Home Buying Bias

Approximately nine years ago I gave in and agreed to purchase a home in my husbands home state of Mississippi. Because his career takes him away frequently we pre-qualified through our bank and selected the area we wanted to live in prior to my contacting an agent. I selected three houses in the subdivision and contacted the listing agent by email. We spoke a few times by phone and I explained we were pre-qualified and trying to close on a home in two months. She was very eager to start the process.

I could tell my race surprised her by the way she rushed me into the house. She tried to remain professional pointing out a few selling points, but her main focus was on the price and the fact that the HOA fees were somewhat steep. I informed her that we had owned and sod two homes in other states and I would not waste her time or mine if we weren’t serious buyers. She apologized but the damage was done and so was my business with her.

I was also done with finding a home. Why would I live in a place that still judged even the ability to live in a certain neighborhood by race? Being fiscally responsible has nothing to do with race,ethnicity, gender, or age. It is the result of good business sense and hard work. 

After a few months of reflection I decided to go into the agency again. I was greeted by a very friendly older man who ultimately sold us one of the homes I had on my list. Yes we are the only Black family in the neighborhood, but the experience has not been totally negative. We socialize with many of our neighbors and our grandchildren love playing at the lake with the other kids in summer. I may have been discouraged but it turned out well in the end.

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