"She Decided To Price Gouge Me": Black Renters And Homeowners Are Sharing Their Expierences

Recently, I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community, "If you're a Black American, and you have a story to tell about your home buying or renting experience, tell us about it!" Here's what they had to say:

Screenshot from "Black-ish"

1."I am lucky in that my mom let us live with her rent-free for 16 months to save up for a house. We saved $20k and got an FHA loan with down payment assistance for $372k. The mortgage is $100 more per month than if we had done it without the down payment assistance, but it was worth it to actually have cash to furnish the house. We timed it right and built during 2021, right before interest rates went up. I didn’t use a realtor since we were building, and have no real regrets. I realize most Black people don’t have parents that have the space or finances to let them live at home rent-free. We are very, very fortunate."


Woman holding two "#1 MOM" mugs, expressing surprise

2."I'm white, but I have a good one. I was looking to rent a house for myself, my (Black) boyfriend, and our son. We found a nice house and went over to the landlord's house to give them the deposit check. Everything was great, they were so nice, and I really liked the house. As I got ready to leave, for some reason, I said, 'Oh by the way, my boyfriend is Black.' The woman freaked out, tore the check up, and said that I should have told her that from the start. I contacted my state's Department of Civil Rights, and they sent out an investigator. She told the guy it was all true and she didn't care. They told her they could either pay me a cash settlement or offer me the house. Thank God I had already found a better house! I saw the lady at the grocery store a couple of months later, and she flipped out on me."


A young boy gestures with his finger while the text "THAT'S RACIST!" appears
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3."Nine years ago, I was moving from the Midwest to the Southeast. I decided to purchase a home in my new city. After looking for months and securing a new job in my new hometown, I found the perfect house (in a mostly white neighborhood). When I told my real estate agent and loan officer about the house (both [of] whom were white), they told me I would not qualify for the house, and I should look for something cheaper in another part of town. What they didn't know is I used to be a licensed loan officer when I lived in the Midwest. So I knew about a loan program that would allow me to purchase the house. After asking them about this loan program, they changed their tune, and everything was smooth sailing from there."

—Annonymous. Age 44, Raleigh, NC

A man looks surprised in a gif with text "Scared money don't make no money."

4."I bought my home in 2021 during the pandemic, and also on my 27th birthday. Interest rates were very low, and I wanted to take advantage of that. I knew what I wanted, an older home in the city not far from where I grew up. Open floor plan, big backyard, and hardwood floors. I'm a single Black female, and I've heard horror stories from other people's experiences, even with people with a higher income and families. I braced myself, however, my actual home-buying process was pretty seamless. My whole team was Black, my realtor, broker, inspector, attorneys, bank, as well as two of the three sellers."

"At that time, my credit was really high, and I was just starting grad school so my student loans hadn't gone into effect. Because of this, the amount I was approved for was pretty high. I also received a first-time home-buyer's down payment assistance grant, so that was super helpful. And I know it's super old school, but I wrote a personal letter to the sellers because I submitted an offer about $20k below asking, and I think that letter was helpful for my case. Unfortunately, once I was actually in the home, I had a lot of problems that were not picked up during inspection such as the A/C unit breaking during peak Atlanta summer, pipes bursting and rusting away, unstable foundation, faulty electricity mapping, etc. The sole financial responsibility was on me, and that was very stressful. I had always been good about saving money and spending little on my credit card, but after paying for all of those issues, my savings disappeared, and my credit cards were useless. I'm also lucky to have a lot of help from my family. I do love my home, but if I could do it over, I would've kept looking for a more modern home."

—Kieya B. 30, Atlanta, GA

Man in cap and casual attire walking forward with text overlay "HOME INSPECTION TIME"

5."Back in 2015 when I moved to Florida (east of Orlando), I found a lovely 2/2 condo. When I called, I was first told it was available. When I arrived to see the unit, the leasing agent gave me a walkthrough. While viewing the unit, the owner stops by. The look on the owner’s face said it all. She never said a word to me. The owner left, and about 10 minutes later, the agent’s phone rang. After the call, the agent tells me she’s sorry but the unit is no longer available."

"I explained that I was disappointed, as I had cash ready to put down for the first and last month's rent, plus the $300 security deposit. The leasing agent makes another phone call, and what do you know, the unit is magically available as long as I’m willing to put down a $900 deposit. I asked why — it stated on the paperwork and in the ad that the security deposit was only $300. She says the owner is requesting more, and there’s nothing she can do about it. I left and made a phone call of my own. I called my dad to borrow the additional $600. I stopped by the next day ready to sign the paperwork. The owner arrived, too, and told me over and over that she couldn’t believe I came up with the money so fast. She said it at least three times!!! I think the owner took one look at me and assumed because I’m Black that I couldn’t afford it so she decided to price gouge me. 100% because of the color of my skin. I know I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty confident that was the reason. It was a beautiful home and I took extra care of the place for six years. During annual inspections, she would always make micro-aggressive comments about how clean and well-kept my place was."

