Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Orlando LGBT Relocation Considerations:

I am not a cultural anthropologist, nope, just a gay Realtor.  In the 33 years I've been "out of the closet" and the 15 years I've been in real estate sales, I've noticed that our community has distinctly different search criteria than the majority culture when shopping for properties.  Regardless of ethnicity, religion, income or education, our community is fairly predictable in house hunting matters.

My LGBT RELO client's generally itemize their list accordingly. 
  1. Acceptance 
  2. Location
  3. Safety
  4. Potential: The "next" up and coming area 
  5. Affordability
  6. Convenience
  7. LGBT friendly resources and services: doctors, dentists, attorney's, etc.
  8. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops
  9. Gyms, outdoor space, parks, recreational areas
  10. Community standing and reputation of area

My RELO list for non-LGBT consumers. 

  1. Location
  2. Affordability
  3. Schools
  4. Safety
  5. Convenience
  6. Employment
  7. Traffic/Commute
  8. Shopping
  9. Restaurants, bars
  10. Outdoor space and parks

The two biggies not showing up on either Top 10 list is Acceptance, which is #1 on the LGBT list and Employment options, which doesn't show on the LGBT list until #11. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Not Married-No Will-Now What?

Client Died Last Friday, Partner Left In Limbo!!!!
I write this post with a heavy heart.  I learned this morning that one of my clients died on Friday...I heard this from his partner. 
The partner never held ownership interest in the property, he just lived there for many years and contributed to the care, maintenance and house payments without securing a place on the title or deed. 
Now his partner is gone, and he has no idea if there is a Will or any other legal documentation protecting his interests.
I say this to all of my LGBT brothers and sisters...please, please, please, whether you are single or coupled, have your legal paperwork in place! If you are coupled and don't have anything protecting each other from tragedies, you are playing with fire. 
Life happens.  Life happens all of the time.  Partners die all the time, and if it happens to be your partner and if your partners family learn you have not been named anywhere as an heir, what do you think happens next? We live in Florida. We do not have the right to marry as of this date 12/17/14. Wills are not romantic and it's really not a fun conversation to have, but you must have it and act.
If you have no legal documentation, Wills, etc., contact an attorney!  If you don't know an attorney, my partner and I use Mary Meeks, who is a well known LGBT attorney in Orlando.  I get nothing from plugging Mary Meeks, she's just a damn good attorney.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Favorite Orlando Neighborhoods: From a Gay Realtor's Perspective

Orlando has lots of great areas, we all know that, but I happen to have a few favorites and I like each of them for different reasons.

When we first moved to Orlando years ago I thought we were moving to the land of "Bubba", where the confederate flag still waves and all pickup trucks wielded a gun rack.  I was so wrong, thank god.

The first city neighborhood we encountered was Thornton Park.  The rainbow flags, cobblestone streets, beautiful old houses and cool little restaurants immediately told us that we, as a gay couple, will be just fine in Orlando.  I, of course, fell in love with Thornton Park, but my partner, who is much more practical preferred to NOT have a project house.  Master Suites, huge closets, newish, great rooms, etc., is what he wanted, and he also wanted to be fairly close to his job, which in hindsight made total sense.  So, we didn't move to Thornton Park, but it's still in my personal top 5 favorites and it's number 1 for charm.

My next favorite is DT Orlando.  Full disclosure, I always wanted to be the young gay version of Mary Tyler Moore living DT USA somewhere, but I never did it, and to this day I regret that decision.  I like the vibe DT offers, with its walkable streets, restaurants, Lake Eola park, night life and beautiful condos!  The only thing it's missing is a decent department store of some sort, otherwise it's nearly perfect.  This ranks number 1 for active social life and LGBT activities. 

Lake Nona, which is technically the City of Orlando but feels and functions as a suburb, is my favorite suburban community.  I like this area for a few reasons, such as green space, investment opportunity and location.  First, the green space...trees, trails, little neighborhood parks, golfing, bike lanes, etc., make it extremely friendly for those of us who like to be active outdoors.  Second is the promise and opportunity of Medical City, which is already bringing high paying jobs to the region and still offers good value for housing.  The last reason is the proximity to DT (20 minutes for me), OIA, the attractions (20 minutes from Disney) and the Atlantic Ocean, which is 35 minutes away.  My partner and I live here, and what's really great is we are not alone in the LGBT realm.  This ranks number 1 for outdoor living.

Of course College Park is on my list!  Being able to walk or bike to shopping, eating and drinking establishments is a little slice of heaven in my world! Who doesn't like that?  And yet the houses are still affordable AND, depending on condition, you can still get a fairly good deal on a fixer.  This ranks number 1 for convenience.

My final choice is Colonial Town...North & South.  I think this area is ripe for being the next up and coming location in Orlando.  We are here at least twice a month gobbling up Vietnamese food then heading to the Milk District for a drink, or two.  Everything is here.  Shopping, restaurants, some super cool mid-century modern houses complete with terrazzo flooring...everything!  Sprinkle a little bit of "fairy dust"on a fixer and watch what happens.  This ranks number 1 for potential/opportunity.