Monthly Archives: October 2014

Finding the Perfect LGBT Neighborhood in San Diego

Posted on October 30, 2014 in Buying a Home

Are you thinking about moving to San Diego, California?  The city isn’t as crazy as Los Angeles—you won’t find eight-lane highways full of cars or spot any famous celebrities at the grocery store (unless it’s the week of the San Diego Comic Con).  The city is also not quite as high-profile as San Francisco, the gay mecca of California.  But despite this, the city is still very LGBT friendly.  There are a number of different gay neighborhoods, plus many gays and lesbians live throughout San Diego.  A number of gay and lesbian realtors also work in the area and can help newcomers find the perfect home.

San Diego Has Numerous LGBT Communities to Choose FromThe most famous gay area in the city is Hillcrest.  It’s a very diverse area home to many specialty stores, restaurants, and other gay-owned businesses.  Hillcrest is an older, gentrified neighborhood, though, which means that home prices have increased significantly over the years.  The LGBT community first moved into Hillcrest during the 1970s.  The first pride parade was held there in 1975 following a protest from the year before when the city refused to grant the permit for the parade.  In 1980, San Diego’s first LGBT community center moved into Hillcrest and has been there ever since.

Mission Hills is located near Hillcrest.  It’s even more affluent, and those who move into this area can expect to pay a good amount for their homes.  However, it’s also a fairly quiet area.  There are two recreational parks in Mission Hills, plus many of the homes have a gorgeous view of the ocean!

While these two neighborhoods are great, and Hillcrest has a lot of history in the area, they’re not exactly affordable for young families, students, or those who are moving to San Diego to begin their careers.  Even the smaller apartments and homes in these two neighborhoods can be a bit out of reach.

Fortunately, there are some gay-friendly neighborhoods that are very nice yet affordable.  North Park is probably the most famous of these areas.  It’s centered around 30th and University Avenue, and there are many great stores along that area.  Unfortunately, it’s also gentrifying, and prices may soon be just as high as those in Hillcrest.

Grant Hill is a little more affordable.  This historic district has some great Victorian style homes and a view of the Coronado Bridge.  However, the best bet for LGBT people moving to San Diego is to talk to a realtor about what kind of home you want.  Don’t focus too much on living in a gay neighborhood unless that’s what you really desire.  San Diego is very diverse and friendly, so LGBT people will find themselves comfortable and accepted anywhere in the city.

 

Relocating to Hawaii

Posted on October 25, 2014 in Buying a Home

Many gays and lesbians visit Hawaii for vacation every year.  It’s one of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S. and the world.  But what about moving there?  Gay and lesbian real estate agents will tell you that you’d better have a good amount of money set aside if you want to make the move to Hawaii.  Just the cost of shipping all of your belongings or re-buying the basics once you arrive will cost you a good amount, and that’s not even considering the cost of renting or purchasing a home.  It’s expensive to live in Hawaii, there’s no doubt about that.

Hawaii Is Very LGBT Friendly No Matter Where You GoBut what about the culture in Hawaii?  With influences from a number of Asian cultures that accept same-sex relationships and the importance of aikane, the Hawaiian term for LGBT pairings, it should come as no surprise that the islands are fairly welcoming.  Hawaiian history states that chiefs often had same-sex lovers who were held in high regard by others.

Today, Hawaii has included sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination laws, so LGBT individuals cannot be fired or discriminated against for being gay.  Sexual preference and gender are also included in specific hate crime laws, further protecting the state’s LGBT population.  Same-sex marriage has been legal in Hawaii since December of 2013 when the state legislature passed the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act.  Marriage, civil unions, and reciprocal beneficiary relationships are all offered and recognized in the state.

Hawaii has several major LGBT community organizations.  Joining one of these groups can be a good way for gays and lesbians who are new to the area to meet new friends.  Many of these groups, including the LGBT Student Services Office at the University of Hawaii, are based in Honolulu.   The state’s capital is home to many different LGBT communities and businesses, many of which can be found on Waikiki Beach.

If you’re looking to move to a gay neighborhood, Hawaii has a number of gay and lesbian realtors on hand to help you find the perfect home.  You might want to consider the city of Pahoa, which has several very friendly LGBT communities.  Puna, for example, is one of the largest gay havens in Hawaii.  The city of Wailea also has a gay neighborhood: Maui Meadows.  Just be warned that Maui Meadows is a luxury community that sits on the beach, and housing costs in this area are fairly expensive even by Hawaiian standards.

Dallas and the LGBT Community

Posted on October 16, 2014 in Buying a Home

Texas may not seem like a place a LGBT person would want to move, but you’d actually be surprised at how amazingly different some parts of the state are.  While Texas has certainly earned its reputation as a very conservative state, the three largest metro areas in Texas are very liberal.  Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio all have thriving gay communities.  In fact, Dallas is home to one of the largest LGBT communities in the country.

The Thriving LGBT Community That Makes Up Dallas Is GrowingOne of the signs of how open and accepting Dallas can be is that it’s home to the Cathedral of Hope.  This church, which is a part of the United Church of Christ, is known for being the largest inclusive church in the world.  The congregation of more than 4,000 people is largely made up of LGBT people.  The cathedral is over 40 years old.

Dallas holds a number of different LGBT events every year.  The largest of which is the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and Festival.  This pride festival has been held every year in September since 1983.  More than ten thousand people travel to Dallas for the festival every year.

