I am the gayest and hottest real estate agent you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. I have been in the real estate industry for seven years and I would like to share some tips and tricks for first time homo-buyers (see what I did there?) on how to decide what’s best for you based on budget, location, and property type.
Let’s break it down with the first step. Stop snorting your down payment. This generation is one of instant gratification, so saving for a down payment is not always top of mind. You will need to have some liquid cash to get in this real estate market. Expensive clothes, overpriced cars and bar tabs are only going to slow down your dreams of home ownership. The average percentage people are putting down for a down payment is anywhere between 3 percent and 20 percent. Let’s say you buy a house for $300,000. The minimum you are required to put down is 3 percent, which will total $9,000. Piece of cake, right? Getting pre-qualified by a gay lender is preferred. I tell my clients all the time to get the dialogue started with a mortgage lender you feel comfortable with. Before they run your credit or request proof of income, getting that conversation started is KEY! They will give you scenarios and you will be able to get a better understanding of what your buying power is.
Next Step! LOCATION!!! What I always try to tell my clients is live where you eat, not where you work. If you can’t afford to live where you eat, baby, you better find a new place to eat. You are probably aware that the gays have been priced out of Midtown. It’s the harsh truth, but I’m not here to sugarcoat it. My advice? GO WEST HOMOS! We are seeing a huge influx of gay men and women moving to the West Side! This includes my personal favorite neighborhood, Mozley Park. Some others include Castleberry Hill, Summer Hill, Adair Park and Bankhead. I am sure you or a loved one have “fond” memories of these neighborhoods, but fear not! These neighborhoods have grown exponentially, and you can thank the BeltLine for that! You can get a three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch bungalow for around $350,000 (sorry, folks — the days of buying a house for under $200k are over). The list of chic restaurants in this area includes No Mas! Cantina, My Potato Factory, Lean Draft House, and SluttyVegan ATL. I invite you to go check out these neighborhoods and restaurants!
Now that we have your budget and location established, it will make the following questions easier to answer. Let’s talk about condos vs. single-family homes. In my initial meeting with clients, I always ask what’s important to them. What is going to make you the happiest? Would you rather have a backyard for entertaining or amenities like a pool or skyline views? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you want to mow your own lawn? Do you want to pay an HOA fee every month? I have two Boston terriers. One is lovely, the other is a total psycho, making high-rise condos with an elevator out of the question. Other personal requirements for me are dedicated parking, a pool, and park accessibility. It’s personal necessities like these that will help you shorten the lengthy list of property options you will have!
Now that you and your lender have your buying power set, you’ve explored what location and neighborhoods are a good fit for you, and you have narrowed your list of property options based on your personal needs, we are on our way to writing up a contract on your new home! The home buying process can be a daunting one and guidance from the right agent is crucial. You don’t have to do this process alone. I work with first-time home buyers every day, and once I start breaking down these three questions, it makes the buying process much easier to enjoy. Trust your team, trust yourself, and most importantly, trust the process! Homo-ownership is going to set you up for financial freedom in the future, allow you to gain equity, and if you don’t like it in two years, call me and let’s sell. If you are ready to discuss finding your new home, I am just a phone call away!
Daniel Martini is a host of The Gayly Dose Season Two, an Atlanta-based podcast hosted by an all-gay cast. Unique in its mission and follow-on format, weekly episodes of The Gayly Dose are known for their real conversations about things that matter to the community and their listeners. Purposefully candid and brutally honest, the cast speaks on a range of topics, including monogamy, body issues, coming out, dating apps, and growing up gay in the church. Listen at thegaylydose.com.