The Importance of Working with LGBTQ Home Buyers & Sellers
Buying residential property in today’s housing market is a challenge at multiple levels: interest rates have more than doubled from one year ago, a low level of available inventory, a continued evaporation of affordable homeownership opportunities, and a seemingly endless rise in home prices. The latter problem of rising of prices is especially acute – according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median existing-home price for all housing types in December 2022 was $366,900, an increase of 2.3% from December 2021 ($358,800) and the 130th consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.
For LGBTQ homebuyers, however, there are additional challenges in looking for residential property. Data from LGBTQRealEstatePros.com showed that the LGBTQ homeownership rate is 49%, which is 15% below the national average of 64%.
For this article we’re taking a deep dive into the data, because from studying the data we can then make decisions on how to better the LGBTQ homeownership rate and highlight the financial security homeownership offers to our communities. Our mission at LGBTQRealEstatePros.com is to increase LGBTQ homeownership. The simple way we achieve our goals is by online outreach to LGBTQ home buyers and sellers advising our services as LGBTQ real estate professionals and allied REALTORS. Furthermore, our referral network of over 2,800+ LGBTQ and allied REALTORS from all around the USA, Canada, and Mexico facilitates client referrals from all over the world to help our LGBTQ community find their safe space to call home.. We’ve been rinse/repeating this initiative since our inception in 2007 and it works!
A study by the UCLA School of Law determined that 50% of LGBTQ adults and 64% of LGBTQ couples own their own homes – for the non-LGBTQ population, those numbers are 70% and 75%, respectively. And 2021 data from Zillow estimated that the LGBTQ population accounted for only 12% of all homebuyers.
Further complicating matters is National Association of REALTORS (NAR) data that determined the median household income among the LGBTQ population is $93,200, compared to a median income of $97,000 among the non-LGBTQ population. And 46% of LGBTQ buyers come into the housing market with a fear of experiencing discrimination – which is understandable when one considers that between 1990 and 2015 same-sex applicants were 73% more likely to be denied a loan versus heterosexual couples. It also doesn’t help that 18 states and five U.S. territories offer no legal protection for LGBTQ buyers who are the subject of housing discrimination.
For LGBTQ realtors who represent LGBTQ buyers, there is still another consideration they need to factor into their work: Only about one-third (33%) of LGBTQ people live in the same general location as where they went to high school, compared to 72% of the general population – this means most LGBTQ buyers are relocating into communities where they are often unfamiliar with the local housing market, the sociopolitical sentiments, school districts, and cultural nuances within the community.
As a result, the LGBTQ and allied Realtors affiliated with LGBTQRealEstatePros.com have multiple tasks that are specific to working with LGBTQ clients. Indeed, it is not uncommon for these buyers to specifically request a gay realtor or a lesbian realtor who is knowledgeable about the LGBTQ environment in their market.
Khoi Le, a member of LGTBQRealEstatePros.com and a broker with Hunter Chase Realty in Albuquerque, New Mexico, identifies as an LGBTQ realtor and acknowledged the distinctive needs that LGBTQ buyers need to have addressed.
“I would say the number one thing they look at is safety,” he said. “The laws and the protections in the workplace – it’s very important to a lot of clients.”
Le added that many clients are also interested in knowing the locations and proximity of LGBTQ-oriented bars, nightlife, and other cultural things to do in their area.
“The desire for LGBTQ nightlife does not suggest they are drinkers,” he said. “But it’s because they are looking at the community and if there are places to meet their local LGBTQ peers in a safe environment. Local LGBTQ cultural events are also a good indication of how much community support they might get. For example, what does Pride Month look like in the local community? Is there a local celebration?”
Le stated the aspect of LGBTQ real estate that he enjoys the most is the trust and confidence that LGBTQ buyers and sellers often share with him.
“As an LGBTQ REALTOR, I understand the challenges LGBTQ home buyers and sellers can experience. There is often housing discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said. “As an LGBTQ realtor, I understand how that is because our experiences are somewhat the same. And so, there’s a level of safety and comfortability that LGBTQ home buyers and sellers can feel – they can disclose to me, whereas they may be less comfortable with a non LGBTQ Realtor. There’s a great feeling of pleasure by helping another person or family move to my community who will increase our LGBTQ presence in the area with pride.”