Happy Pride Month! This month is all about showing your true colours and celebrating your unique identity with “pride!” Finding a home to live in, no matter who you are, can be challenging in this competitive market, especially as a first-time home buyer. Your sexual orientation shouldn’t affect your chances of finding your dream home but, even in 2022, being a minority can make it more challenging to get approved for a mortgage.
As a mortgage broker, I have worked with many couples to get them the pre-approval they need to explore the housing market. These are some of the challenges LGBTQQIP2SAA couples should be aware of when searching for a home.
Lack of access to safe and accessible housing
No one wants to feel uncomfortable in their own home. There are still people who don’t approve of gay marriages in Simcoe County which can make your living situation a hassle. The areas that do have robust protections for LGBTQ2S+ people tend to be desirable urban areas with steep housing prices. Luckily, Barrie offers many support systems for the LGBTQ2+ community and has many community initiatives to make everyone feel welcome.
The housing market is very competitive
The housing market continues to keep everyone on their toes. The market is competitive right now and house prices are at an all-time high in Barrie which makes it hard for people to find affordable housing. Often, larger down payments are required, and in some cases, people have offered cash upfront. This can be challenging if you don’t have the ready resources to secure a house or rental property and makes having a mortgage pre-approval essential.
A 2019 study by Hua Sun and Lei Gao of Iowa State University found that from 1990 to 2015, same-sex couples were 73% more likely to be turned down for a mortgage than similarly qualified opposite-sex couples. In addition, same-sex couples who were approved for mortgages paid about 0.02% to 0.2% more, on average, in interest and fees.
Thankfully, many housing laws have been put in place to stop lenders from being able to discriminate against different types of people. The Ontario Human Rights Code seeks to ensure that all people are treated equally and that their rights are protected. It prohibits discrimination in housing based on the following protected grounds.
- Ancestry, colour, race
- Ethnic origin
- Place of origin
- Family status
- Marital status (including single status)
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Receipt of public assistance
- Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
- Sexual orientation
New laws, or amendments to previous laws, have made it necessary to remove the option of “sexual orientation and gender identity” on an application. It helps people have an equal chance of being accepted so their application is only judged on their financial obligations.
Make sure you’re aware of your rights when house-hunting, and if you believe you’ve experienced housing discrimination, you can file a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. You also want to choose a real estate agent who is LGBTQ2+ friendly and supports gay initiatives in the community.
How to prepare before searching for your home
- Do your research. Start searching in LGBTQ2+ friendly neighbourhoods and communities. Check out reviews on Google or ask friends living in the area if it’s a positive environment.
- Start saving now. With the competitive housing market, make sure you start saving up for a larger down payment on a home. It’s recommended that you have a 20% down payment ready in case many people are making offers on the same home.
- Improve your credit score. Try to make it as easy as possible to be able to get approved for a mortgage by paying down existing debt, not applying for new loans, and improving your debt-to-income ratio.
- Be realistic. We all tend to get our hopes up when searching for our dream house. We may not be able to afford a luxury penthouse so we have to adjust our expectations to what we can afford.
- Make sure to get pre-approved for a mortgage. When you get pre-approved for a mortgage, a lender will estimate how much they’ll let you borrow based on your creditworthiness and other factors. This estimate helps you confidently make an offer in this competitive market.
As a reputable mortgage broker, I can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage with the lowest mortgage rates possible. I take “pride” in helping all couples find their dream home and I’m excited to go on this journey with you. If you are ready to get started click here to book an appointment with me online or call 705-315-0516 and let’s chat.