Selling Your Home During the Holidays? 7 Tips to Help Sell It Fast

November 30, 2020 December 14, 2020 by Julia Weaver

Updated on December 14th, 2020

Believe it or not, the holiday season can be a great time to sell your home. It’s true that the housing market typically heats up during the spring. However, the holiday season is often overlooked as a prime time to sell, especially this year. 

Why? First of all, there is typically less inventory in the housing market, allowing your home to easily stand out among the available inventory. And though there are technically fewer buyers overall, the homebuyers that are looking are far more serious about finding a home within a specific timeframe. So, make your home warm and inviting and open it up to those looking to buy, because selling your home during the holidays might be your best present this year. 

Selling your home during the holidays

Selling your home during the holidays

1) Stage for the holidays. Think clean, cozy, simple.

Yes, you should absolutely decorate your home during the holidays even if you are trying to sell it. The real question you should be asking is, how much

One thing that happens to all homeowners is that we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. This is especially true of holiday decorations. As you begin decorating, channel your inner stager or designer. This year, for the sake of appealing to the buyers touring your home, use your best decorations as holiday accents without drawing attention away from your home’s best selling features.

Your home may have large windows with a great view or an expansive kitchen fit for a chef. Whatever sold you on your home when you first bought it is most likely the same feature(s) that will sell your home during the holidays. Don’t cover up your view with an excessively large Christmas tree and avoid filling your living room in snow globes, nutcrackers, and a large nativity scene. You want to accentuate your home with holiday decor, not bury it.

Holiday decor can help prospective homebuyers imagine your house as their future home. If you have a fireplace, decorate it with garland and hang stockings from the mantle. Use candles and essential oil diffusers with iconic scents of the season, such as pumpkin spice or balsam and cedar. You especially want to keep your home clutter-free and need to clean it regularly. Belongings can easily begin to pile up during the holidays, so make sure you stay on top of it. Create an environment that makes prospective homebuyers feel comfortable and warm the moment they walk through your front door. You want them to feel at home.

Consider working with a professional home stager to create the perfect holiday look to help your home stand out from the competition.

Selling your home during the holidays

Selling your home during the holidays

2) Price your home to sell 

You and your listing agent will most likely come up with a pricing strategy together based on comparable homes in the area, what the current housing market is doing, and what the demand for housing looks like or is projected to do. Ultimately, several variables go into pricing your home to sell, however, there are a couple of easy tricks that can help attract homebuyers.

Price your home competitively

If your home looks like all the other homes on the block with similar features, then a lower price point will definitely draw in more traffic than your rivals. However, if your home is the largest one on the block, has more acreage, or a double car garage and pool, you can price your home based on the increased value it provides. Check out online estimates for how much your home is worth and then compare them to other houses in your area.

Use strategic price points when listing your home

Have you ever noticed while you’re grocery shopping that almost all prices end in .99, such as $1.99 or $4.99? This simple manipulation of pricing is called setting strategic price points and actually makes the price of something appear smaller (or cheaper) than it really is. The same exact concept works when pricing your house to sell. For example, if you decide your home could sell for $500,000, pricing it at $499,000 can (theoretically) draw in more traffic and possibly more offers.

3) Make your curb appeal a top priority

Your neighborhood may actually look more appealing to homebuyers during the holiday season. You don’t want to go overboard with your exterior holiday decorations, but you want to make your house shine along with the other homes on your block.

During these winter days, your lawn may not be that lush green it usually is during the summertime and your trees may currently be barren. That’s why making your curb appeal a top priority is necessary when selling your home in winter. Make sure to pick up all the sticks, dead leaves, and any other debris and that your lawn is neatly trimmed. Even during the colder months, a few weeds that poke up from the ground can make your lawn seem neglected. If you have pictures of your home at alternative times of the year when your curb appeal is burgeoning with flora, these may also be a good idea to have available for homebuyers during home tours. This way, instead of homebuyers trying to picture your house in other seasons, they can just see it for themselves.

4) Keeping your property safe for homebuyers

Outside temperatures are well below freezing during the holiday season in most of the United States. Driveways and walking paths are blanketed in snow and ice, and icicles hang from gutters like glass curtains. A legitimate concern for home sellers in one of these colder climates is how to keep your property safe for homebuyers. The only thing you can really do is be proactive and break out that snow shovel and start clearing a path.

