 – Consider Your Life Today, and What Life Will Be Like Tomorrow

The Most Important Considerations Before Buying a HomeOne of the bigger mistakes people make is buying a home that is perfect for them right this moment, without thinking about the future. When buying a home, you want a home that is ideal for right now, plus will still work for the expected changes in your future life. Just because you do not have kids now, for example, does not mean you should avoid buying a home with extra bedrooms if you plan on having them. Think about what tomorrow will bring, and make sure your home works for that life, too.

2 – Don’t Forget to Negotiate

Each stage of buying a home involves some type of contract. You will likely feel like you are signing your life away at certain points. However, contracts are not all written in stone. If you do not like something in a contract, find out what options you have to make it something you do like. Talk about current contract wording, and figure out how to make it more pleasing when it does not meet your needs. You do not need to buy a home that works for anyone else. It has to work for you.

3 – Note the Neighborhood

While many areas of the country are LGBT friendly, not all specific neighborhoods are. On the contrary, some of the more conservative areas of the country are also far more welcoming than you may expect to members of the LGBT community. Make sure you look around the neighborhood before you sign on the dotted line. The last thing you want is to ignore a home that would be ideal simply based on the neighborhood.

4 – Always Use a Realtor You Trust

One of the most important parts of buying a home is making sure you use a Realtor during the process. There are a lot of great realtors out there, no matter what part of the country you live in. If you want the help of an LGBT friendly realtor, you can find one here on this site. Just make sure you find someone you like working with, and you trust their word. It makes the entire process a lot easier!

Before buying a home, make sure you know what you want out of it and what the buying process encompasses. Hopefully these tips help make it easier for you to get the home of your dreams!

By the Numbers – Best and Worst Places for LGBT Individuals in 2017

While many cities and states have become more welcoming of LGBT individuals over the years, there are still some places where lawmakers haven’t provided any protections for these people. Some, such as Texas, have actively worked to pass laws that restrict LGBT people. For example, Texas recently passed a law that allows child welfare organizations to refuse couples based on religious beliefs. But how rare is this? These numbers will help shed light onto the current LGBT situation in mid-2017.

Differences in States and Cities

By the Numbers – Best and Worst Places for LGBT Individuals in 2017First, it’s important to note that even when one state has a specific law regarding LGBT individuals, some cities within that state may actually offer many protections and be very welcoming. You do need to do some research before deciding where you’re going to move. Gay and lesbian real estate agents can help you learn more about any potential place to live.

Pro-LGBT Verses Anti-LGBT

When you compare states that have laws protecting the LGBT community verses those that don’t, it can be difficult to tell exactly how many are pro and how many are con. That’s because some have laws protecting things such as housing and employment, while others may have laws protecting adoption and employee benefits. Some states may even have laws, such as the one in Texas, that allows adoption agencies to discriminate, but then turn around and have strong hate crime laws.

However, overall, you can say that the states on the west coast and those in the northeast tend to have more protective laws than those in the south and Midwest, which tend to have more anti-LGBT laws in place. This isn’t always true, but it is something to keep in mind.

Hate Crime Laws

When it comes to hate crime laws, the Human Rights Campaign lists 20 states that do not have hate crime laws that specifically protect the LGBT community. Again, these are mainly in the south, but a cluster of states in the northern part of the state, including Montana, North Dakota, and Idaho, also do not have hate crime laws that address the LGBT community. Then there’s Texas and Tennessee, both of which most people would consider as more conservative, which do.

Discrimination

There are 29 different states with no laws preventing establishments from engaging in discrimination. The establishments in these states are free to refuse service to LGBT individuals. In 28 states, there are no protections for employment, meaning LGBT workers can be fired simply because of their sexual or gender preference.