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Black molecular biologist is banned from buying $749,000 Virginia Beach condo ‘because of her race’ by white owner, 84

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A molecular biologist says she was prevented from buying the Virginia Beach condo of her dreams after the white owner learned that she was black.

Dr. Raven Baxter, 30, was prepared to buy the home after a virtual tour of the property. It had everything she wanted: a private foyer, wainscoting, exquisite crown molding, and a marble fireplace. 

Baxter offered the asking price, $749,000, which was promptly accepted by the seller. The molecular biologist, who works remotely for Mt. Sinai hospital, then sent over a down payment and the condo went into escrow. 

But then she received a call late at night from her broker, who told her that the seller, Jane Walker, 84, now wanted to back out of the deal. 

‘He said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but she doesn’t want to sell the home to you, and it’s because you’re Black,”‘ Baxter recalled. 

Dr. Raven Baxter, 30, was prevented from buying her dream home in Virginia Beach after Susan Miller, the seller, learned that she was black. Dr. Baxter is a molecular biologist who works for Mt. Sinai

Dr. Raven Baxter, 30, was prevented from buying her dream home in Virginia Beach after Susan Miller, the seller, learned that she was black. Dr. Baxter is a molecular biologist who works for Mt. Sinai 

The Gone with the Wind-inspired property is near the beach and features stunning views of the Atlantic

The Gone with the Wind-inspired property is near the beach and features stunning views of the Atlantic

Earlier that day, the biological scientist and her long-time boyfriend, Dr. Ronald Gamble Jr., a theoretical physicist who works for NASA, made the three-hour drive to the condo from their apartment in Alexandria, Va.

For the first time, the two scientists explored the property in person. 

When Baxter had previously toured the condo virtually, her camera had been off. Jane Walker, the seller, was unaware of her race. 

After concluding their inspection of the property, which is near the beach and features a view of the Atlantic, they bumped into the seller. 

As the couple prepared to leave, Walker appeared and her agent, Susan Pender of Berkshire Hathaway RW Towne Realty, introduced the two parties. 

Moments after the scientists left, Baxter said Walker confronted her agent, telling her that she was not willing to sell her condo to a black person. Walker ordered Pender to terminate the sale. 

Pender called Wayne Miller, an agent at 757 Realty, and informed him of the turn of events.

Miller proceeded to contact Baxter’s agent, Bill Loftis, who called her with the troubling news. 

Baxter was crushed to hear that the seller was reneging. She loved the condo.

‘It’s a classic home with a ton of character. It’s absolutely gorgeous and you can walk to the beach. It was like a steal,’ she said. ‘I basically put in an offer sight unseen,’ Baxter told the New York Times.

According to the condo’s Zillow page, the Georgian-style property was built in 1932. 

Outfitted with a spiral staircase, gilded mirrors, chandeliers, and antique oil paintings, the Gone with the Wind-inspired property comes with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. 

Baxter’s boyfriend was shocked to hear that the seller was backing out of the deal. When the molecular biologist received the call from her agent, she put it on speakerphone so that Gamble could hear the news. 

‘I kind of fell back in my chair,’  he said. 

‘I could not believe what I was hearing. Well after the Civil Rights movement, after Covid, after George Floyd, you would think society isn’t still thinking this way. But in 2024, they still are.’

Jane Walker, 84, refused to sell her condo to Baxter after she learned that the molecular biologist was black

Jane Walker, 84, refused to sell her condo to Baxter after she learned that the molecular biologist was black

Later that night, Baxter shared her story on her X.com account, where she has 163,000 followers.

She concluded her post by striking a note of defiance: ‘Baby, I’m either buying your house or buying YOUR BLOCK. CHOOSE ONE.’ 

Prompted by commenters on her post, Baxter filed a discrimination claim with the Virginia Fair Housing Office and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also contacted a civil rights lawyer.

‘Had I not gone to Twitter and received help from people who knew what they were doing, I would have been panicking the entire weekend,’ Baxter said 

She added: ‘It was my first time buying a house. I knew my civil rights were being violated. I knew that something illegal was happening, but no one knew what to do.’

The next day, Loftis reached out to Baxter, telling her that while it was ‘unfortunate that the seller’ brought ‘race into the process,’ her kids were ‘able to turn her around.’

Baxter is now expected to proceed with her purchase of the condo, which will occur later this summer.

Despite her distressing experience, Baxter intends to proceed with her purchase of the condo, now that the seller has been mollified by her children

Despite her distressing experience, Baxter intends to proceed with her purchase of the condo, now that the seller has been mollified by her children

After the molecular biologist’s story caught national attention, Barbara Wolcott, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway RW Towne Realty, sent Baxter an email:  ‘In light of the actions of our horribly misguided seller, I feel compelled to send you this email.’

Wolcott continued: ‘Please be assured that the attitude of this individual is not something that is tolerated by Berkshire Hathaway RW Towne Realty, Susan Pender, or anyone within our organization or area.’

Berkshire Hathaway RW Towne Realty hasn’t yet made it clear how they are refusing to tolerate the behavior of the condo’s seller. 



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