A Truly Open House
As a member of the GLBT community, it’s always comforting to know you have an advocate in your corner. And in a climate where housing discrimination is still a reality for plenty of Americans, it’s even better when that advocate is looking out for your best interests where real estate is concerned.
The 2,000-plus members of NAGLREP (the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals) advocate on behalf of the rights of the GLBT community when it comes to housing and discrimination laws.
Founded in 2007, NAGLREP partners with the civil rights community, local and state realtor associations, and the National Association of Realtors to support fair housing for the GLBT community. NAGLREP supports folks through any phase of the real estate process—purchase, refinance, inspection, insurance, financial advisory, building, and more. To further their mission, NAGLREP works with legislators at the local, state, and federal level to fight to eliminate all discrimination laws and provide fair and equal rights.
The current president of NAGLREP’s Minnesota chapter, Ryan Weyandt, says housing discrimination is alive and well in 2018.
“All one has to do is look at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Secretary’s reversal on certain protections to know that’s true,” he says. “We’re here to advocate for the rights of our diverse segment in the real estate industry and to put customers in touch with professionals who will provide an LGBT/Q friendly, or at the very least non-judgmental, experience.”
Weyandt got involved as a loan officer after hearing about countless other trade associations and seeking out a space for the GLBT community.
“Without the community knowing we exist, we stop existing,” he says, adding that it’s important to keep GLBT buyers connected with the real estate industry because of the community’s $1 trillion of buying power.
“We have significantly more capital tied up in our diverse segment than any other minority segment out there; in fact, several of them combined don’t account for the purchase power the LGBT community represents. Why? I can’t answer that,” he says. “All I know is that with the rental market going crazy and rent prices what they are in the Twin Cities, the vast majority of people paying rent would not only qualify, but actually save money on a monthly basis if they were paying a mortgage instead of paying rent to cover someone else’s mortgage.”
Weyandt says the organization is always looking for the best path forward, including talking with two of the largest chambers of commerce in the state: St. Paul and Quorum, the GLBT chamber. He adds, “Since we’re a newer chapter, we’ve been presented with a lot of options for membership and want to ensure that we’re investing in the right places, with the right outfits.”
Home buyers and real estate agents looking to connect with NAGLREP can look no further than their website, www.naglrep.com. Featuring an online directory hosted on the national website, users can enter their city or state and be connected instantly with professionals in that area who are part of the community or allies.
But the easiest way to help NAGLREP in its mission, according to Weyandt, is to spread the word.
“If an elected official can get elected based on hypothetical or proposed statements, why can’t a nonprofit propose eradication of discrimination?” he says.
The Minnesota chapter of NAGLREP is focused on two aspects: awareness and advocacy. “We want to get the message out, that we’re out there! We’re here to help,” he says. “Just get in touch if you need help and we can find someone to work with you or at least provide guidance if you’re not ready to dive in head-first.”
Weyandt is also thankful for the support of the broader Twin Cities and Minnesota community.
“We’re blessed (and I use that word with intent) that we have the full support of the other minority trade associations in the state,” he says. “The industry is overwhelmingly on our side! It’s been an incredibly humbling and refreshing experience to lead this association for the state over the past few months—we have support. YOU have support. Happy Pride.”