Black homeowner had white friend stand in for third appraisal, value doubled

Carlette Duffy, a Black homeowner in Indianapolis, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against the appraisers and mortgage lenders involved in undervaluing her home.

Duffy’s home in the Flanner House Homes neighborhood was appraised for $125,000 first in March and April 2020, before dropping to $110,000.

She believed the first two appraisals she received were too low and given based on her skin color after becoming aware of different reports regarding race and housing.

Duffy tried again with a third appraisal in October and November 2020 with an unidentified company. She did not declare her race or gender to the company.

She kept communication only to email, removed photos of herself and relatives, and art from the walls of her home. Duffy then had the white husband of a friend pose as her brother for the appraiser’s home visit.

“When a white person stands in for a Black owner, you're literally seeing the intrinsic value of whiteness being played out."

- Andre Perry, Brookings Institution

On Nov. 6, Duffy received the new $259,000 appraisal, more than doubling previous offers.

In conjunction with the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, Duffy is asking for the appraisals to be investigated. The complaints allege that the appraisals were racially motivated and unfair comps were pulled in the appraisals.

The respondents in the complaint include Citywide Home Loans, its employee Craig Hodges and Jeffrey Pierce of Pierce Appraisal Inc., Andre Mammino and Doug Frimmet of Freedom Mortgage, Timothy Boston of Appraisal Network, and a third-party company, SingleSource, according to NBC.

According to a report from the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, “According to our analysis, differences in home and neighborhood quality do not fully explain the devaluation of homes in Black neighborhoods. Homes of similar quality in neighborhoods with similar amenities are worth 23 percent less ($48,000 per home on average, amounting to $156 billion in cumulative losses) in majority-Black neighborhoods, compared to those with very few or no Black residents.”

Lead researcher Andre Perry told NBC, “When a white person stands in for a Black owner, you’re literally seeing the intrinsic value of whiteness being played out.”

“In real terms, that is someone’s college tuition. That is a business that should have been started. That is the resources to protect against the next pandemic. You’re robbing people of opportunity.”