The search for LGBTQ-friendly agents just got easier
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance recently launched a consumer site that helps potential clients find an agent who understands their needs and challenges.
- A new website offers resources for buyers and sellers and includes a directory of agents and other real estate professionals who can provide equitable, non-judgmental assistance.
- The homeownership rate for the LGBTQ+ community is significantly lower than that of the general population, but it's on the rise.
- LGBTQ+ migration could increase as more states consider anti-trans and other types of legislation that is unfriendly to the community.
Underrepresented groups often face unique challenges when buying and selling a home, but for the LGBTQ+ community, there's a new website that can help.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance recently launched LGBTQPlusHomes.com, a consumer site that offers buying and selling resources, and helps potential clients find an agent who can work with them to navigate the process.
The website came about because there was strong demand for information from LGBTQ+ buyers and sellers, said Ryan Weyandt, CEO of LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance. The nonprofit organization originally published a 42-page homebuyer guide focused on its community, and it was a huge hit at different events.
"Once we identified that there was an appetite for information and education, it was fairly easy to identify that the next step would be a website," Weyandt said, adding that he was fortunate to have staff who knew how to bring it to life.
There are similar portals online, like GayRealEstate.com, but Weyandt said his group's site is unique since it's a nonprofit operation. And, from his perspective, having more options for the community is important because there is so much demand for information.
Agents pay an annual membership fee to the organization and can be included in the directory at no extra cost. Weyandt estimates that around 2,800 real estate professionals — primarily agents, and a smaller number of loan officers and other professionals — are already on the site, and about 25% of directory members are "straight allies." The directory also has professionals from outside the U.S., including Canada, Mexico and other parts of Latin America.
"The expectation is that our professionals, through the very high standard that we hold, deliver a very equitable, non-judgmental, professional experience to the consumer," Weyandt said.
While the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage has helped some people as they navigate the buying and selling transaction, the LGBTQ+ community is not a federally protected group. As a result, they can face discrimination, especially when trying to purchase a home.
The homeownership rate in the LBGTQ+ community is low compared to the general population — just 49.5% in 2020, compared with 67.9% for the overall U.S. population, said Weyandt. He noted that the LGBTQ+ homeownership rate is on the rise, however, which is something he expects will continue.
The arrival of this website resource comes at a time when significant cultural debates are taking place. With a variety of anti-trans bills working their way through state legislatures in Florida, Texas, Missouri, Tennessee and elsewhere, Weyandt expects to see a wave of LGBTQ+ migration out of those states, resulting in an even greater need for information and professional real estate guidance.
While this potential migration would stem from discriminatory policies, Weyandt said the silver lining is that it may provide opportunities for agents in states that are more favorable to LGBTQ+ homeowners, as well as agents in states with anti-trans legislation who can help clients sell and move.
"This isn't just an ethical thing, this is a business imperative that folks understand and start working with the community, if for no other reason, financial reasons," Weyandt said.