california: Marin County Vote by Mail Ballot Drop-Off Locations - 10/18/20 08:54 AM
Marin County Vote by Mail Ballot Drop-Off Locations
This election cycle, there has been much disinformation propagated about voting by mail, and in an effort to help fellow community members arrive at the truth, I am providing below the drop-off locations as an additional way to submit your ballot prior to November 3.  To receive an absentee ballot, you must have first registered online.  Once you've received and completed your ballot you can mail it back or drop it off.  At any time, if you need help or additional information, you can access it at
San Rafael
Albert J. Boro Community Center, 50 Canal … (1 comments)

california: 10% Down Payment Mortgage - 04/05/20 08:39 AM
10% Down Payment Mortgage
But I don’t get it. 2020 started just like the many of the years that preceded it. Sure, there was a seasonal slowdown in home buying activity as we got through 2019’s holiday season and got the new year underway, but with interest rates at historic lows, a strong seller’s market in the San Francisco Bay Area and lots of buyer competition for any desirable home that came on the market, it looked like deja vu all over again for anybody looking to purchase a home. In other words, here we go again with having to come up … (23 comments)

california: What Kind of Insurance Do You Need When You Buy a House? - 01/07/20 07:48 AM
What Kind of Insurance Do You Need When You Buy a House?
Let me start by saying that I'm not in the insurance business, but that the insurance business is in mine.  And my business is helping home buyers and homeowners get a great mortgage.  So just what are the insurance requirements when you buy a home or go to refinance a mortgage on residential real estate you own in California?  Why does your lender care about the insurance coverage you keep?  
Homeowner's Insurance
Also known as "hazard insurance," or "fire insurance," this is the key policy you will be required to carry if … (23 comments)

california: Are Your California Property Taxes On Supplements? - 12/11/19 07:18 AM
Are Your California Property Taxes On Supplements?
Are you one of the 77% of U.S. adults who takes some form of nutritional supplement?  If so, you've contributed to the estimated $31 billion dollars of revenue that this industry generated in 2018.  So it stands to reason that California counties would want in on the supplemental action, and they've figured out just the way to do it...
Seriously, taking on home ownership for the first time is a big responsibility.  And since many first-time buyers are coming from a background of paying rent, it's important that we, in the mortgage industry, educate them about how … (13 comments)

california: The Haunted Loan Process - 10/13/19 09:44 PM
The Haunted Loan Process
As we wind our way closer to Halloween, I wanted to cover a few of the graveyard variety hobgoblins of the mortgage process.  You know, the things our clients don't tell us at the start and that later come back to haunt their home loan transaction like so many nightmares on Friday the 13th.  The goal here is not to scare the prospective borrower, but instead to provide fair warning about the actions you can take or avoid at the start of your application that will help you close your loan on time and without undue stress.  Let's … (27 comments)

california: Your Debt-to-Income Ratio Is High and It Will Be Alright - 09/21/19 07:21 AM
Your Debt-to-Income Ratio 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: Do Any Mortgage Lenders Work on the Weekend? - 08/18/19 08:29 AM
Do Any Mortgage Lenders Work on the Weekend?
The fact of the matter is that a lot of real estate business gets done on Saturdays and Sundays.  Prospective buyers go to open houses and buyers' real estate agents often need to structure offers for their clients.  Unfortunately, not all banks are open on the weekend even those that may take deposits and cash checks often do not have a home loan professional available to pre-approve a buyer or answer a complicated home loan question in an instant.
I'm different.  Even though I'm generally not in the office on the weekend, I can always … (7 comments)

california: Top 10 Tips for Buying a Home in the San Francisco Bay Area - 07/30/19 08:27 AM
Top 10 Tips for Buying a Home in the San Francisco Bay Area
Buying a home in the highly competitive San Francisco Bay Area real estate market is a daunting task for nearly everyone. Tales of heartache abound --- “everything goes for over asking price,” “we don’t stand a chance against all-cash offers,” “everything we want is out of our price range,” etc. If you only listened to the naysayers, you might not even set foot in the arena.  As a lender who has observed the home purchase market, specifically over the last decade (2009 to 2019), I wanted to share my … (4 comments)

california: Jumbo Mortgage with 5% Down Payment - 06/17/19 07:36 AM
Jumbo Mortgage with 5% Down Payment
You never hear anyone say "Give it 95%!," do you?  And, curiously, when it comes to getting a jumbo mortgage, that still holds true --- the vast majority of homebuyers still think it takes a 20% down payment to enter the market. As of 2019, there are 34 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in California that have a maximum conforming loan limit of $484,350.  Another handful of counties can only get to a jumbo-conforming limit of around $550,000.  So what do these homebuyers do if they have a maximum of a 5% down payment yet need to exceed … (1 comments)