If you’re expecting snow on an almost weekly basis, then it might be best to hire out professionals to come by once a day and make sure your driveway, front steps, and any walking paths are cleared for people touring your home.

Yellow shovel for shoveling snow when selling your home during the holidays

Yellow shovel for shoveling snow when selling your home during the holidays

5) Turn on the (holiday) lights

To complement the coziness of your home, you’ll also want to make it bright. Turn on all the lights in your house during open houses and virtual home tours. It may be the darkest time of year outside but you can make sure it doesn’t feel that way inside your home.

This is a great time to replace burnt out light bulbs and fix light switches that aren’t working. You may also want to consider making all your interior lighting the same color temperature, such as a soft white which brightens rooms without giving you that institutional feel. This will help with consistent lighting throughout your home, creating a balanced feel as potential homebuyers walk through each room.

6) Take professional real estate photos when selling your home during the holidays

The best thing you can do for your house in terms of marketing it to potential homebuyers is getting professional real estate photos taken. In fact, research shows that professional photos can help sell your house faster and for more money. This is the one time you don’t want to have your holiday decor on display. In fact, getting your professional photos taken of your house before you decorate is a must because holiday decorations essentially create a time-stamp of your home. 

If you have trouble selling your home during the holidays be sure your house isn’t still rocking holiday lights in the listing photos come February or March, or you risk turning off potential homebuyers. Plan on hiring a professional photographer as soon as possible so you can decorate for the holidays and enjoy the season.

7) Get Santa’s perspective with aerial photography

It doesn’t matter if you live in sunny Tampa, FL, or buried in snow in Minneapolis, MN, consider aerial photography to help make your home stand out this holiday season. If your home has acreage, a view, or any other amenity that cannot be fully captured unless it’s done by air, then aerial photography may be just what you need. 

Drone photography offers buyers a unique perspective of your home and can help make your listing stand out among the other homes for sale online. It also gives potential buyers an overview of your neighborhood along with other amenities that may be within walking distance of your home.

Source: redfin.com

Danny Elfman and Bridget Fonda sell Hancock Park haunt for $8.75 million

One down, one to go. A few months after listing their back-to-back homes in Hancock Park, Oscar-nominated composer Danny Elfman and his wife, actress Bridget Fonda, have sold the larger of the two for $8.75 million.

The couple offered the two properties up as a package deal for $14.6 million in October, and the smaller home, which Elfman and Fonda used as a guesthouse, is still up for grabs at $4.888 million.

The one they just sold is a century old. Elfman, a frequent Tim Burton collaborator whose credits include “Batman,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” bought the place two decades ago.

It sits on three-quarters of an acre in Fremont Place, a gated community filled with historic homes and architecturally dramatic mansions. This one spans two stories with colorful, custom spaces across 8,346 square feet.

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Concrete columns frame the wooden front door, and inside, a two-story entry with arched doorways and beamed ceilings is overlooked by a series of interior balconies. The most expansive space comes in the grand ballroom, which features massive murals and doubles as a movie theater.

There’s also a two-story living room with a stone fireplace, a lavish dining room under gold ceilings, a mint-green family room full of French windows and doors, a breakfast nook with checkered tile floors and a recording studio lined with velvet drapes.

Six bedrooms and eight bathrooms complete the floor plan, including a custom blue guest suite and primary suite with a spa bathroom. A sun room and a series of second-story terraces overlook a leafy courtyard with a fountain, and the grounds also hold a gym, loggia, dining patio, swimming pool and spa.

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Elfman, 67, has won a Grammy, two Emmys and received four Oscar nominations. After forming the new wave band Oingo Boingo, he moved on to film as a composer, and his credits include “Spider-Man,” “Good Will Hunting” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Fonda, 56, received a Golden Globe nomination for the 1989 film “Scandal” and hit her acting stride in the ‘90s, starring in “The Godfather Part III,” “Single White Female,” “Point of No Return” and “Jackie Brown.”

Branden and Rayni Williams of the Beverly Hills Estates held the listing. Jill Galloway of Compass represented the buyer.

Source: latimes.com

Everything Must Go! How to Sell Your Stuff—for the Most Money—Before You Move

Taking the time to sort and sell your stuff before a move could save you a lot of money; in fact, it might even pay for your move entirely. And with the abundance of online marketplaces available, it’s never been easier to sell your stuff hassle-free.

But what if you aren’t just looking to get rid of things, but also to sell them for the best price? We spoke with moving experts from around the country to bring you these insider tips on selling your stuff for the most money.

