Tag Archives: gay realtors

How Legal Gay Marriage Will Effect Getting VA Loans

When the Supreme Court handed down their landmark decision on June 26, 2015, that reversed the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Obergefell v. Hodges and effectively made same-sex marriage legal in all states, it affected more than just LGBT couples. It also affected the mortgage market in a number of ways.

images (1)The first is that now same-sex couples can legally marry in any state, and those marriages are recognized throughout the U.S. This means that they now have all of the same rights as opposite-sex couples, including the right to hold property together. It’s now much easier for same-sex couples to apply for mortgages and get financing because lenders have always favored married couples over two single people applying for a mortgage jointly. Many experts expect to see more LGBT couples make the move from renters to homeowners in the very near future. Those who did purchase a home as two single individuals and are now married may also look to refinance their mortgages.

Couples who are married also have a tendency to feel more secure and stable. The results from a number of surveys show that single people, even those in a long-term relationship, feel like purchasing a home is something that’s done only after marriage. The fact that more same-sex couples can now legally married is expected to result in a number of new homeowners.

Another advantage that comes with the Supreme Court decision is the fact that same-sex married couples will be able to make use of the mortgage program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to this, the VA only provided benefits to same-sex couples who lived in states where those marriages were legal. Now veterans across the country will be able to add their spouses to their mortgages no matter what state they live in.

There will also no longer be any question about inheritance or title issues. Prior to this decision, the many different laws across the country regarding same-sex couples and their right to marry created a patchwork of different rules and regulations regarding property ownership and inheritance. Those issues are now gone, and same-sex couples can be treated exactly the same as opposite-sex couples. Spouses no longer have to create extra paperwork or go out of their way to make certain the title to their property is worded in such a way that there can be no challenge to who inherits the property if one of them dies.

 

What Documents do Unmarried Same Sex Couples need when Purchasing a Home Together

Unmarried same sex couples who are considering purchasing a home together should take precautions to protect themselves and their investment before buying. There are a couple of options available that would be of benefit in avoiding future problems if the relationship does not work out or one of you dies.

Domestic Partnership Agreement

images (1)Domestic partnership agreements can provide emotional and financial security if you are unmarried, either because you live in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage or you simply prefer not to marry. A domestic partnership agreement is a document that outlines the legal and financial responsibilities of your relationship. It should contain information such as how you will own property and share bank accounts, income and assets. Some states afford couples in these types of legal relationships the same rights and responsibilities as married couples. Note that domestic partnership agreements are not recognized in all states.

If domestic partnership agreements are not available in your state, you can create a similar contract that will be legally binding under contract law in courts. The cohabitation agreement must be in writing and should outline the same information as a domestic partnership agreement. You should check with your local attorney for information on that process in your state.

Title Your New Home

The best way to avoid probate and your partner potentially losing your share of the home to your heirs, if he or she does not have a will, is to title the home as Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship. Make sure that the right of survivorship language is included so that it does not end up being owned as joint tenancy only to avoid complications. The different ways that you can title your home depend on the state where the property is located. You should check the laws in that state to ensure that you choose the best form of ownership available for your particular situation.

Create a Will  

If you or your partner dies and you do not have a will or have not made other legal protections, you could lose his portion of the home to his or her heirs at law. Generally, state intestate laws dictate that a spouse is first in line, children are second and parents third to inherit. Whoever inherits could force you to move and sell the home if you cannot afford to buy their portion of the home from them.

Buying Your New Home

If you are considering purchasing a home, your local LGBT real estate agent at GayRealEstate.com can assist you with the process and protect your interests. He or she will have contacts that are LGBT friendly and can assist you in choosing an appropriate attorney, if needed, to assist you with contracts and wills.

Posted on November 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

LGBT Discrimination in Real Estate and What to do about it

The federal Fair Housing Act does not protect against sexual orientation and sexual identity discrimination, prospective home buyers may be treated differently by finance companies, real estate agents, insurance companies and others. Some states and local governments and agencies do have laws that protect against discrimination based on same sexual orientation and sexual identity.

