Black Family in Ohio Sees Home Appraisal Increase by $100,000 After Hiding Their Race

Erica and Aaron Parker, pictured, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. They say the home they were trying to sell appraised higher when the removed all semblance that they were a Black family. (Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer)

Erica Parker tells her two daughters, “be Black and proud.” She carefully decorated their rooms with drawings of Black superheroes and placed pillows with the words “Black Girl Magic” and “Black Queen” written across the front on their beds.

Erica said all she’s ever wanted to teach her daughters is confidence and self-love.

That’s why, she said, she couldn’t hold back her tears as her daughters watched her remove every piece of Black art from their home and turn over the pillows to hide the affirming text on the front.

“I was essentially telling them to dull your Blackness when all I’ve ever told them is to be Black and proud. It’s a mixed message to give a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old,” Erica said.

What followed was a difficult conversation with her oldest about racial discrimination. A conversation Erica said she didn’t want to have yet.

“I didn’t want to shatter their innocence. Growing up Black, you already have so many things to deal with, and they shouldn’t have to feel that so young. I was trying to be structured in how I was going to break it to them, but this situation took that away from me,” Erica said.

She spent the next two hours that day overwhelmed with anger and tears as she walked the halls of her home, removing her family’s pictures and replacing them with borrowed photos of her white neighbor’s family.

The nightmare situation Erica found herself in, she said, started with an appraisal that undervalued her home by almost $100,000 because of the color of her skin.

The family said they do not want to make the identity of the bank and the name of the appraiser public at this time.

‘Right away, I knew something was wrong’

Erica and her husband Aaron Parker loved the home in Loveland, Ohio, they built seven years ago. Over time, they began considering moving their family of four to a new community.

They finally decided to list their home in March after seeing how quickly homes were selling in their neighborhood. The couple spoke with their realtor, Amy Goodman, and posted their house on Facebook.

It was like wildfire, Erica said, describing the flood of messages she received in response to the Facebook listing. A friend of the Parkers’ connected them with a potential buyer who asked to see the house the same day the Facebook post went up.

“I told her she could see it, but it wasn’t show-ready yet. I said ‘you’re going to see my house in its raw, real, I-have-kids-living-here format,'” Erica joked.

But the woman loved the home, and so did her husband, who saw it the next day. Within 24 hours, the Parkers had an offer in the low $500,000 range.

Erica and Aaron were ecstatic. So was Goodman, who expected the home would sell quickly in such a competitive market but was still surprised at how fast everything moved.

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SOURCE: USA Today; Cincinnati Enquirer, Brook Endale

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