RE/MAX, LLC is now a sponsor of the new LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, reaffirming the company’s commitment to fair housing for all and promoting LGBTQ+ homeownership. Through this connection, RE/MAX agents of all identities will have additional access to training, resources, and community support as they strive to overcome obstacles that continue to face the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to housing needs.
Matt Difanis, Co-Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign, Illinois, says the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance has quickly become one of the premier trade organizations for real estate professionals and allies.
“This sponsorship is a logical continuation of something that REMAX has a well-established track record of doing: Working to come alongside and raise up affiliates and their clients from historically marginalized groups,” he says.
Through housing policy advocacy and training efforts, the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance strives to change statistics and empower all LGBTQ+ consumers on their journey of homeownership. Currently, the homeownership rate among LGBTQ+ individuals is 49% (compared to the U.S. average of 65%), and 27 states offer no protection against discrimination in housing for LGBTQ+ individuals.
“A lot of people fear discrimination in the real estate process,” says Amy Ruzick, Team Leader of the NoPlaceLikeHome Team with RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis. “Especially in this market, where everything is more competitive, it seems I’m being asked more often by clients if I think it will be an issue as a same-sex couple listed on the purchase agreement.”
That’s where she says the resources offered by the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance can benefit agents, as the organization offers education on Fair Housing laws and direction on potential recourse if agents believe their client has been a victim of discrimination.
“The best way to be an ally is to make sure you’re doing the best to advocate for your clients, regardless of who they are,” she says. “Listening is the most important thing.”
“Supporting the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance shows real estate professionals all over the globe that [RE/MAX is] a welcoming and accepting brand.”AMY RUZIK WITH RE/MAX RESULTS IN MINNEAPOLIS
The mission of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance centers on three tenets: advocate, elevate and celebrate. It’s a message that clearly resonates with its growing chapter base. Since its founding in October 2020, the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance has grown to more than 50 chapters across 30 states.
Ruzick is the president of the Minneapolis chapter, which is planning to host its first networking event in July.
“One thing that makes the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance unique is that it’s not just real estate agents who are invited to join,” she says. “The organization includes mortgage professionals, inspectors and contractors – anyone who provides a service that is a benefit to homeowners or buyers is welcome.”
She adds that the organization is also partnering closely with local nonprofits, as support of the community where members live and work is critical.
Although Difanis says there are plenty of discouraging statistics regarding homelessness and unemployment rates within the LGBTQ+ community, there is also good news: According to LGBT Capital, the LGBTQ+ community has an estimated $3.9 trillion in spending power.
“The LGBTQ+ community is a market-driving force and is worth partnering with for business opportunities,” Difanis says. “The beautiful thing about our line of work as real estate professionals is we can have our capitalist hat on and it’s not mutually exclusive with our humanitarian hat. You can put a roof over people’s heads while also looking for where opportunities for more upside potential exist.”
Sponsorship of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is the latest step in a longtime effort by RE/MAX – including past and present organization sponsorships – to increase homeownership for all. Since 2019, RE/MAX has been a member of the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, which supports legislation that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The RE/MAX sponsorship of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is an important step in our continued work to end discrimination in the real estate process,” says Mike Reagan, RE/MAX Senior Vice President of Industry Relations and Global Growth & Development. “RE/MAX celebrates the diversity to be found in our global network of nearly 140,000 real estate agents and is committed to serving as an advocate for LGBTQ+ agents and consumers.”
Ruzick said she “could not be more proud” of the RE/MAX sponsorship of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance.
“RE/MAX is the best real estate organization in the world,” she says. “Supporting the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance shows real estate professionals all over the globe that we are a welcoming and accepting brand.”
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance joins a comprehensive lineup of organizations RE/MAX is working with to break down barriers to homeownership and build a more inclusive real estate experience. Additional partnerships include the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB).
To learn more about the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance or to become a member, visit realestatealliance.org.