Black Appraisers Are Leading the Fight To Change Racism In Homeownership

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Homes owned by Black people are routinely and systematically undervalued when being appraised. Black real estate experts, particularly residential appraisers, are working to change that.

"I don't doubt that biased appraisals happen because there are bad apples in every industry," Sanedria Potter, an Atlanta-area residential appraiser, told NBC News. "There's a lot of reform that needs to be done for sure."

Potter describes herself as an outlier in her line of work being that 98% of home appraisers are white, according to date from the Department of Labor Statistics. That fact, taken with multiple stories about Black home owners who removed family photos and any other culturally relevant objects from their home before appraisers come, shed light on a system that is further impacting the experience of homeownership for Black people.

Some Black homeowners have seen the values of their homes double after a white friend or family member stood in during the appraisal appointment. A report by the Brookings Institute released last year showed that appraisal bias created a 23% devaluation of homes located in predominately Black communities –– representing about $156 billion in lost equity.

It's something the Biden Administration recently announced it will be getting involved in, through the Property Appraisal Valuation Equity (PAVE) Plan which seeks to make the appraisal industry more diverse and get resources to homeowners. The PAVE program was created through a task force launched amid the centennial anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

"The devaluation of homeownership and ownership by Black folks have been historically a challenge for us," Lydia Pope, president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, told NBC News. "When you're appraising properties, you understand neighborhoods. But if you don't know the neighborhood, you don't understand it is more to appraisals the meet the eye. So a major issue is that we definitely have to hire more Black appraisers."

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