Nothing Reminds You That You’re Black in White America Like Trying to Buy a House

Damon Young | Very Smart Brothas

Five weeks ago, moments after landing back in Pittsburgh after a two-day long trip to Chicago, I switched off airplane mode, checked my phone, and saw a transcribed voicemail from my mortgage consultant, asking me to call him back. We were 11 days away from closing. The loan and the interest rate had already been locked in, so I hoped maybe he was calling because of a form I forgot to initial or an issue with the home inspection.

The plane was too loud and busy, so I waited until I got back to the terminal—the food court, specifically (I was hungry)—to call back.

“Hey, man. Saw I missed your call. What’s up?”

“Hey Damon. So … there’s really no good way to say this, but your loan application was denied.”

“Wow. OK.”

“Honestly, man, I’ve never seen anything like this before. Been doing this for 10 years, and I can’t remember a time when the lender denied an application as strong as yours. And so damn fucking late in the process. I wish I could give you a reason why this happened, but I’m stumped man. I’m sorry.”

“It’s cool.”

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