Bundle items together

There are a lot of online marketplaces claiming to be the best one to help you sell your stuff, but in practice they’re not all equal.

“Craigslist is 80% flakes,” says New York City–based art collector Michele Hembree.

In 2018, Hembree and her family began the grueling yearlong process of moving from their suburban Alameda, CA, home to a small apartment in New York.

They had a lot of stuff to get rid of— everything from old books to 20 years’ worth of Christmas ornaments, children’s toys, and camping gear. After making a checklist with her husband, she got to work on selling nearly everything they had.

Using high-traffic sites like Facebook Marketplace (for small things) and Chairish (for furniture and larger pieces), Hembree’s strategy was to focus her efforts on marketing the items to get the best price.

“Sometimes I’d bundle things together—then you can ask for more,” she says.

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Watch: 4 Things You Have to Leave Behind When You Sell Your Home

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Put time into your photos and descriptions

Hembree also found that she had the most success when posting her items for sale with high-quality photos and descriptions, including information about the item’s brand and quality.

“If you take photos of your stuff in a dark corner, no one will buy it,” she says. “The photos have to be good.”

Miranda Benson, marketing coordinator for San Francisco–based moving company Dolly, emphasizes that point—with an extra trick to make your stuff stand out.

“I always advise including at least one stock photo of the item—you can usually find this by Googling the product and brand name,” she suggests. “And then a few well-lit, high-definition photos you’ve taken yourself.”

Benson also stresses the importance of the description.

“Make sure to be clear about what’s included, what condition it’s in, how long you’ve had it, and what kind of home it comes from, like if someone has a pet or smokes,” she says. “Whether it’s a designer handbag or a functional futon, buyers need to evaluate for themselves what they’re getting.”

Don’t rely solely on online marketplaces

To be sure she was getting the best price for her stuff, Hembree also sold through a variety of channels both online and offline.

“We had a great secondhand store nearby,” she says. “So maybe once every two weeks I would drop off a box or a piece at the consignment store—then I’d pick up a check a few weeks later.”

Just before the move, she got rid of her remaining things by selling them on site, bundling low-cost items together.

“It was a huge garage sale, and we had a great turnout because I advertised it a lot on sites like yardsales.com and estatesales.net,” she says.

Benson also encourages her clients to sell through multiple channels, citing Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp among her favorite online platforms. Although she doesn’t explicity dislike Craigslist, she says, “It does require you to be checking your email or texting people, which isn’t always the most effective for a quick sale.”

For more efficient sales, Benson recommends people tap into their personal networks, and take advantage of common interest groups, using them to advertise any niche items that might be harder to sell elsewhere.

“I belong to a few Facebook groups that are specific buying and selling marketplaces, including one for fans of Modcloth and vintage-style clothing,” she says. “I find selling my clothes there to be much easier than selling them on Poshmark or similar sites, because I’m reaching a niche audience that’s specifically interested in what I’m selling.”

Time it right for the best sale

Like most things, timing matters when it comes to making the best sale. Benson advises selling when people are in a shopping mood—that is to say, just after they get paid.

“Post new items on payday—generally the 1st and 15th of the month, or the second and fourth Fridays of the month,” she says. “Unless you’re selling a significant amount of items, you won’t notice a big difference, but you’re likely to see more activity and more deals being made after people get paid.”

Hembree used a similar tactic to sell her stuff for the most money, often dropping items off at a consignment shop just before the weekend— or posting new items online Friday afternoon.

“If people are going to be picking something up,” she says, “or scrolling these sites or going to a store, that’s when it’s going to be.”

Source: realtor.com

Hemsworth brothers sell scenic Malibu hideaway

The Hemsworth family will have to find a new vacation spot as brothers Chris, Luke and Liam just sold the Malibu home they shared above Point Dume for $4.25 million.

The three actors bought the place together for $3.45 million in 2016 and offered it up for $4.9 million in September, The Times previously reported.

Besides adding a Big Buck Hunter arcade system, the Hemsworth clan kept things mostly the same. The architectural retreat still boasts the same eye-catching design palette of warm woods, polished concrete, marble and glass as when they bought it four years ago.

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The house sits on a scenic 1.3-acre spread, taking in views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains. An entertainer’s deck with a fire pit and sauna is found out back, and it descends to colorful gardens and a grassy, landscaped lawn.

