Black Homeowner Sues After Removing Racial Identifiers And Watching Appraisal Skyrocket $100K

Black Homeowner Sues After Removing Racial Identifiers And Watching Appraisal Skyrocket $100K


Black Homeowner Sues After Removing Racial Identifiers And Watching Appraisal Skyrocket $100K Credit:fizkes

Black homeowners have long complained about discrimination in property appraisal. Some have even tested the system by taking out identifiers that they are Black homeowners to receive higher appraisals. Well, a Black homeowner in Indianapolis has gone a step further.

Carlette Duffy has filed a housing discrimination complaint alleging that after she removed items from her home that pointed to her race and asked a white male friend to sit in on an appraisal, the value of her home increased more than $100,000, Fox 29 reported.

She filed the complaint in conjunction with the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, or FHCCI. 

Duffy’s wanted to refinance her home, which is in a historically Black neighborhood just outside downtown Indianapolis. She planned to use her equity to purchase her grandparents’ home nearby.

The first two home appraisals she got were close to the price she paid for the house in 2017.

“When I challenged it, it came back that the appraiser said they’re not changing it,” Duffy said.

Not long after this, Duffy heard FHCCI Executive Director Amy Nelson speak to a community group about discrimination in housing appraisals. She decided to try a different tack.

“I decided to do exactly what was done in the article,” Duffy said. “I took down every photo of my family from my house. … I took every piece of ethnic artwork out, so any African artwork, I took it out. I displayed my degrees, I removed certain books.”

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Next, Duffy had a white male friend sit in on the home appraisal. The new appraisal was more than double the first two, valuing her home more than $100,000 higher.

“I get choked up even thinking about it now because I was so excited and so happy, and then I was so angry that I had to go through all of that just to be treated fairly,” Duffy said.

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Discrimination in home appraisals is something many Black homeowners have had to contend with.

Although home appraisers are bound by the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to not discriminate based on race, religion, national origin, or gender, they still do so. Even the threat of losing their license or the threat of prison time has not stopped discriminatory appraisals. 

And it has happened to Black homeowners across the board — even to rich and famous Black homeowners too. When actor and comedian D.L. Hughley had an appraisal on his home in the upscale and mostly white Montevista Estates neighborhood of West Hills, Los Angeles, in 2000, the house was appraised for nearly what he had bought it for three years earlier — $500,000.

Hughley’s bank flagged the appraisal as suspect and ordered a new appraisal which came back $160,000 higher. Hughley sold the home for $770,000.