The Joy of LGBTQ Real Estate, a REALTOR Viewpoint
Homeownership is referred to as “The American Dream” for a very good reason. For many people, owning a home is the start of an exciting new adventure in one’s life – a new home can be part of the mix that includes a new job in a new community, the first chapter of being together with a loved one, and the dawning of a new family household. Homeownership also offers an opportunity to build wealth and provide economic stability. And for those selling a home, their American Dream is passed on to new owners eager to share the happiness of having a place to call one’s own.
For LGBTQ real estate professionals, being able to work with the LGBTQ community offers multiple levels of satisfaction. After all, the LGBTQ homeownership rate is roughly 49%, which is below the national rate of 64% – thus, each home sold to a first-time LGBTQ buyer helps level the playing field and ensure a greater participation of the community in the national housing market.
LGBTQ realtors are also keenly aware of the specific needs and concerns that many LGBTQ buyers bring to the property search. These professionals can honestly detail whether a community is LGBTQ friendly and welcoming, and they can offer insight on whether the local schools are accommodating of LGBTQ students and households.
Very often LGBTQ clients establish friendships with their LGBTQ real estate agents. And while that is not say that straight allied realtors would be unable to provide the same level of insight and guidance, it is not unusual for LGBTQ buyers and sellers to specifically seek out members of the community via the LGBTQRealEstatePros.com website for assistance when scouting out a new area.
Candy L. Niedoba, a real estate agent with Weichert Realtors in Morristown and Haddonfield, New Jersey, and a LGBTQRealEstatePros.com member, exemplifies the best of the LGBTQ real estate profession. Now celebrating 25 years in the profession after a successful career in sales with a clothing retail chain, Niedoba embraced a real estate career because it reflected her passions and values.
“I take an interest in people,” she said. “I really have an interest in people and in making a difference for people in all different cultures right now. I have a very diverse team, and we really support different cultures.”
Indeed, Niedoba’s sales team with Weichert is called The Diverse Professionals Group, and she freely self-identifies as a lesbian real estate professional. Niedoba added that she’s been contacted multiple times through online queries via LGBTQRealEstatePros.com from out-of-state LGBTQ couples who expressly stated they wanted to work with a real estate agent from within the local LGBTQ community.
Regardless of the buyer’s orientation, Niedoba observed that one of the most invigorating aspects of her work is going the proverbial extra mile in helping to bring first-time buyers into understanding what is involved in purchasing residential property.
“You could send them a contract or information on what they’re signing, but I still call them and we’ll go over everything with them,” she said. “With the first-time homebuyers, educating them on what’s going on in the market and understanding their expectations is important. And can we meet that expectation or not? We don’t want to discourage any first-time homebuyers because this should be a very joyous time for them.”
Niedoba is presently coaching two new Realtors on her team, and recommended that it is important for new agents to work with seasoned real estate professionals in learning how the industry operates and the best practices in assisting clients. She added that she was grateful to be part of her profession.
“I’ve been very successful,” she said. “The benefits of being a realtor are that you’re independent, you get to make your own hours, and you have financial freedom. I’ve been very blessed – I had nothing when I came and everything I have today is because of real estate and working hard, participating and being committed.”