Lavender Heights – A LGBTQ Neighborhood in Sacramento

Posted on September 20, 2018 in Buying a Home

While many LGBTQ people who move to California are determined to live in either San Francisco or Los Angeles, there are actually a number of other, more affordable gay villages in the state. One of these neighborhoods is Lavender Heights, a part of Sacramento. If you’re looking to live more in the middle or northern part of the state, this may be the place for you.

Lavender Heights is located in the Midtown area of Sacramento. This is one of the historical districts of the city, and the houses here are gorgeous. Many are old Victorian homes that have been kept up over the years. While Midtown is mainly a residential area, it is just east of Sacramento’s downtown, so you’ll be close to everything. Midtown and Lavender Heights have a growing artistic community. The area is also home to the only winery in the Sacramento area. The entire Midtown area has continuous bike lanes and has a terminal for the Sacramento Regional Transit District light rail, making getting around very easy.

Sacramento’s Castro

Lavender Heights – A LGBTQ Neighborhood in SacramentoLavender Heights has been called the Castro of Sacramento. It’s also been compared to Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle. The neighborhood is home to the Lavender Library and the Sacramento LGBT Community Center along with many of the LGBTQ clubs, bars, and other businesses.

Despite being the center of Sacramento’s LGBTQ community for years, Lavender Heights wasn’t actually a designated neighborhood until 2015. It was always simply a part of Midtown, but the city’s first openly LGBTQ councilmember believed that the district needed to be officially recognized as its own area. He created a community collation to raise awareness of the district and its place in the LGBTQ community. With the support of a number of organizations, community leaders, and other groups, Lavender Heights was officially recognized as its own district.

As part of the campaign to become its own district, a rainbow crosswalk was installed in Lavender Heights. This crosswalk was funded by a number of fundraisers organized by the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and its Rainbow Chamber Foundation. The crosswalk was officially unveiled in October of 2015 and was the subject of news stories across the state.

Living in Lavender Heights

As a historic district, you can expect to find mostly older homes in Lavender Hills. With access to downtown and the rest of the city via light rail plus a number of arts and music festivals, there’s always something to do. If you’re looking to settle somewhere away from the coast, ask a gay or lesbian real estate agent about Lavender Heights. It may not be that well-known, but you may be surprised by how homey it feels.

Moving into the Right School Zone

Posted on September 6, 2018 in Buying a Home

If you have a family with young children, one of the key factors in deciding on where you’re going to move is likely to be the school zone. If you’re an LGBTQ family, you may even be more concerned than other parents due to the fact that you do have to take into account how your children will be accepted. Changing schools is never easy, but it’s even worse if your kids get picked on for having same-sex parents. Before you make a final decision on where you’re moving, you will want to learn everything you can about the school or schools your children will be attending.

Go Online and Look at the School’s Profile

Most states, counties, or school districts have websites where you can look up the school’s performance review or school report card. These documents will discuss information such as the property valuation per student, the student suspension ratio, the total enrollment, the percentage of students scoring proficient or above in each subject and each grade, and other information. Reading over these profiles and other information you can find online will give you a general idea of how the school ranks compared to others in the school district and the state.

You can always do a search on the school and name LGBTQ students or related search terms. In many cases, schools that have had a major bullying issue have found themselves the subject of local news stories.

Visit the School

Once you find yourself seriously considering a specific home or neighborhood, you can call the school and ask to visit. You can speak to the principal or school superintendent about your concerns and ask about any problems the children from LGBTQ may have had. This is a good time to ask any questions you might have and to discuss any specific special needs your children may have.

Talk to the Neighbors

Once you’ve found the house for you, you can always approach some of your potential neighbors and ask about the school system. There’s a good chance you’ll find at least one family who has school-age children. This will not only give you an idea about the school, but it will also allow you to judge how your neighbors may react to you and your family.

If you find that the school is going to be a good fit for your children, there’s just one thing left to do: call your gay or lesbian real estate agent and make an offer on the house of your dreams!

