4 Tips for Prospective LGBT Homeowners
Lifestyle The LGBT community continues to gain recognition as a force in the American economy contribution nearly $1 trillion annually in consumer buying power. However, the community lags behind in homeownership rates.
While many would think this is because of the propensity of LGBTs to live in — and likely rent — in urban “gayborhoods,” the Freddie Mac report showed a majority either rent or own a home in suburbs and small communities.
The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) found that 57 percent of its members believe LGBT renters are in need of further education about the home buying process. Although first-time buying is an exciting and emotional process, LGBTs have even more to think about. Here are some tips from NAGLREP:
1. Choose an agent wisely
Being comfortable with an agent who will help with the largest purchase of your life is critical. NAGLREP.com provides a who understand the unique needs of the LGBT community and are ready to assist.
2. Local laws may be different
The 2015 Obergefell vs. Hodges Supreme Court ruling legalized same sex marriage, but unmarried LGBT couples may face added legal burdens when purchasing a home. It is recommended that you have a lawyer and/or title professional working with you (your agent can recommend them) who has previously worked with LGBT couples.
3. Report discrimination
Unfortunately, discrimination still exists. And while the National Association of Realtors works to ensure that its members refrain from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, there are no federal laws that protect LGBTs from abhorrent consumer behavior.Currently only 20 states offer protection. In reality, the fear of such discrimination seems to be greater than the reality. The Freddie Mac survey found that while 46 percent of those surveyed feared discrimination in the home buying process, only 13 percent actually experienced it.If you become a victim of discrimination, you should definitely tell your agent, his/her manager and the local real estate board. Lambda Legal is also a watchdog and an incredible resource.
4. Choosing the right neighborhood
Deciding where to live is obviously a huge question. Proximity to work, family and amenities will play a factor, but LGBTs also need to ensure that they feel welcomed. While state and local laws can be a guide (lgbtmap.org is a great starting point), there is nothing better than good ole fashion research to determine if a community is LGBT friendly. Your realtor will be a great resource, but you should also talk to as many as possible including store owners, government leaders and even school principals (if you have children) to gain a sense of comfort.