Category Archives: Buying a Home

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.

The Chicago LGBTQ Community of Edgewater

Posted on April 11, 2019 in Buying a Home

If you’re looking for an outstanding LGBTQ neighborhood in Chicago that offers amazing views, Edgewater may be the place for you. It’s not as well-known as Boystown, Chicago’s most famous gay district, but that may actually be what you want. Boystown is something of a tourist stop for LGBTQ visitors, and in some ways, it has become too focused on orientation and gender identity. Some people just want to live a quiet life that isn’t defined by being part of the LGBTQ community. For those people, Edgewater is an excellent choice.

The Beach in Chicago?

The Chicago LGBTQ Community of EdgewaterWhen people think of the Windy City, they don’t think of living on the beach. However, as the name suggests, Edgewater does sit on the edge of the water, specifically Lake Michigan, and has several beaches. These beaches may not see as many hours of warm sunshine as beaches in Florida or California do, but residents use them through most of the year.

History of the Neighborhood

Edgewater began in the 1880s as Lake View Township, an escape for some of Chicago’s elite. They wanted a place to get out of the center of the city and enjoy the summer. By the 1890s, the population had jumped from a mere 2,000 to a fairly large 45,000. In 1885, the northeastern part of Lake View Township was renamed Edgewater. A few years later, the City of Chicago began annexing Lake View Township and Edgewater in order to provide more public services to the growing neighborhoods.

Edgewater soon made a name for itself by becoming Chicago’s only electric lighted neighborhood in the early 1890s. This quickly led to Edgewater becoming one of the most prestigious areas in the city. Large homes were built on the lake, though even the houses built inland were fairly large and luxurious. While a number of these historic homes have been demolished over the years, the area known as the Bryn Mawr Historic District includes a number of more historic properties. Most homes in Edgewater today are more modern single-family houses or are apartments or condos.

The LGBTQ Revival

The neighborhood of Edgewater went through a revival starting in the 1980s, and about ten years later, it started to become a popular community for lesbian couples. One reason for the influx of LGBTQ and lesbians in particular was the Women and Children First bookstore, which moved from nearby Andersonville to Edgewater. Soon, a number of lesbian bars and other businesses opened in the area. The neighborhood even gained the nickname of Girlstown.

Today, while rising housing costs have led to some lesbian couples moving out of the area, Edgewater still has a good number of same-sex couples. You can find many homes for sale here, some more modern and some fairly historic. A gay or lesbian real estate agent can help you find the perfect home in Edgewater.

Stereotypes About LGBTQ Homeowners

Posted on April 2, 2019 in Buying a Home

Finding a property that has enough space for your hobbies or reflects your personality and interests is certainly going to be important in your house hunt. You’re unique, and you want a home that matches who you are. If you have a real estate agent who hasn’t helped many LGBTQ clients, they may also have certain preconceived notions about what you want in a home. While it’s possible a few of these stereotypes are true about you, it’s just as likely none of them reflect your interests or who you are.

Lesbians Need a Garage or Workshop

Everyone knows lesbians are good with power tools and love to build things, right? That’s definitely not the case, but an agent who doesn’t know any better may start showing you houses with two- or three-car garages or large workshops. While these spaces may be great even for those who don’t build things (extra storage is always nice), it may not be a priority. The best thing to do in this case is to make it into a joke: “Oh, yes, my single hammer and two screwdrivers will look great in this 500 square foot workshop.”

Another related stereotype you may find from agents is that you’re looking for projects. They may be under the assumption that you’ll want to remodel whatever home you buy when you’re actually looking for something that’s move-in ready and requires no work at all.

Gay Men Entertain

Some agents may assume that same-sex male couples love to entertain. They will show you homes with large open floor plans, big kitchens, and amazing outdoor spaces. You may love all of that, but you may also be the type who doesn’t really do big gatherings. Maybe you only ever have a few friends over at a time and never host family events. That’s perfectly fine, and you can certainly let your agent know that you don’t host large viewing parts of RuPaul’s Drag Race every week.

Along those same lines, you may mention that you don’t need a giant closet for your huge wardrobe of designer clothes or space for dozens of pairs of shoes. Your preferred outfit may be a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

Working with a Gay or Lesbian Real Estate Agent

If you want to avoid these stereotypes completely and work with someone who is more likely to understand your needs, you may want to work with a gay or lesbian real estate agent. These agents are more prevalent than you might think, even in more conservative areas. They can assist you with finding the home of your dreams without making you feel uncomfortable.

Millennials and the LGBTQ Neighborhood

Posted on March 22, 2019 in Buying a Home

Several decades ago, when LGBTQ individuals and families were looking for a house to purchase, they almost always started their search in the local gay neighborhood or gay district. These areas were seen as a haven, a place where they could rest easy knowing that their neighbors weren’t going to engage in hate crimes against them. Today, things are a little different. While there are certainly still those who attack others for being a part of the LGBTQ community, acceptance is much more widespread.

The Millennial Homebuyer Doesn’t Feel Locked into a Gay District

Today’s young homebuyers have, as a whole, put off buying property immediately after college or until they have established their career. These millennials have more debt than any generation before them, owing thousands of dollars in student loans and facing an economy that hasn’t seen wages increase with the cost of living. Jobs are much more competitive, and many have decided to rent longer or even live with their parents until they can confidently buy.

But as many entered their late 20s and early 30s, they did start buying. However, those who identify as LGBTQ weren’t always quick to call up a gay or lesbian real estate agent and ask to see homes in the gayborhood. There are several reasons why this is the case.

It’s Expensive

Prices in many gay districts, especially well-known neighborhoods such as Boystown in Chicago or the Castro in San Francisco, have increased to the point that new buyers simply can’t afford them. In fact, some homeowners in these areas were pushed out during the gentrification of the neighborhood. Many of these are historic homes, which only adds to their value. Buying in many gay neighborhoods is now only for those who have very good salaries or have inherited money.

Location, Location, Location

Today’s LGBTQ homebuyers have different priorities than those who primarily bought in the gay district. Now they’re looking for specific school zones, short commutes, and the ability to walk to places. The location of their new home dictates a lot, and often LGBTQ neighborhoods are simply too far away from where they want to be.

Acceptance Has Risen

Many young LGBTQ homebuyers feel very accepted, especially in more liberal parts of the country. They don’t have to worry about hiding who they are or about buying in a specific neighborhood. They consider the entire city when looking for a home, and while some do still buy in a predominantly LGBTQ area, they no longer feel as if they must.