A Black family in Ohio is speaking up after the value of their home appraisal increased by nearly $100,000 after they removed Black art and other cultural pieces from their home.
Erica Parker told USA Today she removed the “Black Girl Magic” and “Black Queen” pillows that decorated her daughters’ beds before their home was appraised. The family also took steps to remove their family photos, and replaced them with borrowed photos from their white neighbors.
“I was essentially telling them to dull your Blackness when all I’ve ever told them to be Black and proud. It’s a mixed message to give a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old,” Parker told the outlet.
The Parker family went through this because an initial appraisal undervalued their home by almost $100,000 because of the color of their skin.
In March, Erica and her husband Aaron Parker, listed their home on Facebook and received offers almost instantly, one woman asking to see the home the same day they posted it.
“I told her she could see it, but it wasn’t show-ready yet. I said ‘you’re going to see my house in raw, real, I-have-kids-living-here format,'' Erica joked.
But the woman and her husband loved the house and within 24 hours, had an offer on the table in the low $500,000 range.
The Parkers were excited and started planning for their move with the help of their realtor Amy Goodman. The excitement wore off, however, after an initial appraisal came in $40,000 short.
“Right away, I knew something was wrong,” Goodman said.
Erica had been in the home when the appraiser came to do the value estimate. The report showed factual errors on their two-story, four-bedroom home, that included a walkout basement and fenced in backyard. The appraiser also reported the wrong age of the home, and said in the report that updates hadn’t been made, which wasn’t true, Erica said.
Aaron’s father knew right away that the couple should’ve taken down family photos and not been home at the time of the appraisal. “That’s unfortunate,” he said.
After the Parkers “whitewashed” their home, they received a nearly double-in-value appraisal, the second coming in at $557,000, $92,000 more than the initial appraisal.
“We were so happy until we realized what just happened. Then, it was a really dark moment,” Erica said. The mom of two said she had to have a conversation with her young children about racial discrimination, something she didn’t want to have to do just yet.
“I didn’t want to shatter their innocence,” she said.
The family doesn’t want to reveal the name of the bank or appraisal company they first worked with but, they aren’t alone in facing racial discrimination. One study shows that Black-owned homes are undervalued by an average of $46,000. The Parkers also aren't the only ones to get a higher value on their homes after removing Black art and family photos.
Yet another example of deep-rooted discrimination within an institution marketed as a way to build generational wealth.