CoupleThe four Fair Housing Centers in Michigan collaborated to conduct an investigation in 2007 to find out if same sex couples were discriminated against. They found that one in four same sex couples experienced discrimination at some point during the purchasing process. While Michigan does not have laws that prohibit such discrimination, other studies have shown that same sex couples are discriminated against even in areas that do have protections in place.

Home Buying Discrimination Examples

LGBT couples have been discriminated against during the bidding process and by inflated purchase prices. Others have been told that the home is no longer available, even though it was still listed for sale.

Real estate agents have steered same sex couples away from homes that heterosexual couples were encouraged to buy. Same sex couples were encouraged to buy only in known LGBT neighborhoods.

Same sex couples have been turned down by finance companies, even though they met the financial qualifications.

Insurance agencies have refused to put both partners’ names on homeowner’s insurance policies. Some insurance companies have refused to pay claims or have cancelled policies on the basis that the owners were unrelated, even though both names were on the policy.

What You Can Do

If you feel that you have been discriminated against, you should gather all of the documentation, including applications, letters and voice messages, related to the attempted transaction. You should then contact your local and state housing authority to file a complaint. There are generally limitations on the amount of time that you have to file a complaint, generally between six months and a year. If the home you would like to purchase is through the federal Housing and Urban Development, HUD, or Future Homes of America, FHA, you should contact HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

The best way to protect against discrimination is to know your rights. You should take the time to find out the federal, state and your local housing laws and policies. Contact a local LGBT real estate attorney. He or she can advise you of the laws that affect you and can help you fight the discrimination or win your claim against an insurance company.

If you are planning to purchase a home, you should contact a reputable LGBT real estate agent at GayRealEstate.com. He or she will know the laws affecting the LGBT community and can protect your interests throughout the home buying process.

Posted on November 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

How Gay Couples Can Buy a House Without a Breakup

Purchasing a home is an exciting but stressful life event and emotions can get out of hand. For example, disputes can arise if you prefer the cute little house on Leaf Street but your partner prefers the condo located closer to town, or the home one partner prefers costs more than the other partner is comfortable spending. downloadFollowing are some tips on how gay couples can buy a house without a breakup.

1. First and most importantly, sit down and talk! Discuss the top priorities of the type of home that you would like to purchase and come to an agreement on something that would work for both of you. For example, is a garage mandatory, how many rooms and baths would you like, and is a small lot or several acres preferred? Although your preferences may change once you begin looking at different homes, you will have an idea of the type of home that you would suit each of your preferences.

2. While you are discussing suitable homes, you should discuss how you want to own the home so that there are no misunderstandings down the road. For example, joint tenancy with right of survivorship, tenants in common or tenancy by the entirety. The ownership options vary depending on the state that you live in. States that allow ownership by tenancy by the entirety make it available to married couples only. For more information on forms of ownership, see our article Exploring Forms of Home Co-ownership for LGBT Unmarried Couples.

3. Put it in writing! Prepare an agreement that outlines all of the issues that you have agreed upon. You can add to the agreement as issues come up and you make additional decisions about buying a home together. Generally, the agreement is to resolve any potential disputes and is not a legal document. An agreement is only legally binding when it constitutes a legal agreement that a court of law will enforce. Those types of agreements must contain an offer and an acceptance where one party is agreeing to provide money, goods or perform services in return for something of value such as other goods, services or money.

4. Hire a real estate agent who specializes in working with LGBT clients. He will discuss the steps involved in purchasing a home and answer any questions that you may have. Having an agent that you trust will help relieve a lot of the stress involved in purchasing a home. For more information, see our article Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Gay Realtor for your Home Purchase.

Buying a home should be a fun adventure; relax and enjoy your search. We hope these tips on how gay couples can buy a house without a breakup will help you find and purchase your new home with a minimum of stress.

Where Have All the Gay Neighborhoods Gone?

