Fannie Mae is a “Government Sponsored Enterprise” that purchases over 60% of all residential loans in the U.S. It is highly likely that the loan that will be used to purchase your Woodlea Manor home will be sold to Fannie Mae.
In order to protect their portfolio, Fannie has instituted the most extensive review process of appraisals in their history. As of January, Fannie Mae is selecting and ranking the comparable sales most similar to the subject property. If the appraisal does not include these sales, the loan will be flagged as a “high risk.”
Why is this troubling for Woodlea Manor home owners whether you are selling your home or not? A computer program analyzes the comparables, and based on distance, may choose sales in Greenway Farms or Country Club. Are sales in these neighborhoods accurate indicators of value for homes in Woodlea Manor? In my opinion, no! In order to accurately evaluate values in Woodlea Manor, any lending institution or Government Sponsored Enterprise, must use more than a computer program to determine what is a comparable. Maybe someday these computer programs will be sophisticated enough to know the difference between a home on Meade Drive that is in Woodlea Manor, and another home on Meade Drive that is in Greenway Farm. Unfortunately we are not at that point yet. The only way to know these subtle differences is if you spend a good deal of time studying these the markets in Leesburg. Even appraisers who are from West Virginia or Maryland, won’t completely understand the Woodlea Manor market.
As neighbors, we all benefit when homes in Woodlea Manor sell for fair market value and are not driven artificially low by the Fannie Mae review process. The best way to do this is to understand the Fannie Mae underwriting standards and to be able to fully support the valuation of the property. I wouldn’t expect a home owner to understand these guidelines nor even a Realtor. The guidelines are extensive and involve providing supportable evidence of a valuation. Understanding these guidelines is the first step towards achieving a favorable appraisal for your Woodlea Manor home.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having a market expert meet the appraiser at the time of the inspection. Any appraiser, especially one who is not local, will be faced with difficulties navigating the numerous Fannie Mae guidelines. Major problems, however, can be avoided. As a Realtor representing my clients, I am committed to meeting the appraiser for the inspection. I discuss some of the unique challenges that Woodlea homes may face, and offer solutions to avoid Fannie Mae “red flags.”
Even if you are already working with an agent, give me a call. I’d be glad to help you through this process. Like I said, I have a vested interest in seeing your Woodlea home sell for what it’s worth and not a penny less!
If you would like to learn more about Woodlea Manor and what its like to live in the neighborhood you can read more about it on my website page dedicated soley the neighborhood. You can also visit the Woodlea Manor community page which contains some useful information about the neighborhood.
If you are interested in seeing some homes that are currently on the market in Woodlea Manor, you can see those here. I’ve lived in the in neighborhood since 1997. I’ve sold many of the homes here and have appraised even more, so I’m a bit biased in my belief that it is one of the nicest planned communities in Loudoun County. Feel free to call, text, or email me anytime. I’m always available to discuss the Woodlea Manor real estate market or even the general real estate market here in Northern Virginia.