Category Archives: Buying a Home

Reasons to Look for an LGBTQ Community Center When Moving

Posted on August 23, 2019 in Buying a Home

If you’re moving from a conservative area or from a fairly small town or city, you may have never lived in an area that had an LGBTQ community center before. While these centers are becoming more and more prevalent, there are still many places where people do not have access to the services they provide. If you’re preparing to move, one thing you may want to consider is if the city you’re relocating to has an LGBTQ community center or not. This isn’t likely going to be the determining factor regarding your move, but it can be something to consider. Even if it doesn’t affect what neighborhood you’re settling into, it is useful to know where your local LGBTQ community center is. The resources they provide can be quite extensive, plus it can also be a source of new friends when moving to a new place.

Why Visit an LGBTQ Community Center?

Why should you want to live near one of these centers or look for one in the city you’re moving to? There are a number of different resources a LGBTQ community center can offer you regardless of your age, gender identity, income status, or anything else. They are non-profit centers that serve as places of information and safety. Some even provide housing information and other assistance to young people who have nowhere else to go.

As a homeowner, you may not need a place to stay or even to visit to escape from a stressful home life, but you may be interested in the community events held at the center. These events often focus on how you can help raise awareness for your local LGBTQ community and LGBTQ rights as a whole. Some centers bring in local politicians and city leaders to discuss what they can do for the LGBTQ community and how you can get more involved.

Many community centers also take an active role in organizing or sponsoring local pride festivals, cultural events, and other activities. Often, these events are spearheaded by community volunteers. Volunteering gives you a way of meeting new people and becoming a part of the community, something that can be difficult to do when moving somewhere new.

It’s never a bad idea to ask your gay or lesbian real estate agent where the local LGBTQ community center is located. It could be a great asset to have when you move!

Northside, Cincinnati – Ohio’s Progressive Gay Village

Posted on August 9, 2019 in Buying a Home

Are you looking for a progressive LGBTQ community in Ohio? If so, you may want to look at Cincinnati, specifically the Northside neighborhood. This district is set in the northwest part of the city and was originally called Cumminsville until I-74 was constructed and divided it into two different parts. Today, Northside is known as a progressive, hip neighborhood that’s home to many LGBTQ individuals and families.

The History of Northside

Northside was originally a small, independent settlement, but when the Miami and Erie Canal was built in the 1820s, the population of the area began to rapidly grow. Soon, it was renamed Cumminsville after one of the original settlers, David Cummins. When the town merged into Cincinnati in 1873, it kept the name, but became a neighborhood rather than its own town.

Cumminsville expanded over the next 40 years, bringing in more and more people. However, in the 1920s, a new highway route was built, and people began moving outward to the rural areas and suburbs instead of living in the more populated areas near businesses. This, in turn, meant that most of the businesses moved out of Cumminsville because fewer people were shopping there.

Revival in the 80s and Transformation into a Gayborhood

In the 1980s, housing prices had dropped to much lower than the city average, so people began purchasing these old homes and renovating them. Now known as Northside, the area transformed from an eyesore into a revitalized district. The founding of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Greater Cincinnati in 1999 cemented the neighborhood as a gathering place for the city’s LGBTQ community. The Cincinnati Pride Parade and Festival was held here for nine years before it was moved downtown. That same year, it was replaced by the Northside Pride event.

In addition to holding its own pride festival for years, Northside is well-known for its Fourth of July parade. In recent years, the Northside Pride has been folded into the Fourth of July celebration, giving the parade a strong LGBTQ feel to it. The many different restaurants and boutique shops that cover Northside are mostly independent, and many cater to the LGBTQ community. A popular farmer’s market is also held in the area during the warmer months.

If you’re thinking about moving to Northside, you’ll find that housing prices have risen. The average sale price is now around $185,000.  That’s a bit higher than the $148,000 average in Cincinnati. However, many of these homes have been restored and look amazing. A gay or lesbian real estate agent can help you navigate the Cincinnati real estate market and find the right home for you.

