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How long will parts of your home last?

It’s just a matter of time before everything breaks down. But being aware of how long you can expect your household items to last will allow you to plan for repairs and replacements. Luckily, we don’t have to guess. The folks over at International Association of Home Inspectors have done the research for us. They have a very comprehensive list, and we’ll go over the highlights below.

Gas range: 15 to 17 years
Electric range: 13 to 15 years

In addition to lasting longer, gas ranges are three times more energy efficient than electric. Some consumers don’t appreciate they’re run off fossil fuel, though it’s less than 3% of household natural gas use in the U.S.

9 to 13 years

A quality fridge can last up to 20 years, but generally people find they start seeing signs of wear around 10 years. See the nine most obvious signs you’ll need a new fridge.

9 years

Some brands claim their units last up to 20 years. Regardless of the brand, to get the most life out of your dishwasher you need to clean it. Wash the filter, remove trapped bits of food, use a dishwasher cleaner, or just run the clean cycle regularly.

Sliding glass patio door
20 years

They let in lots of sunshine, bring the outdoors in, and they’re a staple in modern home designs. Sliding glass patio doors, with their floor to ceiling windows, are beautiful additions to a home. Find out how to keep yours securely locked with these tips.

8 to 10 years

Consider yourself lucky if your carpet lasts more than a decade. One of the first signs it’s time to update your flooring is that it begins to matte down in high traffic areas. There’s not much you can do to fix it once that happens. Before it mattes down, follow these tips to keep it looking as good as possible.

Wood flooring
100+ years

Every 5 to 10 years, you’ll have to re-coat or fully refinish your floors to keep them looking beautiful. Beyond that, the floors will last longer than your lifetime. If you need tips on finding the hardest and most durable wood floors, check out this helpful post.

Vinyl flooring
25 years

Vinyl flooring is having a real revival. It’s easier to install and more affordable than wood or tile. There are plenty of designs to choose from: wood, metal, or concrete styles. For a bold look, retro-patterned vinyl flooring can look incredible. See some fun retro kitchen ideas you could create using vinyl flooring.

Garage doors
25 years

How long yours will last depends largely on how often it’s used. After 10,000 open/close cycles (that’s four times daily for 6-7 years) you’ll want to replace your springs. Beyond that, your door’s lifespan is based on its quality, the climate, and how well it’s maintained.

Carbon monoxide: 5 years
Smoke/heat: less than 10 years

Make sure you change the battery every year, but the units themselves have a slightly longer lifespan. If your detector is beeping, address it right away. Each beep pattern means something a little different. Find out what they mean here.

Toilet: 100+ years

Tank components: 5 With good care, toilets will last as long as your house. But if you’ve got a toilet manufactured prior to 1980, you might want to get a newer unit. They use 5 to 8 gallons per flush. A newer unit built after 1992 uses only 1.6 gallons per flush – a savings of 9.1 gallons per day per toilet.

With interest rates staying low, now is a great time for a renovation loan to update items that are starting to show their age. Find out more about renovation loans and how much the most common renovations cost.

Housing market update: August 2021

Home prices went down this month nationwide with the median price of $361,800 ($12,600 less than in May). Overall 676,000 houses were sold and 353,000 new homes are available (source). See below for more home and mortgage stats from June 2021.

How much does it cost to buy a house?
It’s incredibly hard to find any homes listed under $150,000. In fact, there are three times more $750,000+ houses available than homes priced $150,000 – $199,000. Home prices vary greatly by region, but nationally, home prices since last June have increased (8.62%).


How long are houses staying on the market?
June 2021 had an average of 14 days on the market – the lowest it’s been all year. If we figure each house spends 10-ish days in inspection, appraisal, and completing contingencies, that means a house was on the market an average of four days before it moved to pending.

The number of days between when a home was listed on the market until the seller signed a contract for the sale of the property.

