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.

Up and Coming Gay Neighborhoods

Posted on March 11, 2019 in Buying a Home

We’ve all heard of the Castro District, Boystown, Chelsea, Dupont Circle, and many of the other established and popular gay neighborhoods. While these communities continue to thrive, a number of new LGBTQ neighborhoods have popped up over the years. Some come and go fairly quickly, but others are poised to become modern spaces that LGBTQ individuals and families will call home. Here are a few of these emerging LGBTQ communities.

The Marmalade

The Marmalade is a neighborhood in Salt Lake City, Utah, the home base of the decidedly anti-LGBTQ Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, the city itself is surprisingly open and welcoming to those of all orientations. Same-sex marriage was actually legal here a year before the Supreme Court made it nation-wide. The city swore in an openly gay man as its mayor in 2016.

The Marmalade is home to various gay bars, clubs, and other businesses owned by members of the community. Housing here is quite affordable, and many young professionals are calling the neighborhood home. The Marmalade is quickly transforming into a hub for new businesses and those looking for comfortable, affordable homes.

Andersonville

While Chicago is known for its gay neighborhood of Boystown, that’s not the only LGBTQ community. Andersonville is situated on the north part of the city. Originally made up mostly of Swedish immigrants, today this neighborhood has many amazing restaurants and boutiques. It’s become more than just a great LGBTQ community—it’s known as one of the best in Chicago. One of the neighborhood’s strengths is that it doesn’t try to be Boystown or any other gay neighborhood. Instead, it has created a unique atmosphere all its own.

Bywater

In New Orleans, the French Quarter is the traditional gay neighborhood, but the Bywater District has recently emerged as a more affordable alternative. This area is home to many new businesses, an open-air market, and much more. It’s less of a tourist destination, too, so it’s usually much quieter. It’s home to the renowned Country Club, which allowed gay members to join back in 1977. This was one of the first places to allow openly LGBTQ members at the time, and today, it’s the center of the community.

If you’re looking for a great LGBTQ neighborhood but find some of the more established areas to be outside of your price range, you can always talk to a gay or lesbian real estate professional about homes in one of your city’s emerging gay ghettos. These new communities may have just what you’re looking for.

Ogunquit, Maine’s LGBTQ Summer Resort

Posted on February 15, 2019 in Buying a Home

Few people think about going to the far Northeast for a summer getaway, but that’s exactly why many people visit Ogunquit, Maine. That weird name is from the Abenaki language, the indigenous people of the area, and translates to “beautiful place by the sea.” That certainly describes this small little town. It has a permanent population of less than 1,000 during the off season, but that number jumps during the summer.

History of Ogunquit

Ogunquit, Maine’s LGBTQ Summer ResortThe area was settled by the Abenaki tribe of native Americans. In 1641, a number of European settlers arrived in the area and set up a village. Later, a sawmill and shipyard were built near the Ogunquit River. By the late 1890s, many artists had moved into the area, and it wasn’t unusual to see both fishermen at work while artists painted them. During this time, the area became a popular summer vacation destination, and it wasn’t long before the number of hotels outnumbered the fishing boats.

In 1980, Ogunquit officially separated from the city of Wells to become its own town. By this point, the town was a full-on tourist destination and was attracting people from as far away as Australia. People even started to come for other reasons than the beach. Horror fans who read Stephen King’s The Stand began visiting Ogunquit to see the places he mentioned in the book.

The LGBTQ Community

Around the mid-80s and 90s, the LGBTQ community became quite prominent in Ogunquit. There had always been a number of LGBTQ artists in the area, but during this time, the town become a major tourist destination. Many LGBTQ-owned restaurants, hotels, bars, and other businesses opened in Ogunquit, mostly in the old village area. The town’s tourism industry became even more prosperous, leading Ogunquit to being named America’s Best Coastal Small Town in USA Today’s 2016 Reader’s Choice issue.

The town has also started undergoing gentrification. Older parts of Ogunquit have been restored, and housing costs have increased because of this. The cost of living is significantly higher in some areas, especially housing, although the cost of other things, including groceries, healthcare, and even utilities, are around average for the country and below average for Maine.

If you’re able to handle these costs, though, Ogunquit is a great place to live. During the off season, it’s a very quiet town. However, it’s close enough to the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford metro area that it’s not too far away from the amenities of a large city. You’ll find a number of gay and lesbian real estate agents who can help you find the perfect home in this little village.

How Have LGBTQ Buyers Affected the Real Estate Market

Posted on February 1, 2019 in Buying a Home

Acceptance of LGBTQ individuals and families has increased in recent years, and while there are still certainly hate crimes and discrimination, the community is overall in a better place than it has ever been in the U.S. This acceptance has led to a great impact in a number of industries. For example, in the years since same-sex marriage was legalized, industries related to weddings have seen an increase in profits thanks to more LGBTQ partners marrying. This has also resulted in changes to the real estate industry.

