Marriage equality ruling encourages LGBT homebuyers

By Kim Shindle | July 29, 2016 | 3 min. read

Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality has made a difference in real estate sales for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities, according to Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

“A lot of positives came out of that ruling,” Chris said. “It recognized marriage of LGBT couples as a fundamental right at a national level, which is one of life’s milestones that can trigger and ease the home buying process, and that’s significant. This ruling spoke in a larger voice; we all deserve to be treated in a fair manner. And it’s had far reaching affects.”

Jeff Berger, founder of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals, agrees. “Our 2016 Member Survey showed that 20 percent of NAGLREP members said the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality affected their LGBT clients’ decision to buy or sell a home. I think that’s a significant number.”

Last year, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate sponsored the first LGBT Homebuyer study along with NAGLREP. “The most important part of this study was raising awareness of the LGBT population’s perceptions, preferences and even reservations on the home buying process, which had not historically been of national focus,” Chris said. “We believed strongly as a brand that there was a need for this knowledge in our industry. We presented the results at both NAR Mid-Year Meetings in Washington, D.C. and at the NAGLREP Real Estate Conference, where we found that people were clamoring for the information.”

The LGBT community maintains an estimated buying power of $840 billion, and the study revealed that LGBT couples have a very positive view of homeownership – almost 90 percent believed it was a great investment. “One of their strong concerns was about discrimination, such as in qualifying for a loan and finding communities that would be accepting of LGBT couples and families,” she added.

The company also took the results of the study and created materials to help their affiliated agents and brokers enhance their service when working with LGBT clients.

“We’re very proud of our work with NAGLREP and several real estate groups that advocate for all real estate consumers and professionals,” Chris said. “We always want to help our agents and brokers better understand the communities in which they serve and their buying habits.”

“It’s hard to speculate on the future and how marriage equality will change things,” Chris said. “I think we should expect to see more family formation, including children, in the LGBT community. Our world is ever-changing. As an industry, we need to be in front of the changes.”

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