Coming Out to Your New Neighbors

Posted on August 24, 2018 in Buying a Home

When you move into a new neighborhood, you’re gaining more than just a new house, new yard, and new location. You’re also gaining a brand new set of neighbors. If you’re not one to really talk to your neighbors, you may not plan to deal with them at all. However, most people at least acknowledge their neighbors and are friendly with them. That means you may have to come out to them, especially if they want to be on quite friendly terms.

Should You?

Coming Out to Your New NeighborsThe first question you may ask yourself is if you even want to come out to your neighbors. If you’re single, it may not be worth it, even if you are currently dating someone. It’s unlikely that your neighbors will realize that the person who is coming over all the time is your significant other unless you’re engaging in any type of display of affection where they can see. On the other hand, there’s no real point in lying about who you are unless you have reason to believe that one of your neighbors may be homophobic. If you truly feel unsafe, you may have to determine whether remaining in the home is even the right decision.

How to Come Out

Coming out to a neighbor isn’t really the same as coming out to friends and family. It doesn’t have to be any sort of announcement. You could simply mention your spouse as either your husband or wife and leave it at that. If you don’t want to go that far, just mention you and your spouse or partner have just moved in. Your neighbors will see the two of you together and work things out themselves. If they ask questions or want to talk more about it, you’re free to be as open as you feel comfortable, but you’re under no obligation to tell your new neighbors your entire life story.

Dealing with Uncomfortable or Rude Neighbors

There’s always the risk that one or more of your neighbors are not accepting of the LGBTQ community. When that occurs, the best thing to do is to simply ignore them as long as they do nothing that threatens you or your property. There’s no reason to cause drama on the street, but you also have to make certain you’re safe and that no damage is done to your new home. If they’re willing to keep their distance and simply give you disapproving looks, you can take the high road and ignore them. If they verbally or physically attack you or damage your property, however, you have every right to contact the police.

Resources to Help You Determine Your Next Move

Posted on August 13, 2018 in Buying a Home

Maybe you’ve just graduated from college, or perhaps you’ve decided it’s time for a change. You might be looking at retirement destinations or have just lost your job and have nothing anchoring you to your current location. Regardless of what’s driving your plans to move, you do need to take some time and carefully decide where the next phase of your life will occur. This decision shouldn’t be made on a lark or by throwing a dart at a map. But where can you find information that will help you? Here are a few places where LGBTQ people can learn about their potential new homes.

The HRC

The Human Rights Campaign works to advance LGBTQ rights across the U.S. They offer many different resources, but one of their best is the Municipal Equality Index. This annual report scores many of the country’s largest cities on how well they support the LGBTQ community. It awards points for having city ordinances that protect workers, the city’s history as an employer, whether city officials are supportive, and more. It’s a great way of getting an overall idea of how accepting the city is before you move there.

Go Online

The internet is perhaps the biggest resource out there. If you do a search for the city name plus LGBTQ support, you’re likely to find a number of websites, blogs, and message boards discussing how supportive or unsupportive the city tends to be. This is a good way to hear directly from people who live there now. You can get an idea of how the average person in the city is likely to view LGBTQ individuals and couples.

Your Friends and Family

It’s possible you know people who currently live in the city or have lived there in the past. They can give you insight into what you can expect and may even be able to suggest certain neighborhoods or parts of the city over other areas. Of course, if it’s been a number of years since someone lived there, do keep in mind that the city may have changed since then.

GayRealEstate.com

Finally, this very website can help you learn more about other cities. We offer much more than just a way of finding a great gay or lesbian real estate professional. We’ve published a number of articles that provide useful information about cities across the U.S., including the average housing cost. Be sure to check them out so you can make an informed decision about your future.

Living in West Hollywood

Posted on July 30, 2018 in Buying a Home

West Hollywood, sometimes called WeHo, is a part of Los Angeles. It’s one of the largest and most recognized LGBTQ neighborhoods in the country. More than a third of the population identifies as LGBTQ, and the city was one of the first to incorporate protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation. In addition to being home to many people in the community, West Hollywood is also a major tourist destination, and many visit the city to experience its nightlife, restaurants, and spas.

