Pride Month: LGBTQ+ Realtors® Serve as Association Leaders

By Kim Shindle | June 2, 2023 | 4 min. read

June marks Pride Month, which is dedicated to celebrating and commemorating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride. The percentage of U.S. adults identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something other than heterosexual was 7.2% in 2022, according to a Gallup survey. Members of Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2004, are the most likely to identify as LGBTQ+, at 19.7%. About 11% of millennials identify as LGBTQ+ and 3.3% or less among older generations. The changing demographic of younger homebuyers shows a shift in who will be buying homes in the next decade.

Several PAR members in the LGBTQ+ community shared their experiences as Realtors® as part of PAR’s celebration of Pride Month.

PAR Treasurer David Dean said becoming a Realtor® has provided him with a range of professional opportunities.

“I was at a crossroads in my professional journey when a good friend, who was also a successful broker in the Boston area, suggested I look at real estate as a possibility,” Dean recalled. “My friend took my partner and I to look at houses; I pointed to one I liked and he bounded out of the car, knocked on the door and asked the owners if they’d like to sell their house. Surprisingly, they replied that they listed their home a week prior with Cindy, who was our Realtor®. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a real estate agent.”

Dean has accumulated a significant rental portfolio which has provided him with a steady income and has given him the opportunity to volunteer at his local association, the Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh, as well as at the state and national associations. He served as RAMP’s president in 2018 and was PAR District 10 vice president in 2020.

Last year he was elected to serve as PAR’s treasurer, which was one of his long-time goals. “Fourteen years ago, I knew I wanted to be a PAR officer, but the road was full of learning lessons and patience,” Dean said. “I had a good feeling when I decided to run and the process and outcome was certainly the most rewarding experience of my 19+ years in real estate.”

Dean believes the real estate business is more complex than many people think when they enter the industry. “Real estate was much harder than it’s depicted on television. I think shows on HGTV paint an unrealistic picture of what we do and the processes involved,” he added. “I’ve also seen folks struggle in this business for a variety of reasons that are outside their control. For every success story in real estate, there are others who don’t succeed.”

“Realtors® aspire to service their clients equally and fairly. However, recent events have demonstrated that we as an industry have a way to go,” Dean said. “With that said, I believe that someone with shared values and experiences can be an invaluable guide through a process that can become very personal. For a buyer from the LGBTQIA+ community, an ally or member of the LGBTQIA+ community may have certain sensitivity and empathy that others may not possess. Understanding the nuances and shared history of the LGBTQIA+ community in certain cases can make all the difference.”

Dean noted that the current market with higher prices and low inventory has hit his clients. “It’s the buyers who try over and over again to buy a home, only to miss out during a bidding war, that hit me the hardest. I really feel for them and see how challenging the entire process can be for them.”

Buying a home also made Kevin McPheeters, a Bucks County Association of Realtors® member, consider a career in real estate as well.

“After purchasing our first home, I enjoyed the process and explored a partnership with the Realtor® we worked with and joined their business soon after,” he said. “Becoming a Realtor® wasn’t something I expected, but it happened sort of organically.”

McPheeters, who served as president of BCAR in 2017 and a PAR district vice president, enjoys the relationships that develop while helping his clients. “We wear many hats each day: counselor, friend, shoulder to cry on, handyman, manager and sometimes a housecleaner. However, assisting people with decisions about the most valuable asset in their lives is quite a professional accomplishment but it’s always tremendous to see the joy of homeownership coming to life,” he added.

Helping LGBTQ+ clients become homeowners is rewarding. “It’s very important that all people have the opportunity to have a place to call ‘home,’ the place where we can be ourselves without worry,” McPheeters said. “I also believe that includes the comfort that comes with diverse communities, being valued and being involved and accepted. I’ve found the real estate industry to be welcoming and the work to be rewarding and I encourage others to explore the possibility.”

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