Charlotte Realtor Helps Gay and Lesbian Couples Navigate Home Buying Challenges

Charlotte Realtor Helps Gay and Lesbian Couples Navigate Home Buying Challenges


When Marissa Boyle moved to North Carolina from California a few years back, she found people here were more anxious and less open about homosexuality in many areas of life. But as a Charlotte-area real estate agent who’s had hundreds of transactions and closings, she’s never had a bad business experience in Charlotte because of her sexual orientation.

Still, Boyle understands that members of the LGBT community have anxiety about buying a home. “This is a personal process, from visiting homes to making a purchase,” she says.

So the past two years, Boyle has hosted home buying seminars in Charlotte specifically tailored to LGBT buyers. The seminars cover the different types of property ownership available to gay and lesbian buyers, along with the technical and legal aspects of buying and co-owning a home.

“In many ways the process is the same (as it is for heterosexuals),” says Boyle, of Lodestone Real Estate. “But it can be more complex because of their circumstances and the fact that their marriage, if they have married elsewhere, is not recognized by the state.”

Because of that, LGBT singles and couples need to educate themselves about the best way take title of a property. She mentions three types of property ownership to consider:

  • Sole ownership, which is ideal if you’re single, or if one partner has poor credit or judgments that could attach to the property
  • Tenants in common, which works for two or more owners with equal or unequal percentages of ownership, and is ideal if partners intend to leave the property to someone other than their partner
  • Joint tenancy with right of survivorship, in which two or more owners acquire equal ownership interest at the same time. Joint tenancy with right of survivorship allows ownership interest to automatically be transferred in the event of death without the need for probate.

A Realtor with a history of LGBT transactions can help steer buyers through these complexities. Boyle also recommends finding other area service providers – closing attorneys, home inspectors and others – who are friendly to gay and lesbian couples.

With that Realtor and those providers, she says, there’s no reason the home buying process should be stressful to LGBT buyers – or anyone else.

“People,” Boyle says, “should be able to be comfortable.”

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