Discrimination is a reality many same-sex couples face, and that discrimination is not confined to political races. Buying a home can be an unnerving process for same-sex partners. In a report by the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), 44% of couples admitted that they worried about what the neighbors might think. The good news is that the tides are turning and that gay realtors are here to help you feel comfortable during the home-buying process.
Know these key facts if you’re in the market for a new home.
Dwindling Discrimination In The Home-Buying Process
First and foremost, you are not alone–and the outlook is improving a lot. Nearly three-quarters — or 73% — of married same-sex couples are buying houses, more than ever before.
Not only is it commonplace for LGBT couples to buy real estate, but it is also a legally protected right. In 2015, the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges raised questions about recognizing same-sex marriages in different states. “Same-sex couples can marry in three dozen states, but federal appeals courts have been divided over whether states must allow same-sex couples to marry and recognize such marriages performed elsewhere,” The New York Times (NYT) writes. The court ruled that it is unconstitutional for individual states not to recognize same-sex marriages. Similarly, the 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all states provided further rights and freedoms. These rulings help protect couples, no matter where they choose to live.
Find The Right Support
The right support and right community can make all the difference. Take some time to find gay realtors and gay-friendly friendly neighborhoods in your preferred move-in location. Use top search engines, online directories, or LGBT publications to find gay realtors where you would like to move. Once you find gay realtors or realtors who advocate for same-sex couples, they can help you pin down the most welcoming areas for your new house.
Remember there are LGBT-friendly locales and neighborhoods even in traditionally conservative states. For example, 21.31 million people live in Florida and there are several cities and towns that are LGBT-friendly. Just ask your realtor!
Take Another Look At Taxes
Finally, be careful when it comes to taxes. If you add your name to a title, you may be subject to estate taxes. Heterosexual couples are currently exempt from these taxes if they are married. Hopefully, laws will follow protecting same-sex partners, too. For now, decide whether it would be best to leave the title in just one person’s name or if the value of the property outweighs this potential cost.
LGBT couples make up eight to 12% of the housing market–and that comes along with some significant cash! Know that times are changing, and more realtors are openly advocating for same-sex couples and happily working with them.