Carlette Duffy, a black woman from Indianapolis, got her house appraised for over $100,000 more by covering her identity.
The woman removed everything "black" from her home, and her white friend posed in front of it to get a fair assessment. She filed a housing discrimination complaint with the Fair Housing Centre of Central Indiana (FHCCI).
The Story Is All Too Familiar, Yet No One Wants To Hear It
Duffy paid $100,000 for her home back in 2017.
The house went through complete renovations after a fire. Yet, the valuations came back at $125,000 and $110,000, leaving her with very little equity.
Duffy wanted to use equity to buy her grandparents' home, and finally, she got a fair appraisal. But not after she stripped her home of her identity:
"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, and I removed certain books."
The third appraisal came back double the first two. Duffy used the third appraisal to get a loan and bought her grandparents' house.
Now, she is taking steps that go beyond housing.
Doing The Right Thing
Duffy has filed complaints with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with help from the FHCCI, citing discrimination.
"I'm doing this for my daughter, and I'm doing this for my granddaughter so that when they come against obstacles, they will know that you can stand up. You can say that this is not right."
Duffy explained that having a white male friend pose in front of her home gave her mixed emotions:
"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."
She encourages others with similar issues to raise their voices.
It is well-known that Black Americans consistently struggle more than their white counterparts to be approved for home loans.
The Appraisal Institute Issued A Statement
Rodman Schley, president of The Appraisal Institute, said in a statement:
"We believe that overwhelmingly, there are more good people in this world than bad, including in the appraisal profession – and that today, more than ever, people are committed to listening, learning, and changing. That said, it is widely accepted that unconscious bias is real, and no profession is immune from that."
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 states that one cannot discriminate against people based on their race, religion, national origin, or gender. Appraisers can lose their license or face prison time if they do.
Yet, here we are in 2021, and housing is still a significant issue for most Black Americans.