- LGBT+ clients have discrimination concerns.
- The LGBT+ marketplace is sizable.
- Your millennials and LGBT+ agents want an inclusive environment.
I spent a few days last week in Fort Lauderdale attending the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) annual conference. NAGLREP is an advocacy group and a referral network of over 1,000 real estate professionals.
One of the highlights of the conference was keynote, Todd Sears, with Out Leadership.
Todd Sears, Out Leadership founder, and Sherry Chris, president and CEO Better Homes & Gardens, presented a study on LGBT+ economic influence and real estate issues. Out Leadership LGBT brief. The brief was initiated and sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens.
Here are a few key takeaways from the report and a little commentary:
The size of the LGBT+ market is considerable
The LGBT+ community and the related market impact is a lot bigger than you might think when you add in straight people who identify as LGBT+ allies. The report calls this “the amplifying effect of the ally marketplace.”
Brokers who attract LGBT+ and LGBT-friendly ally agents will position themselves to effectively serve this sizable market segment.
Housing discrimination fears are real
As noted in the presentation, 46 percent of the respondents expressed strong concern about being discriminated against by a real estate agent, and 46 percent when putting in an offer on a home; 49 percent to 62 percent expressed strong concern of being discriminated against or harassed by neighbors (more in rural, less in urban).
Housing discrimination fears are real for LGBT+ people. I have personally had many same-sex couples purchase property together over the years, and when the offer on the perfect home identifies the buyers as Susan and Elizabeth or Jonathon and Raul, whether expressed or unspoken, there was often a bit of concern.
What if the sellers are homophobic? What if the sellers are less than thrilled to bring a non-traditional couple into the neighborhood? How will our offer play out in a multiple-offer situation? And Austin, Texas, is very gay-friendly. These concerns are especially real in more conservative areas.
According to the report, “Many LGBT+ people currently live in jurisdictions where they are not protected from housing discrimination and might be particularly keen to engage with real estate professionals who identify as inclusive.”
For brokers and agents, know that your LGBT+ clients are going to want to work with agents who understand this dynamic.
Understand marriage as a precursor to homeownership
All real estate professionals know that engaged and newlywed couples are prime candidates for purchasing a home. This is true, gay or straight. It’s a huge market. Educating your agents on some of the concerns of the LGBT+ market makes sense.
Marriage equality does not equal full equality. Your LGBT+ agents and clients want you to know this.
The report discusses how marriage equality is “not seen as a magic bullet for LGBT+ couples who seek to start families by having children or adopting.”
Some states and municipalities are more favorable for gay adoption; some are more progressive on their LGBT+ housing discrimination policies.
Millennials have broader definitions of diversity
According to the report, “Millennials are the most pro-LGBT+ generation, by significant margins.”
What this generally means for brokers is that the millennials want to associate themselves with businesses and brokerages that are seen as inclusive.
The report shows that millennials will be more actively engaged in their organizations when an inclusive culture exists.
Brokers and organizations can benefit from understanding the LGBT+ marketplace
Brokers and brokerages, small and large, will benefit from an inclusive culture. Brokers and brokerages will benefit from understanding some of the dynamics of the LGBT+ marketplace. They will benefit from knowing simply that NAGLREP exists.
Want to attract and retain more LGBT+ agents? Want to attract and retain more millennial agents? Having an inclusive culture matters.