In what’s being called an “entirely unprecedented” ruling, a New Jersey state judge has awarded $900,000 to a Black couple whose home was valuated at $1.8 million when it was marketed to prospective buyers.
In June, the Philadelphians sued a real estate agent who they said swiped their home on the market for $1.8 million. A judge ordered the appraisal to be included in the couple’s sale, which went ahead without any gaffe. The valuations — which the arbiter assigned $400,000 to the assessed value of the house, $340,000 more than the previous value — made for an astonishing $500,000 discrepancy. The arbiter ruled that the house was worth $900,000, which means that the home would’ve sold for as much as $1.2 million in July of 2017 had the public appraisal included when the sale was consummated.
According to NJ.com, the plaintiff Kim and Robert Woods said that the appraiser was white, with close family and professional ties to her husband’s on-screen Bachelorette ex. The appraiser wrote that the home was worth more than the appraised value before her memo to the Woods, which Kim said the assessor ignored when he added the higher valuation.
As the Pine Hills Local reported, Kim told the judge that when the realtor called her a few days after she received the appraisal to tell her that she’d failed to show up to the house, she quickly realized that the assessor’s ledger didn’t show what had happened. She insisted the couple didn’t refuse to accept the appraisal, the assessor demanded, but that they’d offered to take it before she refused it. The assessor noted in the complaint that the couple “refused to take the appraisal report and…refused to divulge why.”
Indeed, the judge’s findings confirm that they did:
“[They] acknowledged that they ‘refused to take’ the appraiser’s appraisal and ultimately did not disclose the appraisal during the negotiations, nor does the Trustees List Support any suggestion that the Forrest Estate had taken any adverse position by taking no action on the appraisal at all.”
And the estate “remains unable to ascertain the exact reasons for the untimely withdrawal of the appraisal,” so it will not collect a refund.
Read the full story at NJ.com.
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