How long it takes to close a home loan
If we just look at purchase loans, it took Mann Mortgage an average of 43 days to close a loan. That’s 6 days faster than the national average of 49. Overall, loans are taking a little longer to close than they did in June 2020.

This is the time it takes from the loan application to its funding.

Interest rate on a mortgage
It’s not as low as it was a few months ago, but interest rates continue to be historically low. August 1 saw an average of 2.77% on a 30-year fixed loan, which is still incredibly low.


Homes under construction
In June, 111,100 privately-owned housing unit permits were issued. That’s the highest it’s been in the past 12 months. One-unit houses are still the most popular with 5+ unit houses still representing a large portion of new builds.


If you have any questions about the market or wonder what your interest rate might be, reach out to your local Mann Mortgage lender. They can give you the scoop on your local market and what you can do to pay off your mortgage faster, reduce your interest rate, or find a new home for your next step in life.

What is a home equity line of credit?

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) uses the equity you’ve built in your home as collateral to get an additional loan. Since you’re using your home as collateral, lending institutions generally are able to offer much more favorable interest rates than you would get from an unsecure borrowing source (like a credit card company).  

Home much money can you get from a HELOC?
Each lending institution has different guidelines that dictate how much they can lend you. Their guidelines are usually based on your loan-to-value ratio (LTV), which is the amount of principal on your mortgage compared to your home’s appraised value. Most often, you’ll need at least 20% equity in your home (which is a LTV of 80%) to qualify. As example, if your home’s current value is $300,000 and the remaining balance on your mortgage is $250,000, you would have an LTV of 83%. For many lending institutions, you would not qualify for a HELOC.  

However, if your home’s current value is $300,000 and the remaining balance on your mortgage is $175,000, your LTV would be 57.9% and you would normally qualify for a HELOC for up to 80% of the equity in your home. In this example, you may have access to $65,000. 

Be aware that many lenders won’t give you a HELOC for less than $25,000.  

How do you get the cash?
Much like a credit card, you’ll have a revolving line of credit available. You can access your funds through an online transfer, a check, or a credit card. As you borrow more from your line of credit, your payments will increase though the rate of interest will remain the same.  

When do you have to pay back your HELOC funds?
Even if you get a HELOC, you don’t have to use the funds. As long as your lender doesn’t require you to do minimum draws, it could be a good source of emergency cash or a temporary safety net. If you do need to use the cash, the interest rates are lower than the rates tied to credit cards. 

The benefits of a HELOC
Even if you get a HELOC, you don’t have to use the funds. As long as your lender doesn’t require you to do minimum draws, it could be a good source of emergency cash or a temporary safety net. If you do need to use the cash, the interest rates are lower than the rates tied to credit cards.

The cons of a HELOC
The rate on your HELOC might fluctuate, and if it goes too high, you may have a hard time paying off your interest. Furthermore, your lender may decide to reduce your line of credit if your home’s value takes a drastic dip. And, don’t forget your overall debt load will increase with a HELOC or any other second mortgage.

Alternatives to a HELOC
One potential alternative is a cash-out refinance, which you could also use to pay for a home renovation or to pay off credit card bills.

>> Learn more about a cash-out refinance.

Is a HELOC right for you?
If you have enough equity built into your home and need cash for a home improvement, to cover medical bills, to pay off credit cards, or to sustain your lifestyle after losing a job, a HELOC might be a great solution. To find your home’s current value and how much you could get from a HELOC, contact your local Mann Mortgage expert today.

6 things you shouldn’t do when you’re pre-approved for a mortgage

Just because you’re pre-approved for a loan doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get final approval on your loan. When your offer has been accepted and it’s time to begin closing on your loan, your mortgage lender is going to take another detailed look at your credit history, assets, income, and FICO score. You want to make sure you look just as good as you did the day you got pre-approved. How can you do that?  

  1. Don’t miss payments

They’re going to see whether you’ve been late or missed any payments on your credit cards or loans since you were pre-approved. Just one 30-day late payment can negatively impact your credit report by many points. Make sure you have all your medical bills, parking tickets, and utility bills up-to-date and paid too! 