Inside, highlights include a 750-bottle wine cellar, theater room and a series of indoor-outdoor spaces such as the chef’s kitchen and dining area. Four bedrooms and four bathrooms complete the 4,612-square-foot floor plan, and one features a wall of shelves with a sliding ladder.

Chris Hemsworth, 37, is best known for his role as Thor in the Marvel cinematic universe. His recent credits include the 2020 Netflix film “Extraction” and 2019’s “Men in Black: International.”

Liam Hemsworth, 30, gained fame for his role as Gale Hawthorne in “The Hunger Games” trilogy. Last year, he appeared in the Quibi television series short “Most Dangerous Game” and the crime-thriller “Arkansas.”

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Luke Hemsworth, 40, plays the part of Ashley Stubbs on HBO’s sci-fi western series “Westworld.” His other credits include the films “Infini,” “Kill Me Three Times” and “The Reckoning.”

Eric Haskell of the Agency held the listing. Chris Cortazzo of Compass represented the buyer.

Source: latimes.com

How I Repaid $65,000 In Student Loans and Invested at the Same Time

How I Repaid $65,000 In Student Loans and Invested at the Same Time #payoffstudentloans #studentloans #moneysavingtips

How I Repaid $65,000 In Student Loans and Invested at the Same Time #payoffstudentloans #studentloans #moneysavingtipsToday, I have a great guest post to share. Here is how this person paid off $65,000 in student loans all while investing at the same time.

Student loans… everyone’s got ‘em everyone wants to get rid of them. This is a story of my battle with student loans and how I found success in the middle of a vicious cycle of urgency to invest, save for a house and pay off debt.

My background on student loans

I went to a fairly large out of state school, which resulted in a huuuuge annual tuition payment along with room and board, food, annual travel expenses, etc. I had to pay for it somehow. Just like everyone else I had to revert to student loans… For all four years. Yikes.

But, that wasn’t all of it. Student loans only covered tuition expenses. I had to work part-time while going through college because I had to pay for food, rent, living expenses and more. Solely on my own. This ended up being a blessing in disguise as I graduated without any credit card debt.

As a finance major throughout college, I always had this fascination with personal finance. I read it during my spare time and always seemed intrigued about how I could better myself for the future.

Upon graduation, I found an extreme urgency to: 1) find a career that was finance related, and 2) use that job to improve my financial future.

This urgency for financial planning lead me to create a wealth strategy roadmap that I could follow, These wealth creation tips would enable me to:

  1. Invest;
  2. Get rid of student loans; and
  3. Save for a house.

I knew I wanted to accomplish all of these at the same time. By creating my financial roadmap, I realized I had to make a lot of sacrifices.

A sense of urgency to pay off student loans, invest AND save for a house

By graduating with a finance major in college, I developed this sense for ‘money optimization’ combined with traditional personal finance thinking.

I incorporated a different approach to student loan repayment because I wanted to invest and save along the way.

Here was my exact roadmap for how I accomplished all three.

Step One: Bite the Bullet Early with Investing

Right out of the gate from college, I knew that if I needed to take advantage of the benefits of compound interest and free money such as my 401k match from my employer.

I bit the bullet early. I made the max amount of contributions to my 401k as possible (the full $17,000, which was the max at the time!). Combined with that I made it a point to max out my Roth IRA, which was $5,000 at the time.

Ouch! That hurt initially. My eventual take home pay was basically nothing. I had to scrape by for food while managing rent payments.

However, while it hurt initially. This was one of the greatest things that I have done for my personal financial planning.

I had this sense of confidence that if I bit the bullet early, I would be in great shape. My income will only increase over time (as long as I focus on my career).

I did just that though. While I was at work, I stayed late and got in early. I aimed for early promotions.

I love the upside with investing. My strategy with my 401k and Roth IRA accounts includes investing in low-cost index funds to ensure I’m not eroding too much of my retirement gains on fees.

Investing was my top priority because unlike debt it has unlimited upside (it doesn’t go to 0) and I had a long runway for capital appreciation.

Step Two: Quantify My Student Loans

My second step in my debt repayment strategy was to create a table of the weighted average cost of debt.

Nearly all of the personal finance influencers I followed told me that debt is bad. Get rid of all of the debt you have. Immediately.

I took a slightly different approach. I wanted to get rid of all debt that was at a higher interest rate than the long-term average of the returns of the stock market and/or real estate.

Why would I contribute $1 to something that is lower returning, goes to 0 and has no upside? I would rather put that $1 into something that hits on the opposite.