According to recent research led by Amin Ghaziani, a sociologist at the University of British Columbia, and released in his new book There Goes the Gayborhood, gay men living in historically gay neighborhoods have declined by eight percent in the last ten years. downloadGhiziani’s research noted that gayborhoods including the Castro district in San Francisco, Chelsea in New York and Boystown in Chicago are changing due to the number of heterosexual households moving into those areas and the number of gay men moving to heterosexual neighborhoods.

Mainstream American’s have come a long way towards understanding and accepting that gays are just like them with the exception of their sexual preferences. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2013 found that 60 percent of the American public think gays should be accepted into society and that younger groups were more accepting than those 50 or older.

Greater awareness of gays, according to the American Psychological Association, began during World War II when formerly isolated gay men and women met worldwide as soldiers and volunteers. That fact, coupled with Senator Joseph McCarthy’s investigation into homosexuals holding government jobs in the 1950s, led to political demands for fair treatment of homosexuals in public policy, employment and mental health.

In recent years, the gay movement has accomplished some major victories. In 2013 alone, the following strides were made:

1. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Section 3, was unconstitutional. That ruling required the federal government to recognize legal same sex marriages.

2. The Supreme Court of the United States dismissed an appeal in Hollingsworth v. Perry with the result of restoring same sex marriage in California.

3. Delaware, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Minnesota made same sex marriage legal.

Because of the above and other strides made in the fight for fair treatment, gays are increasingly gaining rights that were formerly reserved for heterosexual married couples. Gays can now be legally married in 19 states, and those states as well as the federal government must grant them the same rights as other married couples. Same sex married couples may purchase and own homes as a unit, rather than as individuals, have inheritance rights and may take advantage of state and federal benefits.

Traditionally, gay neighborhoods were created when gays set up their own communities because they preferred living in a place where they would be accepted and for safety reasons. With the increasing rights, acceptance and integration of the LGBT and heterosexual communities, gay neighborhoods are fading away.

It still makes sense to ensure the neighborhood you’re considering is “gay friendly” and to do that you can connect with a top gay realtor at www.GayRealEstate.com.

Top 5 Home Mortgage Considerations, with or without Your LGBT Partner.

There are advantages and disadvantages to financing a mortgage with your partner. Careful consideration should be given to issues that could affect you before making a final decision.

imagesTop 5 Reasons to Put Mortgage in Both Names

1. If you both have good credit, obtaining a mortgage in both of your names may help you obtain a low interest rate.

2. Using both of your incomes to obtain a mortgage may increase your chances of getting approved for a higher priced home than you could afford alone.

3. When you mortgage a home together, both names will automatically be recorded on the deed to the real estate. This means that both of you will equally own the home.

4. If one of you dies and legal steps have been taken, such as taking the deed as joint tenancy with right of survivorship, the surviving partner will become the sole owner of the property.

5. If the relationship does not last, both partners will still be liable for the mortgage payment until the house is refinanced, paid off or sold.

Top 5 Reasons Not to Put Mortgage in Both Names

1. Both of your credit scores will be used by the lender when you apply for a mortgage together. If your partner has bad credit due to late payments, defaults on loans or other serious credit problems, you could be denied a loan or offered a loan at a higher interest rate because of the perceived risk of default.

2. It will force you to buy only what you can afford. If your relationship falls apart within six months, you should be in a position to afford the mortgage payments and maintain the home.

3. Unless you take measures to protect your interest in the home, you will have no legal interest in the home should you split up or your partner die.

4. If your partner cannot pay his portion of the mortgage, it could cause you to get behind in payments and result in negative reports on your credit report and foreclosure.

5. Your partner has no income or less income than you. This fact will automatically put you on unequal footing when it comes to paying the mortgage, property taxes and other expenses involved in home ownership. More couples split up over money issues than for any other reason.

There are other advantages and disadvantages when you finance a mortgage using both partners income and credit scores. It would be wise to consult with an LGBT friendly real estate agent at GayRealEstate.com, or LGBT friendly attorney in your state if you have additional questions.

