Black homeowner had a white friend stand in for third appraisal. Her home value doubled.

Black homeowner had a white friend stand in for third appraisal. Her home value doubled.

After suspecting that the value of her home was being undervalued, a Black woman homeowner in Indianapolis asked a white friend to stand in for her while the house was appraised. Following that, the home's value more than doubled.

Carlette Duffy stated that two appraisers came to her home during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic and estimated its value at $125,000. When a white family friend stood in for her during a third appraisal, the value increased to $259,000.

“I had to go through all of that just to say that I was right and that this is what’s happening,” Duffy told USA Today. “This is real.” 

After receiving the lower value and reading the appraiser's report, Duffy said there were “red flags.” “The wording in it just sent out red flags. It said there were comps within the half mile, but it said the quality of construction of the other homes were far more superior to the quality of construction of my home,” she said.

Duffy felt the report was inaccurate after conducting her own research and requested more information from the appraisal company. When that didn't work, she asked a friend to step in.

Months after the first appraiser visited her home, a determined Duffy contacted another appraiser, communicating solely via email. Duffy even went as far as removing family photos, artwork, and books that might reveal her race. She informed the appraiser that she would be out of town prior to the scheduled appointment, and that her brother would accompany her –– who was actually her friend's white husband –– would be there to meet the new appraiser.

Duffy's home value was set at $259,000 at the end of the appointment, a more than 40% increase from the initial estimate she was given.

Duffy filed a fair housing complaint against the appraisers and mortgage lenders involved in the incident, along with the Fair Housing Center for Central Indiana.