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Conforming loan limits for 2022

When applying for a mortgage, one of the most popular options is a conforming loan. These loans are called “conforming” because they conform to the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federally-backed home mortgage companies created by the U.S. Congress to boost homeownership.

What do Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have to do with your home loan?
These entities exist only to support the U.S. mortgage system. They don’t originate loans. Instead, after a loan has been issued, one of the entities will buy the loan from the lender if it meets their criteria. This is an important part of the mortgage market because it allows lenders to sell loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and use the cash raised to engage in further lending.

For a loan to be purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the borrower generally needs:

  • A good credit score
  • A debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less
  • At least 3% down payment
  • A loan amount that’s equal to or less than the conforming loan limit

2022 conforming loan limits
Each year, the Federal Housing Agency decides what the conforming loan limit is. As houses become more expensive, the limits increase. In 2022, the amount increased substantially for all units.

https://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/FHFA-Announces-Conforming-Loan-Limits-for-2022.aspx

­­Base limit: This is the maximum loan amount for homes in most areas of the United States.

High-cost limit: This is the maximum loan amount for homes in high-cost markets such as parts of Alaska, Hawaii, California, and Washington, D.C.

Units: The number of housing units per building.

More >> Check what the conforming loan limit is where you live.

Because conforming loans can be re-sold, they’re not as risky for lenders and often have favorable terms for borrowers. Savvy home buyers will keep their loan amount within the conforming loan limits so they have an easier time securing their loan, they’ll have more relaxed requirements, and their rates will probably be better.

If you’re looking for a conventional 15 or 30-year loan (as most people are), you may want to consider keeping the loan amount under the loan limit in order for it to be a conforming loan.

When you need a bigger loan – consider a jumbo loan
If the limits won’t get you a home you’re interested in buying, you could look into a jumbo loan. Jumbo loans won’t be purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, so they don’t need to conform to their loan limits – meaning you can get more money. If you have a strong credit score and low debt-to-income ratio, you may find a lender willing to extend one to you.

However, jumbo loans come with some disadvantages. They have stricter qualification rules, require a sizable down payment (sometimes 20% or more), and normally have a higher interest rate. For those reasons, a lot of homebuyers try to avoid them by finding a home that will keep them within the conforming loan limits.

To see whether you’ll be eligible for a conforming home loan, contact your local Mann Mortgage home lender. Together, they’ll help you crunch the numbers to see what type of loan would be best for you.

Outside Magazine says Mann Mortgage is one of the best places to work in the US

Mann Mortgage earned a place on Outside magazine’s 50 Best Places to Work in 2021, making this the second year in a row we’ve made the list. We are the only mortgage company or home loan provider to be included. We were recognized for our benefits, work-life balance, job satisfaction, and trust in our leadership. This honor was announced on the heels of being named a Top Mortgage Workplace by MPA just weeks ago.

“Making Mann Mortgage a great place to work and do business is our priority no matter what. Since January 1 of 2020, we went from just 25 remote or hybrid employees to 185 today. That’s 40% of our workforce now working outside the office,” says Jason Mann, CEO. “Our employees made this big adjustment, stayed true to our core values, and kept Mann Mortgage a great place to work. I find that inspiring! For Outside to find it inspiring too and include us among their list of incredible organizations again this year is a great honor.”

Outside accepts submissions from companies around the U.S. to be included in their prestigious list of Best Places to Work. Each company’s workplace culture, demographics, work-life balance, and perks of the job are evaluated. In addition, they do an extensive anonymous survey with current employees to get their take on the work environment. Only those companies that excel in both areas – providing excellent company benefits and getting great reviews from employees – make it to the list of 50 Best Places to Work.

“We are spoiled in unique ways,” said one employee. “From getting our birthday off to $100 meal reimbursement on our work anniversary, we feel supported in and out of work.”

Mann Mortgage employs just under 500 people across the United States. In addition to traditional benefits, we offer our diverse team a variety of non-traditional benefits that add to our award-winning cultures. A few highlights include a bonus incentive, happy hours, lifestyle reimbursement program, onsite fitness center with classes, company gatherings, and a healthy wellness plan.

