The Real Deal


A word from Gain columnist Lynn Yeldell: For the past few months, we have discussed wealth from a traditional investment perspective. But that is only half of the equation.The single largest purchase we will ever make is the purchase of our homes. With that said, our Gain column will focus on all topics real estate for the remainder of the year. Our guest writers will start simple and gain momentum to cover all the necessary steps to being an informed and savvy purchaser. Our L Style guest writer is Julie Nelson, an Austin Realtor and the CEO of The Nelson Project at Keller Williams Realty.


Real estate is real life. In real estate as in life, sometimes things are planned out nicely in advance and sometimes they land in our laps with a thud.

Here are some great examples: Donna and Christine were ready to stop paying rent and longed for a move- in-ready, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home. Susan and Irene wanted an investment property on the coast. Sam was moving in with Becky and selling her Hyde Park home. Anne had recently split with her partner and the former couple needed to sell the home they shared. Lindsey and Jo were new to Austin and wanted a newly constructed home close to town. Liz and Janet’s financial planner wanted them to purchase a rental property; four years later she wanted them to sell it at a nice profit, and reinvest in more real estate. And Wendy and Teri were planning a family and needed more space and the right family-friendly neighborhood.

Let’s take a minute and look at some of the critical components of the real estate process as they relate to the lesbian community and how you can plan ahead.

Here is the “A” plan for approaching real estate, solo or together:


Solid communication (whatever form that takes) comes first. Have you really talked through this with your partner? What does living together mean? Does this mean marriage? What are the expectations? Who pays what? Does one partner have cash while one has income? Is one partner buying and the other renting? Is the setup 50/50? What if you break up? Talk about it all now.


Confer with a mortgage professional to talk options and pre-approval. Any Realtor worth her photo business card will require this of all her clients before getting started.


Sit down with your Realtor to discuss your needs and wants, and the process. She is interviewing you, and you are interviewing her. Make sure you have the right match and are in the hands of a pro. Set the foundation for an efficient and professional process.

Find the Right Property

Know what you want you want, and view it from all perspectives.

Understand The Process

There are many parts: offer, negotiation, contract, title, closing, money, keys.

Do the Legal Work

Now, not a year after you buy the property.

Let’s take a moment to further explore this last item. Did you know that if you own property with your partner and do not have the proper legal documents in place, you could be asking for trouble? Should one of you die or become disabled, the laws of Texas default to the legal definition of “heir,” and your partner’s family may now own half of your house. What if you break up? No one likes to talk about these things but the more financially and legally sound we are as couples and individuals, the better off we are as a community.