"The gay real estate market in the Chicagoland area is very diverse culturally, ethnically and geographically," said David Shallow on his realtor profile at gayrealtynet.com .
Navigating the real estate market can be a daunting task and with all the realtors out there, it can be tough to choose one.
Windy City Times: Why did you decide to get into realty in the Chicago area?
David Shallow: I'm originally from the South Side of Chicago and I graduated from college in '83. The job market then was very much like the job market now and I didn't have many opportunities with a business degree. So I thought, I'll get into real estate and do real estate until I find something else. I got hooked and I love it. I've been doing it for 28 years.
WCT: I noticed on your profile at GayRealtyNet.com that you donate $250 at the closing of transactions to the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) . When and why did you start doing that?
David Shallow: If I'm going to take something from the gay community, I'm going to give something back to the gay community. I'm like a partner with HRC where I give a monthly donation anyway, on my own. I thought that was kind of a great hook to get business from people who feel the same way I do, but it really is about giving. I think everything is about giving back. Give what you get. What you give out is what you give out. I think it's the best of the "gay organizations."
WCT: Do you have any tips for LGBT buyers/sellers in the Chicago area?
David Shallow: They're the same tips that I would have for everybody else, which is clean your house up, make it ready to show, price it aggressively and pick a serious, committed full-time realtor.
WCT: What about buyers?
David Shallow: Pick one realtordon't call a bunch. If you call a bunch of realtors, they're all going to have the same information. They're going to all be duplicating each other's efforts. You really need to pick somebody that's looking out for your best interests as a buyer and who can appreciate what is the buyer looking for schools, commute times, style of home. If you work with one realtor, they're going to get a really good idea what you're looking for if you stick with them.
WCT: Do you think there's anything that LGBT individuals specifically should consider when looking for a place in Chicago?
David Shallow: Probably a neighborhood where they feel very comfortable. You buy a home differently than you buy a shirt or a pair of pants; a home is really who you are. A home is where you're going to live your life as a family, whether you have children or not. You're going to entertain your friends. It's got to really speak to your soul more than just a commodity that you're buying like a shirt. It's an expression of who you are and how you live out your life. You have to find a style that works for you, but you have to find a neighborhood that works for youthat could be your commute time, how you relate to your neighbors. Everybody's got a different hotspot, but it's really got to speak to your soul. And that's kind of how I approach real estate. You're selling your home, that's your homeit's not just a commodity that you're selling. When you're buying a home, it's where you're going to liveit's not just a commodity that you're buying. It's really all about who you are. I think that's really important.
I love working with the LGBT community because I think as a community we're underserved, although that is changing. I think just the perception of some straight people can kind of put a kink or a level of discomfort in the transaction. Even down to terminologyis it spouse, is it partner, is it boyfriend, is it girlfriend, is it friend? I've worked with LGBT clients who worked with unaware straight people prior to working with me and they don't want to be referred to as friends. You have a gay couple or a lesbian couple and the realtor is talking to one of the couple. They don't want their spouse or their partner or whatever their relationship is, referred to as their friend. I think that's probably the biggest thing of all that I have found. A gay couple is no different than a straight couple, other than we don't have the legal recognition in Illinois.
We are really underserved in the community. It's getting better, even down to getting mortgages. Even the practice of getting a mortgage is ultimately the same for gay couples as straight couples except they're not married, so years ago it was really hard for a gay or lesbian couple to get a mortgage together because they're not blood relatives, they're not married, they're not legally recognized as anything. That's changed a lot and there are more capabilities there.
WCT: What about the real estate market in general in the Chicago area?
David Shallow: It's very strong right now because smart buyers are buying houses because the prices are down considerably. Yet the nice properties are still selling, the properties that are priced well are still selling. You can get some really good values. It's really difficult for sellers who bought at the peak because if they didn't put a lot of money down, they're losing money on their property or they can't sell it at all.
To work with David Shallow, a REMAX realtor in the Chicago and Naperville area, go to www.gayrealtynet.com/chicagoillinoisrealestate.htm or www.davidshallow.com . To reach Shallow by phone, call 630-615-2870 or 630-235-3797.