A woman on TikTok went viral this week after claiming that, following her grandfather’s death, she received numerous offers on her inherited home that were below market value.
Just days after her grandfather’s death, user Keisha (@kreatewithkeisha) says she received letter after letter, each one either making a below-market offer on the house or fabricating a late mortgage payment or property tax payment—even though the house had already been paid off and was up-to-date on tax payments.
Keisha’s video currently has over 2.6 million views.
@kreatewithkeisha Reply to @athompz I’ll just say this… 🤌🏾💟 #Seattle #Gentrification 🏡#HomeOwnership #Land #Property #Stories #blackgirlinseattle #SeattleNative #SeattleStories #centraldistrict #History ♬ original sound – Keisha Credit
“I cannot tell you how many predatory letters I got to buy my home below market value,” she says in the video.
Keisha also argued that these predatory offers are a mode of gentrification used to push Black residents out of historically Black neighborhoods.
“The thing is, they don’t think that us Black people know anything, or what our property is worth, or what the value is,” she says. “They also think, Black people need money, so let me lowball them and get them out [of their] houses!”
Keisha notes that her neighborhood, Seattle’s Central District, is a historically redlined area, meaning banks denied loans to the predominantly Black population living there because they were deemed a financial risk. While the neighborhood was one of two places in the city where nonwhite residents could live due to restrictive covenants from the 1920s to the 1940s, Keisha notes that the area has seen drastic gentrification.
She claims property values in the Central District are now over a million dollars. While the population was 75% Black in the 1970s, KUOW reported that the percentage of Black residents had dropped to 15% by 2020.
Furthermore, Keisha explains that the increasing property taxes in the neighborhood may have contributed to driving lower-income residents out, with some unable to afford the higher tax rates and others being taken advantage of by the aforementioned predatory buyers. She then referenced the aforementioned fake notices of missed payments.
“There are all of these tactics that they use to try to scare you to feel like you are not able to stay in your land,” she says.
According to a 2019 report from Housing Matters, these are common tactics. The report found that most residents in gentrifying neighborhoods who sold their homes to developers at “the peak of redevelopment” received offers below market value, even if the offers were significantly more than the price the homeowner purchased the property at. This leads developers to make substantial profits, while the former residents struggle to find affordable housing in the same or surrounding neighborhoods.
Read more on housing here.
In comments, several users supported Keisha, with many offering similar stories in their own cities.
“First, congratulations on your generational wealth. You are 100% correct,” a user shared. “My husband passed away and they flood[ed] my mail with all that mess.”
“As a Mexican homeowner in San Diego CA I can tell you what you’re getting is common in the marketplace,” another claimed. “I get bombarded w/offers and threats to sell.”
“Inglewood, CA is being heavily gentrified and my sister keeps getting nonstop offers to buy her house because it’s near the SoFI stadium,” a third stated. “It’s so sad.”
We’ve reached out to Keisha via email.
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