2. Don’t apply for new credit

Applying for new credit will lower your credit score and, if you’re approved, increase your debt-to-income ratio – a key factor lenders consider when you apply for a mortgage. These changes could affect the terms of your loan or get it denied altogether.

3. Don’t change jobs

This might be out of your control, but it’s best to stay with the job you had when you had your loan pre-approval. Switching jobs could signal a change in income, which may impact the amount you’re approved to borrow.

4. Don’t make any large purchases

You might be tempted to start shopping for furniture or appliances for your new home, but you shouldn’t do it. If you put the charges on your credit card, your debt-to-income ratio will change. And if you pay cash, you’ll have less money for a down payment or as an asset. Hold off on any large purchases until you’ve closed on your new home!

5. Don’t make big deposits

Any big cash deposits into one of your accounts prior to your mortgage closing looks fishy to an underwriter. They’re trained to spot evidence of borrowers needing to be gifted money for their mortgage – a clear sign the borrower may default. If it’s inevitable that you’ll have a deposit over $1,000, expect to be able to show the origin of the funds to your mortgage company. Transferring money between your accounts is generally fine.

6. Don’t refinance your loans

Don’t refinance your loans for a lower rate until after your home loan has closed. Refinancing is considered taking out a new line of credit, which isn’t good for someone looking for a mortgage. An established loan you’ve been making regular payments on looks better to mortgage underwriters than a new lower-interest loan you haven’t made many payments on yet.

What SHOULD you do?

Talk to your mortgage expert if you have any question on your current credit score or how your actions will affect your pre-approval. Your local Mann Mortgage branch is dedicated to making your experience both personalized and hassle-free.

How much will your down payment on a house be?

A down payment is a minimum cash payment a buyer makes during the closing process to secure a loan on a home purchase. Down payment requirements vary for different types of loans, and can range from as low as 0% of the total purchase with a VA loan to as much as 20% or more for conventional or jumbo loans. Similar to your mortgage rate, your down payment amount will be determined in large part by your credit score, the purchase price of the home, and the type of loan you and your loan officer determine will help you the most given your circumstances.

The amount you need depends on the type of loan you get. Below are the six most common types of home loan options and their minimum down payment requirements.

Conventional loan
Minimum down: 3%
These loans are used for purchasing a primary residence, secondary home, or investment property. Though you can put down 3%, you will have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). It ranges in cost from 0.55% to 2.25% of the original loan amount per year and is broken down into monthly payments. It ranges in cost from 0.55% to 2.25% of the original loan amount per year and is broken down into monthly payments. Once you own 22% of your home, you can stop paying PMI. You can avoid PMI altogether with a 20% down payment.

FHA loan
Minimum down: 3.5%
Depending on your credit score, you may be able to secure a loan guaranteed by the Fair Housing Administration (FHA) with as little as a 3.5% down payment. FHA loans are available to people with lower credit scores (as low as 500), higher debt-to-income ratio (up to 50%), and with smaller down payments than some conventional loans allow. FHA loans allow the money for a down payment to come from a gift or charitable organization. Borrowers will need to pay an annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) of between 0.45% to 1.05% of the loan amount – this fee will be paid annually but broken down into 12 payments and added to the monthly mortgage bill. If borrowers put down a 10% down payment, they’ll pay MIP for 11 years. If they put down less than 10%, they’ll pay MIP for the lifetime of the loan.

Jumbo loan
Minimum down: 20%
When someone needs a loan for more than conforming loans allow ($548,250 is most states), a jumbo loan is an option. Since they are too large to be guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, qualifications to get this loan are tight and borrowers will need an excellent credit score. A 20% down payment is standard, but some lending institutions may require more.