A New Focus on Family

While marriage isn’t a requirement to have children, for many, it is the basis of a family. Being married also makes certain processes, including adoption, much easier. According to a survey conducted by Community Marketing & Insights, many LGBTQ couples do see marriage as the ultimate relationship goal, especially for those who want to have children.

What does this have to do with real estate? With more and more couples marrying and having children, more LGBTQ families will take school zones into consideration when deciding where to live. The survey showed that more couples with children, especially same-sex female couples, were gravitating towards the suburbs and cities. They want to make certain their children have the best education possible and make that a priority when choosing where to live.

Moving Up

With this focus on family comes the need for a larger residence. While LGBTQ couples did purchase homes prior to the same-sex marriage ruling in 2015, more and more couples have sought to become homeowners since then. Part of the reason didn’t purchase homes before was due to the fear of discrimination. They didn’t want to apply jointly for a mortgage because they weren’t certain if they would be discriminated against by the lender, but individually, neither made enough money to qualify for the mortgage.

Today, this is no longer the case. It’s become quite normal for same-sex couples to apply jointly, and it has become very clear that discrimination in housing is not acceptable. This means more homes are being sold to same-sex couples who are considering starting a family. Their needs have changed. Traditional gay neighborhoods are starting to disappear as these families seek out specific school districts or no longer prioritize living in specific parts of the city.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, you want to make certain you have the right experts on your side. Working with a gay or lesbian real estate professional can provide you with a wealth of benefits.

Silver Lake: A LA LGBTQ Community

Posted on January 7, 2019 in Buying a Home

Many people think of Los Angeles as a welcoming place for everyone, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are parts of LA that are conservative and parts that are quite open and progressive. Silver Lake is one area that’s considered an LGBTQ haven. Founded in the 1900s, this community has served as home to Walt Disney’s first major studio, unique pedestrian staircases, and more.

When Did Silver Lake Become a Gay Ghetto?

Silver Lake - An LA LGBTQ CommunitySilver Lake didn’t start out as a gay village. In fact, during the 1950s and 60s, the community was home to many Latino citizens. They mostly commuted to downtown LA to work in the various manufacturing plants located there. However, the 70s saw these plants close due to outsourcing. As a result, Silver Lake fell into decay, and many of the more affluent homeowners left the area.

As they moved out, LGBTQ individuals and families moved in. As with many cities, LA had slowly pushed those they found “undesirable” to the more disreputable neighborhoods. Silver Lake became a hub for the gay leather subculture of LA. For a time, it was known as a location for public sex, but that changed in the 1990s. Gentrification began transforming the area, and today, Silver Lake is home to many boutiques, restaurants, and other shops. Home prices have risen, too, driving out some renters and making it difficult for others to buy property in the community.

The Mattachine Society and The Black Cat Tavern

While it didn’t become a full-fledged gay neighborhood until the 70s, the LGBTQ community has had a presence in Silver Lake since the 1930s. The gay organization Bachelors Anonymous, which later became the Mattachine Society, is considered the first organized gay group. Its founder lived in Silver Lake and often held meetings there.

Silver Lake made headlines in 1967 after police raided the Black Cat Tavern, a popular LGBTQ bar. Fourteen people were arrested, and brutal force was used. Six weeks later, community members held a protest, one of the first for LGBTQ rights. This happened two years before the Stonewall Riots. Some 25 years later, in 1992, LGBTQ activists marched down Sunset Boulevard in protest of violent acts perpetrated against gay men in the area.

Looking to Live in Silver Lake?

While the price of buying a home in Silver Lake has certainly increased, it’s worth it if you want to live in what many call the hippest neighborhood in LA. You can contact a gay or lesbian real estate professional to get the ball rolling.

Options for LGBTQ Snowbirds

Posted on November 30, 2018 in Buying a Home

Snowbirds is a term used for people who live most of the year in a northern climate, but then move to a warmer area for the harsh winter months. Many snowbirds own RVs and simply drive south when the temperature drops, while others may own a second home in a warmer state. If you’re a snowbird, and also a part of the LGBTQ community, never fear—there are plenty of welcoming places for you to go during the winter.

You might enjoy your snowbird location so much that you decide to move there permanently or to purchase a second home in the area. If that’s the case, you have a number of different factors to consider.

Snowbirding to Florida

Many people on the East Coast spend the winter in Florida. This is an excellent location for LGBTQ snowbirds. St. Petersburg is considered both a very welcoming city and a great place to escape the winter. It’s very affordable, has a lot to offer, and isn’t far from the beach. For those who really love the big city, Orlando is another good destination, although it tends to be more expensive due to the high number of tourists. Lake Worth is known for its large LGBTQ community, as is South Tampa.

Options on the West Coast

On the other hand, you may want to spend some time in California. The golden beaches of this state are well-loved by snowbirds, but you do need to keep the climate in mind. San Francisco may seem like the natural place for LGBTQ snowbirds to travel to, but the rain and the proximity to the ocean do keep the temperatures in the 50s or lower during December and January.