Top 5 Ways to Protect Yourself When Purchasing a Home with Your Gay Partner

Protecting yourself when purchasing a home with your partner should be one of your priorities. Following are the top five ways that you should consider to protect yourself when purchasing a home with your partner.

RE1011. Create a partnership agreement that outlines each of your responsibilities. For example, who pays the mortgage,who pays for maintenance and repairs, will one partner pay more money while the other partner provides more labor, and what happens if the relationship ends. Creating an agreement can help resolve disputes without the need for mediation or getting the court involved if your partnership ends.

2. Title your home in a way that protects your interests. For example, joint ownership with right of survivorship means that if your partner dies, you become the sole owner of the home. Joint tenancy without right of survivorship allows you both to own an equal portion of the real estate with no right to the partner’s half should he die. Tenants in common allow you to own the home either equally or unequally. If your partner dies, you will own the percentage that is recorded and your partner’s portion will pass according to his will or the intestacy laws in your state. These options vary depending on the state that you live in.

3. Keep track of finances once you have purchased the home. If one of you cannot make their portion of the mortgage payment, that fact should be recorded. If one of you pays for an addition or repairs that are not ordinary maintenance included in the partnership agreement, that amount should be recorded. If you dissolve the relationship, having a record of who contributed what will help you come to an agreeable resolution.

4. If your agreement is that, when a partner dies, his portion of the real estate will pass to the surviving partner, a will should be drafted and filed with the appropriate official in the county where you live. This will ensure that the deceased partner’s portion of the real estate will not pass according to the intestacy laws in your state.

5. Hire a real estate agent who specializes in working with LGBT clients. He will make sure that nothing is overlooked during the purchase process that could affect the ownership of the property.

The options available to you to protect yourself when purchasing a home with your partner depend on the state that you live in. Because the above issues can be complex, consulting an experienced gay realtor at GayRealEstate.com or an LGBT attorney will help ensure that your partnership agreement legally reflects your wishes.

Top 6 Questions Every Gay Home Buyer Should Ask Their Realtor

Finding and purchasing a home is a major decision that a good realtor can help facilitate. But, how do you know if you are hiring the right realtor for you? Below are the top 5 questions every gay home buyer should ask their realtor.

Dear Gay Realtor1. Ask if the realtor knows what the current state laws are that relate to gay’s purchasing homes. If the realtor is not up-to-date on current statutes, it could result in him or her giving you the wrong advice for your situation and end up costing you money. He or she should have knowledge of any special requirements that you need to be aware of when purchasing your new home.

2. Ask for references from other LGBT clients that the realtor has assisted in buying a home. Call at least three of those references and ask them about their experience with the realtor. For example, were they kept informed? Was the realtor hard to get in touch with? Would they recommend him or her to others? Their answers should help you determine if you are compatible with the realtor. For example, would you be comfortable if your realtor was hard to get in touch with when you had a question. If the realtor refuses to give references or if his references were not happy with him, you should look for another realtor.

3. Ask about gay friendly neighborhoods. One part of a realtors job is to know the local market. He/she should be able to advise you of market conditions and give you community information on the neighborhoods that you are interested in, while staying within the guidelines of the law. He should also be able to tell you about gay organizations and businesses that are in those areas or that support those communities.

4. Can you recommend gay / gay friendly service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? A realtor should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.

5. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where your realtors obligations lie.

6. Finally, ask if there is anything that you haven’t asked that you need to know. Pay attention to the answer. It should make you feel comfortable with his knowledge and experience in assisting LGBT home buyers.

Purchasing your home will be less stressful if you hire a realtor that you believe will look out for your best interests. You should be comfortable relying on his advice and get along with him well enough to have fun searching for your new home.

If you’d like to hire a gay realtor, you may visit the largest free directory of gay, lesbian and gay friendly realtors in the nation at www.GayRealEstate.com.

