The home buying experience for the LGBTQ+ community has been changing for the better, but buyers do still face some challenges. Here are a few home buying tips for our LGBTQ+ neighbors to help you find a fair and equitable path to homeownership.
Understand your rights—and where to find them.
Trulia believes you have the right to buy a home free from discrimination. Which means that no one can refuse to sell you a home based on your identity. Those rights are broadly protected by the federal Fair Housing Act, but in practice, whether or not the law applies to gender identity/expression or sexual orientation can depend on the most recent court ruling.
Because the LGBTQ+ community isn’t explicitly included the Fair Housing Act, many states and local governments have taken additional steps to ensure buyers are protected. You can use Trulia’s Local Legal Protections tool to find places to live that have put policies in place to protect LGBT home buyers.
Know how to identify and respond to discrimination.
The tough thing about discrimination is that it can be tough to spot. Rarely will a buyer say, either in person or through a real estate agent, “We won’t sell our home to you because you’re gay.” Instead, you might later realize your offer was passed over for one much lower than yours. If yours is the only offer, the house may mysteriously go off the market for a short time and then reappear later. Or a seller might walk away from a purchase agreement with no explanation after they become aware of your identity.
If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination, you can take action. You can file a Fair Housing discrimination complaint with the federal government. If you are in a city or state with local protections, each of those entities will have a process for filing a complaint as well. Your local ACLU chapter is a great resource for helping you decide if your experience qualifies as discrimination, and which legal path is best for you to pursue.
Find a real estate agent who will be your advocate.
Another powerful advocate for LGBTQ+ home buyers is the right real estate agent. All agents have specialties, and finding a real estate agent with experience helping LGBTQ+ buyers can be a huge benefit to you. They are skilled in recognizing discrimination and helping connect you with supportive resources.
Trulia can help you connect with trustworthy agents who will work hard for you through their Premier Agents resource. These agents meet Trulia’s high standard for quality service, so you know you’ll have a great home buying experience with their personal support.
Find the right neighborhood.
Finding a neighborhood that’s a fit for you and your family is important for all home buyers—after all, your local parks, businesses, and neighbors end up being as much a part of “home” as your house does. LGBTQ+ home buyers often include inclusiveness on their must-have list when looking for their ideal neighborhood, so learning how to screen places for this quality is important.
Trulia Neighborhoods is one great tool for finding out what a neighborhood is like while house hunting. In addition to finding maps of dining, groceries, nightlife, cafes, shopping, fitness, and arts and entertainment destinations in each neighborhood, you can learn real-life insights on what it’s like to live there directly from your future neighbors in the What Locals Say section.
Your real estate agent can also be a great help in identifying neighborhoods where you’ll love to live.
Connect with supportive home buying resources.
There are lots of organizations out there that work to ensure the home buying experience is fair and accessible to LGBTQ+ buyers. Here are a few resources that are available to help:
- Your local ACLU chapter
- Department of Veteran Affairs’ Lesbian, Gay and Bi-Sexual (LGB) Servicemembers and Veterans division
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s LGBTQ resources site
- The Human Rights Campaign
Ready to discover the place you’ll love to live? See what’s available here on Trulia.