Instead, try going inland a bit. Anaheim is popular since Disneyland and other attractions are located there. It’s also not far from the warmer beaches of southern California.

Other Locations

Snowbirds are often attracted to locations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Of course, not all of these locations are known for their welcoming attitudes. You can do your research and learn more about specific locations before you travel there. If you’re in an RV, of course, you can always simply load up and drive somewhere else if you decide you don’t like where you are!

Once you do find the perfect place to escape the cold, you may want to look for a more permanent option than an RV. You’ll find many gay and lesbian real estate professionals are ready to help you purchase a second home or make the move to a warmer climate.

Tips for LGBTQ Couples Thinking of Buying a Home

Posted on November 9, 2018 in Buying a Home

Are you thinking about looking for houses? If you’re ready to buy a home, especially if it’s your first home, the process may appear a little daunting. Fortunately, there are a few different things you can do as an LGBTQ couple to make the process easier.

Decide on How You’ll Apply for a Mortgage

Tips for LGBTQ Couples Thinking of Buying a HomeThanks to the supreme court, same-sex marriage is now legal across the country. If you’re married, it’s natural that you will apply jointly. If you’re not, though, you need to decide if one of you will apply as an individual or if you’ll apply jointly. There are some pros and cons to both. In most cases, it depends on your credit.

If one of you has excellent credit and few debts while the other has a lower credit score and more debt, it may make sense for the person with the better credit to apply as an individual. It is even possible for a married person to apply for a mortgage without their spouse. You’ll want to look at both incomes, credit history, debts, and other factors to determine how you want to apply.

Do You want to Work with a Gay or Lesbian Real Estate Expert?

You may feel more comfortable working with an LGBTQ real estate agent, especially if you’re planning on moving into a gay neighborhood. Even if your agent doesn’t identify as a member of the community, you want to make certain that they treat you fairly. While housing discrimination may not be common, it does occur. Your agent should treat you no differently than any other client, and if you suspect they are, you can file a complaint with their agency.

Whether or not you decide to work with an LGBTQ agent, you do need to find someone you’re comfortable with. You should be able to share with them all of your housing needs and wants. You don’t necessarily have to come out to them, though. Chances are, they will recognize that the two of you are a couple pretty quickly, even if you say nothing.

Get Pre-Approved

Finally, if you’re thinking about buying a home, you should go ahead and get pre-approved for a loan. After you’ve looked at your individual credit histories, sit down with a lender and talk about your options. They can run the numbers and let you know how large of a mortgage you’ll be able to get. With that information, you can then become seriously looking at homes.

Philadelphia’s Gayborhood

Posted on October 27, 2018 in Buying a Home

A number of large cities across the U.S. and even the world, have gay villages or gayborhoods. These neighborhoods typically have a very high percentage of LGBTQ residents and are often home to community centers and other LGBTQ-owned businesses. Many have names such as Boystown and Lavender Heights, names that suggest that the area is a gay neighborhood without directly stating so.

That’s not the case in Philadelphia. Instead of giving their gay neighborhood a name that could be considered a little misleading, they simply call it the Gayborhood. This area is a part of Washington Square West and is home to many different LGBTQ businesses, restaurants, and bars.

 

The History of the Gayborhood

Philadelphia’s GayborhoodThe Gayborhood began as the center of the city’s bathhouse culture back in the late 70s and early 80s. While it may have had this somewhat negative association for years, it changed during the 1990s as the bathhouses gave way to more restaurants, boutiques, and other businesses.

In 2007, city officials recognized the Gayborhood as its own unique area by adding rainbow flag symbols to the street signs between Chestnut and Pine and Juniper and 11th Street. Later, in 2010, more signs were added, expanding the area. Finally, in 2015, the crosswalks at 13th Street and Locust were painted rainbow colors.

 

An Attempt at Rebranding

In 2002, a developer came into the area and attempted to rebrand it as the Blocks Below Broad. While this “B3” launch failed, a local merchants association came into the area in 2006 and tried again. While their attempt to call the area Midtown Village was, on paper at least, somewhat successful, many people still call the area the Gayborhood.

 

The Gayborhood Today

Today, the Gayborhood is home to OutFest, Philadelphia’s annual National Coming Out Day event. Philly Pride also takes place in the area. There are a number of other events that take place in and around the Gayborhood all year round. Many are LGBTQ-related, while some are arts events and markets.

 

Want to Move to the Gayborhood?

If you’re considering a move to Philadelphia, the Gayborhood may be the perfect location. As a part of Washington Square West, it’s conveniently located next to the downtown area of Philadelphia. This gives you quick and easy access to everything there and is perfect for someone who will be working downtown. There are many gay and lesbian real estate agents in Philadelphia who can help you find the perfect home.