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A California couple says they were lowballed on a home appraisal because of their race. Paul and Tenisha Austin say the value of their renovated home skyrocketed 50% after a white friend met with the appraiser.

The Austins purchased their Bay Area home from another Black couple in 2016. After completing $400,000 in renovations, including adding 1,000 square feet to the home, they decided to put the house on the market in 2020.

The appraiser, an older white woman, told the Austins the house was worth $989,000 -- just $100,000 more than the original purchase price. The Austins are convinced race was a factor.

"I read the appraisal, I looked at the number I was like, 'This is unbelievable'," Tenisha Austin told the Atlanta Black Star.

"It was a slap in the face," said Paul Austin.

After discussing the situation with a white friend, the woman agreed to pretend the Marin City home was her own.

"She said 'No problem. I'll be Tenisha. I'll bring over some pictures of my family. She made our home look like it belonged to her,'" Paul told Atlanta Black Star.

The ploy worked. The home appraised for $1,482,000 -- or close to $500,000 more than the original appraisal weeks earlier.

The Austins' story only added to the frustrations of Black first-time homebuyers who are often rejected for home mortgages based on their race.

According to the Census Bureau, 44 percent of Black families owned a home in the first quarter of 2020, compared to nearly 74 percent of white families.

"Half of all blacks born between 1956 and 1965 were homeowners by the age of 50, but blacks born from 1966 to 1976 have a homeownership rate of just 40 percent," said Donnell Williams, president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers.

"If trends continue, black millennials may not even reach a homeownership rate of 40 percent by the time they turn 50," he added.
 

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Millions of Americans face eviction when the federally mandated moratorium on evictions expires in March. Former Vogue magazine editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley says he is among them.

Talley, 72, says he's being evicted from his colonial New York mansion in a messy rent battle with former Manolo Blahnik CEO, George Malkemus, who Talley owes $500k in back rent.

Talley claims Malkemus originally bought the home for him for just over $1 million in 2004 -- and that he is the rightful owner.

He now claims that Malkemus wants to evict him from the 11-room mansion in White Plains, NY, so he can sell it at a profit.
 

Talley said there is no lease agreement on the home and that he made "episodic payments" over time based on his income.

He said he had a "gentlemen's agreement" to transfer the title of the home to him after he paid back the purchase price.

In court documents obtained by the NY Post, Talley claims Malkemus and his life partner Anthony Yurgaitis agreed that Talley would exclusively own, occupy and care for the home. "It was agreed and always understood that Talley would, over time, 'pay off' the balance of the purchase price paid by the defendants at which point title would then formally be transferred to Talley," his court documents say.

He now claims that Malkemus and Yurgaitis are pressuring him to move out so they can sell it for their own profit.

"The timing and amount of these episodic payments were based on Talley's cash flow... Talley never made these payments to the Defendants on a monthly basis, and was not asked to."

In their eviction papers, Malkemus and Yurgaitis allege the former Vogue editor owes them $515,872 in back rent.

But Talley says he paid $1,075,588 by January 2020, and that he made the $120,000 down payment when the house was originally purchased. He also says he invested more than $200,000 for home improvements over the years.

In his lawsuit, Talley is demanding that he be allowed to stay in the property and that the title be transferred in his name.

An attorney for Malkemus and Yurgaitis said he is preparing a counterclaim. "Malkemus and Yurgaitis are the record owners of the house and want to sell it," the attorney said.

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Talley was appointed creative director of Vogue by Anna Wintour back in 1983. In his memoir, he said his once close relationship with the Vogue editor-in-chief was over.

He officially retired from editing in 2014.

Thanks to Saptosa Foster, of The 135th Street Agency, for my personal invite to attend last night's Premiere Watch Party in Atlanta for HGTV's "Property Virgins" featuring Egypt Sherrod.

Last night, television and radio personality Egypt Sherrod celebrated the Season 9 premiere of her HGTV show "Property Virgins" with friends and family at Atlanta's plush Atlantic high-rise building in Atlantic Station.