“This award is a great reminder that our employees are happy. They work hard, support each other, and have fun along the way,” said Tara Tucker, HR manager. “We want Mann to be a positive place where people are excited to come to work and have a voice in the company.”

We’re hiring

Mann Mortgage is always on the lookout for talented and fun-loving people to join our corporate and branch teams. We hire for positions such as loan originators, processors, quality control, underwriters, and construction loan specialists. You can view and apply for open positions at mannmortgage.com/careers or email your resume and cover letter to jobs@mannmortgage.com.

Mann Mortgage again named a Top Mortgage Workplace by MPA

Mann Mortgage has again been recognized for its extraordinary work culture, earning a spot on the Mortgage Professionals America (MPA) 2021 Top Mortgage Workplace list. This is the third year in a row the hometown lender has joined the handful of distinguished mortgage companies from around the country.

“Our employees are what make this an incredible place to work. They’re the heart and soul of the Mann family,” says Mann Mortgage’s CEO, Jason Mann. “They are excelling at both helping people in their community find a great mortgage and making Mann Mortgage a healthy and fun workplace.”

To receive the award, Mann Mortgage had to provide MPA compelling data on their compensation, benefits, initiatives, diversity, and workplace culture. In addition, employees were asked to complete an anonymous survey to see how they felt about their opportunities and experience at Mann Mortgage. Only the mortgage workplaces where the company provides great benefits and initiatives and the employees give the culture high-marks will win the award.

“It all comes down to our workplace culture,” says chief strategy officer, Cassidy O’Sullivan, of the win. “Instead of a top-down approach of management talking down to employees, we have an open dialogue. Loan officers can talk directly to upper management. It’s a win-win. Loan officers feel heard and management gets a pulse on what’s going on in the local markets.”

MPA uncovers the absolute best workplaces in mortgage for the annual Top Mortgage Employer report. All companies, from large national mortgage brokerages to local regional agencies, are encouraged to submit their application for the award. Winners are recognized based on the evaluation of metrics including their culture, benefits, employee development, and more – solidifying their standing as a mortgage employer of choice.

Over the past two years, Mann Mortgage has been ranked a best place to work by multiple national and regional organizations including #12 Best Place to Work by Outside magazine, #1 Top Workplace in Montana, a Top Workplace in the USA, a Top Workplace in Oregon, as well as numerous other awards.

For more information about joining the Mann Mortgage team visit our careers page.

5 tax deductions homeowners can use

One of the perks of being a homeowner is getting to use your home for tax deductions. Tax deductions reduce how much you pay in taxes by lowering your taxable income.

When filing your annual taxes, you can use standard or itemized deductions. Standard deductions are a set amount deducted from your adjusted gross income based on factors like your marital status, filing status, and age. For the 2022 tax year, it ranges from $12,950 to $25,900.

Itemized deductions allow you to manually add each item you’d like to deduct from your adjusted gross income.

If you use itemized instead of claiming the standard deduction, you can take advantage of the following homeowner deductions:

Mortgage interest
Depending on the type of mortgage you have and the way you file your taxes, you may be able to deduct interest payment on your mortgage, home equity loans, and lines of credit (if they were used to buy, build, or improve your home). The amount may vary, but for the 2022 tax year you can deduct up to $750,000 in mortgage interest.

Real estate taxes
You can deduct the real estate taxes you paid for your primary residence, co-apartment, vacation home, or land.

Mortgage points
The year you purchase mortgage points, the full amount you paid can be an itemized deduction. If you can’t deduct the points in the year you bought them, you may still be able to deduct them over the life of the loan.

Mortgage insurance
For the 2022 tax year, the amount you paid for private mortgage insurance premiums (or mortgage insurance premiums for FHA-baked loans) can be an itemized deduction. However, your loan must have been taken out after January 1, 2007 to qualify.

Energy-efficient improvements
Renewable energy tax credits are available for both existing and new construction primary and secondary homes. To see a full list of credits, visit energy.gov.

