Home Sweet Home: This Tool Helps LGBTQ Homebuyers Avoid Discrimination
Buying a home is exciting, but there are a lot of factors to consider before making a final decision on where to live.
You need to figure out whether the area has the amenities you’re looking for, how and where to get the best mortgage deal and if the property is a good long-term investment.
It’s also important to understand federal, state and local laws before plunking down a pile of money on a new home.
Many federal laws protect homebuyers from discrimination based on things like race, age, religion or national origin. Laws protecting against LGBTQ discrimination, however, are left up to individual jurisdictions to create (or not) as they choose.
Online residential real estate site Trulia just rolled out a terrific new tool to help members of the LGBTQ community figure out which neighborhoods are welcoming to people of any sexual orientation and gender identity.
How Trulia’s Local Legal Protections Feature Works
The Local Legal Protections feature is built right into Trulia’s property details pages.
It allows prospective homeowners to tell at a glance if the community they’re looking at protects LGBT people from housing, employment and public accommodation discrimination.
(Note: Results do not represent queer and questioning people. More on that in a minute.)
Simply enter a specific address in the search bar or click on a property listed on a neighborhood map page.
Local Legal Protections results are automatically displayed in the Home Details section, along with other details, such as a description of the home and its features.
The new tool gets its legal protection information by aggregating data from the Movement Advancement Project, an organization that provides research on LGBT people.
It does not currently include data for queer or questioning people because “‘queer’ or ‘questioning’ are not consistently defined from a policy perspective, [so] the data provided by our partner does not include specific references to people who identify as ‘queer’ or ‘questioning,’” says Tim Correia, Trulia’s general manager and senior vice president.
Correia notes there are other groups that aren’t protected by federal homebuying anti-discrimination laws and LGBT-specific data is only a “starting point” for Trulia’s new Local Legal Protections feature.
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves telling readers about affordable ways to live their best life, so look her up on Twitter (@lisah) if you’ve got a tip to share.