Where Is West Hollywood?

As you might expect, West Hollywood sits to the west of Hollywood and to the south of Hollywood Hills. Unlike some similarly named cities, West Hollywood wasn’t a part of Hollywood that grew too big and broke away. Instead, it was founded and formed from unincorporated land. One of the most famous landmarks in WeHo, the Sunset Strip, has actually been used as a major street since 1780! Later, during the 1920s, the land around the strip was developed by casinos and other gambling establishments because the Los Angeles banned gambling. Since the Strip was outside the city limits, it was still legal to gamble there.

The LGBTQ Community in WeHo

West Hollywood’s LGBTQ culture had its beginnings in the Counterculture Movement. This movement started in the 1960s and, for the LGBTQ community, reached its peak in the violent raids on the bars on the Sunset Strip. These raids started in 1966 following a number of encounters between members of the community and LA Police. The police eventually began aggressively monitoring gay bars on the strip, which resulted in a number of protests and, eventually, riots. These riots took place several years before Stonewall, and many see them as the first LGBTQ protests to gain significant attention.

WeHo Today

Today, things are much more peaceful in West Hollywood. The city hosts LA Pride and a number of other events. The city’s Twitter account says its home to over 25 gay bars, shops, and restaurants. The West Hollywood Library contains a large collection of LGBT literature and nonfiction pieces, while the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives contains an extensive collection of pieces chronicling lesbian history.

In politics, the city was the first to have a majority of the members of its five-person city council identify as LGBTQ. The city offers a number of free medical services through the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the LA Free Clinic as well as offering a number of programs for the elderly through the West Hollywood Senior Center. For these reasons, WeHo is often seen as a great retirement destination for LGBTQ seniors.

If you’re considering a move to West Hollywood, contact a gay or lesbian real estate professional today. They will be able to help you navigate the real estate market in the city.

The Best Cities for LGBTQ Entrepreneurs

Posted on July 23, 2018 in LGBT News

Are you thinking about starting your own business? Being an entrepreneur can be risky anywhere, but for those in the LGBTQ community, it can be even more of a risk in some parts of the country. If you open a business in a conservative area and people later learn you’re LGBTQ, they may stop shopping with you or hiring you for your services. On the other hand, there are some cities where LGBTQ businesses are flourishing. Here are some tips for determining if you’ve found one of the best places to start your business.

You’re in One of these States

The Best Cities for LGBTQ EntrepreneursAccording to a report from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, about half of all of the LGBTQ-owned businesses are in one of these five states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • New York
  • Texas

These states are known for being great places for small businesses and startups, but they’re also known for being home to many large corporations and Fortune 500 companies. Many of these companies are dedicated to hiring a diverse workforce and to helping small businesses by outsourcing work to them or by making them part of a larger supply chain.

The NGLCC Has Certified Businesses in the City

Another thing to look for is if there are NGLCC-certified businesses in the area. While only a small number of LGBTQ-owned businesses have sought certification, it can be helpful to know that there are other businesses owned by members of the community in the area. It’s also important to remember that most of these certified companies are medium-sized business. Those that bring in less than $1 million dollars a year rarely seek certification.

Are there Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals in the Area?

Another thing to look for is LGBTQ real estate professionals. If you can find one of these experts in your city, they can often help you network with other LGBTQ professionals. They may also be able to help you find commercial property to lease for your business.

Look for LGBTQ-Friendly Places to Live

Any city that’s ranked highly on the HRC list of top LGBTQ-friendly cities could be a good choice for your new business. Just remember that starting a business and looking for a place to live are two different things. For example, San Francisco is very welcoming to LGBTQ people, but it’s a very expensive city. Opening a new business there will require much more startup capital than a business in Texas would. Keep that in mind when considering where you want to start your company.

