April 30, 2022 The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) appointed Jillian White, Shelly Tanaka and Meredith Meauwly to the Board of Trustees. They also welcomed back the Appraisal Institute as a sponsor.
TAF is authorized by Congress as the source of appraiser standards and appraiser qualifications. TAF had been taking a lot of political heat recently because their Board lacks diversity because it's mainly older white men. While I applaud TAF for starting to diversify their Board I personally feel one of these appointments was in response to political pressure. That one appointment is Jillian White.
White is an ex appraiser who was recently named the "Head of Better+" March 2022 per her LinkedIn announcement. Better+ is Better's affiliate businesses of Better Mortgage. Better has been in the news for mass firings, lawsuits and major financial problems. Better Mortgage will most likely soon be out of business as the mortgage market shrinks as a result of the rise in interest rates and overall failure by Better's CEO Vishal Garg.
Jillian White was a real estate appraiser and real estate agent. "In 2016, Ms. White joined Better, a digital mortgage provider, as the Chief Valuation Officer." "In 2018, she was named the Head of Collateral." During Jillian White's time at Better she has been promoting the false narrative of the "racist white appraiser." She has done this by quoting false and misleading data. Jillian White has cited debunked Andre Perry's paper and Freddie Mac's note repeatedly. Andre Perry's paper was not published or peer reviewed research. It has since been proven to be false and misleading by very well known researchers at American Enterprise Institute (AEI). AEI also debunked the Freddie Mac note. Tobias Peter was invited by the government to speak at the recent House Committee of Financial Services about this issue and this misleading data.
Promoting the false "racist white appraiser" narrative promotes racism and hatred of others. White an Appraisal Institute appraiser is stoking the flames of hate and racism toward appraisers, white people and the industry as a whole. The Appraisal Institute AI recently stated they would enforce a zero tolerance of racism and hate speech among their members because of hateful racist behavior by appraiser Dave LaVigne. White has promoted the false "racist white appraiser" narrative through her many presentations and articles about blacks "being forced to" "white wash" their homes. Here are a few of those articles, "Why some homeowners of color erase themselves," "Black appraisers call out racial bias," and "Better Website: Keep an eye out for personal bias."
White went so far as to state “In the case of my family, our home was forever changed after that. A lot of the pictures never made it back on the wall." Who forced them not to return the pictures after the sale or appraisal? Every real estate agent knows and tells ALL of their clients REGARDLESS OF COLOR OR RACE to remove personal photos and items from their home when they sell their home to INCREASE THE SALES PRICE. It has nothing to do with race, color, religion... I did this when I sold my own home and I'm not black. As an agent I suggested all clients do the same.
Below is a still from one of her many public presentations where she points out the family photos, heirlooms and certificates she was "forced" to remove because of "racist white appraisers." This wasn't even for an appraisal but a basic home showing and sale of relatives' homes.
Jillian White stated in the Better website, "96.5% of all real estate appraisers are white." This is not accurate though it's true most appraisers are white just like real estate agents. "Oddly" people aren't complaining about the lack of diverse real estate agents. Even the general population of the US is over 76% white. People are actually complaining about appraisal gap which is more likely in a quickly appreciating market. They're falsely claiming the cause of appraisal gap is racism because of the change in political climate caused by the murder of George Floyd.
"The country is in a time of racial reckoning, heightened by a summer of protests against systemic racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd in police custody." Floyd's death "sparked the largest racial justice protests in the United States since the Civil Rights Movement." "According to data from various sources, the Black Lives Matter movement is now the largest movement in US history." While racism exists and must be banished from our nation the pendulum has now swung to the extreme side. In this new light anything and everything is automatically "racist" today before even looking at the facts. Every appraisal gap is now "racism."
American Enterprise Institute AEI actually did research to see if racial bias affects real estate appraisal values. Their conclusion was NO, it's not common or systemic. 99% of the time we appraisers don't know the race, color, sex, religion of the owners of the properties we appraise and use as comparative sales.
Jillian White even stated to the media that racist white appraisers are the reason there are few black real estate appraisers. White states white appraisers refuse to have black trainees because they're racist. The actual problem is the trainee process and not "racist white appraisers." Appraisers don't want trainees of any color because they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Hypocritical Jillian White doesn't even have trainees of any color.
White stated “This idea that we’re (real estate appraisers) just strictly reporting on the facts, that isn’t true, because if that were true you wouldn’t need appraisers." This shows that White either doesn't understand real estate appraising or she's lying to the public for her own agenda. All Appraisers know Automated Valuation Methods AVMs (robots, algorithms) can't and don't accurately appraise real estate. AVMs don't see views, specific location, upgrades, condition, elevation, lot type... All these facts must be viewed and appraised by a human real estate appraiser. We don't currently have exact view, lot type, degree of remodel ... UAD codes to input into the form. The human appraisers see and report the facts such as type and degree of view, condition, upgrades... Should White even be a real estate appraiser if she doesn't understand the basics of appraising? Should White with these racist ideas, clear discrimination and bias be a real estate appraiser? If a white appraiser were to state these same things but about black, Latino appraisers, they'd instantly be cancelled. In fact AI stated they want to take action against racist appraiser Dave LaVigne because of racist language. Perhaps they should take action against White. White has stated these racist things in her professional capacity.
Jillian White was a real estate appraiser and agent just like me. We are numbers, math and statistics people. White knows these things she stated are false yet she promotes them for Better mortgage as a form of "diversity" marketing and exposure in the media. That appears to be her real job at the company as she mainly attends meetings to promote these falsities to the public and government agencies. Now that Better is soon going out of business White continues to promote this false narrative at government meetings and presentations to promote herself for a future job after Better goes out of business.
The purpose of promoting the false "racist white appraiser" narrative was to promote Better as "diverse and non-racist." Better had promised to train, hire and use diverse appraisers but they have not done this. This was in fact Jillian White's original job at which she failed. Instead Better fired 900 people December 2021. 2022 they fired 3,000 more. Currently they're asking people to just plain quit.
Better began failing during a huge run up in refinances. Any idiot company could have been successful during this time yet Better was failing last year. March 8, 2022 Better fired 3,000 more people. The CEO of Better's main goal is to go public and cash out. That appears to be his MO based on his last finance company myrichuncle which went bankrupt.
There is a saying in large companies. When they appoint a lawyer or lower level employee as the head of the company or of a major department it's going out of business. The person was hired to ride the company into bankruptcy. High ranking employees have already been fleeing the company in 2019 and it's increased recently. Considering that Vishal Garg's last finance company went bankrupt then was sued for fraud by investors that appears to be the future of Better.
White's main recent activity has been speaking at government meetings about "racist white appraisers." She has been the face of discrimination in real estate appraisals in the media. While she has an appraiser's license this is most likely the reason she was appointed to the TAF Board. TAF has given into political pressure to appoint this specific person. By doing so TAF is basically supporting the false narrative of the "racist white appraiser" which is beyond disappointing. I personally feel TAF is doing this just to quiet pressure from Maxine Waters and others who are calling for the end of TAF. While TAF would benefit from diversity I don't believe getting rid of TAF is the best course of action.
Mary Cummins of Cummins Real Estate is a certified residential licensed appraiser in Los Angeles, California. Mary Cummins is licensed by the California Bureau of Real Estate appraisers and has over 35 years of experience.
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