For generations, Black and Latino families have had their homes appraised for less than white families. An analysis of nationwide housing appraisals by ABC, more than 50 million home loans, and refinance applications in predominantly Black neighborhoods are nearly five times more likely to be under-appraised than in white communities. The analysis also found that home-purchase loans in Black neighborhoods are more than twice as likely to be under-appraised.
When it comes to housing discrimination, it can feel isolating and difficult to navigate. You might second guess whether the treatment you received was actually discriminatory. But the reality is more than 4 million acts of housing discrimination happen each year in the U.S. but less than 1% are reported, according to the National Fair Housing Alliance.
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes it illegal for housing providers like landlords and real estate companies along with banks, lending institutions, homeowners insurance companies or municipalities to discriminate because if a person’s race or color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status or disability.
If you are in the process of refinancing your existing home mortgage and receive an appraisal that is lower than expected you should ask for a Reconsideration of Value (ROV). The process varies from lender to lender, but in the most basic terms is a dispute of the appraised value provided by an appraiser. This is the only chance in the lending process for the borrower to point out factual errors, omissions, or inadequate comparable properties, according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. This is also the only chance for the borrower to provide evidence that the appraisal was illegally influenced by bias or discrimination. An ROV request should include evidence for why the appraised value should be adjusted, such as additional recent comparable sales. Through the Reconsideration of Value process the lender may accept or deny the request. If accepted, the lender may ask the appraiser who performed the appraisal in question to reconsider the assigned value based on the additional evidence provided. After reviewing the documentation provided, the appraiser may adjust the value or keep the appraised value the same. In some cases the lender may assign a second appraiser to perform a new appraisal.Looking for more info on the Reconsideration of Value process? Jillian White, Head of Growth at Aloft Appraisals, is one of the experts featured in “Our America: Lowballed.” White prepared this step-by-step guide to help walk homeowners through the Reconsideration of Value Process.
To view the Lowballed series by ABC and learn more about the issue, see:
Women’s Financial Literacy
On March 14, join other Harlem and East Harlem women looking to build financial literacy and get empowered: