Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Benefits of Living Near an LGBTQ Community Center

Posted on October 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

As a member of the LGBTQ community center, you may want to move into an area with other LGBTQ families or near the city’s gay district. One advantage of living near this area is that you’re close to the LGBTQ community center. This center offers a number of different benefits to those who live nearby or who are able to visit the center on a regular basis. Here are a few of the reasons why you might want to live near an LGBTQ community center or at least visit one from time to time.

Connect with Others

The Benefits of Living Near a LGBTQ Community CenterIf you’re new to a city, the only other LGBTQ person you may know is your gay or lesbian real estate agent. Chances are, you’re not going to hang out with them on a regular basis—most people don’t even see their agent once they have closed on their house. By visiting the local LGBTQ community center, you can meet other people, make new friends, and if you’re single, you could even meet your future spouse.

Attend Fun Events

Many LGBTQ community centers host different events throughout the year. Concerts, theater performances, art exhibits, cultural exhibits, and sporting events are just a few of the different things your local community center might host. Many also play a large part in their city’s local pride festival.

Volunteer

Many community centers are looking for volunteers to help with their programs. If you want to give back to your new community, you can volunteer to help with these activities or simply do some light cleaning or other work around the community center itself. Many young people who are questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation go to their local community center for information. You might volunteer to talk to them about your own experiences and listen to their stories.

Learn More about Medical Issues Affecting the LGBTQ Community

Some community centers also serve as healthcare centers for those who are unable to afford healthcare insurance or who want to talk to a LGBTQ doctor. While many centers focus on sexually-transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, many do offer basic healthcare as well.

Be a Part of the Community

Overall, these centers are designed to be the center of the local LGBTQ community. Whether you simply want to make new friends, have something fun to do, or want to give back, your local LGBTQ community center is the place to go. Even if you decide not to live nearby, it’s worth visiting the center on a regular basis.

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.

Is North Dakota LGBT Friendly?

Posted on May 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

North Dakota is definitely not known for its large number of residents. In fact, the state ranks 47th in terms of population, even though it’s 19th in terms of size. Despite that, this state features a number of natural resources, low unemployment, and has shown a good amount of growth, both economically and in terms of population, in recent years. Those in the LGBT community may not immediately think of North Dakota as a place to live, but there are some reasons why they might consider a move here.

History of LGBT Laws in North Dakota

North Dakota Is Increasing LGBT FriendlyIn 1862, the first laws banning sodomy were passed in Dakota Territory. However, while these laws were actually expanded several times, they were completely repealed in 1973 during a major overhaul of the state’s criminal codes.

When it comes to same-sex marriage, however, North Dakota was not as progressive. The state constitution was amended in 2004 to limit marriage to one man and one woman. It also prohibited domestic partnerships and civil unions between members of the same sex. It wasn’t until the 2015 ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples could marry in the state. However, the state constitution and statutes still contain the laws restricting marriage. A legislative committee is working on a plan to remove the language, but it’s not expected to finish its report until early 2017. The laws, however, are unenforceable.

Several lawsuits had been filed in 2014 seeking same-sex marriage, but all of these cases were stayed once the U.S. Supreme Court took up Obergefell v. Hodges. Following that case, a number of marriage licenses were issued in the state.

Parenting

Adoption laws have never expressly prevented LGBT individuals from adopting children, but there was a period of time when sexual orientation was taken into consideration in child custody cases. This decision was made during the 1980s by the North Dakota Supreme Court, although it was later reversed in 2003. However, private adoption agencies have the right to discriminate against LGBT couples or individuals if they can show that their religious beliefs instruct them to do so.

Protections

North Dakota has no state laws addressing discrimination based on either orientation or gender identity. However, several cities do. Fargo does list sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy, but this policy only affects those employed by the city. Grand Forks has a non-discrimination policy that protects citizens on both orientation and identity in the areas of employment and rental housing.

Do You Have to Out Yourself to Buy a House?