Guests -- which included Bobbcat Films' Roger Bobb, tv producer Shante Paige, Sandye Lomax (Beauty Fetish); Egypt's husband, DJ Fadelf (pictured above with Egypt); the "Property Virgins" production crew Cineflix, and a host of local journalists -- munched on hors d' oeuvres as they watched the popular real estate show.

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Updated @ 2:38 p.m.

World Changers Pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested and charged with simple battery, family violence and cruelty to children in Fayette County early Friday.

Dollar was booked into the county jail at 2 a.m., according to Channel 2’s Tom Jones. He was released on $5,000 bond Friday morning.

When police arrived at the Dollar home they found a 15-year-old girl who told them Dollar choked her when she tried to leave the home to attend a party. Creflo and his wife, Taffi, built a custom home in Fayette County in 1996.

According to public records the 7401 square foot mansion is valued at $1.2 million. The Dollars paid $21,367 in property taxes in 2011.

Dollar is the founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church in College Park. The megachurch has over 30,000 members. Dollar made headlines last year when he refused to accept former members of embattled preacher Bishop Eddie Long's church after Long settled a lawsuit with four men who accused him of sexual misconduct.

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If you have an extra $17.9 million lying around, you can purchase singer Alicia Keys' New York triplex apartment.

From the NY Post's Page Six:

Alicia Keys and her hip-hop producer husband, Swizz Beatz, are looking to unload their luxury penthouse on Crosby Street for $17.9 million. The duo bought the lavish SoHo condo in 2010 for $14.5 million from Lenny Kravitz. (The rocker had the apartment — which has also played home to Nicole Kidman and Denzel Washington — on the market for eight years before Keys locked in a deal.) The 6,167-square-foot triplex has 3,000 square feet of terrace space, five bedrooms, four baths, four “powder rooms,” a “state-of-the-art windowed gourmet eat-in kitchen” and “formal dining room . . . encased in a glass solarium,” according to a Sotheby’s listing. And a “floating glass staircase” leads to a “private master suite complete with spa.” There’s an “automated entertainment system” and home theater, plus a wine cellar. Pictures posted of the pad reveal portraits of Keys, Sade, Muhammad Ali and Keith Haring art on the walls, and a Ducati motorcycle parked inside. Keys’ rep declined to comment.

See more pics of Keys' upscale apartment after the break.

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President Obama gave homeowners some hope when he announced a one year moratorium on home foreclosures while he negotiated with the greedy bankers late last year.

But yesterdays announcement of a new $25 billion dollar settlement with the banks over fraudulent home foreclosures may result in homeowners losing their homes immediately.

Come on, did you really think President Obama was going to bail out homeowners the way he bailed out the bankers?

According to Bloomberg.com, the new settlement will result in an increase in home seizures that will inflict "short-term pain on delinquent U.S. borrowers while making a long-term housing recovery more likely."

"With yesterday’s agreement," Bloomberg notes, "banks are likely to resume property seizures."

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The real estate market is still in a slump, so why would Canadian rapper Drake drop almost $2 mil on luxury condos in Miami? Probably because he believed the real estate broker's pitch that the housing market was hot again, and his 2 investment properties would increase in value.

Now Drake is trying to cut his losses, and he hopes one of you will love him enough to want to tattoo his name on your forehead take his 2 condos off his hands.

According to TMZ.com:

Drake put the properties up for sale last week -- located right next door to each other in Miami's ritzy Marquis highrise -- listing one for $1.9 million and the other for $599,000. Drake combined the two into one MASSIVE condo, and lived in both simultaneously.

The larger one is a sprawling 3,800 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. The "smaller" one-bedroom condo is still gigantic ... at 1,675 square feet.

Drake purchased the properties together in January 2011 for a combined price of $1.903 million. So, if Drake gets his asking price ... he'll make $596,000 in profit (even though no one ever gets their asking price).