real estate: Calling Up Your Asset Reserves - 04/11/18 07:12 AM
Calling Up Your Asset Reserves
Whether or not you believe that the United States presently has a "border crisis," I'm sure most of us take comfort in the fact that our country can rely on its reservists to step in where and when needed and lend additional support to our nation's active military.  And it's not too much unlike this in the lending industry when a borrower seeks to obtain some kinds of mortgages --- especially jumbo loans, which have amounts that exceeds the conforming loan limits in any area.
The active military of any loan qualification, in our example above, would be the … (7 comments)

real estate: Be A.G.G.R.E.S.S.I.V.E. with a 5% Down Jumbo Mortgage - 03/29/18 07:39 AM
Be A.G.G.R.E.S.S.I.V.E. with a 5% Down Jumbo Mortgage
I never so much as played a single down of varsity football, but that didn't help me escape the Friday night lights, the pep rallies and late-game chants of the Tigerettes:
Be aggressive!  B.E. aggressive!  B.E. A.G.G. --- R.E.S.S.I.V.E!
Yes, when the game was fiercely competitive, when it seemed the team was down to its last drive, the attitude of everyone needed to change.  The cheerleaders set the gears in motion.  Gone were the soft-touch tactics --- the pom poms needed to come off.  It was time to be aggressive.  We're seeing that it's no different … (3 comments)

real estate: Paying Your Marin County Property Tax Bill - 03/17/18 07:34 PM
Paying Your Marin County Property Tax Bill
As I write this in March of 2018, my very own Marin County property tax bills sit alongside my computer on my desk, awaiting payment of their second installment.  No doubt with the same procrastination exhibited by most fellow Marin County property owners, I still thought it was a ripe opportunity to share some basics on how, when and where to pay our real estate taxes and at the same time avoid the consequences of late payments.
Property Tax Bill Information and Due Dates
Secured property tax bills are mailed in October and payable in two installments:
First installment due date:  November … (1 comments)

real estate: How High Can You Get with 10% Down? - 03/06/18 08:56 PM
How High Can You Get with 10% Down?
First and foremost, let me declare emphatically that I would pass any drug test at any time.  You show up at Casa Spinosa at 4am in the morning, drag me out into your unmarked van, make me tinkle in a cup and take a lock of my graying hair, and you're still not going to find a trace of anything illegal.  Nothing.  Nada.  But I don't know why I have to defend myself when that's not even close to what this post is about...
No, instead, I want to tell you about our 10% down … (3 comments)

real estate: Lock Watch for the Week of 3/5/2018 - 03/03/18 09:28 PM
Lock Watch for the Week of 3/5/2018
High.  No surprise here.  There are enough reports below to make things interesting even if trade wars weren't so easy to win.  
Economicalendar (all times are Pacific):
Mon, 3/5:       ISM Non-Mfg Index (7am).
Tues, 3/6:       Factory Orders (7am.
Weds, 3/7:     ADP Employment (5:15am), International Trade (5:30am) and Productivity and Costs (5:30am).
Thurs, 3/8:    Jobless Claims (5:30am).
Fri, 3/9:         Employment Situation (5:30am).
10-Year Treasury History
2.84%     Today
2.86%     One Week Ago
2.77%     One Month Ago
2.49%     One Year Ago
Fraunces Tavern
In December of 1783, George Washington bid his troops farewell at the Fraunces Tavern in lower … (1 comments)

real estate: Niche Jumbo Mortgage in California - 02/28/18 07:37 AM
Niche Jumbo Mortgage in California
Not all mortgage scenarios in California --- and especially in the high-cost areas we often see in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley and in the greater Los Angeles environs --- fit squarely in "the box."  "The Box" is the narrow definition of what it takes to qualify these days, and for a jumbo mortgage that falls outside of the parameters of a conforming or "government," loan, such as FHA or VA.  When you find yourself outside and looking in, sometimes the best solution is a "niche" mortgage program. 
Now if visions of subprime loans and sky-high rates … (1 comments)

real estate: Lock Watch for the Week of 2/26/2018 - 02/25/18 12:37 PM
Lock Watch for the Week of 2/26/2018
Mid.  I expect the GDP report on Weds to be the week's driver.  Otherwise, we remain in a volatile environment for both stocks and bonds, possibly exacerbated by unpredictability in the political arena.
All times are Pacific:
Mon, 2/26:       New Home Sales (7am) and Dallas Fed Mfg Survey (7:30am).
Tues, 2/27:       Durable Goods (5:30am) and Consumer Confidence (7am).
Weds, 2/28:     GDP (5:30am) and Chicago PMI (6:45am).
Thurs, 3/1:    Jobless Claims (5:30am), PMI Manufacturing Index (6:45am) and ISM Mfg Index (7am).
Fri, 3/2:         Consumer Sentiment (7am).
10-Year Treasury History
2.84%     Today
2.88%     One Week Ago
2.66%  … (3 comments)

real estate: 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 (
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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 1984 - 01/06/18 04:30 PM
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)

real estate: It's 2018. Will I Lose My Tax Deduction if I Refi? - 12/31/17 07:02 AM
It's 2018.  Will I Lose My Tax Deduction if I Refi?
If you're asking this question, I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're experiencing some anxiety right about now.  But no matter how bad it gets, realize things could always be worse.  You could be the Internal Revenue Service and tasked on a couple weeks' notice with retooling your shop to both comprehend and implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  So whether you're a homeowner, a CPA, a Californian, an IRS employee or a blue state Democrat, let's wash down a couple of Xanax with a strong martini … (21 comments)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: Foreigners Have Been Waiting for a Loan Like This - 10/17/17 07:34 AM
Foreigners Have Been Waiting for a Loan Like This
California has both a dynamic and desirable real estate market and in the recent years we've seen an influx of foreign buyers.  Despite the headlines such as, "Chinese Billionaires Snapping Up San Francisco Real Estate with All Cash Offers 150% Over Asking...," I can attest that not every foreign buyer is able to purchase real estate with a Louis Vuitton suitcase bursting full of hard currency.  In fact, many of them seek mortgage financing for any number of valid reasons and when they do, we are often able to help.  
Foreign nationals are citizens … (4 comments)

real estate: Unlocking a HELOC Mystery - 09/26/17 06:58 AM
Unlocking a HELOC Mystery
If you could create a client-facing "tip sheet" for your business, a simple punch list of things to do and not-to-do, what would be on that list?  You know, the items that always seem to fly under the radar of public knowledge and wisdom, but the ones that frequently undermine the best-of-intentioned customers?  I'm sure all of us have this wealth of "insider knowledge" that we'd love to share with the public and, as a result, save them from the misery and inconvenience of being counted among the unfortunate and unsuspecting.
High on my list would be an explanation of … (3 comments)

real estate: All in the Family Opportunity - 09/19/17 07:42 AM
All in the Family Opportunity
I was just trying to help the guy out.  He wanted to refinance his mortgage but his credit scores and debt-to-income ratio prevented him from doing so.  His response was not all that unusual. "This makes no sense!  I'm already paying the higher mortgage so why won't you let me get a lower payment? Do you think I'm going to have trouble making the lower payment?"
Look, I see the logic here.  But I had to explain that the CFPB and our "looking-out-for-the-consumer" regulators have clearly dictated to us lenders what we can and cannot do and if you don't qualify for … (6 comments)

real estate: 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)

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

Email Me

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