BONUS: Possible first-time homebuyer credits
This isn’t a tax credit, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re considering buying a home for the first time. If coming up with a down payment is keeping you from becoming a home buyer, keep an eye out for the proposed First-time Homebuyer Act. It’s a bill that, if passed into law, gives eligible first-time homebuyers up to a $15,000 credit.

Another bill is the Downpayment Towards Equity Act of 2021 which is a first-generation homebuyers grant of up to $25,000 to use towards down payment, closing costs, mortgage interest rate reduction, and other home purchase expenses.

Talk to your loan officer about the status of these bills and whether you’re eligible for them (some are retroactive so you may be eligible even after your home purchase) or other assistance programs.

Next steps
The above list will give you an idea of some of the tax benefits available to homeowners. At Mann Mortgage, we’re home loan experts, not tax pros. If you have any questions about your taxes, be sure to work with a local tax professional.

There are a lot of financial benefits for home ownership. If you’re interested in finding out how your current home or new home can best benefit your financial goals, give us a call. We’ll crunch the numbers together and find the right mortgage program for you.

Understanding VA loan appraisals

When you purchase a home using a VA loan, the property will have to go through an appraisal by a VA-certified appraiser before the loan will go forward. If you are planning on getting a VA loan, here’s what you’ll need to know.

It’s not a complete inspection
An appraisal is a quick review of the property. It ensures the home is worth what you’re paying and it meets MPR (minimum property requirements) for the loan and lender guideline. The appraisal isn’t as stringent as a full inspection. It won’t go through mechanical system and equipment checks that a home inspector would do. Because of that, it’s a good idea to get a full inspection as well.

What the appraisal looks for
Generally, the appraiser makes sure the home is safe, structurally secure, and healthy to live in. You can read the full guidelines, but they cover areas such as:

  • Does the property have safe and adequate pedestrian or vehicular access from the road?
  • Does the property comply with all applicable zoning ordinances?
  • Does the property have an adequate sewage disposal system of sufficient size?
  • Is the property free of lead-based paint?
  • Is the residential structure located outside of high voltage electric transmission line easements?
  • Is the property free of wood destroying insects, fungus, and dry rot?

VA appraisal timeline
The VA sets loose requirements for how long the appraisal should take. It varies per area. But, in general, they’re done in 10 days.

The cost
Depending on where you’re buying and the number of units in the building, appraisals range from $450 to $1,200. The cost per area is noted on the VA loan fee schedule.

If the home needs repairs
This is where VA loans become a little tricky and it’s why there’s been hesitancy among some sellers in accepting offers financed through a VA loan. If the home needs repairs, as a buyer you can’t negotiate the price or get a seller’s credit at closing. The repairs must be completed by the seller for the transaction to go through. And, depending on the type of repair or the location of the home, it might take a long time to complete. So, as a seller, they know if any repairs are needed they will have to complete them and it gives the buyer a chance to walk away from the purchase.

If the home you’re interested in needs repairs, here are your options:

  1. Ask the seller to complete repairs
    If your seller agrees to do the repairs, once they’re done another appraisal will need to be completed. Just be aware that some repairs may take a long time to complete.
  2. Ask for another appraisal
    You could either challenge the report or petition the VA for another appraisal if you feel there was an error.
  3. Walk away from the purchase
    If your appraisal unearths repairs, you have the ability to walk away from the purchase. You’ll still have to pay the cost of the appraisal, but that’s all.

If the home appraises too low
Asking the seller to lower the price is the most common, but it’s not the only option you have.

  1. Ask for another appraisal
    If you think there’s an error on the appraisal you can challenge the report by ask for a ROV (reconsideration of value) or additional sales data from comparable homes in your area.
  2. Pay the difference in cash
    If you’re able to, you can get the VA loan for the appraised value and pay the additional cost in cash. Just be cautious because you may be overpaying for the home.
  3. Ask the seller to lower the home’s price
    The seller may be willing to lower the price to match what it appraised at.

Start with a VA loan expert
When you’re considering a VA loan (they are a great option for some veterans!), be sure to start by going over the pros and cons with a local home lender and VA loan expert. They will guide you through the loan process and make sure you’re getting the best loan for your financial goals.