The Tower District – Fresno’s LGBTQ Hub

Posted on August 1, 2019 in Buying a Home

Fresno, California, is located near the middle of the state. It’s a part of the San Joaquin Valley in what’s known as the Central Valley. Originally a railway station, today Fresno has grown into an economic hub with more than 500,000 residents. In fact, it’s the most populous city located inland in the state and has the fifth-largest population overall. It also has a strong LGBTQ population and its own gay neighborhood – the Tower District, which is located north of the city’s downtown area.

History of the Tower District

The Tower District gets its name from the Tower Theatre, an historic site that was built in 1939. It’s on the corner of Wishon Avenue and Olive Avenue, and is about dead center in the middle of the Tower District. The area was originally laid out as a residential area, but the theatre and other businesses transformed it into a booming mixed residential and commercial area following World War II.

Today, a number of small businesses and cafes dot the area. Many thrive due to the neighborhood’s proximity to the campus of the California State University at Fresno, which is located about a half-mile north of the area. Even so, the area did go through a decline in the 1970s before experiencing a renewal in the 80s. The Tower Theatre, which had been closed for some time, reopened and began drawing in many visitors to the area. As a community hub, the theatre continues to serve as the center of the neighborhood and hosts many of its activities.

The Tower District Today

Today, the Tower District is known as a diverse neighborhood full of amazing small businesses and residential homes and apartments. The neighborhood is also home to a thriving LGBTQ population as well as an artistic community and, perhaps surprisingly, Fresno’s heavy metal community.

The homes in the area have a unique and varied style. You’ll find California Bungalows situated next to Mediterranean Revival Style homes, while across the street you might see homes done in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style and in the American Craftsman style. There’s something for everyone here, regardless of what type of home you love. These more classic styles certainly contract with the newer houses you’ll find in other parts of Fresno.

If you’re looking for a unique neighborhood that’s also home to a friendly LGBTQ population, the Tower District in Fresno is worth checking into. You’ll find many gay and lesbian real estate agents here to help you find the home of your dreams.

Finding Hidden Gay Villages

Posted on July 16, 2019 in Buying a Home

There are a number of widely recognized gay neighborhoods and villages around the U.S. Everyone knows that Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco have gay neighborhoods because those neighborhoods have made a name for themselves over the years. But what about cities that don’t have a nationally-known gayborhood? Do they just not have one? In some cases, that’s true, but in others, it’s more a case of their gay neighborhood being on the smaller side or being relatively new. There are a few things you can look for to help you determine where a city’s gayborhood is located.

Where’s the Gay and Lesbian Community Center?

If the city has an LGBTQ community center, there’s a good chance that it is in or near the gay district. Even if it’s not, you can always ask the people there if the city has a gay neighborhood. The employees or some of the people visiting the center are sure to know. Some may even live there and can point you towards available properties you can have your gay or lesbian real estate agent look into.

Look for Businesses Aimed at the LGBTQ Community

Another good indicator of where LGBTQ people tend to live is where businesses aimed at the community are located. You can find these businesses by talking to people at the community center, of course, but you can also search for them online. Another good source is to look for a gay newspaper or other publication. These papers usually include ads from LGBTQ-owned or friendly businesses.

Go Online

The internet is a great place to learn more about a city you’re thinking about calling home. You can find articles discussing the LGBTQ community, gay neighborhoods, and even housing prices. These tools can be invaluable when planning your move, so be sure to take advantage of them.

Talk to People Who Live There

It can be hard to strike up a conversation with a stranger about where gay people live, especially if you’re concerned about how they may react. Instead of approaching strangers, ask your friends or relatives if they know anyone who lives in the city. They may not, but they might know a friend of a friend who does.

It’s not always obvious where the LGBTQ neighborhood is in a city, but in today’s world, that’s not always a bad thing. It can be a sign that people no longer feel like they have to isolate themselves in a neighborhood, but instead enjoy the diversity that their home has to offer.

Is There a Gay Ghetto in Kentucky?

