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July 28, 2021
Legalization of same sex marriage brought about increase in LGBTQ couples purchasing homes, according to National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP). NAGLREP, whose members include mortgage lenders, title companies and real estate brokers, say that LGBTQ+ couples are buying more homes now than they were before the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in 2015.
For many in the LGBTQ+ community, this has emboldened them to tie the knot or cohabitate, knowing they have the protections they will need to combine their assets and purchase a home. However, there are a few things to consider when thinking about venturing into homeownership.
At Newrez, we believe that all people have the right to purchase or sell a home without discrimination. Earlier this year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, more than fifty years after the Fair Housing Act was enacted in the United States. HUD’s office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) then directed HUD offices and recipients of HUD funds to enforce the act accordingly. However, despite this new declaration, it is also the responsibility of all in the housing and finance industry to take additional steps to ensure buyers and sellers are protected.
There are a number of steps you can take should you believe you have been discriminated against. Filing a Fair Housing complaint with HUD, your city or state government, can be an effective first step, as can reaching out to your local ACLU chapter. Determining if your experience qualifies as discrimination can be difficult, so a local human rights agency can help you figure our which next steps to take. Always consult an attorney if you think you have experienced discrimination for any reason.
For any home buyer, finding a great real estate agent is key, but for LGBTQ+ buyers, a real estate agent can act as a very powerful advocate in not only identifying discrimination but helping you find a great neighborhood as well! Finding the right neighborhood is important for all home buyers, but finding a neighborhood that feels inclusive is frequently on the must-have list for most LGBTQ+ buyers. Learning how to evaluate your potential neighborhood for inclusiveness and quality is a big part of successful housing hunting. Websites like Zillow and Trulia have tools that allow you to do research on what current residents are saying about that neighborhood. Similarly, your agent will likely have a lot of insight on neighborhoods.
There are a plethora of resources out there dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ home buyers navigate the world of purchasing and selling a home. Here are a few resources available to help ensure home buying is fair for the LGBTQ+ community:
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