Home Owning While Black – Victim of a Bias Home Appraisal
Real Estate appraisal may be confusing to some people, but with the right appraiser to get the job done, your home’s value can be based on an honest assessment.
Getting a home appraisal in Maryland can be intimidating when the homeowner’s rights are violated due to biased estimates. Knowing your rights and contacting a civil rights violation lawyer in Baltimore, MD, is essential if unfair appraisals are given due to discrimination. Contact The Law Offices of Kim Parker, P.A. if you feel you fall in this category of being a victim of a civil rights violation.
Home Appraisal in Maryland
Getting your home appraised has many benefits. It gives the value of the house and property to know if you are paying the correct amount in property taxes. If you decide to sell the home, you will estimate how much you can get for it at a top dollar on the real estate market.
Another reason to have an appraisal report is to determine the number of your assets and how much you can mortgage your home if you need to refinance down the road. Banks want to know the home’s value before they even look at it.
Appraisers will do the following to assess the home and property value:
- Make written reports
- Have an inspection of the property and note authentic or critical aspects that raise or lower the value of the house and property
- Pictures are taken of the inside and out
- Legal terms and descriptions are verified through the reports
They will look at the following to consider the value:
- Neighborhood characteristics
- The foundation
- Percent of land used
- Property size in square footage
How To Prepare for Home Appraisal
There are things you can do as the homeowner before an appraisal is given to ensure you are getting the right and professional information. Unfortunately, some appraisers are biased in the real estate industry. Follow up and document these pointers to keep your rights protected:
- Research the property’s location to see what increases or decreases the value. Things that increase the value are sidewalks, schools, parks, and national parks.
- Find out the value of other homes in the area.
- Update or install security systems and home appliances.
- Keep the home and property as safe as possible from intruders and trespassers.
- Remodel the kitchen and bathrooms with the latest upgrades.
- Inform the appraiser upon arrival with the documentation showing all advancements and renovations. Let them know they cannot fool you with knowledge.
What Hurts Your Home Appraisal?
There are good things that an appraiser looks for to increase the value of a home and property. Likewise, bad things can decrease the value and hurt the homeowner in a negative appraisal. The following can hurt the value of a home appraisal:
- Market conditions are low
- Prices are comparable in the area
- Poor conditions of the interior or exterior of the home
- Lousy location of the property
Unfortunately, one more thing can hurt the homeowner in an appraisal, and it will require getting with a civil rights lawyer in Maryland to fix the issue. Discrimination cases proved true for black couples when having their homes appraised.
Bias Home Appraisal
The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prevents discrimination in real estate, but this happens in every state, not just Maryland.
In CBS News, a black couple purchased a home for $450,000 and added $35,000 for upgrades. Their appraisal was much less than expected. One company appraised the house at $472,000 and the other at $550,000.
The couple was shocked and tested their theory of racially biased appraisals. They called in their dear friends, who were white, and pretended to be the couple, while the black couple removed all pictures and traces that a black couple owned the home.
When the market value for the home was around $622,000, the appraisal took place as the appraiser believed a white couple owned the house. They valued the house at $750,000. This proved the couple’s theory of racial bias.
If you feel violated by a faulty home appraisal in Maryland, contact The Law Offices of Kim Parker, P.A. for a consultation to evaluate the options to see if your civil rights are violated.