A Black Indianapolis homeowner has filed a housing discrimination complaint after she received a bigger appraisal when she removed art and photos from her home that identified her race and asked a white male friend to sit in on the appraisal.
FOX 59 reports that homeowner Carlette Duffy filed the complaint with the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, and has claimed that the value of her home increased by over $100,000 at said appraisal. She said she had two appraisals come back at a lower price than how much she paid for the home in 2017, and when she challenged it the appraiser “said they’re not changing it.” After hearing about discrimination in house appraisals at an FHCCI community event, she took inspiration from an article from the New York Times.
“I decided to do exactly what was done in the article,” said Duffy. “I took down every photo of my family from my house. … I took every piece of ethnic artwork out, so any African artwork, I took it out. I displayed my degrees, I removed certain books.” She didn’t declare her race on the appraisal application, asking her white male friend to sit in on it, and when the results came back the house was valued over $100,000 higher than her first two attempts.
“I get choked up even thinking about it now because I was so excited and so happy, and then I was so angry that I had to go through all of that just to be treated fairly," she continued. FHCCI Executive Director Amy Nelson said that the first two appraisals utilized comparable sales from Black neighborhoods situated over a mile away from the house, instead of the local neighborhood. “Whether or not those comps were fairly selected is something that is the basis of the complaints that we have filed," Nelson added.
Eventually, Duffy was able to use said appraisal to buy her grandparents’ home, as she had originally intended, but she’s determined to make sure something like this does not impact other people of color. “I’m doing this for my daughter and I’m doing this for my granddaughter, so that when they come against obstacles they will know that you can stand up, you can say that this is not right," Duffy said.