Posted on July 9, 2019 in Buying a Home

When people talk about neighborhoods that are predominantly made up of LGBTQ residents, few people think of places in Kentucky. However, this state does contain cities that have pockets of liberal areas where LGBTQ citizens are recognized and celebrated. One such area is Berea, a city located in Madison County. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, mainly because of its large arts festivals and historic buildings. Berea is also home to Berea College, a liberal arts school that attracts many students from around the state and the country. Is Berea the right place for you to call home? Here are some reasons it could be.

It’s an Artistic Community

Between Berea College and the many arts and crafts festivals held in the city every year, Berea has attracted a large number of artists and artistic people. If you enjoy painting, sculpting, acting, playing music, or any other artistic endeavor, this may be the place for you to live. Even cooking is celebrated in Berea with the annual Spoonbread Festival that focuses on traditional homemade cornmeal breads.

It Offers Great Employment Opportunities

Berea is a major hub for companies in the auto parts and metals industries. Hitachi, KI, STEMCO Motor Wheel, and Pittsburgh Glass Works are some of the major auto parts companies that have established themselves in Berea. The city, Berea College, and the Madison School System are also major employers. It may seem odd that such an artistic city would have businesses that focus mostly on industry and mechanics, but it does give the city a very nice balance.

It’s Affordable

The average housing price of a single-family home is around $150,000. That’s in line with the average cost of a home in Kentucky, and lower than buying in areas such as Lexington or Georgetown. Berea isn’t the cheapest housing market in Kentucky, but it’s certainly not the most expensive, either. It’s a nice middle ground that means homeownership is certainly an option.

The LGBTQ Community

Berea’s LGBTQ community is fairly active. Because the city is a part of the Richmond-Berea Metro area, you’ll find that two cities share a number of LGBTQ bars, clubs, and other businesses. Berea is also near Lexington, Fayette, and Richmond, all of which have various LGBTQ-owned businesses. In fact, Lexington is known as one of the state’s other major gay ghettos and hosts one of the largest LGBTQ pride festivals in the state.

Thinking about making the move to Berea? Contact a gay or lesbian real estate expert in the area to learn more about available properties.

Finding a LGBTQ-Friendly School in the Summer

Posted on June 29, 2019 in Buying a Home

If you’re moving right before or during the school year, it’s fairly easy to determine if the school in the neighborhood you’re thinking about moving to is going to be accepting to children of a same-sex couple. You simply visit the school, talk to the teachers and staff, and maybe even sit in on a class or two. But what do you do during the summer? School isn’t in session, and sometimes, there aren’t even any staff or teachers there to talk to. If you’re making a move during the off-season, here are a few ways of learning more about schools.

Look at the Location

Even if you’re not moving into a predominantly gay neighborhood, you can still look at what schools serve that area. These schools are very likely to have at least a few students who have same-sex parents. While there’s no guarantee that these schools won’t have any bullying, there is a higher chance that the teachers and staff have worked with LGBTQ parents before.

Go Online

The internet is a great resource for shopping around for products, and you can certainly do that for schools, too. Look for message boards or social media groups for the city or neighborhood you’re moving to, join them, and ask about the schools. You may even find a few teachers or other school staff on these sites who can answer any questions you might have. You can also search online for school report cards. These report cards are usually created by the state department of education and rate the schools on academic performance, which can be helpful in deciding where your children should go.

Visit the Local Gay and Lesbian Center

If the city has a LGBTQ community center, drop in and ask the staff about schools. They’re likely to have someone on staff who can provide you with some help. Even if they don’t, there may be someone else visiting the center who will offer to talk to you about your options. There’s a lot you can learn from visiting one of these community centers, so it’s a great idea to visit one if you’re moving to a new city and would like some insight into the LGBTQ community.

Don’t Blindly Pick a School

When it comes to your child’s education, you don’t want to simply pick a school or go with the school district you’ve moved into because it’s easy. This is especially true for those in the LGBTQ community. Do careful research, even during the summer, so your kids will have the success they deserve.

