The Root: How ‘Selling a Home While Black’ Nearly Broke Me

Everyone tells you it’s hard to sell a home nowadays. No one tells you how hard it is to sell a home while black.

Last March we did all the things you are supposed to do when selling a half-million-dollar Orange County, Calif., home. We packed items we were no longer using. We downsized our furniture. We painted baseboards and repaired walls. We even bought new wall art to neutralize the feel. After seeing several comparable homes sell within weeks of listing, we were certain we would only be on the market for a month at most. We were wrong.

Our agents held open house after open house. One Saturday, a white couple was returning to the home for a second visit. They had come before without their children and wanted to show their oldest son. But he wouldn’t walk upstairs. According to our agents, he seemed anxious. He just wanted to leave. Sadly, the couple never returned.

Following that experience, we removed a few more of our personal items, thinking maybe the home wasn’t race-neutral enough. We put away books, removed every photo of our children—no matter how small they were—and even packed away Christmas cards from family and friends.

Soon, we saw an uptick in interest and traffic. Interested buyers were coming by every day. We had already lost thousands in potential proceeds and were a few weeks from our targeted move date. This process was not only becoming economically untenable; it was emotionally overwhelming.

One afternoon, while I was sitting at my dining table with my children, a man walked up and retrieved a flier while admiring the exterior of the home. Immediately, a neighbor approached. He was a renter in the process of moving because the homeowners were selling the property. We didn’t know him well but had always been cordial when we saw him in the neighborhood.

Read the full article at The Root.