It’s no secret that Black folks face discrimination across many areas, including home ownership. Unfortunately, one couple experienced these challenges head on while getting their home appraised. 

Husband and wife, Paul Austin and Tenisha Tate Austin purchased their first home in Marin City, California, from another Black family nearly five years ago. The Austins made over $400,000 in renovations to the 1960s home including a new deck, floors, appliances and an additional 1,000 square feet of space with an additional floor. To their surprise, after getting their house appraised, the result did not add up to their expectations.

“I read the appraisal, I looked at the number I was like, ‘This is unbelievable,’” said Tenisha to ABC7, who believed that the number was a result of racial discrimination. Despite the near $500,000 renovation costs, their residence was only worth $100,000 more than what the Austins got it appraised for prior to their renovations, which totaled to $989,000.

“It was a slap in the face,” said Paul. Per their intuition about the appraisal being racially discriminatory, they decided to try something different for a second appraisal, which only happened a month after reporting the incident to their lender.

“We had a conversation with one of our white friends, and she said, ‘No problem. I’ll be Tenisha. I’ll bring over some pictures of my family.’ She made our home look like it belonged to her,” Austin revealed. The home was then appraised for roughly $500,000 more than the original appraisal, coming in at $1,482,000 in a nearly 50 percent value increase.

“There are implications to our ability to create generational wealth or passing things on if our houses appraise for 50 percent less than its value,” Tenisha said. 

As reported by the National Association of Realtors, Black applicants are rejected for mortgage loans at rates three times higher than that of white applicants. Moreover, according to Redfin, only 44 percent of Black Americans are homeowners, as of 2020, in comparison to 74 percent of white Americans.

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