Posted on September 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Some LGBT people are out and proud, and they don’t care who knows.  These people will announce their sexuality to their realtor, loan officer, and anyone else who asks.  However, some LGBT people aren’t as out or as vocal about it.  They may seek a gay or lesbian realtor because they know coming out to them won’t be a problem.  There’s no chance they will be discriminated against because of their orientation.  But what about coming out to the person processing your mortgage, or to the agent at the title company, or the inspector?  Do you have to completely out yourself to buy a house, even if it makes you uncomfortable doing so?

Are you Buying as a Couple?

Finding the Right Home Doesn't Mean That You Have to Be The One Out There Searching, as Some Realtors Will Do Some of the Legwork For YouIf you’re married, it goes without saying that you will have to state this fact on the mortgage paperwork, and you’ll most likely want both of your names on the property deed.  The good news here is that gay and lesbian realtors will be able to point you to lenders who are known for being LGBT friendly.  They also work with title companies that don’t discriminate.  You don’t have to fear coming out.

If you’re not married, though, you will be seen by the lender as two individuals purchasing real estate together.  From the viewpoint of the company and its paperwork, it doesn’t matter what kind of relationship the two of you have.  Your finances will be evaluated the same way if you’re two same-sex individuals, two opposite-sex individuals, family, in business together, etc.  However, the person processing the loan may not be as objective.  If they don’t ask about your relationship, you’re not obligated to disclose it.  You will need to disclose any other joint loans, property, bank accounts, etc. that the two of you have.

Buying Individually

If you’re buying a property as an individual, your orientation shouldn’t matter at all.  This is especially true if you don’t currently have a partner.  You shouldn’t be asked, and if you are, you do not have to answer.  Of course, if you feel comfortable discussing it with your realtor, you can ask about any gay neighborhoods in the area, how LGBT employees are protected (if at all), and what LGBT-owned businesses are in the area.

The Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, you only have to disclose your orientation if you’re married.  Otherwise, it should have no impact on if you are financially secure enough to purchase a home.

Living in Montana as a LGBT Person

Posted on March 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

Montana – most people think of it as a big, empty state, and that’s not entirely wrong—a good portion of the state is open plains or mountain ranges.  The Big Sky Country state is home to some incredibly beautiful places, though, including Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. It’s also home to a number of LGBT people.

There is More to Montana for the LGBT Community than Most People RealizeIf you’re going to move to Montana, you’re certainly going to want to work with a gay or lesbian real estate agent. That’s because you’re going to want to find a home that’s perfect for you while also being close to a good sized city. You may think that you want to live an hour or so out from civilization, but it does become a chore to drive to the grocery store. You also want to make sure you’re in a location that’s LGBT-friendly.

A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was passed in 2004, but that amendment was overturned on November 19, 2014, following the outcome of Rolando v. Fox. The state began issuing marriage licenses because an injunction against the enforcement of the marriage ban went into effect immediately following the end of the case.

When it comes to adoption, Montana does allow single individuals to adopt, but makes no comment either way on same-sex couples adopting or on same-sex second parent adoptions. The courts have not become involved in a case that touches on the subject, so there is no precedent to follow.

The state does prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, but that protection extends only to public employment. Several cities have passed additional laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. If you’re considering a move to Montana, you may want to look at these cities: Helena, Butte, Bozeman, and Missoula. In fact, all of Missoula County has passed ordinances protecting people on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. The state does not, however, include either orientation or gender identity in its hate crimes statute.

So as you can see, moving to Montana does require some thought. One place you may consider is Ferndale. Ferndale is one of the most welcoming cities to the LGBT population. It even has a few gay bars. The area is fun and the people are very friendly. While it’s not in Missoula County and, therefore, doesn’t have some of the extra protections available to citizens there, most LGBT people have had no problems living in Ferndale.

Tips for Moving

Posted on July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

Selling your home is just the first part of the battle.  Now you’ve got to move!  But moving is more than just putting things in boxes and driving them to your new home.  To move with the least amount of stress and work, you need a plan.  Here are a few tips to help make your move easier.

