The Advantages of Working With a Gay Realtor
In concept, a realtor’s sexual orientation or gender identity should not be relevant to a homebuyer. However, many members of the LGBTQ community have reported experiencing bias and discrimination within the homebuying experience and the wider financial services environment. Considering that purchasing a home will probably be the most important financial decision a person can make, working with a gay realtor or a lesbian realtor could be the most important ally imaginable.
A recent survey published by the National Endowment for Financial Education found 16% of respondents who identified as LGBTQ said they experienced housing discrimination, 15% experienced bias in accessing credit and 12% faced bias in the lending process.
Another recent survey from the brokerage Redfin found 58% of respondents said they favor living where there are local and state laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, while 47% said they would prefer to live in a place where gender-affirming care for children is fully legal and 34% looked favorably on living where classroom discussion of LGBTQ topics is permitted.
The LGBTQ community has no federal protection against housing discrimination – sexual orientation and gender identity are not among the protected categories cited in the Fair Housing Act. And only roughly half of the states have housing discrimination laws to protect the LGBTQ homebuyers.
And this is where an LGBTQ realtor, in general – and an NAGLREP member, in particular – can help. NAGLREP’s professionals understand their local real estate markets, but they are also cognizant to the specific needs of LGTBQ real estate buyers who are considering becoming a part of a specific market – and many of these needs are considerations that most non-LGBTQ blithely take for granted.
A NAGLREP professional can identify communities that are welcoming and friendly of LGBTQ households at multiple levels – in the schools, the local government, the business community, the faith community and in the residential neighborhoods. They can identify where hanging a rainbow flag outside of a front door will not result in rocks flying through a window, and they can point out which schools are working to ensure children are not made into pariahs because of their orientation or gender identity.
And circling back to the previously cited survey about bias in the financial services industry, a NAGLREP professional can offer the best advice for potential appraisers and lenders who treat all customers with the level of dignity and respect they deserve. This is crucial for many LGBTQ homebuyers who are unfamiliar with communities where they are looking to move – a 2021 NAGLREP survey found that only 32% of LGBTQ people live in the same general location (i.e. city, county, metro area) as where they went to high school, compared to the 72% national average.
Also, the NAGLREP survey found 94% of LGBTQ renters and 95% of LGBTQ homeowners reported that feeling safe (lack of harassment/violence) was the most important factor when it comes to selecting a community or neighborhood to live in. A gay real estate agent or a lesbian real estate agent who knows an area can provide insight that will be invaluable for LGBTQ buyers.
For homeowners who are thinking of selling their residences and moving elsewhere, NAGLREP can be invaluable thanks to its referral program. As a national organization with more than 2,800 members, NAGLREP.com continues to be a great driver of LGBTQ buyers, sellers and agents. The NAGLREP.com website averages 75,000 unique visits per month and 1 million visits per year, making it the most influential online real estate-focused resource for the LGBTQ community.
It needs to be stressed that NAGLREP members are not solely exclusive LGBTQ buyers – straight buyers can also take advantage of the NAGLREP professionals’ distinctive knowledge of safe and welcoming areas where all communities live together harmoniously.
NAGLREP’s 2021 survey found the LGBTQ homeownership rate was below the national average, even though nearly three-quarters of LGBTQ renters were eager to become homeowners. A NAGLREP professional is ready to help ensure anyone who works with them will be able to share in the American Dream of owning one’s home while expanding the base of LGTBQ real estate across the country.