Selling Your Home to Millennials

Posted on July 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

It’s true that Millennials have been slow to jump into the home-buying market, but today, these individuals are hitting their mid to late 30s, and many of them are starting to want a house of their own. In fact, surveys have shown that about one out of every three potential buyer is a Millennial. As an LGBTQ home owner, does this help or hurt you when it comes to selling?

Younger Buyers Are Often Very Accepting

Selling to a younger buyer often means that they’re more accepting of the LGBTQ community. That’s not always the case, of course, but more often than not you’ll find that they don’t care what your sexuality is, they’re simply looking for the perfect home. That doesn’t mean you should leave your rainbow flag flying or pictures of you and your partner all over the house, though. Always follow the rule of de-cluttering and removing personal effects before you show the property, even if you’re still living there. You want the buyer to see themselves in the property, not feel like they’re invading your home.

Make Your Home Technology-Friendly

Have issues with your WiFi in certain parts of the house? You may want to invest in an extender or repeater and leave it for the new owners. Millennials have grown up in the technological age, and they’re going to want to have a home that’s technology-friendly. Put in a smart thermostat, add smart switches and plugs, and make other small, inexpensive technology upgrades. It will give your home a wow factor plus make it more attractive to younger buyers.

In Fact, Make Use of Technology to Market to Millennials

When you’re looking for a gay or lesbian real estate agent to help you sell your home, make sure the agent you select makes use of online marketing and other online methods of selling your home. Millennials usually start their house search online. You want to make certain that your home is out there, has great pictures, and even has a full virtual tour available. Millennials want to do as much of the work as possible online. Few have the time to visit dozens of houses and decide if a property is right for them. Instead, they go online and quickly cut any property that doesn’t meet their needs. If you don’t have information about your home online, it’s likely to never even be considered.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when you’re selling to younger buyers. If you know Millennials are moving into your area, be sure to work with your agent to make your home as enticing to these younger buyers as you can.

The Top Gay-Friendly Neighborhoods in the US

Posted on June 30, 2018 in Buying a Home

While there are many different gay ghettos or LGBTQ-friendly neighborhoods around the country, some have gained more popularity than others. Homebuyers often ask gay and lesbian real estate professionals to find them a home in these areas. For some, living in one of these areas makes them feel safer. For others, it’s the chance to be a part of a community. Some simply love the location and the housing. If you’re looking for a gayborhood to call your own, here are some of the top ones in the country.

The West Village

The West Village is the gayborhood that started it all—no, it wasn’t the first gay neighborhood in the U.S., but it was the home of the Stonewall Inn, the site of the famous Stonewall Riots that started the LGBTQ pride movement. West Village features a monument to Stonewall, a number of gay and lesbian bars, and is the location for New York Pride. It’s still a gay neighborhood, even if the number of LGBTQ residents isn’t quite as high as it once was.

Alternatively, New York City has a few other neighborhoods that have large LGBTQ populations, including Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Harlem, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Jackson Heights… basically each of the five boroughs has at least one gay neighborhood.

The Castro

No list of gay neighborhoods is complete without San Francisco’s Castro. One of the earliest LGBTQ neighborhoods, the Castro is still going strong today. One of its few downsides is the housing costs, though. It’s not cheap to live here. Many who want to live in San Francisco quickly realize that the suburbs offer much more affordable housing and, thanks to the BART rail system, just as much access to everything in the area.

West Hollywood

If the Castro isn’t to your liking, you can move south to West Hollywood. The WeHo area is known for the Sunset Strip, a section of Sunset Boulevard that’s full of great restaurants, boutiques, and event venues. Of course, you’re more or less exchanging one large housing bill for another—WeHo isn’t cheap!

Montrose

The heart of the Houston, Texas, LGBTQ community is Montrose. Many active LGBTQ groups advocating for equal rights in Texas have come out of Montrose, although today the area is fairly gentrified. In addition to LGBTQ bars and clubs, Montrose now features art galleries showcasing works by artists such as Picasso and Warhol. It’s got a little bit of everything, and it’s all wrapped up in Texan charm.

What Could Stop Your Home from Selling?

