Senior loan consultant
Real estate agent
The gay community faces several obstacles straight people don’t when taking out loans for a home.
“Discrimination is still a major concern,” said Chris Campbell, senior loan consultant for Same Sex Loans in Royal Oak. Campbell also mentions some LGBT people feel intimidated.
“Being open and honest about whom you are and if you have a partner, who they are, is extremely important,” he said.
Although that’s not always easy, Campbell and realtor Jason Vorva of Same Sex Realty in Livonia just made it easier. They’re both gay.
“We are not only ‘friends’ of the gay community, we are part of the gay community and we emphasize that in our business practice,” Campbell said.
When the two realized they had the same philosophy and drive to help people own a home, they became business partners.
“We established our partnership because we were two people in complimentary professions that were part of a community that we believe needed a place to go that was a one-stop shop,” Vorva said. “With our backgrounds and experience being second to none and being part of such an incredibly diverse and dynamic community we’re proud to help people in any way we can.”
As a new business, Campbell and Vorva market strictly to the gay community, even though they’ve been in the industry collectively for 22 years. Over the past several there has been an increase in new programs, expanded guidelines and new opportunities for first time home owners.
“With a little drive, (and) determination anyone can own their own home,” Campbell said.
Campbell has delved into every aspect of the mortgage banking industry while Vorva has extensive experience with title and appraisal. The two handle everything from purchasing that first home, building one, financing home improvements, consolidating debt or purchasing a commercial building.
“That amount of experience will offer you the protection you need so that there are no breakdowns in communication and no surprises in the process,” Campbell said.
Their reason for marketing to the same-sex community is a simple one. It’s unity. “One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard in this area is that there is no sense of community,” Campbell said. “Well, home ownership facilitates investment in the community. The more gay people that own their own homes the greater the sense of community, the greater the investment in the community and the more powerful the voice of our community will become.”
Most homebuyers have three concerns: the length of the process, the value of the property and security, Vorva said. “As far as security is concerned, using a licensed real estate agent, you can be assured that they are bonded in the event of any loss and that only currently licensed and employed agents can get access to view your home.”
Vorva suggests home buyers consider how marketable the property will be in the future. “This is by far the most neglected area when people are considering purchasing a home,” he said. “You need a licensed agent to protect you through contract negotiation and property valuation like no other professional can help you.”
Many real estate agents, according to Vorva, also use a “steering” technique, which is when an agent directs a home buyer into a specific area because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or any other factor.
“It’s important to note that sexual orientation is not a protected class and if you believe you’ve been steered you may have limited recourse,” Vorva said. “Working with a competent, trusted agent who is a member of our community is the easiest way to protect yourself from unscrupulous agents.”