real estate appraisal form

Fighting Real Estate Appraisal Bias

Real Estate Appraisal Bias occurs when race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other personal factors influence how a real estate appraiser determines a property’s market value. Bias from an appraiser usually results in a property’s value being appraised at a lower figure than what it should be and can cause a borrower’s loan to be denied or cause the unsuccessful sale of a homeowner’s property.

Below are resources and information that can help you combat appraisal bias and navigate the appraisal process.

Fighting Real Estate Appraisal Bias

Helpful Links

  • Consumer Resources from the Appraisal Foundation offers information on the appraisal process and how to file complaints of appraisal bias.
  • Complaint forms for residents who suspect bias in their appraisal can be filed with California’s State Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers.
  • Get Help is a portal where consumers who suspect misevaluations due to racial bias can learn about their rights and how to file a discrimination complaint.

Appraisal Checklist


  • Is the neighborhood’s description accurate?
  • If the comparable homes used are not from the same neighborhood, there needs to be a written explanation.

Property Condition:

  • How close is the condition of the comparable homes to the condition of your property?
  • If they’re not similar, there must be an adequate adjustment to the appraised value.

Comparable Home Sales:

  • Any comparable home sales used should be within a one-mile radius of the property.
  • Check if the comparable homes are bunched up in one area or spread apart.
  • Is there an explanation why one area is used and not another?
  • Bias can be seen when an appraiser uses the racial composition of a neighborhood to help determine comparable sales for a property.

Adjustments and Reconciliation:

  • Check if there is market data cited to support individual adjustments.

Common Appraisal Errors That Can Influence Value

  • Incorrect square footage
  • Incorrect number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Omitting certain features and upgrades to the home
  • Comparable homes are not similar to your property
  • Bias language in the report

Bias Language to Look Out for in the Appraisal Report

  • “Black race population above state average”
  • “Predominantly Hispanic”
  • “More racial influence of late”
  • “Homogeneous neighborhoods with good/bad schools”
  • “Property is close to Group homes” (ex. Senior homes)

Bias language describes adverse conditions of the neighborhood to highlight that demand is low, which negatively impacts the appraised value of a property.

Know Your Rights During the Appraisal Process

Talk to your lender or realtor about the appraisal process

  • Work with them to find an appraiser that knows your neighborhood and community

Research your appraiser

  • Find out how local their office is and their competency working with neighborhoods of color.
  • Use HUD’s appraiser directory to find status, years active, credentials, and if the appraiser has an infraction on their record.
  • If you believe an appraiser is not knowledgeable about the home or the neighborhood, you can request a new appraiser who has demonstrated familiarity with the area.

Create a package to get to the appraiser prior to the inspection.

  • List improvements on the home that were made in the last 15 years,
  • Any upgrades or renovations
  • Any designations of historical value to the home
  • Include a neighborhood market analysis
  • List of comparable homes

What Should You Do If You Suspect Appraisal Bias?

  • Ask your lender or realtor to send out a new appraiser.
  • If a new appraiser is denied, request a Reconsideration of Value
    • Compile your relevant findings of appraisal bias and submit those with your lender or realtor

If a Reconsideration of Value Is Not Accepted, Take These Steps

  • Contact your local Fair Housing Initiatives Program. They can help investigate your claim and may represent you in
    • A complaint with HUD
    • A complaint with your local Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP)
    • A lawsuit
  • File a complaint to regulatory agencies
    • Consumer Financial Protections Bureau (CFPB)
    • California Bureau or Real Estate Appraisers (Agency in CA that regulates appraisers): Link to complaint form

Housing Advocates, Counselors, and Appraisers

General Appraisal Process Information
Information Links

The study analyzed appraisal report data and found that neighborhood racial inequality in appraised values grew by 75% in the past decade and that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problem.

Background: Assembly Bill 948, signed by Governor Newsom in 2021, prohibits appraisals on the basis of any sort of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, source of income, sexual orientation, familial status, employment status, or military status.

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