Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Atlanta is known as one of America’s Black Wall Streets. Throughout the Atlanta metropolitan and historical black neighborhoods, there are multiple black-owned business and entrepreneurs. However, many within black communities, including queer people of color struggle with the home buying process. Especially since currently there are not any comprehensive statewide laws establishing LGBTQ+ non-discrimination in Georgia.
Although several municipalities have local laws, some practices of housing discrimination still are evident. Julian King, of Jay King Realty, a realtor and educator in the south Fulton area, is a guiding light to queer people of color (QPOC).
As a Black gay man, King shares his insight and experience about the real estate industry in the Atlanta scene and what essential tools and education LGBT people need to find the best home for them.
Has your identity contributed to or has it lessened opportunities for you as a realtor in any way?
“My opportunities are what I create. Regardless of how I identify, I am ultimately in control of where I want to be” he expressed.
QPOC face discrimination on all sides of the real estate industry — whether searching for a new home or as a professional assisting a family looking for one. The Chicago native shared his experience as a Black gay agent in the south and how his transition shaped his professional drive.
“From my home city, I have been discriminated against. Being in Atlanta, I feel comfortable now to having an open dialogue. In Chicago, I’ve known loved ones killed because of how [they] identify” he expressed.
King also shared his experience representing his clients and navigating the real estate scene in Atlanta. Midtown is the center of Atlanta's LGBTQ+ scene, adorned with colorful bars, restaurants and gathering spots. King advised us that some agents only want to place LGBTQ+ families in Midtown, which poses a potential problem for first-time LGBT home buyers.
Is it best for QPOC to have a realtor that identities similarly to them?
“I do not believe there is enough queer black representation in the real estate business. Anyone can represent anyone— as long as they customize their service, you can have your needs met.”
“I always speak to my colleagues and peers about being aware and compassionate,” he shared. “For example, if you have a same-sex couple with a child, agents generally want to place them in Midtown instead of locating a family home for them to grow or providing them real service that caters to them. I’ve noticed some agents not wanting to work with LGBT families. Not in terms of direct discrimination, but they feel they won’t be a good fit because they don’t know if they’ll be able to provide the best service for them” King expressed.
“Being from Chicago, your queerness is not as welcomed or accepted as it is here in Atlanta. There are more safe spaces for us.
“It’s systemic oppression, it’s not just outside of our (black community) but within the LGBTQ+ community. So, representation is key. If I walk in as a representative for my client, I set the tone.”
The transition into Atlanta and difference of each queer community has provided a range of insight for King. King’s passion for education and being a resource to his community shines like his drive and energy. The Chicago native shared his insight about how to support the LGBTQ+ community, while searching for a home.
What are some indicators for queer people of color (QPOC) if they feel their realtor is not the best fit for them?
“In general, if your agent is not listening then it’s time to go. Having to repeat yourself is not good customer service. Also, microaggressions are a big thing” he continued. “Taking note of the narrative your agent has with you would be beneficial into how they may treat you as a client.”
Do you have any tips you can provide that are specific to LGBT individuals when they are navigating the home buying process?
“If you have an agent that’s outgoing, or in your corner— they may not walk the same shoes as you and that can make things difficult. Sometimes you have to educate them (your realtor or seller) on things and aspects within your life, or about your identity. You want the best fit service for you.”
“I’m a teacher by day— so, I’m always educating. The first thing I do when I walk in the room and meet someone is open my mind to see how I can learn from then and vice versa.
Taking the best aspects and his strengths from the classroom with children and working with various communities as an agent, King is excited to share his developing projects.
Are there any forthcoming projects for King Realty, LLC?
“Jay King Realty will provide property management and investment masterclasses. My dream has always been to educate others as I learn as well. To keep the cycle going we have to communicate our knowledge."
The Gay Real Estate Directory and National Association of Gay and the Lesbian Real Estate Professionals organization are groups that support queer real estate professionals. These organizations support queer real estate professionals as they represent and assist clients. King shared the importance of education, professional support and how each has reworked his entrepreneurial journey.
Whether locating the right neighborhood for your growing family of seeking the perfect bachelorette’s palace for one— queer people of color have a resource and support with Julian King Realty LLC. More information about King can be obtained at his official website.