Sunday, April 18, 2021

Black Bay Area Couple Lowballed by Appraiser Until White Friend Poses as Homeowner [WATCH]


*A Black Bay Area couple is speaking out about how their home was undervalued by a white appraiser. 

Speaking to ABC7, Paul and Tenisha Tate Austin said they spent about $400,000 to renovate the 1960s-built home that they purchased in 2016. After the major modifications, they had the house appraised and were stunned by the valuation. 

“I read the appraisal, I looked at the number I was like, ‘This is unbelievable’,” Tenisha Austin told the news outlet. The Austin’s believe their race played a factor in the appraisal. 

The appraiser – an older White woman – used coded language including “Marin City is a distinct area” in her estimate, according to the report. She valued the couple’s home at $989,000, which was only $100,000 more than the previous estimate the couple received before their massive renovations.

“It was a slap in the face,” Austin said.

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The couple refused to settle, and after making noise about it to their lender, the Austins were granted a second appraisal. This time, however, they turned to a white friend to assist with the process. 

“We had a conversation with one of our white friends, and she said ‘No problem. I’ll be Tenisha. I’ll bring over some pictures of my family,’” Austin said. “She made our home look like it belonged to her.”

Their white privilege experiment worked as the second appraiser valued the home at $1,482,000. 

“There are implications to our ability to create generational wealth or passing things on if our houses appraise for 50% less than its value,” said Tate Austin.

“We know discrimination is in nearly every aspect of that home buying process,” said Jessica Lautz, National Association of Realtors vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. “We need to be addressing it as an industry.”

“If we are aware that implicit bias exists in other systems, police, school, why wouldn’t they also exist in the housing market? And then what can we do to you know, fix that?” said Austin.

Hear more from the couple via the clip above about their experience with systemic racism in the housing market.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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1 COMMENT

  1. When it comes to appraising property sometimes the lenders is willing to appraise the home based on recent appraisals in the same area. So going off the appraisal of one person is not necessary. So if you suspect your appraiser is a racist ass MoFo – or before it gets to that – ask the lender what other ways do they appraise the home other than just off the word of an individual. Because I bet this family had to pay for two appraisals just to negate the first one. Appraisals on the low cost are $300 each. I can imagine they paid at least twice that in SF. Still, they got creative in the end. And I hope they reported the first appraiser so a file is started on her for future reference.

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