Representatives were unable to answer questions regarding complaints of bias in appraisal and the demographics of state-accredited appraisers.
PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Md. – Looking intently at a small computer screen in her Southeastern home, Ayako Marsh, a certified home appraiser for over 20 years, said in the opening minutes of the questions committee meeting Monday’s economic outlook, it was clear that an important voice was noticeably absent.
“There was no rater in the room and we are talking about evaluation bias,” said Marsh, confused by the glaring omission.
The meeting included presentations from the Maryland Board of Real Estate Appraisers, appraisal management companies and home inspectors, the Maryland Association of Realtors and the Prince George County Association of Realtors. The group came together to respond to allegations of valuation bias in Prince George County that were outlined in a WUSA9 survey released in November.
In that report, several homeowners claimed that their homes were assessed differently because they were black and lived in a predominantly black neighborhood.
RELATED: Black Homeowners Alle Valuation Bias in Prince George County; County Real Estate Association is investigating
“We have seen and heard the same stories that motivated this audience. I can understand the frustration of families, ”said Hunter Pickels, policy director for the Maryland Department of Community Development.
Part of that frustration has turned to representatives of the Maryland Board of Real Estate Appraisers, who are directly responsible for investigating the complaints submitted. Representatives were unable to answer questions regarding complaints of bias in appraisal and the demographics of state-accredited appraisers.
“Of the 2,096 home assessors and 1,306 home inspectors, how many are African-American? asked delegate Ben Brooks (D).
“This is not information that we are recording,” said Gregory Morgan, Commission for the Professional and Professional Licensing Division.
Delegate Marvin Holmes (D) was also present.
“They kept defending themselves by saying they only responded to complaints,” said Holmes, who represents constituents in Prince George County.
RELATED: Prince George Real Estate Association Responds to WUSA 9 Survey; refuses to release the results of the investigation into the allegations of evaluation bias
Delegate Holmes told WUSA9 that he had drafted a rough proposal to establish a commission to further investigate allegations of alleged valuation bias. Work at the federal level is already underway. The Biden administration has launched a real estate appraisal and appraisal task force. Members of the working group recently joined Marsh on a home assessment to get a better idea of how assessments work and vulnerabilities within the process. Marsh said subjective areas of the process can include location, selecting comparable homes, and rating condition.
“This is the main area that if you talk about bias, this is where it’s going to happen,” Marsh said.
The economic affairs committee has yet to schedule its next meeting, but members are eagerly awaiting mandated data from the Department of Housing and Community Development which will give them precise numbers and the makeup of those affected by alleged bias. devaluation.
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