Moving to Indianapolis? Check Out Broad Ripple Village

Posted on June 21, 2019 in Buying a Home

If you’re considering a move to Indianapolis, Illinois, you may wonder what kind of LGBTQ community you’ll find there. Fortunately, Illinois has been a proponent of equal rights for quite some time. They were the first state to remove sodomy laws and one of the earliest to allow civil unions, same-sex marriage, and same-sex adoption. The state also banned forcing minors into conversion therapy in 2016. While Chicago is known for hosting one of the largest pride parades in the Midwest, Indianapolis has its own number of festivals and activities. It also has its own gay neighborhood: Broad Ripple Village.

Broad Ripple’s Beginning

Broad Ripple Village is situated to the north of the city’s downtown area. It was actually founded in 1837 as its own city, but it merged with Indianapolis in 1922. The neighborhood gets its name from a poem written by James Whitcomb Riley called “Broad Ripple.” Even from the beginning, the area was known for being one of the most diverse parts of Indianapolis. It’s also known for its hospitality and for having businesses that are open quite late. These restaurants, bars, and other stores take the Broad Ripple motto of “we’re open if you are” very literally!

In addition to many different ethnic restaurants, you’ll also find a number of art galleries, specialty shops, and boutiques in Broad Ripple Village. The area is also known for its four microbreweries that offer unique beverages. For outdoor activities, you can’t go wrong with Broad Ripple Park. Situated on the shores of the White River, these 62 acres have everything from baseball and tennis to fitness paths and playgrounds.

The LGBTQ Neighborhood

Indianapolis, overall has a very high percentage of people who identify as part of the LGBTQ community—some 4.2 percent did so as of 2015, making the Indianapolis metro area 18th in the country for percentage of LGBTQ residents. The large amount of diversity in Broad Ripple has led to a number of LGBTQ people choosing the neighborhood as their home. Many perform in the numerous live music shows or theater performances held at various venues in Broad Ripple.

If all of this sounds great to you, it may be time to contact a gay or lesbian real estate agent and start looking for homes in the area. You’ll find houses that range from $175,000 to $400,000. A real estate agent will be able to help you find the perfect home for your needs and budget.

Asheville – North Carolina’s Secret LGBTQ Haven

Posted on June 14, 2019 in Buying a Home

North Carolina may not be the most LGBTQ-friendly state in the union—in fact, neither sexual orientation nor gender identity are included in its hate crime statute—but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find a home here. Asheville is actually a very welcoming, liberal city in the state, and it’s home to many people who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. There’s not just a gay neighborhood or two here—the whole city is considered something of a gay haven.

Why Asheville?

Asheville is the center of the larger Asheville Metro Area, a large urban area that includes Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and several other counties and the cities/towns included in those counties. This means anything within this area is only a short drive away. Asheville is by far the largest city in the metro area and is the only one with over 50,000 residents. In addition to giving you a centralized location from which to enjoy everything in the metro, Asheville has also been listed as one of the 10 Most Beautiful Places in the country to live.

Asheville and the LGBTQ Community

But many places are beautiful, and many of those cities are located in more welcoming states. What does Asheville offer the LGBTQ community? First, many people are attracted to the very diverse population. Artists, lawyers, micro-brewers, and people from many other walks of life make their home here. This unique mixture creates a location full of diversity, and that creates a very welcoming and accepting atmosphere. This is one of the main reasons why the LGBTQ community in Asheville is so active.

LGBTQ Activities in the City and Metro Area

If you’re looking for specific LGBTQ-related activities, you’ll find a lot to do in Asheville. First, the downtown area does have several gay and lesbian bars and clubs. If you’re not into the nightlife, you may want to look into the programs hosted by the Blue Ridge Pride organization. They hold a number of events during the year for LGBTQ residents of Asheville and the surrounding area, including the annual pride event in October. If you’re a student moving to attend the University of North Carolina Asheville, you’ll be glad to know they have a very active LGBTQ student organization on campus.

Ready to start looking at homes in the Asheville area? Contact a local gay or lesbian real estate agent and start the hunt for your dream home today.

