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MORE THAN AN AGENT How to be a champion and ally for your LGBT clients.

By Adrian Shanker, Founder and Executive Director, BradburySullivan LGBT Community Center

T

he LGBT community has reason to be cautious when selecting a real estate professional. We have a storied history of cultural experiences of bias, discrimination, and worse -- outright violence. We lack state and federal housing discrimination protections, and LGBT people experience housing insecurity and disparate rates. Numerous real estate agents have suggested to me that they don’t discriminate, that their broker is open to all. That’s a great starting point but it’s not enough to simply not be a discriminator. We are looking for an ally and a champion. When we are in the market for a real estate professional, we are looking for more than a good agent. We are looking for someone who understands us and our community. Here are some tips to clarify what LGBT real estate consumers are searching for in their Realtors®:

1

Family. Yes - many of us are looking to find an LGBT-identified agent. That’s not to say LGBT consumers won’t hire someone who isn’t LGBTidentified -- but as a community, we tend to look for LGBT agents because the process of buying or selling a home is very personal. The real estate

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professional learns a lot about us. There’s a level of comfort when we know we don’t need to explain the unique parts of our LGBT lives to the agent who will be spending some time in our current or future homes.

2

Allies. When LGBT people are buying or selling a home and we hire an agent who isn’t LGBT-identified, we are often looking for a real estate professional who is in some other way active and visible in the LGBT community - as a sponsor of LGBT events, as a frequent attendee at LGBT business council mixers, as a vendor at the local pride celebration. These public activities send a message so we know you are inclusive and welcoming. That message can go a long way.

3

Knowledge. We want our real estate professionals to know the law as it relates to LGBT issues. Especially important for folks moving from out of town, we may ask if a school district has anti-bullying policies for LGBT youth (not all do!) or if a city has a law protecting residents and employees from discrimination. Of course, Realtors® cannot steer LGBT clients to specific neighborhoods, but you can, and should, provide answers to questions about legal protections in certain municipalities and school districts.

4

Compassion. LGBT communities are complex. We have diverse identities and relationships. Real estate professionals don’t need to understand all of us to be compassionate and judgement-free. It takes trust to let a real estate professional into your home. Honor that trust with compassion.

5

Community. You’re not just selling a home, you’re selling a community. And for LGBT people, there’s little that’s desired more than that. So be a part of the community. Learn more about LGBT community programs, events and services at www.bradburysullivancenter.org.

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GLVR eMagazine Spring 2019