Federal housing officials should sanction two appraisal firms in Baltimore over their discriminatory treatment of Black homeowners who participated in a recent “mystery shopper” investigation of appraisal bias, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) wrote in a pair of complaints filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Authors of the extensive report noted that “the severity and subtlety of racial bias captured in our findings suggest that it will take sweeping and aggressive action from both policymakers and the industry itself to rid the appraisal marketplace of discrimination.”
Representatives from NRC and HUD wrote that the way that homeowners, lenders, and policymakers use the term “property values” often implies that there is one organic, objective, correct definition of what someone’s home is worth.
“But that is not the case,” they concluded.
“Our cultural conception of property values obscures the fact that human beings often determine those values,” the investigators determined.
They said professional appraisers make mistakes like anyone else.
However, they also carry biases, conscious or unconscious, into their workplace, and the consequences of an appraiser’s mistakes are much more severe than most people’s workday errors.
For instance, investigators said a store clerk who rings something up wrong could charge it back.
Likewise, a bartender who pours the wrong beer can turn around and serve the right one. But an appraiser’s mistakes, misjudgments, or prejudices can derail generations of work to build wealth within a family.
The treatment a homeowner receives while selling their home can have severe impacts, especially if outright discrimination is involved, the investigators asserted.
And an undervaluation of a home is rarely corrected. Discriminatory treatment is harmful (and should be prevented) in any setting; in the context of home appraisals, it often comes with severe economic consequences.
“There is no excuse for discrimination anywhere in the housing market, but the long-overlooked role that biased appraisers play in undermining Black wealth is an especially insidious problem,” NCRC President and CEO Jesse Van Tol said in a news release.
“We are asking federal officials to intervene in these two instances because we believe they are representative of widespread discrimination in the appraisal industry that costs Black homeowners both time and money.
“No one should be subjected to the sort of treatment these two appraisers visited upon these two families – and regulators have the power to do something about it.”
Both cases arise from an investigation NCRC conducted in Baltimore over the past year.
NCRC recruited interracial couples who own their own homes to act as “mystery shoppers” and discovered differential treatment by appraisers when the couples presented their homes with only the Black or the White partner present.
The investigation report confirmed that Black homeowners were treated worse than their White partners in terms of customer service and valuation of their homes.
In one of the complaints, NCRC and a Black homeowner detailed how an appraiser made the homeowner wait 11 weeks for a report, ignored follow-up communication, and did not explain why the information took so long.
The same appraiser, a few weeks later, timely delivered a report to a White homeowner and even sent the homeowner a courtesy email in advance with an expected timeline for delivery.
The appraiser showed differential treatment and a lack of professionalism when interest rates were highly volatile – meaning that the appraiser’s discriminatory conduct could have cost the Black client a chance at an affordable mortgage.
In the second complaint, NCRC and a second Black homeowner alleged that an appraiser undervalued a home presented by the homeowner, then overvalued a separate house presented by a White homeowner.
The appraiser valued the first home at $310,000 when it was shown by the Black partner in the interracial couple who owned it, while three other appraisers valued the same house at $350,000 or more.
This appraiser then appraised a home shown by a White homeowner and valued it $43,000 higher than any other appraiser did in the tests conducted by NCRC.
The appraiser’s pattern of bias in valuing homes in Baltimore warranted an enforcement action by NCRC and the homeowner, who was the victim of discrimination.
“Creating a truly equitable environment for homeownership is a broad and important societal undertaking that will go far beyond the confines of the appraisal industry,” investigators concluded.

 

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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