Here is what my student loans situation looked like out of college when I put together my weighted average cost of debt:

Yes, I found out right when I graduated that I had a private loan that had an interest rate of 10.50%! I couldn’t believe it. I was appalled. This loan was actually accruing interest while I was in school. I since have refinanced that student loan.

In this weight average cost of debt scenario, you should pay off the highest interest rate debt first until you reach a threshold below the after-tax returns of the stock market.

The stock market has returned 7%-9% historically on a pre-tax basis, which is conservatively estimated at 4.2%-5.4% on an after-tax basis. This can be much higher as I conservatively assumed a 40% tax rate.

With that being said, I would want to repay any form of debt that is higher than 4.2%-5.4% interest rate. I ended up doing just that.

Here is a snapshot of my current student loans picture. I actually ended up refinancing my ‘Student Loan 1’ to 4.625% interest. I think I could refinance it again with a lower rate. I might end up doing that.

These are the types of personal financial ratios that I love to follow to determine my appropriate financial situation. The numbers never lie.

Any extra income you have should be swept to repay debt with interest rates higher than 4.2%-5.4%. Luckily, I had the extra income to be able to do so.

Step 3: Use Side Hustle Income to Fill the Basket Elsewhere

Once I hit below the threshold of 5.4% interest rate, I turned my attention to filling up my other financial goals. For me it wa

s buying a house. However, these goals could include investing more to live off dividends forever (a newfound goal of mine) or index investing. 

However, I was a bit tapped out from my urgency to repay student loans. If you want to invest, but don’t have any money what do you do? You go out and make more money.

I found a few side hustles to increase my income, which included freelance consulting, graphic design and selling photography. This was great because this enabled me to bifurcate my work savings goals and my side hustle income savings goals.

I love side hustles as they feature so many benefits outside of the income component:

  1. Side Hustles Create Relationships
  2. Side Hustles Diversify Your Income
  3. You Can Use Side Hustles to Accelerate Your Personal Finance Goals and Unlock Financial Flexibility
  4. By Using Side Hustles, You Learn Every Single Day

You can’t have side hustle income to solely just go out and spend it. I created separate accounts to pour all side hustle income into in order to hit my goal of purchasing a house.

This was relentless and took a lot of discipline, but it is achievable. I suggest you focus on 3-4 side hustles and get very good at them. Be passionate and don’t stop working.

In order to make all three objectives work, you need to sacrifice weekend parties for ‘armchair parties.’

Fast forward four years from graduation, and through these side hustles, I was able to purchase my first home.

Lessons learned from repaying student loans and buying two houses

There are so many key takeaways from this journey of being -$65,000 of net worth to a $500,000 net worth. Let me touch on a few that will help my plan become a reality for you:

1. Debt is not the devil

There are instances in which debt can be good. Let’s go back to my house purchase. If I would have focused on repaying my 4.625% debt off completely early, I may not have been able to purchase my first home. Thanks to the recent runup in housing prices, I was able to sell my condo 3.5 years later. This resulted in a 3x return on my original downpayment. I was able to roll this into my first single-family home purchase.

Due to savings along the way while I was living in my condo, I am now turning my attention to buying an investment property incrementally to my recent single-family home purchase.

Leverage is good in the right situations. As a private equity investor in my current role, we use debt all the time on our investments. When used appropriately, debt increases your investment returns.

So, be strategic with your debt practices. If you diversify enough, debt can do wonders. Especially when tied to income producing and appreciating assets.

2. Flexibility is key, but stick to the plan

Be flexible with your personal financial plan. It is okay to focus on several things at once. However, proper planning upfront pays off big time. If you can maintain the steps along your plan, you will unlock significant value as you overperform your plan.

Remember to diversify your income streams. Not all of them will increase over time, so you need to ensure that you have proper protection in case of a downside situation.

3. Start early, work harder

For the younger generations, you need to work as hard as possible and start as early as possible. Make your desk an income producing machine by staying to 11 pm certain nights. Turn your desk into a side hustle project by working on projects after work hours. Invest in yourself by buying a laptop that you can take everyone and work on anything at any given moment.

My favorite types of side hustles are the following:

  • Side hustles that rely on no-to-limited equipment
  • Side hustles that can be performed anywhere
  • Side hustles that are scalable

Work on side hustles, but don’t lose focus on your career. Your career can take you a very long way in your financial freedom goals.

