Erica Parker always told her two daughters to “be Black and proud,” but it was her family’s ethnic background that she had to hide in order for her home to receive a higher appraised value.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Parker decorated her daughters' rooms with drawings of Black superheroes and pillows featuring the words “Black Queen” and “Black Girl Magic.” That is why an impending conversation she had to have with her daughters was so difficult.
Parker tried to hold back the tears as she removed every piece of Black art from their home and turned over the pillows to hide all elements of their Blackness.
"I was essentially telling them to dull your Blackness when all I've ever told them is to be Black and proud,” Parker told the newspaper. “It's a mixed message to give a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old.”
The difficult conversation Parker had to have with her oldest daughter was one she also wasn’t ready to have.
"I didn't want to shatter their innocence,” she said. “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.”
Parker says she listed her home in March after seeing how quickly homes in her neighborhood were selling. They then spoke with their realtor, Amy Goodman, and posted their house on Facebook.
In response, Parker said she received a flood of messages from buyers and set up a meeting with a potential buyer the same day the post went up.
Subsequently, the buyer loved the home in its original unedited state and received an offer in the low $500,000 range.
Parker and her husband Aaron were elated and began planning for their move.
An appraiser reportedly then came to inspect the two-story, four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom home with many amenities and asked questions about it. The following week, Goodman received a phone call from the buyers’ realtor.
"It came in over $40,000 short. Right away, I knew something was wrong," Goodman said to the Enquirer.
Initially, the Parkers believed it was all just a mistake, but then they received a copy of the appraisal, which they say was full of errors, including the home’s age and that updates to it hadn’t been made.
In response, the Parkers and their realtor contacted the appraiser and showed him the mistakes. When he refused to adjust his appraisal, they reached out to the bank to do a new one.
"Another appraiser didn't come out. All they did was send it to a field appraiser who just reviewed the current appraisal as is. Essentially, that is like if Erica and I were coworkers, me doing something incorrectly, her reviewing it and going along with it," Goodman explained to the newspaper. "The field appraiser confirmed it was valid even with the errors. They acknowledged there were errors but refused to do anything about it."
The Parkers say they refused to sell their home for thousands less than an offer they received.
"It's a competitive market. We saw homes sell for much more than the asking price. It didn't make sense. What was so different about our house? Why were we being told we had to sell for so much less?" Aaron said.
When a second appraiser did come out, Erica Parker made sure to whitewash everything in her home beforehand. She also made sure that Goodman, who is white, would be the only one greeting them.
A week after the second appraisal, the Enquirer reports that it came back almost $100,000 higher than the first one.
"We were so happy until we realized what just happened. Then, it was a really dark moment," Erica said.
The second appraisal came in at $557,000, which is $92,000 higher than the initial one.
The Parkers said their fears of racial discrimination were confirmed and realized they could have easily lost almost $100,000 on their home.
"Being Black in America is tiring," said. Erica Parker. "You have to figure out what you're going to battle because if you battle everything, you're going to be fighting every day."