—Elynne.  48, Merritt Island, FL

GIF of Gregory Eddie in "Abbott Elementary"

6."My husband and I are both Black Americans. We drained our 401(k) to put a down payment of 3.5 percent on our first home. Plus our combined incomes, and individual incomes were too high to qualify for any first-time home-buyers programs. Neither of us received any financial support, unlike our counterparts."

—Alanna. 35, Brockton, MA

Adult and children at a table, child asks about a 401(k), comedic setting

7."My ex-MIL rented an upper-level duplex in Milwaukee in a not so great neighborhood. The building was a cute duplex with a spacious kitchen and living room, plus a built-in oak cabinet. Over the course of five years, things fell apart to the point where she found numerous rodents, had issues with wiring and outlets, plus a draft from the damaged window which needed to be replaced. Her asthma was worsened by both the draft and mold."

"The landlord was aware of several problems and kept stringing her along. After a few phone calls to both tenant resources and the city, along with her demand to fix things, the landlord told her she had five days to vacate the premises because he 'sold the building.' Something didn’t sound right, so she asked for a bill of sale or intent to purchase signed by the buyer. He couldn’t produce either, stating he didn’t have either with the sale. Not wanting a confrontation, she ended up moving out and finding a better place. We later found out that he didn’t sell it when he said he did, but that he fixed it up and moved himself in, and let family members move in. Further investigation revealed he was a selfish slumlord with complaints from other tenants. While my ex is a lot of things (and he really is), his mother is a quiet elderly lady who keeps to herself, pays rent on time, and doesn’t cause any issues. Sadly, these slumlords in the inner city rent out buildings to take advantage of good people by taking rent money and not living up to a tenant’s expectations as a responsible landlord."

—Anonymous. 51, Wisconsin

A baby makes a questioning expression with overlaid text "Where's the rent?"

8."Black realtor here, and I work tirelessly to help Black people buy homes. It starts with education and bringing awareness to the enormous amounts of first-time home-buyer programs that are available. Also, letting folks know which type of loan, conventional versus non-conventional, best fits their financial situation."


GIF of Tyler Perry flipping through a book

9."I tried to purchase a home in the earlier part of 2024. Despite earning close to six figures, never having been unemployed since college graduation, and 'average debt' (less than 7K credit card, one installment loan, and student loans), I was told I needed additional cash reserves two days prior to closing."

"Considering I had just gotten married, I couldn't come up with an additional $8,000 in 48 hours. I was denied financing after having my close date continually pushed back four times. Further, I was told that because I couldn't procure the additional funds, it violated the contract, and I wouldn't get my earnest money back. The delay in closing meant additional out of pocket costs because I had already provided notice that I wouldn't be renewing my lease. Thankfully, I was able to find a rental in a great area of town with rent that is equivalent to what the mortgage would have been. I can afford it to rent, but not own, apparently."


Man holding a sign that says "RENT $$$" with a serious expression
Giphy / Via media.giphy.com

10."Not me, but this happened to my neighbors. Before they moved to our neighborhood, they were looking in another area just north of town. They went to a showing for a house and got there before the landlord did."

"Like anybody interested in living somewhere, they got out, and started looking around the yard, all before the landlord got there. A neighbor saw and CALLED THE COPS on them. Cops showed up, assuming they were there to rob the place (because every robber brings their two kids along, right?). Cops told them they received three different 911 calls from all different neighbors. The landlord confirmed with them they'd be the only Black family in several miles, likely. Needless to say, they didn't rent that house out."


Police car with flashing lights viewed from rearview mirror
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11.And finally, "We sold our first home for about $115,000 more than we bought it for ($220k in 2018). For context, I'm a stay-at-home mom, and my husband is an attorney. We bought a bigger house closer to Charlotte for $474k in 2022. We had to go with a new build further from the city because the market was so aggressive. People and companies were offering 100k+ over asking price and buying without even seeing the properties."

—Nikki Clark. 35, Troutman, NC.

Woman in patterned sweater looks skeptical, subtitle: "MAYBE IT WAS A LOT OF EXTRA DOLLARS."

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Are you a Black American with a story of your own about the housing or renting market? Let me know about your experience in the comment section below!