Gay Realtors Advice On Buying a Home with No Down payment

When it comes to owning a home, making a down payment can be very challenging. However, there are some instances you can follow in order to purchase a home with zero down payment according to our expert gay realtor.

USDA Rural Housing Loans

Gay Realtors Advice On Buying a Home with No Down paymentFor people with a lower income, rural housing programs may allow them to buy a house without making any down payment. Those whose income doesn’t go beyond the local area median income (AMI) may qualify for loan guarantee. Make sure your personal situation and the property you are interested in falls under the USDA guidelines. (http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HSF-About_Guaranteed_Loans.html)

VA Loans for Veterans

If you have served in the National Guard or in military, then you are eligible for a ZERO down VA mortgage. The lender will request your COE (Certificate of Eligibility), veterans may obtain this on-line. The VA guarantees your home purchase to the lender. A funding fee maybe included in your total loan amount for the guaranty.

Down Payment Assistance

This can be furnished by charitable foundations, local governments and other organizations. This cannot be supplied by any anyone who has other interests in the finances of the home sale e.g. a real estate agent, the mortgage broker or the property owner.

Most of such programs include guidelines and are limited only for first-time home buyers, buying their primary residences. Some will have you go through a homebuyer education course first. This is more of a silent second mortgage that won’t require any payments. They may only ask for a refund once you sell the home, or it could be waived if you stay in the home for x amount of years.

Good Neighbor Next Door Program

Teachers, firefighters/emergency medical technicians and law enforcement officers who qualify for the program can purchase any HUD Home at a 50% discount. On the other hand if you use an FHA loan to finance your home, they will only require a down payment of just $100. The program provides a payment-free and interest-free second mortgage for 50% of the total homes value. The second mortgage balance is forgiven if you live in the home for three years or longer.

FHA Home Loans

FHA mortgages only require a down payment of 3.5%. Home buyers can get it from secured loans, employers, friends, relatives and other organizations.

Lease Option

This is part of a rental agreement. With the lease option deal, the renters can lease the house for a planned period of time, with an option to buy the home at some future date. This gives the buyer time to save for a down payment, while locking in today’s housing prices.

Any of the top gay real estate agents at GayRealEstate.com will be happy to provide you a free consultation to discuss your housing and financing needs. Just review the profiles of the agents in the city you’re considering, and contact them today! No cost or obligation.

Posted on November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Gay Real Estate’s Highest and Lowest Priced Homes in the Nation’s Top 10 Markets

Houses are becoming more expensive not to mention the ever rising mortgage rates. However, the prices do vary according to where the home is located and the buyer’s house choice according to Gay Real Estate Experts.

Buying a home is always a wise investment, but be aware of the factors that make homes affordable or expensive those include; location, location, location.

Influence of Location on House Price

You can visit lendingtree.com to carry out an analysis on the average single-family home price as a factor of the average earning in some of the top 10 biggest metropolitan zones in the US.

After the analysis of the Top 10 metropolitan areas in the US shows the most expensive areas to buya home, to where it’s cheapest.
1. Los Angeles (Most expensive among the ten largest metro areas)
2. New York
3. Boston
4. Washington, DC
5. Miami
6. Philadelphia
7. Chicago
8. Dallas
9. Houston
10. Atlanta (Cheapest housing among the ten largest metro areas)

From the list above you can tell why it is crucial to consider the home prices and your total income. Washington, DC best illustrates it ~ average home prices in the nation’s capital are way higher than the ones in Miami, Philadelphia and Chicago. But since the average wages are relatively higher in Washington, people can afford to pay more for their home.

What Other Factors Influence Affordability

Apart from the location being a factor in terms of house affordability, there are other variables from family to family such as the stability of income, total household income, existing financial responsibilities and long-term career prospects.

The point to digest here is that, whenever you are buying a new home, you should look at it beyond mortgage rates and prices. The bigger picture will help you in estimating affordability in a potential relocation, and help you find a house that blends perfectly with your career and budget.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is a gay realtor and Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com ~ Offering Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. Free Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.