May 19, 2011 | by Chris Riss
Owning your piece of gay paradise

With three gay beaches, 10 gay bars, a gay community center, gay magazine, gay shops, restaurants and cabarets, countless gay parties, fundraisers, events and just a few hours drive for millions who live in D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and beyond, it’s no wonder Rehoboth Beach, Del. is the No. 1 gay beach resort in the 2,000-mile stretch of coast between Provincetown and Ft Lauderdale.

Rehoboth Beach has become a year-round destination. There’s hardly a weekend in the off season when there isn’t a special event happening, such as Gay Pride, Jazz Fest, Film Fest, Women’s Fest, Arts Fest and more. Twenty years ago there was mostly farmland along Route 1 between Lewes and Rehoboth. Today, there are hundreds of outlet shops, grocery stores, restaurants, big box retailers, and more, making RB much more livable year-round.

And technology has made living away from a central workplace much easier. Consequently, more gays are spending more time in Rehoboth, buying second homes and moving here. The trend will continue for several reasons: Rapid technology improvements will make where and how we work more flexible; many gay baby boomers want to retire to a vibrant gay resort with moderate climate and low taxes and still be just a short drive from friends and family; and the burgeoning new generation of 20-somethings that is enthusiastically discovering, rejuvenating and reinventing gay Rehoboth will be the next decade’s beach home owners.

Buying in Rehoboth doesn’t have to cost a million. True, there are multimillion dollar homes a plenty particularly along the beach front, but prices drop dramatically as you move back from the ocean and with the type of housing. There are many two-bedroom condos within walking/biking/moped distance to town and beach priced in the low to mid $200,000s. Nearby mobile homes on leased land can be as little as $10-20,000. Making it even more affordable is Uncle Sam, since you can write off the mortgage interest. You can also earn income if you’re in a weekly rentable location or friends can pay you a few thousand dollars each for your spare bedrooms for the summer.

There may never be a better time to buy in Rehoboth. Prices have dropped about 25-30 percent since the peak in 2005-2006, taking us back almost a decade in prices. That’s a once in a lifetime price adjustment. Mortgage interest rates, currently hovering below 5 percent, are near their historic lows of last fall. Don’t expect them to remain so low for long.

Some key things to consider when you buy in Rehoboth are location, maintenance and lifestyle. As far as location, do you like to go out to have a drink or two or three? Then maybe you want to be walking distance to the gay bars and restaurants. If you don’t expect to spend much time on the beach or at the gay establishments then being farther out and getting more house for your money may make more sense. Maintaining a second home may not be what you relish doing on your summer weekends, so a condo may be a better choice.

Summer’s here, what are you waiting for? Each week missed not owning a Rehoboth Beach house is a missed opportunity for meeting new friends and fun, and isn’t that what gay life’s all about?

Choose a gay-friendly Realtor who understands the things you like to do, places you like to frequent and knows what questions to ask to find you your ideal beach house. Then start enjoying all the fun this nearby gay resort and friendly gay community has to offer.

Chris Riss has been a Jack Lingo Realtor in Rehoboth Beach for eight years and a leading member of Rehoboth Beach’s gay community for two decades. He can be reached at 302-226-6655 or ChrisRiss@JackLingo.com.

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