Buying a property should be about making our dreams come true, whether buying our first single pad, a home with a partner, or a beach property for holidays or retirement.
For LGBTIs, things have changed considerably in recent years. Many of us now benefit from equal marriage, so we can have more security when buying a property with a partner.
Those of us who don’t have children or live in more expensive cities may have the opportunity to buy ‘fun property’. Perhaps you may be looking for a holiday home in the sun or that dream pad for an early retirement.
Other LGBTIs are keen to live in bigger cities to be part of vibrant LGBTI communities. To do that, we may face some challenges as these areas can be more expensive, especially in capital cities like London.
Older LGBTIs may have bought property in a time when they didn’t feel comfortable being open and didn’t have legal protections available. As a result, they may be at risk of not having their partner properly protected.
Buying a property is a big step and there are many things to consider. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of a new home and not think about practicalities.
Obviously the location of your property is an important consideration. But so is getting the correct mortgage for your circumstances. And you need to make sure your partner has legal and insurance protection.
LGBTIs can easily overlook all this. Often an LGBTI specialist can provide helpful advice, based on really understanding your circumstances.
Here are some tips for LGBTIs buying property:
1 Location, location, location
They say the three most important things when buying a property are location, location, location.
For LGBTIs this can be extra important, as many of us would like to be part a vibrant gay community. Even if there’s no gay scene, we certainly want to be in areas where we can truly be ourselves.
Older LGBTIs who may have not lived an open life when younger. So they may find it extra important to live an open life later in life and buy or retire in a location where this is possible.
2 The extra cost for LGBTIs
Sadly, location costs and many desirable locations for LGBTIs are more expensive. So it’s important to start saving early for a deposit on that dream retirement home. LGBTI preferred locations are estimated to be more than 20% more expensive than the average.
3 Finding the right mortgage
Getting a mortgage on your property is a very important part of the property purchase process. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of a new home and fail to carefully select the right mortgage.
For LGBTIs this is especially important as the majority of us are not legally partnered or married. So it’s important the mortgage is structured in the right way for us.
My company, Equality Wealth, has a specialist LGBT mortgage desk. LGBTIs thinking about a mortgage can get a free consultation on mortgages by clicking here.
Insurance protection is important when buying a home, especially where a mortgage is involved.
You need to make sure you and your partner have adequate protection.
Again, for LGBTIs, it is important to ensure the cover is right. Make sure it protects both of you whether or not you are legally partnered. You may also want to protect your fabulous possessions.
5 Who owns the property?
The way you structure the ownership of the property is also very important.
In the past, many LGBTIs with a partner had the property in only one name. That meant the second partner had no protection.
Event today, many of us are not in legal partnerships. So it’s essential we get this right.
You should make sure the ownership structure of the property is discussed and agreed with your partner. Then you need to speak with your lawyer and ensure this is reflected in the property deeds.
Finally, you should have clear, legal wills in place to underpin this, should you or your partner die.
This can be a complex area and it’s important to get the correct advice from someone who understands your situation and wishes.
6 Second property traps
Many LGBTIs have the opportunity to purchase a second property.
You may buy it to let as an investment. Or perhaps you plan to use it for holiday or retirement purposes.
Taxation of second homes can be complicated, especially for those not in a legal partnership and where the property is rented out (buy-to-let). Again, it’s very important to get specialist advice.
7 Buying a home abroad
For LGBTIs buying property overseas, there are additional considerations.
You should remember many countries do not have the same protections for LGBTIs. Even if you’re married or in a partnership in your own country, you can’t assume you are protected.
When buying overseas, it’s even more important to get correct and up-to-date advice.
8 Is your current property protected?
If you already own a property, don’t assume everything is sorted. You still have an opportunity to check your affairs are structured correctly.
This can be especially important for older LGBTIs and those who purchased their property when LGBTI partnerships and marriage were not available.
About Equality Wealth
Last month, Gay Star News launched a property search functionality to help LGBTIs find properties suitable to them. You’ll find this in our Homes section.
At the same time, Equality Wealth launched a specialist LGBT Mortgage Desk. At Equality Wealth, we want to ensure LGBTIs have access to understanding advice when buying a property or choosing a mortgage. And we want to give you access to lenders certified as LGBTI-friendly.
Equality Wealth is hosting an LGBTI networking event in London to celebrate this launch. If you’d like details or to attend, click here.
With the launch of the specialist mortgage desk, Equality Wealth is also offering a free specialist LGBTI mortgage consultation. This is available to those planning a property purchase or who have previously purchased property and would like a review of their current arrangements.
Equality Wealth is a Gay Star News partner and client.