How House Shopping for LGBTQ Couples Has Changed

Posted on May 13, 2019 in Buying a Home

As little as 20 years ago, if you were an LGBTQ couple, house shopping was much more stressful than it is today. You may have felt like you couldn’t act like a couple in front of your real estate agent. You may have hesitated about co-signing on the mortgage due to fears of lender discrimination. You might have even wondered if the seller would turn down your offer if they knew it was coming from a same-sex couple. Fortunately, the world has changed, and house shopping no longer carries with it as many fears or concerns.

Marriage Equality Has Helped

How House Shopping for LGBTQ Couples Has ChangedThanks to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality and the growing acceptance of LGBTQ people in the U.S., many no longer have to feel like they have to hide their relationship when looking at homes. In fact, there is a growing number of gay and lesbian real estate agents across the country who are proudly open about their sexual orientation and are ready to help LGBTQ homebuyers find their dream property. You no longer have to pretend to simply be friends or roommates looking to buy a house together.

You can also be much more open about wanting to look at homes in gay neighborhoods. However, more and more LGBTQ individuals and couples are looking to buy outside of these areas. Today’s LGBTQ no longer feel like they must be constrained to specific neighborhoods, especially in more liberal cities. This has actually led to some gay neighborhoods to start becoming less LGBTQ-focused.

More LGBTQ Couples Are Having Families

Whether by adoption, surrogacy, or sperm donation, more LGBTQ couples are making the decision to start a family than ever before. This means many of these couples are no longer looking for homes that fit their current needs. Instead, they’re looking for homes they can raise a family in, which means they need more space. Their home-buying needs are closer now to opposite-sex couples who plan to have children in the future.

If you’re ready to make the jump into homeownership, you don’t have to feel constrained in any way. While discrimination does still exist, it’s not as prevalent as it once was. This is especially true if you’re working with a gay or lesbian agent.

Living in Fire Island

Posted on April 24, 2019 in Buying a Home

There are a number of islands located off the coast of New York that serve as home to New York City and its famous communities. While the city sits on Long Island, the largest island, there are a few others that also have thriving communities. One such island is Fire Island, home to many LGBTQ residents. Fire Island only has around 300 permanent residents, but during the summer, thousands of gay and lesbian tourists flock to the location.

Towns on Fire Island

Living in Fire IslandFire Island is almost 31 miles long, which means it’s big enough to be home to a number of communities. The island features three main towns: Babylon, Brookhaven, and Islip. It also has several smaller villages and hamlets. Because it’s a tourist destination, you’ll find a number of rental properties, hotels, and bed and breakfasts on Fire Island.

The LGBTQ Community on Fire Island

Fire Island has been inhabited since 1795, but the LGBTQ community didn’t move into the area until the 1930s. In 1938, a hurricane hit the island, destroying much of what was built. Many people decided to move inland and sold their property, but the area of Duffy’s Hotel was still mostly intact. This small village became the center of the LGBTQ community, which began to grow and thrive on Fire Island. It wasn’t long after this that many LGBTQ people, especially gay men, started visiting Fire Island in the summer.

The biggest event on Fire Island is the large Fourth of July celebration. It has become tradition for drag queens to take the ferry to The Pines from Cherry Grove. This event is a recreation of the trip Terry Warren, a drag queen, took in 1976. A restaurant in The Pines refused him entry. When he told the story to friends he knew in Cherry Grove, they all decided to dress in drag and take the ferry to “invade” The Pines on July 4. Today, the parade from the ferry ends at the Cherry Grove Hotel and is attended by thousands of people.

Living on Fire Island

If you’re thinking about asking a gay or lesbian real estate agent to find you a home on Fire Island, there are a few things to consider. First, do you want to live in a small, quiet area, or do you want access to larger restaurants and shops? The small villages are very quiet, and tourists normally don’t spend a lot of time there. Cherry Grove, Ocean Beach, and the other larger towns do offer more amenities, but they’re also often crowded in the warmer months. It all depends on what you’re looking for.