Remote home assessments could reduce racial bias
“We anticipate that many orders will need to be upgraded to a full interior and exterior inspection mission due to lack of data quality and/or confidence,” Bishop said.
Abena Horton, a black homeowner who saw her home’s appraised value jump 40% in 2020 when she removed evidence of her race from her home, said the move made her optimistic that the industry was making real progress in addressing a history of racism.
“I always thought there had to be a solution to this,” she said of the persistent allegations of minority owners receiving low ratings. “The most important part is that major institutions hear these stories and act on them. It is really encouraging.
Despite the seriousness of the problem of racial bias, Phil Crawford, a Cincinnati-based appraiser who spoke about desktop appraisals on his podcast, Voice of Appraisal, said a widespread shift to desktop appraisals could pose a risk to markets. financial. A more targeted solution, he said, would be to ensure that appraisers receive better training on fair housing laws (in many states appraisers are not required to take ongoing training on fair housing). fair housing after graduation).
“To dilute the traditional evaluation process that we have today puts Fannie Mae in a dangerous position,” he said. “Remember, only 4 or 5% of their loans had to be seized to create the great financial crisis.”
“We live in a black swan world right now,” he added, “and with all the uncertainty, it’s a bad time to implement a new product that may or may not be successful.”
But Mr. Wingert, of Zillow, disagreed.
“You’re entering as many data points as you would in an in-person assessment, and in some ways you’re even able to leverage more,” he said. “Will this be a magic solution? Maybe not. But it’s definitely another tool in the toolbox of trying to combat racism.