Renovation and construction loans shine in a sellers’ market

All across the country, home buyers are struggling to purchase a new house. When we see what’s happening in the market, it’s easy to see why:

Average changes in October 2020 vs October 2021
Inventory is down – 21.9% fewer homes on the market
Homes are selling faster – 8 days less on the market
Home prices are increasing – 16.7% more expensive

It’s a sellers’ market almost everywhere. Some metro areas are even more competitive than others. Austin-Round Rock, Texas has seen a 8.1% decline in active listings while prices increased 32.5% in the last year. Las Vegas, Nevada shows a 6.1% decrease in active listings and a 27.2% median listing price increase – plus new listings are on the market 10 fewer days than they were in October 2020.

Consider this as well – Many homeowners took advantage of low interest rates to refinance their homes in 2020. If rates continue to increase, will inventory remain low? Will homeowners want to sell a home they negotiated such a low interest rate for?

Don’t give up hope on getting a new home
It’s hard, but not impossible to get an offer accepted on a home. Work with your local home lender to make sure you’re able to put in an offer that’s fair, competitive, and in your budget.

And if that doesn’t work? Then it’s time to look into a building or renovating a home!

Construction loans
They’re short-term (usually 12 to 18 months) loan used for the materials and labor needed to construct a home. Sometimes, the funds are also used to purchase the lot the house will be built upon. The interest rate for a construction loan is typically around 1% higher than mortgage rates, but they are variable. So, the rate may change throughout the loan term.

To make the loan even easier, you can select a one-time close. That means you’ll get approved to finance both construction and mortgage for your new home at the same time. After construction is complete, your loan automatically becomes a traditional mortgage. There is one loan and one closing.

Smaller lenders, like Mann Mortgage, can offer construction loans with much lower down payments than big banks.

>> Answers to the most common construction loan questions

Renovation loans
Renovation loans can be used two ways: to buy and fix a new home or to refinance and update your current one.

Savvy buyers will use a renovation loan to purchase an ugly house that’s lingering on the market, then use the additional funds to renovate it to make it what they want.

Shopping in a sellers’ market is stressful. Rather than burning yourself out searching for a home, use a renovation loan to update the home you’ve already got. Renovation loans can fund remodels, surface updates, and additions to your current home. It’s a great way to get an updated home without having the pressure of competing with other buyers.

>> Which renovation loan is right for you?

Mann Mortgage receives two more workplace and mortgage awards

Mann Mortgage announced today they have been named the #1 Top Workplace in Montana for large companies by Lee Enterprises. This comes weeks after they were named one of the country’s Top Mortgage Lenders by Scotsman Guide.

These awards mark the fifth and sixth distinction for the company in 2021. Mann Mortgage was recently named a national Top Workplace of 2021 by Energage, one of the 10 Best Financial Lenders of 2021 by Industry Era, a Flathead Employer of Choice, and a Top Mortgage Workplace by Mortgage Professional America.

“I’m blown away by what our people at Mann Mortgage are able to accomplish. We’re helping thousands of people in our communities buy, build, and refinance homes – and we’re having fun doing it!” says Jason Mann, CEO of Mann Mortgage. “Our culture is all about working together to help more Americans own homes. Everyone at Mann is valued for their contribution towards our goal. And it’s really rewarding to keep being recognized for how well we’re doing it.”

Lee Enterprises offers a Top Workplace recognition for companies based in Montana. Of the 758 companies invited to participate, 21 were given an award. Winners were chosen based solely on employee feedback gathered through an anonymous engagement survey. The questions covered the company’s values, innovation, direction, meaningfulness, interdepartmental cooperation, and more. In addition to being ranked the #1 overall Top Workplace in Montana, Mann Mortgage won two additional distinctions for their values and direction.

Scotsman Guide annually ranks mortgage lenders across the country to identify those companies who were most successful at offering home mortgages, refinances, and other types of loans. This year, 100 companies made this year’s list of Top Mortgage Lenders, and Mann Mortgage is proud to have made the cut.

Mann Mortgage has 10 locations in Montana, branches spread across the country, and many remote work opportunities. See the current openings at mannmortgage.com/careers.

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