Posted on June 18, 2018 in Buying a Home

Sometimes it’s hard to point to one feature of your home and blame it for why the property hasn’t sold. This is true for homes owned by LGBTQ sellers and straight sellers alike, but sometimes there are some things that do make it more difficult to sell your home. Gay and lesbian real estate agents may point out these features to you when working on how to market your home, and you definitely want to listen to them.

Discrimination

What Could Stop Your Home from SellingWhile it’s not always easy to pick up on, some potential buyers who seemed very excited to view your home may suddenly change their minds after they find out that a same-sex couple lives there. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to both remove most of your personal items from the home and not be present when potential buyers are viewing the property. That’s easy to do when you’ve already moved out, but it’s not as simple if you’re still living there.

Remember, the idea is for the potential buyer to see themselves living in the home. That’s harder to do if you have pictures of you and your partner around or if you’re physically there. You should also remove any artwork that’s on the risqué side. By making your home more neutral, you can also minimize the chance that the buyers will discriminate against you.

Don’t Be Offended if You’re Asked to Paint

You might love bright colors or having an accent wall, but that could be a turnoff to some buyers. Going back to a neutral color may seem boring to you, but it will help attract buyers. Remember, they’re probably going to repaint everything anyway!

Wrap Up Your Projects or Have Someone Finish Them

It’s definitely a stereotype that lesbians are always doing home renovation projects or that gay men are constantly redecorating their homes. However, like most stereotypes, there’s a kernel of truth here. If you’ve started a home renovation project, you can’t expect the next owner to finish it. Seeing a basement or attic that’s only half-finished can be a turnoff to buyers. They don’t want to take on your projects, so you’re going to need to wrap them up or hire someone to finish them. If you’re planning on selling in the new future, you may want to think twice about starting a project you aren’t sure you’ll be able to complete.

Montrose – The Gay Ghetto of Texas

Posted on June 11, 2018 in Buying a Home

When people think of Texas, they don’t immediately think of LGBTQ rights or even active communities. The large cities of that state, though, are fairly liberal and welcoming. Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston have thriving gay and lesbian communities. Houston, in particular, is home to a large LGBTQ community and culture. The history of this community centers around the neighborhood of Montrose.

The Beginning of the Gayborhood

Montrose – The Gay Ghetto of Texas

The neighborhood that is now Montrose began in 1911 as a new development. The neighborhood was a planned community, and it was designed so that residents could ride the Houston streetcar into the main part of the city for work. While the area was on the edge of the city at the time, its designer J. W. Link anticipated it would be just the first of one of these communities. It turns out he was correct, and today, Montrose is actually considered the Heart of Houston.

The Counterculture Movement

In the 1960s, the counterculture movement was in full swing in Montrose. With all of these artistic individuals moving into the neighborhood, it was inevitable that a number of LGBTQ people would make Montrose their home.

By the late 1970s, some gay bars had moved into the area, leaving the Downtown and Midtown areas. By 1985, Montrose had become the de facto gayborhood of Houston. At least 20% of all residents here identified as LGBTQ. Many gay and lesbian owned businesses found their way into this mostly residential zone.

Gentrification and Moving Outward

While Montrose was the center of LGBTQ life in Houston for several decades, the late 1990s saw the area become very gentrified. Housing prices hit the million dollar mark for a number of properties. What used to be a suburb for commuters was now a popular district for those looking to settle and raise a family. Gay and lesbian real estate professionals found that many no longer could afford to buy homes in Montrose.

Because of this, today’s LGBTQ individuals and families moving into Houston are looking elsewhere. Some have started to move into Houston Heights, although house prices there are also fairly high. Others are looking at some of Houston’s suburbs and outer areas. Thanks to increased acceptance, the idea of a central gayborhood in Houston has become something of the past. Residents don’t feel as if they have to live among others in the LGBTQ community.

While it may not be the most affordable housing in the city, Montrose does have some beautiful townhouses, bungalows, and cottages available. Take a look at what properties are on the market if you’re considering a move to Houston.