4. Find what inspires you

For me, I was inspired by finding an answer to a problem. I was also inspired by the fact that I could achieve a number of things at once if I wanted to… I was able to create my own plan. One little trick that helped me was to print out several quotes about financial freedom and keep them in my wallet.

If you are feeling down, take a read through your favorite financial freedom quotes. These will help you look at the bigger picture and follow the process.

Here is one of my favorites for you to take with you.

“Money speaks one language… If you save me today, I’ll save you tomorrow.”

Your goals are achievable no matter the situation. Remember that personal finance is all relative to your financial situation. It is called personal finance for a reason. Stick to a plan that you are most comfortable with. Only you know your risk tolerance the best.

What will you do to repay your student loans and achieve financial freedom? Please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Author Bio: Millionaire Mob is where people come together to find the best travel deals and financial advice. We specialize in dividend growth investing, passive income and travel hacking. Our advice has helped others travel the world and achieve financial freedom. Follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com

How President Biden Plans To End LGBTQ Housing Discrimination

President Joe Biden‘s first days in office have been pretty hectic, so it would be easy to miss that one of the Democrat’s top priorities is ending discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender identity.

One of the executive orders that Biden issued on Day 1 of his presidency will ban most discrimination at the federal level against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. In terms of housing, this means it would be illegal for landlords, real estate agents, home sellers, or mortgage lenders to refuse to rent to, sell to, or work with LGBTQ people. Those who break the law could wind up in court and face hefty fines.

“This is a significant step, the likes of which we’ve never seen, to address discrimination against the LGBT community,” says Luis Vasquez, a legal scholar at the Williams Institute, which operates out of the law school at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Discrimination against LGBT people is persistent. It’s something that’s definitely still prevalent here in 2021.”

Although same-sex marriage was legalized across the U.S. in 2015, people who identify as LGBTQ are not protected under the Fair Housing Act. Just 23 states, Washington, DC, and certain cities protect gay couples seeking homes. Only 21 states ban housing discrimination against transgender people.

“People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination,” states the order. “All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

The order clarifies that sexual orientation and gender identity fall under the federal government’s definition of “sex.” Historically, sex typically referred to someone being male or female (as identified at birth), although previous lawsuits had challenged this. But in a ruling last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that the definition includes sexuality and gender identity.

Biden is now requiring federal agencies to do a deep dive into their policies, programs, regulations, guidance, and past executive orders, and basically clean house. The agencies are to consider suspensions or revisions to ensure that anything that includes “sex” uses the Supreme Court’s definition covering the LGBTQ community. Anything biased is expected to be thrown out.

The new president also issued an executive order this week to eliminate racially biased housing and lending policies. This is a big change from the previous four years.

“During the course of the Trump administration there was a significant rollback of a number of civil rights protections,” says Claudia Aranda, senior research associate at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research group based in Washington, DC.

Currently, only seven groups are protected under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The original act made it illegal to deny housing or discriminate against folks based only on race, color, religion, and national origin. Six years later, sex was added to the list, and in 1988 it was expanded to include disability and familial status (such as having young children).

The executive order will likely lead to homeless transgender people being placed in shelters according to the gender they identify with, rather than being forced into one based on the sex assigned to them at birth. If such a situation occurs, they would have legal recourse.

“It’s important that these activities be illegal because they do, in fact, cause harm,” says Aaron Tax, director of advocacy for SAGE, a national advocacy group for LGBTQ seniors. “It sends a message to LGBT [people] across the country … that they have a right as much as anyone else to find housing. If they do face discrimination, the federal government has their back.”

While the federal protections are a huge step, individual state and city laws are still important as well.

It’s often cheaper and faster to take a fair housing complaint before a state court, says Sarah Warbelow, legal director for Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ advocacy organization.

A local law may provide more coverage than the federal one, as well. For example, the federal law doesn’t pertain to landlords who rent out fewer than four units in a property where they also live. Some city and state ordinances may include those renters, allowing them to bring lawsuits.

Even after federal agencies update their regulations and policies, change isn’t expected to happen overnight. But it will go a long way to ensuring a more equitable environment, says Jeff Berger, president of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals.

“Since same-sex marriage passed in the Supreme Court, this may be one of the most important [actions] that affects the LGBT community,” says Berger. “People who don’t experience [the inequity] really don’t believe it would happen in today’s era. … [But] we’re living in a polarized time. Not everyone in the country feels the LGBT community should have equal rights.”

Source: realtor.com

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