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Ohio family's home appraisal grew by $92,000 after removing all signs of their race

An initial appraisal of the Parkers’ home in Loveland came in $42,500 lower than the buyers of the house had agreed to pay.
Credit: WCPO/CNN Newsource

LOVELAND, Ohio — (WCPO/CNN Newsource) - A real estate transaction in a Cincinnati suburb is calling attention to the problem of “appraisal discrimination.”

That’s when a home is valued lower than its actual worth because of the owner’s race.

An initial appraisal of the Parkers’ home in Loveland came in $42,500 lower than the buyers of the house had agreed to pay.

"I was shocked. I couldn't believe it,” realtor Amy Goodman said. "I got the call from the other Realtor, and she asked me if I was sitting down. And I was like, well that's never good."

Goodman and the Parkers got a copy of that appraisal and found errors they say the appraiser and lender refused to correct.

"At a time when we were excited about selling our home and building a new home, that was all taken away from us,” Aaron Parker said.

Erica Parker was working from home when the first appraiser arrived and had not taken down any photos.

They decided to hire a different appraiser for another opinion. That’s when Erica removed all signs of their race, including pictures that belong to their two daughters.

"My daughter asked me, ‘mommy, what are you doing? Why?’ Because we weren't moving yet,” Erica said. “And I remember I had to just talk to her and say ‘you know, we've talked about this before. Sometimes because of the color of our skin, we get treated differently.’”

The Parkers replaced their family photos with pictures a white neighbor lent them and Goodman was the one to meet the second appraiser at their house.

The second appraisal came back $92,000 higher.

"At that point, we're realizing, this is happening to us,” Aaron said.

"I went from like crying to angry to crying. I went back and forth,” Erica said. “Like I didn't stay in one emotion too long. My husband was focused. Because he's like, I knew it. I knew it was wrong."

The Parkers are not disclosing the names of the appraisers, saying the problem is bigger than any individual or business.

"We're both in our 30's, and we knew that any time we sell our home, that we need to, you know, take down Black, our Black family photos. That we need to neutralize our house that doesn't show our race," Aaron said.

While a federal task force is studying appraisal discrimination, it won’t make recommendations until 2022.

"It's really uncomfortable to think that this is still happening in 2021,” Goodman said.

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