The main LGBT area in Dallas is Oak Lawn, one of the oldest officially recognized LGBT communities in the U.S.  This neighborhood is centered around Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road.  There are many different LGBT restaurants, shops, other unique businesses, many of which are within walking distance.  The area is just a few minutes from Downtown Dallas, too.  If you don’t want to walk somewhere, you can make use of Dallas’s public transportation network or jump into Dallas traffic.  Be aware, however, that many people find driving in Dallas to be very frustrating.

While Oak Lawn may be the most well-known LGBT community, Dallas does actually have an area called the Gayborhood.  This neighborhood is located to the northwest of Oak Lawn.  The Gayborhood became the overflow area when Oak Lawn started to get too crowded and expensive for some people.  This is an older area, but it’s still quite affordable, and it’s very diverse.  Many newcomers to Dallas settle in this area because of how gorgeous it is.

Oakcliff is another great area for LGBT people to live.  Many of the houses in this area have been renovated, which means housing costs have gone up somewhat.  However, the area is almost all gay-owned, and Oakcliff is becoming an alternative gay strip to Oak Lawn.  It’s also very close to the downtown area, so getting around is no problem.  If you’re interested in moving to one of these areas, your friendly gay or lesbian realtor can help you.

Relocating to Chicago

Posted on October 10, 2014 in Buying a Home

Are you ready to move to Chicago?  There are a number of different LGBT neighborhoods in the city, and Chicago is quite accepting of those with different lifestyles.  This diverse city welcomes everyone, which is why while some LGBT people do move into “gay ghettos,” many simply find a neighborhood in Chicago that they love regardless of who else lives in the area.  However, if you want to live in a gay neighborhood, here are some of the most famous ones in the city.

You May Want to Think About Chicago For The Ideal LGBT NeighborhoodLakeview is home to Boystown, one of the largest LGBT neighborhoods in the country.  It was the very first gay village to be officially recognized in the country.  It has a major LGBT cultural center and many different theaters, restaurants, and boutiques.  The Chicago LGBT pride parade begins in Boystown.  The Lakeview district also contains Lakeview East, Wrigleyville, and West Lakeview, all of which great places to live.  In fact, the Lakeview area was named number three on the top ten Best Places to Live list published by Money Magazine in 2013.

Uptown is another great neighborhood in Chicago that has a good number of LGBT residents.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Boystown, Uptown is just a few blocks away.  The homes here are very affordable, plus it’s close to the train tracks for commuters.  Uptown is also home to Little Vietnam, a large Vietnamese community.

Andersonville is also fairly close to both Boystown and Uptown.  If you’re a lesbian couple, this may be the part of town for you—its large number of lesbians who live in Andersonville has earned it the nickname of “Girlstown.”  It’s a really interesting, offbeat neighborhood that doesn’t cost a lot of money.  There are a number of Swedish immigrants in Andersonville, and you’ll find many Swedish businesses and (best of all) bakeries and taverns.

Rogers Park is a very diverse part of Chicago that has been called the Venice Beach of the city.  While it was once home to more couples, today, many single LGBT people are moving into the area because of the reasonably priced real estate.  That has made Rogers Park one of the trendiest places to live, and a number of great theaters, restaurants, and boutiques have sprung up in the area.

If you’re moving to Chicago, these are four of the neighborhoods you certainly need to check out.  You’ll find them full of diverse, welcoming neighbors and great homes.

Finding a Home in San Francisco

Posted on October 3, 2014 in Buying a Home

San Francisco—the gay Mecca.  Almost everyone in the LGBT community visits the city at least once in their lifetime.  Many want to move to San Francisco because they feel like they will be able to express themselves in the city without any threat of violence.  However, while a lot of people are geared up to move, their dreams come crashing down when they see some of the price tags that accompany homes in the area.  San Francisco isn’t cheap, especially if you want to live in the coveted gay district of the Castro.  But there are some neighborhoods that are more affordable than others.  You just have to know where to look.

San Francisco Boasts Some Perfect Homes to BuyNob Hill is one area that realtors have recommended to those who are new to the SF area.  This was once the fancy, popular neighborhood, but it’s been overtaken by other parts of the city.  It’s no longer the place to live, so housing prices have dropped.  That doesn’t mean it’s not a nice neighborhood—it certainly is—but it’s not the hip place to be now.  It’s a very safe, quiet area, too, but be careful: Nob Hill truly is on a hill, so those who have trouble walking up steep inclines may have some issues.

Inner Richmond, on the other hand, is one of the up and coming areas that has drawn some people out of Nob Hill.  One of the great reasons why Inner Richmond is a great place to live is because of the bus line that runs through the neighborhood.  You won’t have to worry about driving up steep hills or paying for parking—just take the bus.  While real estate can get pricy here, there are some hidden gems that are quite affordable.

The Mission is another area that is very affordable.  However, it has a reputation: the neighborhood had major gang-related violence and crime for years.  Today, however, crime rates are down, and The Mission is becoming more gentrified.  Homes here tend to fall into two categories: large and expensive or small and cheap.  If you don’t need a big space, this area is a good option.

Finally, Potrero Hill is another small neighborhood that’s becoming fairly popular.  It’s on the edge of San Francisco, which is why it’s more affordable, but people who live there will most likely need to own a car to get around.  Fortunately, while parking can cost upwards of $300 or more a month in the middle of the city, it’s much more affordable out at Potrero Hill.  For those who are on a budget, there are a number of cute little apartments and smaller homes.  Those with more money to spend might want to look at the new lofts that have sprung up along the waterfront.