A black couple whose home’s valuation has risen by nearly $300,000 after their home state of Maryland property was revalued by a white colleague as homeowner sues two companies for racism I’m here.
Nathan Connolly and Shani Mott, professors at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, claim 20/20 rated Shane Lanham racist by undervaluing a 2,600-square-foot home at $472,000. That’s just over the $450,000 they paid for the house in 2017, according to the lawsuit. Their complaint states that they invested more than $50,000 of her in renovations and improvements between 2020 and her 2021.
The couple are also suing Loan Depot, alleging the company discriminated against them for refusing refinancing loans using a 20/20 valuation.
“My jaw dropped. I thought this was racism. Because you did the research, right?” Mott said in an interview with ABC News Live. “We didn’t just go into this process, this refinancing process, blindly.”
A Loan Depot spokesperson released a statement to ABC News.
“We strongly oppose bias in the housing finance process and support plans to combat valuation bias and promote more sustainable and affordable housing for minority and low- to middle-income families and communities. Although valuations are independently conducted by outside professional valuation firms, all participants in the housing finance process must strive to find ways to contribute to eradicating bias.”
Lanham declined a request for comment.
Mott, a lecturer in Africana studies, said she and Connolly, a history professor focused on the concept of racism, capitalism and property, reviewed several comparable homes and what to expect. Based on their research, the couple found the $472,000 valuation “impossible.” Earlier this year they turned to another lender for valuation. , this time removing the children’s artwork, relics, and other signs that a black family had lived in the house. was asked to come out the door.
The new home was assessed at $750,000.
“We were aware that there were examples of blackwashing being effective in helping black families get their fair share of value,” Connolly said, adding that the couple had “curated” the home. , talked about how to appeal to the potential expectations of a more valuable appraiser.
Paige Glotzer, author of “How the Suburbs Were Segregated: The Business of Developers and Exclusive Housing – 1890-1960,” told ABC News that the Connolly and Mott lawsuit included the racial stigma that once banned blacks. He said he sees a deep connection to the exclusive housing deal. Residents were relieved of living in Homeland, still a predominantly white neighborhood. Glotzer is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Chair of John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe’s American Political History, Institutions, and Political Economy. Glotzer is also Connolly’s former Ph.D. Advisor.
“The creation of Homeland was very much tied to the codification of discrimination in the state. real estate “It was a moment when both consumers and homebuyers acknowledged that race is part of real estate value.”
According to Glotzer, having black signs in a home from books, art, and decorations is as important in marking a “black home” as the physical presence of a black homeowner.
“And as part of this process, we had to think about what the whiteness represented. Right? If you whitewashed a house, what would the average kind of white appraiser want to see?” “I go in with a historical awareness of what I think,” Mott said. “We not only used our historical imagination, but we also used our historical knowledge and embarked on a course to do just that.”
Gabriel Diaz, an attorney at Lermann Colfax PLLC, a civil rights law firm that represents families, told ABC News that his client’s case “shows how pervasive this problem is” and that it He said the lawsuit highlights the emotional and financial damage it can cause. This is to prevent them from happening again.
ABC News’ Victoria Moll-Ramirez and Milan Miller contributed to this report.
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