USDA loan
Minimum down: 0%
These loans are designed to improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. If you’re buying a primary residence in a rural area, you may qualify for a USDA loan. You’ll need a credit score of 640 (though some lenders will offer loans for less) and meet income restrictions for the area you’re buying in. Borrowers will pay an annual fee equal to 0.35% of the loan balance (broken down into 12 monthly payments and added to the mortgage bill) as well as a one-time funding fee of 1% of the loan amount due when the loan closes.

The USDA provides this color-coded map to show which areas they classify as “rural”.

VA loan
Minimum down: 0%
If you’re an active member or veteran of the U.S. military (or a surviving spouse) you may be eligible for a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan. The VA doesn’t set a minimum credit score requirement for VA loan eligibility, but lenders typically will. Normally, it’s around 660, but you’ll need to check with your individual lender to see what their qualifications are. Borrowers will need to pay a one-time funding fee of 1.4% to 3.6% of the loan amount and can be paid upfront or rolled into the loan amount. There are no private mortgage insurance fees associated with a VA loan.

What’s the right down payment for you?
Finding the down payment amount depends on your financial goals, your loan eligibility, and other factors. Work with your loan officer at Mann Mortgage to identify the loan programs you qualify for and to help you decide which is best option for achieving your home buying goals.

Buying a house when you have student loan debt

More than half of all college students have taken on some form of debt in order to pay for their education – mostly through student loans. The average outstanding amount owed? Between $20,000 and $24,999. If you’re among those that have student loan debt, what are your options for getting a home loan?

How Do Lenders Look at Debt?
When issuing credit, lenders biggest concern is whether a borrower will be able to pay the loan back. They use a lot of calculations to figure it out. One of the major ones is to divide the borrowers’ monthly debts by their monthly gross income. This is called a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio.

To get an idea of your debt-to-income ratio, consider the amount you pay each month for your minimum credit card payments, auto loan, rent, mortgage, student loan, and other monthly payments. Keep in mind that lenders will look at what you pay each month, not the total amount you owe. If you have $20,000 in student loan debt and make $200 monthly payments, your lender will use the $200 monthly payments in the calculation. Now, divide the amount you pay each month by your gross monthly income (before taxes and other deductions). This is your debt-to-income ratio.

Generally, lenders want to see, at a minimum, a ratio of 50% or less.

Should You Pay Down Your Student Loans Before Getting a House?
Thinking about waiting to purchase a home until your student loan debts are paid down can feel like putting your life on hold. Whether you should pay off or down your student debt really depends on your unique financial situation. The price of a home ownership far exceeds just the monthly mortgage bill. There’s insurance, property taxes, utilities, maintenance, and plenty of small expenses. On the flip side, making a wise investment in a home could provide you with financial stability in the right real estate market.

Speak openly with your home loan officer to decide whether now is the right time for you to invest in a home. They’ll be able to give you expert advice about your real estate market, interest rates, and financial requirements for loans you may qualify for.

What Home Loans are Available to People with Student Debt?

Many loan options are available to people regardless of the type of debt they have. Some favorites among young borrowers with student loans are conventional, USDA, VA, and FHA loans.

Conventional loans
If you have decent credit and can make a down payment of at least 3.5%, a conventional loan will offer you many great benefits including PMI fees that stop once you reach 22% equity in your home.

USDA loans
If you’re looking to purchase a primary home in an area defined as “rural” by the USDA, a USDA loan is a great choice. Chief among the benefits for those with student loan debt is a 0% minimum down payment and no private mortgage insurance fees.

VA loans
Another great 0% down payment option for those who are former or current members of the U.S. military. VA loans are available to fund the purchase of primary residences only.

FHA loans
If your credit has been diminished by student loan payments, consider an FHA loan. They’re available to borrowers with FICO credit scores as low as 500. You’ll have to make a down payment of 3.5 to 10% depending on your credit score, but it may be a good option to start building financial stability with a home.

Should You Buy A Home Now?
Depending on your financial goals, taking advantage of the low interest rates might be a great choice. Contact your local loan officer to help you make the decision about whether you’re ready for home ownership or if it would be more advantageous to wait.

