Gay Homebuyer? 5 Questions to Ask the Neighbors Before Buying a Home

Buying your dream home is a major step in life that you will presumable be living in for a long time. When you find the perfect home for you, it would be wise to take a walk around the neighborhood and talk to some of the neighbors. Failing to do this is one of the most common mistakes that buyers make. Neighbors can give you a lot of information about the house and about the neighborhood. Following are 5 questions to ask the neighbors before buying home.

Gay Home Buyer Questions1. Ask what they know about the history of the house. The neighbors may know things that the sellers forgot to mention. For example, the yard may flood every spring and the basement may leak. Those that live close by and are friendly with the seller may also offer additional details about the seller’s and why they are selling the home that could put you in a better bargaining position.

2. Ask if they like living in the neighborhood and how long they have lived there. People that really like where they live tend to stay. If most of the neighbors have not lived there very long, it may be a red flag that something is making the neighborhood undesirable. Generally, asking those questions will get your potential new neighbor talking about the good and the bad of living in the area and give you an idea of whether it is a place where you would like to live.

3. Ask about neighborhood activities. Do the neighbors have a good relationship with each other? Do they have neighborhood cookouts during the summer or have a favorite park that everyone gathers in for fun and exercise?  Discovering this information will give you a feel for the dynamics of the neighborhood and whether it is something you can tolerate.

4. Ask about crime in the area. Neighbors can tell you whether it is safe to walk the street at night, whether there have been burglaries and other crime related activity in the neighborhood.

5. If you have children, ask about the schools in the district. Parents who have children that go to the schools are in the best position to tell you about the quality of education that will be provided. You may also want to ask whether there are local babysitters available, summer camps and school clubs nearby. These questions will help you determine whether the neighborhood is child friendly and whether the area is a good place to raise children.

Talking to your potential new neighbors should be one of the things that you do before you make a final decision on purchasing a new home. Living in your dream home could turn into a nightmare if your new neighborhood is intolerable to you.

Gay Real Estate and the State of LGBT Relocation

The good news was that on July 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court overturned a section of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) that refused to recognize the marital status of same-sex couples. The bad news is that even though the federal government now recognizes the marital status of same sex couples, there are still 37 states that do not recognize marriage equality.

State of LGBT RelocationAs heartening as the revocation of DOMA first seemed the let-down according to gay real estate is that the Supreme Court left it up to the individual states to decide whether or not a gay marriage would be recognized with the definition of the state usurping the definition of the federal ruling.

Also disappointing is the fact that the status of a marriage is defined by location and not the place of celebration. This is important because this means that if a gay couple is married in New York, where their union is legally recognized and they move to somewhere like Alabama, where it is not, then they lose their legal married status and all the benefits and constitutional rights that go with that.

The main impact that this has on legally married couples relocation is that it puts a lot of pressure on the couple to put the matter of where they live before the progress of their careers or a real desire to live in a certain climate or environment.

Heterosexual couples do not have to live like this ~ Politics and the search to be treated equally do not determine the planning of life goals. They do not have to choose to live in the areas that comprise that thirty percent of the state governments in the United States that legally recognize them as couples.  Opposite sex couples can live wherever they like in the country without fear of financial penalties or a lack of recognition of their most important relationship.

Obviously the stress of deciding between having constitutional rights and no career path in a state that recognizes gay marriage or having a good job and no rights can cause a lot of stress in any relationship.  Those in gay marriages may find themselves making tough choices such as having to lose constitutional rights because they want to live near an ailing relative who lives in a state that does not recognize gay marriage. Another tough choice might have to do with needing to relocate to a state where there is no tax on gifts to a spouse if a spouse happens to be ailing.

DOMA has also affected those who have married in other countries, such as Canada, and then returned to the United States to make a home for them.  Sadly many couples have ended up separated from each other because the marriage was not recognized and the spouse was not able to obtain a Green Card. For couples this has happened to in the past it might be a lot easier to get their spouse into the country now provided that they choose to live in a state that recognizes the marriage.

The fact that status and rights depends so much on geography is an anomaly that has created a great deal of confusion and even led to situations where married same-sex couples living in a state without marriage equality can be treated as single. This is expensive emotionally as it takes away from the integrity of the relationship and many LGBT citizens end up suffering financially for many reasons. That is why consulting with a gay realtor and also a tax expert that is familiar with tax law and the DOMA repeal is a good idea before you relocate anywhere in the U.S.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com. 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.

Gay Realtor Tips to Relieve the Tension of Relocation

If you thought that selling a home would take time, think again. These days in many markets, you can sell your home at blazing speeds, which is a clear indication that there has been an increase in the mobility that goes hand in hand with the country’s economic restoration.

For many of us that have been stuck in our homes for the past half dozen years, this is great news.

Gay Realtor Tips to Relieve the Tension of RelocationThere comes a time in our lives that we need to pick ourselves up and move ahead. You’re going to start a new beginning, which is why you need to get started on the right track e.g. finding a great neighborhood, within your new city, that fits perfectly with your current economic condition.

To be able to make the next move without undue stress, you need to adhere to the following principles.

Acknowledge the Reality of Today’s Market

Realize that you live in a world that has amazing cities, with amazing opportunities. In some cities the number of homes that are available is outnumbered by the number of potential buyers, offering a great opportunity to home buyers, and in other cities you’d better be prepared to make aggressive, over-full-price offers to secure your home.

So what do you need to do? A few simple rules apply here;

  1. A Sell first then buy the new home.
  2. Visit the city you are considering, and meet with a gay realtor to discuss opportunities.
  3. Don’t rush if you don’t have to, but move forward with a well designed plan.
  4. Packing is everything! Do it well, or have it done for you.