Moving Tips Ask your Realtor for Information – While your realtor may not be able to help you pack up your things, he or she may be able to give you a contact list of local movers or for local utility companies.  This can be especially helpful if you’re moving to a new city.  Your realtor may also be able to point you to the best stores to purchase a new washer/dryer, refrigerator, or furniture if you need to do so.

Gets Quotes from Multiple Moving Services – If you’re going to use a moving company, get information from several of them.  Find out what services they offer.  Do they have insurance?  Are they equipped to handle extremely large or fragile items?  Are their quotes binding?

Create a Box for your Important Documents – You may need things like your most recent bills, your children’s school records or immunization records, tax information, and other documents soon after your move.  Keep these documents in their own box and mark that box as one that you personally move.  That way, you’ll know exactly where it is.

Create a “Personally Move” Stack – Along the same lines, there may be a few items you want to personally move, even if you have friends and relatives helping you instead of a moving company.  This shouldn’t be a huge number of items, but it can include your important documents, fragile family heirlooms, and your expensive jewelry.  Basically, take personal responsibility for anything you’d be devastated to lose or have broken.

Don’t Move it All – If you have clothes you haven’t worn in over a year or old items you don’t use regularly, donate them.  Do your best not to move anything that you don’t need to move.  If you start early enough, you’ll have time to go through everything.  If not, you may find yourself throwing trash in a box and moving it just because you don’t have time to see if any of it is worth keeping.

Have a Labeling System – Make sure you know what’s in every box.  Some people like to write detailed descriptions on the outside of the box with a marker, while others use different colored stickers.  Whatever your method, have one.  That way, it’s clear where the boxes go and what’s in them.

Are there Benefits to Renting to Own?

Posted on June 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

Renting to own, also called a lease option or lease purchase, can be perfect for those who want to own their own home, but simply can’t get financing or are unable to come up with a down payment.  A portion of the monthly rent is applied against the price of the home.  Often, homeowners have covered their down payment within a year of renting the property.  In that case, they may be able to go ahead and get permanent financing to purchase the home.

Renting to OwnHow does a lease option work?  Usually, the seller and buyer agree that the buyer will rent the property for a certain amount of time (usually no more than five years).  Sometimes, an up-front consideration fee is required, but that’s not always the case.  The renters pay their rent until the agreed-upon time is up, they then have the option to buy the home with a pre-determined amount they’ve paid in rent, going towards the cost of the property.  If for whatever reason they decide not to go through with the purchase, they may have the option to continue renting the property—this really depends on how the agreement is written.

Finding a seller who is willing to do a lease option may not always be easy.  Many prefer to simply sell the property and be done with it.  If they’re technically a landlord, they may be required to handle upkeep and other maintenance.  They also typically have to continue to pay all of the taxes associated with the property and continue to provide insurance.

Buyers should beware of entering into a lease option without thinking it all the way through.  If for some reason the deal does fall through in the end, the potential down payment money is lost.  There’s also the fact that even though you’re renting to own, you don’t technically own the home until you get financing and make the actual purchase.

Despite these factors, renting to own can still be a good idea.  For sellers, it offers the chance to at least get someone in the house and start making rent money.  That can be very attractive if the property has been on the market for a good amount of time.  For buyers, it’s a chance to start the buying process without dealing with financing, at least in the beginning, or worrying about a down payment.

Before you sign a rent to own contract, make certain to have it examined by a real estate attorney or top real estate professional at GayRealEstate.com.  These contracts can be tricky, and you want to make certain you’re getting the best deal possible.

Why Isn’t My Home Selling?

Posted on June 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

You’ve found a great realtor. You’ve fixed all those little nagging issues you’ve put off for months. You’ve even done some great lawn maintenance and put on a new coat of paint. But for some reason, your house is still sitting on the market. It’s just not moving. Why?

Selling Your HomeThere can be a number of reasons. While the ones listed here may be common issues, they by no means will apply to every seller or every situation. Your realtor can help you identify the particular issues with your property. That said, however, these are common problems that may make a house less appealing to buyers.

