Black woman's property value improves after she removes all trace of her race

A Black woman with a mixed-race family was startled when her property was undervalued – only for the value to raise when she hid evidence of her mixed race family.

Abena Horton, from Florida, had tried to sell the home she owned with her husband Alex but it was initially appraised at a disappointing $330,000 (£254,596).

Suspecting that racism might be at play, Abena decided to remove all traces of her mixed-race family living in the four-bedroom Jacksonville property.

The lawyer also moved all books and art by Black authors and creators, and ensured that Alex, who is white, would be the only one present at the second appraisal.

After those changes were made, the appraiser valued the home to be worth $465,000 (£358,870), more than 40% up from its initial estimate.

Abena and Alex had expected that their ranch-style house, in a predominantly white neighbourhood, would fetch around $465k, as homes in their area were valued similar and higher.

So the initial estimations sparked concern.

When the couple realised their home was being undervalued, they managed to get the bank to agree to a second appraisal, and this time they made some changes.

They swapped books by Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston for Shakespeare, added photos of Alex’s side of the family and removed images of Abena and their six-year-old son.

Their experiment paid off, with the property suddenly valued at $135,000 (£104,068) more.

Abena wrote on Facebook: ‘The appraiser came by and he was immediately unpleasant — making one rude comment after another.

‘He expressed exaggerated surprise when he saw me working at my home office during the walk-through.

‘We appraised far lower than neighbouring home sales with fewer bathrooms, fewer bedrooms, significantly lower square footage, and half the land.’

Abena lamented having to take the measures she did to ensure a better result for her family.

She added: ‘Racism silently but conspicuously steals wealth. Racism wastes time. Racism raises blood pressure.

‘Racism makes me hate myself for my calm acceptance of what I had to do, and have always had to do, to achieve a fair result.

‘I write this from a place of absolute anguish, to sort through my emotions. I want better for my son.’

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