Don’t over extend yourself financially, which causes an enormous amount of unnecessary stress. If money is not a concern, there are still lenders that will extend a short term bridge loan for those trying to purchase a new house prior to selling the current one you own.

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

Nothing is more important than to work with someone you trust, someone that understands your unique needs and requirements, and someone that stands in full support of the LGBT community.

Services like those offered by GayRealEstate.com, GayRealEstateAgents.com and LesbianRealEstate.com help take the guesswork out of choosing a real estate professional. Additionally, you can request a Free Relocation Kit for any city you’re considering a move to.

Is My New Home Worth It?

Living life to the fullest is about taking some risks. Well, this is the same thing with your home investment. How you have prepared is what makes the big difference between success and failure. A good tip would be to at least put at least 20% down on your new home purchase, to save MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium) which can be hundreds of extra dollars per month.

Before you decide to move into a new neighborhood, ensure you have closely accessed the area and familiarize yourself with what goes on in the region.

When you’ve made the decision to move, pick movers carefully ~ how are they rated at Yelp.com? Try to find out their interstate rates of shipping. When moving despite how much you have paid for the service, delays in pickup and delivery are likely to occur so exercise patience, and know that things are unfolding exactly as they should.

You can try and avoid crunch times by moving on times where you would get a more attentive crews, and better rates. Such seasons are between the months of October – March. If you have expensive items to move, getting third party moving insurance is a great idea.

Best Gay & Lesbian States to Relocate to Post-DOMA

Now that Section 3 of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) has been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the best states for LGBT couples to move to are those that recognize gay marriage and that are in alignment with the new federal ruling.  Financial experts, like the out MSNBC money expert Suze Orman has predicted that this will result in a flight of gay people from states that are not in agreement with DOMA strike-down, to greener pastures.  Many gay couples will see no reason to handicap themselves by offering their valued human resources, including their ability to invest in real estate, to communities that are in conflict with the LGBT entitlement to basic constitutional rights.

To retain the maximum benefits which includes income and estate tax breaks, veteran’s benefits, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Family Medical Leave Act, gay couples may want to consider moving to states that recognize gay marriage.

As of July 2013, eleven state governments those of Maine, Maryland, Washington, Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia are the best options. Rhode Island and Minnesota will join the roster of states that approve gay marriage on August 1, 2013.

There are also many Indigenous nations that recognize gay marriage including the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, the Lite Traverse Baby Bands of Odawa Indians, the Pokagon Band of Potawami Indians and the Iipay Nation of Ysabel.

If you’re married and you move to, or live in any of the other states (not recognizing gay marriage) you may find that there is a great deal of confusion when it comes to filing your state and federal tax returns as you will be recognized as a couple federally and not locally.  This will also affect simple procedures like going to the bank to get a mortgage together. It is also not helpful that the Supreme Court ruling made it optional for states to recognize a legal marriage status that was established elsewhere in the country.

One of the areas where the new ruling will have the most impact is the transfer of assets, including real estate assets, after one spouse dies. With DOMA struck down, same sex spouses can now make unlimited transfer of assets to each other without incurring any federal gift tax or estate tax. This is extended to same sex married couples that live in states that recognize gay marriages ~ however if you do not live in one of these states you may not be entitled to this as the IRS is still clarifying its post-DOMA guidance.

Of the twenty states plus the District of Columbia that impose death taxes, 16 recognize same-sex unions for purpose of spousal benefits under transfers.  These are Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

By August 1, 2013 Minnesota and Rhode Island will be recognizing gay marriage as legal. That means if you’re a same sex couple, you’re treated the same as heterosexuals for purposes of state death taxes.  This also means that these state are “safer” to buy a house in but not necessarily partisan to all of the benefits and rights that should, constitutionally, belong to everyone who is bereaved and lives anywhere in the U.S.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of http://www.GayRealEstate.com. 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.

Relocating ~ How Do I Find Temporary Housing?

Relocating your family doesn’t have to be filled with stress, confusion, and desperation as you frantically search for a temporary roof over your head.  Often, a closing date will contradict a desired move date or an unexpected turn of events will cause you to rush a closing, wrecking havoc on your moving timeline.

Temporary housing is the next logical step as a stepping-stone to your new home.  Finding help is free and is a convenient way to get a professional on your side to find an apartment, weekly, or monthly rental that suits the lifestyle you desire.

Apartment Temporary Housing

If you are a single person, or a small family that doesn’t mind putting major items in temporary storage, you may consider an apartment as your temporary residence.  Your apartment will come complete with all household necessities: bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and possibly even your own personal garage.  It’s common for an apartment to be available in multi-floor varieties, so you’ll have a choice of a single floor unit or penthouse suite.

Similar to helping with home purchases, our real estate agents can assist you with apartment temporary housing.  By far the most useful tool we’ll bring to the table are intricate searching tools that help us sort out undesirable units immediately.

Residential Month-to-Month Temporary Housing

We keep a close watch on properties that are available to lease month to month, as this poses a substantial benefit to both an investor without a tenant and a buyer in desperate need of a home.  Month-to-month rentals are a great way to avoid sacrificing the luxuries that a private residence offers your family.  You’ll enjoy a better sense of security, private parking, and your own yard to lounge away the afternoons.

Our real estate agents can also assist with finding a weekly or monthly residential rental.  We’ll manage the communication between you and the landlord, act as your representative during all negotiations, and guide you in carefully constructing a lease agreement that you won’t regret later.

What’s Next?

Once you’ve completed your temporary stay, our real estate agents can assist with discovering your next home.  The process is very similar to finding your previous temporary home.  We’ve found that being focused and proactive in this volatile real estate market essentially guarantees that you’ll find a place to live in that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

If you’re in the market for a new home and are considering temporary living, contact a GayRealEstate.com agent today to get started.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Free Instant Access to Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast, offering Free Buyers Assistance.