  • It’s a buyer’s market. This means that there are more houses available than there are buyers, so buyers can afford to be really picky. They might see a high price and walk out the door without even really looking at the home. Be prepared to lower your initial asking price by seeing what homes in your area are selling for. If they’re all lower than your house, you may have to settle for less.
  • Your home is too dark. If that’s the case, make your home look light and airy.  People are looking for large spaces they can transform into their dream house. Open up the curtains, replace all of those burnt out light bulbs, and move things around to make your home look large and spacious. You might even want to remove dark wallpaper or paint over darker walls.
  • Your home looks cluttered and dirty. When you’re selling, you want to put your best foot forward. That can be difficult if you’re still living in the home, but you have to do your best to make the property look immaculate. Dust, vacuum, sweep, and mop. Even take a good look at your furniture. No, it’s not a part of the house, but an old, stained sofa is still a turn-off to buyers.  Think about covering it with a slip cover. Also, be sure to mow the yard and take out the trash.
  • Your home is a reflection of you. While that might sound like a great thing, it may not always be. Imagine what you would think if you walked into a home and found a room full of different clown figurines. Unless you love clowns, it would probably turn you off to the home, even though it’s obviously not something that would stay. Do your best to make your home as neutral as you can. Remove anything that’s religious, political, or a little out of the ordinary.

Looking Past the Ugly Wallpaper

Posted on May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

First time homebuyers are often distracted by things like ugly wallpaper, dark lighting, and a backyard that’s more dirt than grass.  Often, these things make people walk away from a house that may otherwise be absolutely perfect.  That’s why many realtors stress that it’s important to see beyond the décor and look at the structure itself.  A good house may be hidden behind some ugly colors, but it’s still a good house.  You can always repair and change things that you dislike.

The Bones of a HomeThis is especially true in the middle of a seller’s market.  This is when there are more buyers around than sellers and homes aren’t even on the market a month before someone has made an offer.  Buyers can’t afford to get caught up in surface details; otherwise, they may lose their dream home to someone else.

So what kinds of things can you overlook and what can’t you?  Many of the surface features that might immediately turn you off can be changed.  Ugly wallpaper can be torn off, walls can be repainted, and light fixtures can be swapped out.  But things like the size of the house and the floor plan can’t as easily be changed.

Remember the opposite can also be true: you may find a house that’s absolutely gorgeous.  Everything’s decorated like you’d want it to be, and you love every single one of the surface features.  But maybe the house is too small or it’s in the wrong neighborhood.  These aren’t things that can be fixed.  You can’t let yourself be too dazzled by the surface, either.

Here are some of these surface items that can easily be changed about a house:

  • The colors
  • The flooring
  • The landscaping
  • The windows and doors
  • Converted garages—if a garage has been changed into a room, you can always change it back, and it’s not as expensive as you may think.
  • Old appliances
  • Countertops
  • Cabinets
  • Exterior colors

If you happen to be looking for a house in a buyer’s market (when there are more sellers than buyers and homes can sit on the market for months), you may even be able to talk the seller into redoing some parts of the house or including a small redecorating allowance in your bid.  Remember, though, that your budget may not let you change everything at once.  You may need to tackle these improvements one at a time, so make sure you can live with that horrible carpet while you’re updating your kitchen or vice versa.

Kitchen Remodel? Gay Realtors Money Saving Tips

Posted on December 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

If you are among the many people who happen to have an older kitchen, then you must have thought of renovating it. On the other hand if you’ve taken the time to add up the total costs on a quality remodel, you may have dropped the entire idea. There is no need to worry, with some of the tips below, you will learn creative ways to save money and with time, achieve your dream kitchen. – See more at: http://www.gayrealestate.com/blog/#sthash.iZEHI3jg.
If you are among the many people who happen to have an older kitchen, then you must have thought of renovating it. On the other hand if you’ve taken the time to add up the total costs on a quality remodel, you may have dropped the entire idea. There is no need to worry, with some of the tips below, you will learn creative ways to save money and with time, achieve your dream kitchen. – See more at: http://www.gayrealestate.com/blog/#sthash.iZEHI3jg.dpuf