The valuations of an Indianapolis property owned by Carlette Duffy’s, a Black woman, more than doubled when she removed anything from her home identifying her race.

A Black, female Indianapolis homeowner and the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana have filed a complaint with the federal government, claiming that appraisers violated fair housing laws when evaluating her home.

Carlette Duffy said the valuations of her home more than doubled when she removed anything from her home identifying her race and had a white male friend be present during the appraisal, the Indianapolis Star reported. The complaints said appraisers knowingly used unfair comparable sales prices motivated by race, and request the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigate.

One appraiser denied accusations of discrimination when confronted by the Associated Press, while others did not respond to requests for comment.

However, the numbers on Duffy’s requested appraisals are difficult to deny. She originally purchased the home in 2017 for $100,000 and anticipated an appraisal comparable to her sister’s (who lives in the area), which was valued at about $198,000 in 2019. She sought out the appraisals in order to refinance her home, located in a historically Black neighborhood, in response to record-low mortgage rates.

The first appraisal Duffy sought out from CityWide and Jeffrey Pierce of Pierce Appraisal in spring 2020 came in at $125,000. The second appraisal Duffy received from Freedom Mortgage and Tim Boston of the Appraisal Network valued the property at a mere $110,000.

During the third appraisal, Duffy removed her family photos and African art from the home and did not declare her race in her application. She also had a white male friend sit in on the appraisal, and only communicated with the appraisal company via email. The result was an appraisal that came in at $259,000.

“I had a lot of pushback from family, from friends, from friends in real estate who were like maybe that’s just the value of your home, you know — maybe you’re wrong, that there’s nothing nefarious occurring,” Duffy told the Indianapolis Star. “This is just how things are. I just felt like, no. Something else is happening here that we’re just not seeing.”

Boston countered the allegations to the Indianapolis Star, saying, “My appraisal reports are data-driven. I could care less about culture or sexual orientation. It’s all about bricks and sticks and dirt.”

“From the appraisal management company to the bank, those appraisals go through statistical packages, a logarithm type software to test my value,” he added. “If it’s not within a certain range of those software programs, it’ll kick back.”

Comps pulled for the first two appraisals were drawn from Black neighborhoods more than a mile away from Duffy’s property — not closer properties that were more aligned to her own home, according to Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Executive Director Amy Nelson.

“I’m excited, vindicated, relieved, angry, extremely peeved since I can’t say the other expletives that were running through me at that point in time — destroyed that I had to go through all that,” Duffy said. “This is real … just being able to prove it is the hardest part.”

Email Lillian Dickerson

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription