california: Toxic is Trending! - 02/06/18 07:07 AM
Toxic is Trending!
 
A brief review at recent environmental headlines says it all:
 
January 31, 2018:  President Mulling Major Cuts to Clean Energy Research (Washington Post)
January 15, 2018:  EPA Loosens Regulations on Toxic Air Pollution (EPA)
January 10, 2018:  Climate Change Websites Censored Under President (Envirodatagov.org)
.....
October 9, 2017:  EPA Poised to Scrap Clean Power Plan (New York Times)
 
The list goes on and on.  So I thought I'd get on the bandwagon and talk a little trash about how toxic loan features, as designated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Financial Reform Act, are making a totally terrific, trending comeback in the world of jumbo mortgage … (2 comments)

california: Lock Watch for the Week of 2/5/2018 - 02/04/18 07:48 AM
Lock Watch for the Week of 2/5/2018
 
The "Lock Watch" began, humbly enough, as an experiment to alert RPM Mortgage's Top 20 loan officers about economic events that could incite volatility in the mortgage market throughout any week.  We didn't want to get blindsided by a bond market sell-off or potential rally that could have significant impact on the rates available to our clients, so early Monday I tried to outline the week ahead with an abbreviated calendar like the one you see below.  Note that I am not an analyst --- hell, I barely made it out of high school.  If … (1 comments)

california: Happenstance, History and Hamilton - 01/28/18 02:05 PM
Happenstance, History and Hamilton
 
A while back, my little boy was attending a birthday celebration for one of his friends at a playground in the Hamilton neighborhood of Novato, CA.  Hamilton was a WWII-era Air Force base and you can still see the remnants of it in some of the Spanish Revival-esque buildings --- a few of which are now in a serious state of disrepair.  Since I had a fairly low tolerance for Frozen and face painting that day, I decided to cut out of the party for a bit and take a short walk.  Ultimately, I found myself peering into the … (6 comments)

california: Never Mind the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Here's the Homebuyers - 01/21/18 05:17 PM
Never Mind the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Here's the Homebuyers
 
Side One:
Mortgage Interest Deduction:  Reduced from $1MM to $750K. Grandfather:  If you have a loan that was originated before 12/15/2017, and your mortgage balance exceeds $750K, you are still able to deduct the interest up to $1MM.  You're grandfathered in, unless... Don't Fear the Refi:  If you refinance a mortgage with a balance above $750K and your loan was originated before 12/15/17 AND via the refi the loan balance does not increase, you will "carry over" your $1MM cap. HELOC'd and Unloaded:  The mortgage interest deduction on home equity lines of … (3 comments)

california: Once Bitcoin, Twice Shy: Can You Buy a Home with Bitcoin? - 01/13/18 03:59 PM
Once Bitcoin, Twice Shy:  Can You Buy a Home with Bitcoin?
 
Let's talk about what this post will NOT cover:
 
How bitcoin works. Whether or not you should invest in bitcoin. Is bitcoin the modern day equivalent of tulip bulbs?  
What will we cover?  
 
Using bitcoin to buy real estate.  In other words, can you use bitcoin for your down payment?  What will a mortgage lender ask for if you obtain a loan for your purchase?  What else do I need to know before I cash out of the investment that's kept me sleepless for the last few months?  
Using Bitcoin to … (2 comments)

california: 1984 - 01/06/18 04:30 PM
1984
 
Look, I realize I should be so lucky to think that someone from the Van Halen camp is going to bust me on a copyright infringement for using the image above.  So if they come a calling, this is what I would tell them:
 
It was 34 years ago today that Van Halen's 1984 "album" was released.  I was a dark-skinned, plenty-awkward eighth-grader settling in for a long Illinois winter.  With no discernible basketball talent, no academic prowess and zero interest from the cute, middle-America girls who hailed from the Arrowhead subdivision and peopled the halls of our junior high, the basement my … (41 comments)

california: Qi's Whiz - 12/23/17 05:41 PM
Qi's Whiz
 
Maybe you're like me and never fully appreciated the flow of energy in your workplace.   Maybe you innately seek out the perceptible over the metaphysical.  So by that logic you're not like the ancient Chinese who followed feng shui and understood that "Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water."  Maybe you're also not like the ancient Egyptians, who somehow encoded geometric magic into the Great Pyramid, with its dimensions  that "square the circle." 
 
So, I guess we could be considered skeptics.  And as luck would have it and the fall of the calendar would dictate, I … (6 comments)

california: Your DTI Is High and It Will Be Alright - 12/16/17 08:41 AM
Your DTI Is High and It Will Be Alright
 
You might have been lured into reading this blog post under the false assumption that I'd be discussing the controversial subject of financing cannabis-related businesses and property.  Well, you can let that notion go up in smoke.  Instead, we're going to talk about the ways you can get a great jumbo mortgage in California if your debt-to-income ratio (also known as "DTI") is higher than Jeff Spicoli at 4:20pm.  OK, dude, not really, but we are going to address the ways you can get a decent home loan with a very competitive rate … (1 comments)

california: The Older I Get The More I Conform - 12/10/17 08:40 AM
The Older I Get The More I Conform
 
If you know me, you know that I don't like to stick to convention.  I was the teenager who skipped college, moved to Hollywood and played rock guitar.  In my 20's, I saved up vacation time not for sandy white beaches but instead for expeditions to the harsh mountain environs of the world's highest peaks.  In my 30's, I dove (literally) into the sport of triathlon --- an endeavor, to quote my Aunt Marge, that would be something she'd "rather die a thousand deaths" before contemplating.  When I come to the fork in the road where … (6 comments)

california: Fruitcakes, French Hens, Furs or (Gift) Funds? - 12/05/17 05:59 PM
Fruitcakes, French Hens, Furs or (Gift) Funds?
 
It's that time of year again when holiday gift giving is on everyone's mind.  But you know me, compulsive mortgage professional, I want to focus on  but a single aspect of the loan process --- gift funds --- this same form of largesse that is received by a fortunate few for the purchase of a home.  As we go into the holiday season, I want us all to keep in mind that right behind Santa's sleigh is Auld Lang Syne.  And when we're talking tax implications for gift funds, this can matter.
 
Now next year, 2018, all bets … (4 comments)

california: Gratitude, Like Revenge & Cranberry Sauce, Is a Dish Best Served Cold - 11/24/17 08:05 AM
Gratitude, Like Revenge & Cranberry Sauce, Is a Dish Best Served Cold
 
It's Black Friday weekend.  The perfect time to either cool it for a minute, sit back to reflect on Thanksgiving and all for which we're grateful OR to rush hotly into the consumer fray, trample your fellow man and take the win-at-all-costs fight to retail America.  This black and white contrast put into light the bright color of the year that is fast coming to a close and some of the very personal experiences I've shared with our clients, many of whom became homeowners for the first time in 2017.
 
Specifically, I reflected on how … (3 comments)

california: I'm Returning Your Love Letter to Sender - 11/12/17 06:00 PM
I'm Returning Your Love Letter to Sender
 
Some buyers will try anything to increase their odds of getting into contract and tugging the heart strings of the seller whose home has set their hearts aflutter.  One of the most popular tools for this job is the so-called "love letter."  A love letter from potential buyer to seller typically fires its opening salvo along these sights:
 
"Dear Seller, we knew from the minute we walked in the door..."
 
As a mortgage lender in California, and even more so here in the highly-competitive San Francisco Bay Area, many of the best real estate agents with whom we … (47 comments)

california: The Perfectly Smooth Blend of Customer Service - 11/05/17 01:36 PM
The Perfectly Smooth Blend of Customer Service
 
Some of my mornings get behind schedule more quickly than I'd like to admit.  There are days when the obligations of child care and my non-negotiable self-pact to exercise will have me in a mad scramble to get to the office before the stress load becomes difficult for my team to handle without my involvement.  On those days I will sometimes stop at my neighborhood Jamba Juice on the way down to the office. 
 
Now the Jamba staff would likely not confuse me for a "regular," but as you have probably experienced, even somewhat routine visits to a … (5 comments)

california: 20% Down? Ain't That a Shame... - 10/28/17 06:48 AM
20% Down? Ain't That a Shame...
 
Last week, with the passing of Fats Domino, we lost a rock 'n' roll legend and pioneer.
 
But nearly every week we (me and my team and you, as real estate agents with your teams) lose transactions simply because of the unquestioned and untested myth that every buyer needs to bring in at least a 20% down payment, especially here in California where many of our home prices require loans that exceed the conventional and FHA loan limits.  In addition to simply not recognizing that many great programs exist in order to accommodate a 10% down payment on a … (4 comments)

california: Don't Get Tricked by the 4506 - 10/24/17 08:54 PM
Don't Get Tricked by the 4506
 
What better time of year than Halloween to talk about being tricked?  One of the ways unsuspecting borrowers can fall prey to one of the worst tricks in the mortgage business is to run into issues with IRS Form 4506T.  This form, which can be found HERE, allows a third party, such as a mortgage lender, to request a transcript of your tax return. 
 
And request it we will!  Any time we have a "fully documented" loan, which is the vast majority of cases, we'll make sure that what the borrower shows us on his tax returns is the same … (19 comments)

california: An Inch from Success - 10/03/17 08:03 AM
An Inch from Success
 
My 5-year old has an uncanny ability to teach me lessons.  I'm going to get to that in a minute but you first have to understand my great disappointment when he would just flat refuse to ride his new bike.  Now I have to sidetrack us just a bit.  This bruiser of a mountain bike is not your ordinary $69.99 Toys 'R' Us two-wheeler.  This one has the fat tires, the suspension forks, the disc brakes and the seven gears that are all, admittedly, way overkill for a pre-schooler whose weight is teetering below the 50th percentile.  No … (26 comments)

california: Six Business Lessons Rescued from the Ironman Swim - 09/10/17 08:27 AM
Six Business Lessons Rescued from the Ironman Swim
 
Imagine yourself  standing on a beach at 6:55am.  The cool dawn envelopes your senses and the damp sand to which your toes clutch feels like your only shelter.  You are wearing a wetsuit, goggles and a swim cap, and though you are sharing your experience with about 2000 others, little comfort is to be found in their camaraderie.  Over the next 5 minutes your heart will settle higher and more squarely in the back of your throat until a cannon blast will signal the start of your journey, a "race" beginning with a swim … (45 comments)

california: What Happens When You Flip-Flop On Your Home's Listing? - 09/06/17 06:03 AM
What Happens When You Flip-Flop On Your Home's Listing?
 
Oh how we love to skewer our politicians for their changes of heart and mind:
 
"I was for the Iraq war before I was against it." 
 
Or:
 
"Read my lips.  No new taxes." 
 
Or, better still:
 
"You're going to have such great health care, at a fraction of the cost, and it will be so easy."
 
So once your raucous laughter dies down, let's think about what happens when a homeowner lists a house for sale, then, for whatever reason, changes his mind and takes the property "off the market?"  We'll assume this owner contemplates two scenarios from there:
 
(3 comments)

california: Can I Use RSU Income to Qualify for a Mortgage? - 08/16/17 06:07 AM
Can I Use RSU Income to Qualify for a Mortgage?
 
Way back in 1997, Jeff Bezos set forth his bold business plan for Amazon, with proviso #9 reading:  "We will hire and retain the best people and we will not pay them with cash."  Wait.  What???
 
So I guess it's no longer any secret that many technology professionals are compensated with Restricted Stock Units, also known as “RSUs.”  And here at the epicenter of the high tech world, namely the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area, we see a lot of paystubs and verification of employment forms (“VOE”) that include base pay, … (22 comments)

california: Taking or Shoving a Job? Call Me First - 07/11/17 07:01 AM
Taking or Shoving a Job?  Call Me First
 
The "me" in this title is figurative, of course, and the concept we're going to cover is broad in scope.  And no, I really don't want to hear about your new job and its benefits; the free hot yoga classes and unlimited fair trade organic tea and gluten-free snack bar.  But the concept I do wish to cover has relevance in many other areas of our lives and, hopefully, what I'm about to say will help a homeowner or home buyer save an otherwise strong mortgage application from an unsuspecting, unexpected and undesired demise somewhere down … (4 comments)

 
Rob Spinosa, Vice President of Mortgage Lending, Marin County (Guaranteed Rate, Marin County, CA) Rainmaker large

Rob Spinosa

Vice President of Mortgage Lending, Marin County

San Anselmo, CA

More about me…

Guaranteed Rate, Marin County, CA

Address: 324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA, 94960

Office: (415) 367-5959

Mobile: (415) 367-5959

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