Mann Mortgage Named one of America’s Best Place to Work by Outside Magazine

Each year, Outside magazine accepts submissions from companies around the U.S. to be included in their prestigious list of Best Places to Work. Outside vets each company’s workplace culture, demographics, work-life balance, and perks of the job. 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.

To be eligible for the award, everyone at Mann Mortgage completed an anonymous survey. They were asked to rate areas such as their relationship with their supervisor, their work environment, their confidence in the leadership team, their role satisfaction, and their pay and benefits. The survey results were 75% of Mann’s total score, and they were high enough to rank us as the #12 Best Place to Work in the US.

This year, a theme among companies that made the Best Place to Work list was embracing the new working environments where social distancing and creative team building are the norm. At Mann, we quickly adapted to working, meeting, and partying remote – 40% of us now work from our home offices. Like many of the companies on the list, we’ve found working remote to be an effective and efficient way to work and we’ll continue to allow it, even once the pandemic is over.

“We’re thrilled that we, a mortgage company, are included in this list of exceptionally innovative companies. These organizations are defining what great corporate culture looks like in this country, and we are honored to be included with them,” said Cassidy O’Sullivan, business executive for Mann Mortgage. “We want Mann to be a positive place where people are excited to come to work and have a voice in the company.”

Mann Mortgage’s positive corporate culture was also recognized by Mortgage Professionals America who gave the company a Top Mortgage Workplace 2020. Of the hundreds of mortgage companies that were nominated, Mann Mortgage was one of only 29 who received the award.

“These awards show our employees do a great job making each other feel welcome, needed, and heard” said company CEO, Jason Mann, “and I’m just so grateful to be part of such an exceptional team.”

Mann Mortgage is based out of a beautiful Kalispell, Montana. We’re always on the lookout for talented and fun-loving people to join our team. Our corporate office hires for positions such as quality control, underwriters, and product specialists. We also have branch offices across the United States that hire loan officers, production assistants, processing agents, mortgage sales managers, and more. You can view and apply for open positions at or email your resume and cover letter to

Inside Mann: Meet Dillon Hilling, a secondary marketing analyst

Everyone at Mann Mortgage has an integral part to play in making it a great place to work and do business. Inside Mann is an opportunity to feature one of our amazing employees.

Dillon Hilling is a Mann Mortgage employee at the Kalispell branch working within the Secondary Marketing department.  He sat down to answer some questions about his experience working in this department as well as some questions not relating to the workplace to learn more about him overall.

Dillon (right) with his girlfriend Lisa (left) and his dog Ella.

Dillon has had a unique experience at Mann because he has worked in multiple departments. “I started through an internship as a loan officer’s assistant with Rob Fleming in Missoula where I learned firsthand what it takes to be a successful originator. After graduating and working elsewhere, I came back to Mann and worked in the construction department where I got to learn the operational side of the mortgage business by closing and funding loans. Now with secondary marketing, I get to see the end of the life cycle by selling loans.” 

When it comes to Dillon’s day to day work life, his days are constantly varying as his workload is determined by the everchanging state of the mortgage market.

Dillon feels as though his efforts are noticed and that he is a valued Mann employee. “I’ve worked for companies that want their employees to act a certain way but don’t do anything to incentivize it. What I really love about Mann is that they want to instill a sales first attitude for everybody, and they are willing to put up an incentive for their employees through the VIB (volume incentive bonus) to make it happen.”

How exactly does Secondary Marketing help provide home loans to borrowers? “The biggest way is helping Loan Officers find solutions to unique scenarios,” Dillon says. “This could be a house built in a non-traditional style, borrowers with no/low/alternative credit, or other extenuating circumstances around the property. Sometimes information like this doesn’t come out until later in the process so we do our best to find a good fit and not let a deal die.”

When not working at Mann, Dillon enjoys golfing, playing video games, and watching sports.

