As LGBTQ homeowners and real estate agents, we’ve learned a few things about making the home buying process go as smoothly as possible.
The home buying process is similar no matter what letter of the alphabet you identify as, but there are some unique situations to consider, like:
It also doesn’t hurt to review some basics. As LGBTQ homeowners, here’s everything you need to know:
First thing’s first - you need to have your basics setup:
Know Your Rights
Good news - you have them!
Part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development mission is “to give every person and family access to a safe, secure, and affordable home, including ensuring fair and equal access to housing for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.”
Under the Fair Housing Act, it is prohibited for any landlord or housing provider to discriminate against anyone who identifies as LGBTQ because of their real or perceived gender identity or any other reason that constitutes sex based discrimination.
In other words, haters can fuck off.
If you are a Washington State resident and believe you are facing such discrimination, contact the Washington State Human Rights Commission at (360) 753-6770.
Establish Your Property Rights
Picture this: you and your partner buy a house. You cover the down payment with your novel’s $25,000 advance (you’re an author -- cool!). Unfortunately, you and your partner break up a year later and are considering to sell the house. Are you getting your advance back?
How are you going to deal with these kinds of situations?
LGBTQ homeowners (as well as homeowners in general) have to establish your property rights. Property rights are the theoretical and legal rights the owner or right holder have, allowing them to possess, use, and transfer their property.
You declare your property rights as homeowners via your property deed and house title. Quicken Loans defines your deed as “an official written document declaring a person’s legal ownership of a property,” while your title “refers to the concept of ownership rights.”
We recommend talking to an attorney before establishing your property rights and going forward with buying a home.
Jointly Owning Property
If you and your partner decide to jointly own property, you have two options:
Joint Tenancy with Survivorship
With Joint Tenancy, two or more people have equal ownership of a property and have the equal right to keep or dispose of the property. With the Right of Survivorship, if you or your partner passes, the property rights go to the surviving partner.
The downside of this arrangement is that you can only sell your portion of the property to another member of the Joint Tenancy. This means that if you and your partner break up, either one of you must buy the other out or sell the property jointly. If either or your partner decides to continue living in the property, you or they will have to quality for a new mortgage.
Tenants in Common
With Tenants in Common, there is “no limit to the number of people who can hold the title to one piece of real estate. The ownership can be held in equal shares or unequal shares,” according to Mortgage Loan.
Unlike Joint Tenancy, when someone with Tenants in Common passes, their portion of the property goes to whoever’s in their will. Like Joint Tenancy, one or more tenants can buy each other out of the agreement.
Finding the Right Agent
LGBTQ homeowners benefit from working with LGBTQ real estate agents -- and trust us, we’re EVERYWHERE!
LGBTQ real estate agents are uniquely qualified to help you find your dream home, because we have an intimate knowledge of the community within the neighborhoods we sell homes in. As such, we can find a home that best fits your needs.
Final Thoughts for LGBTQ Homeowners
Thanks to legislation like the Fair Housing Act and Marriage Equality, LGBTQ homeowners have the same rights and liberties as our heterosexual counterparts.
Now that’s worth celebrating.
Oh, and Happy Pride!!!
By Anthony Greer
Anthony Greer specializes in content writing and brand messaging development for service-based businesses. www.anthony-greer.com