The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 29, 2013

New appraisal practices easily integrated in W.Va.


— Home buyers in West Virginia have hardly noticed the implementation of new appraisal regulations, according to the president of the Appraisal Resource Center of West Virginia.

Three years after the passage of laws that require lenders to partition appraisal practices, the center’s Doug Butcher says consumers in the Mountain State haven’t voiced much concern over the changes.

Aside from the notice of a fee on their settlement statements, he says, borrowers may not have been alerted to any change as they principally affect lenders.

“As near as we can tell, borrowers are still happy when their loans are approved, and the consumer protection that inspired these changes doesn’t seem to be a chief concern in the moment,” Butcher said.

“Borrowers who are aware of the overhaul seem to feel happier with the new system in the first place.”

On the books since 2010, the new laws require banks and other lending institutions to outsource appraisals to appraisal management companies or to establish new in-house appraisal-management departments.

The regulations were enacted as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act, which, as it concerns appraisals, was designed to prevent lenders from manipulating the value of properties.

Lenders at some institutions routinely coaxed and coerced appraisers, and the Dodd-Frank Act was instituted to provide a buffer between the two.

Butcher says he now finds himself interpreting the details of the act and its affect on appraisal in West Virginia on an almost daily basis.

A veteran appraiser, he established the Appraisal Resource Center in 2006, long before the approach of Dodd-Frank and the recession that inspired its enaction. Butcher had proposed to streamline the appraisal process in West Virginia but found himself at-the-ready when the law passed.

As lenders adjust to the new lending environment, Butcher has been called on to help make sense of the provisions and, in the process, finds that bankers and other lending officials say the transition has gone without apparent notice.

Butcher says he hope to spend much of the upcoming year visiting parts of rural West Virginia and will avail himself to lending officials along the way.

For more information, contact Butcher at 304-256-0701 or doug@rpsappraisal.com