Careers at Mann Mortgage
We’d love for you to join our award-winning team! See Mann Mortgage’s job openings at

Buying a home with challenged credit

Buying a home with bad credit can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Your credit score – whether it’s good or bad – is just one of the factors your home lender will use to decide whether you’re eligible for a loan.

What is a bad credit?
Bad or “low credit” typically means your FICO score is under 600. FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850 and represent how likely you are to pay back a loan. Your score is calculated based on your payment history, amount owed, length of your credit history, new credit, and the mix of credit you have. Your score is used by lending agencies to determine whether you’ll be eligible for a loan and at what interest rate. The closer your score is to 800, the more loan options and lower interest rates you’ll have access to. Lenders tend to define the scores as:

Exceptional: 800+
Very good: 740 – 799
Good: 670 -739
Fair: 580 – 669
Very poor: 300 – 579

To check your credit report annually, you can visit to see what your current FICO score is. It’s free to use once a year and it won’t impact your credit rating.

What’s the minimum credit score needed for a home loan?
There isn’t a universal minimum credit score needed to get a home loan. Instead, each mortgage lender decides the minimum credit score they’ll accept. But when a score is under 600 it’s classified as “subprime” and your loan options drop significantly. A score under 550 is going to have very limited loan options with very high interest rates.

Other factors mortgage companies use
Besides your FICO score, a lender will evaluate how much money you have for a down-payment, how much debt you already have, your credit history, and your income. To increases your chances at getting a loan with bad credit, the best option is to have as large a down payment as you can afford to minimize your risk to the lender.

A potential borrower with a low credit score but a sizeable down payment and a decent credit history is more likely to be approved for a loan than someone with low credit, a small down payment, and no credit history.

How much more will bad credit scores cost in the long run?
Since early 2020, interest rate on mortgages have dropped. Lower mortgage rates mean smaller monthly payments for principal and interest – and a lower cost for the loan over its life. That said, there’s still a big difference between how much someone with good credit will pay compared to someone with a bad credit score.

From the chart below, you can see a borrower with a credit score of 639 will end up paying $95,091 more in interest over the lifetime of the loan than a borrower with a credit score of 760.


What home loans are available to someone with bad credit?
FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and are designed specifically for borrowers with low credit and lower-to-middle income. You’ll need a down payment to qualify for FHA loans, but your mortgage lender may be able to secure a loan through them even if you have a FICO score as low as 500.

The best way to evaluate your loan options is to speak with a local mortgage expert. Based on your financial goals, loan eligibility, and local real estate conditions, they’ll be able to help you find the right loan for your needs.

Why are VA loans 0% down?

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans are available to current and previous U.S. military service members and their spouses for financing a home. The loan is given by an independent mortgage company or bank, and the Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees a portion of the loan will be paid back if the borrower defaults. That guarantee makes VA loans less risky for lenders and it is what allows it to be offered without a down payment requirement by your mortgage lender.

Are VA loans a good deal?
Like all loans, it depends on you and your financial situation. There are some benefits to VA loans that many people may want to take advantage of while other veterans may find a different type of loan works better for them. The chief benefits of a VA loan are:

  1. You don’t need a down payment
  2. You don’t need a perfect credit score
  3. You can have a higher debt-to-income ratio
  4. You don’t need to pay monthly mortgage insurance
  5. There’s no limit to the loan amount
  6. It can be used to purchase a second home with no down payment (it’s called the VA bonus entitlement)

The catch
With all good deals, there’s a catch. For VA loans, you’ll have to pay a small funding fee (2.3% if you put 0% down) to offset the loan program. This is a one-time fee that will be paid at closing or rolled into the mortgage amount (which will increase the monthly payments and interest paid over the life of the loan). This fee is waived for anyone with a service-connected disability.

Should you get a VA loan?
Whether a VA loan is right for you depends on your unique financial situation. If you have money for a down payment, you may be better off getting a different type of loan. Contact your local loan officer and together you can go over your options and pick the best one for you.

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