california: What Is an Escrow Account? - 03/10/19 12:39 PM
What Is an Escrow Account?
When renters desire to become home buyers, they quickly learn once in the mortgage process that their single rent payment will morph into "PITI" or "principal, interest, taxes and insurance," or a "total monthly housing payment."  So, yes, there are additional monthly expenses to consider when you become an owner.  Historically, ownership has bestowed tax benefit on the buyer and that's been an offset to the higher cost of ownership and because of this, the "rent vs. own" calculation has been used to more fairly compare the cost of putting a roof over one's head.  Rent may be simpler, … (2 comments)

california: I Got Another Rate Quote. Can You Beat It? - 03/03/19 07:27 PM
I Got Another Rate Quote.  Can You Beat It?
Talk may be cheap, but money is not.  And you can bet your bottom dollar that most consumers seeking to get a mortgage will shop for the best rate quotes through any number of ways; their local bank, the internet, etc.  We will often get requests to match or beat rate quotes as a result.  Instead of publishing rates and promising that we're the cheapest and best source for all rate shoppers, which is something that is frowned upon by the regulators of our industry, I instead want to shed some light on … (3 comments)

california: Lock Watch for the Week of 1/7/2019 - 01/05/19 08:20 PM
Lock Watch for the Week of 1/7/2019
Shutdown persists and my guess is that equity market volatility will too.  Bond auctions mid-week and Jerome Powell speaks on Thursday.
Economicalendar (all times are Pacific):
Mon, 1/7:      Factory Orders and ISM Non-Mfg Index (7am).
Tues, 1/8:     International Trade (5:30am) and JOLTS (7am).  3-Yr Note Auction (10am).
Weds, 1/9:     10-Yr Note Auction (10am).
Thurs, 1/10:    30-Yr Bond Auction (10am).
Fri, 1/11:        CPI (5:30am).
10-Year Treasury History
2.66%     Market Open
2.72%     One Week Ago
2.85%     One Month Ago
2.55%     One Year Ago
The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism
Right View/Understanding
See things as they truly are without delusions or … (1 comments)

california: So You Wanna Buy a Home in 2019? - 12/31/18 04:06 PM
So You Wanna Buy a Home in 2019?
You've decided that 2019 is the year when you stop throwing away your rent money and paying someone else's mortgage.  Maybe you've even made this a written resolution and saved up a down payment to show for it.  But up until this point, it's just been a vision, an item on a wish list or --- how millennial of you --- a dream board.  Perhaps you came close to pulling the trigger in 2016, 2017 or 2018, but the thought of getting beat out by the severe competition was just too anxiety inducing to … (3 comments)

california: Lock Watch for the Week of 12/31/2018 - 12/30/18 08:20 PM
Lock Watch for the Week of 12/31/2018
Another short week, but therefore more potential for volatility and amid a stalemate in Washington.
Economicalendar (all times are Pacific):
Mon, 12/31:      Dallas Fed Mfg Survey (7:30am).
Tues, 1/1:     Markets Closed.
Weds, 1/2:     PMI Mfg Index (6:45am).
Thurs, 1/3:    ADP Employment (5:15am), Jobless Claims (5:30am), ISM Mfg Index and Construction Spending (7am).
Fri, 1/4:        Employment Situation (5:30am) and Jerome Powell Speaks (7:15am).
10-Year Treasury History
2.72%     Market Open
2.77%     One Week Ago
3.05%     One Month Ago
2.48%     One Year Ago
Pony Express
We were driving to South Lake Tahoe over the holiday week and at points alongside Route … (3 comments)

california: Lock Watch for the Week of 12/17/2018 - 12/16/18 11:25 AM
Lock Watch for the Week of 12/17/2018
FOMC statement and virtual certainty of another rate hike (.25%).  This will not surprise anyone, but against the backdrop of recent market volatility, the ensuing statement could.  Then, GDP on Friday.
Economicalendar (all times are Pacific):
Mon, 12/17:      Empire State Mfg Survey (5:30am), Housing Market Index (7am).
Tues, 12/18:     Housing Starts (5:30am).
Weds, 12/19:     Existing Home Sales (7am) and FOMC Meeting (11am).
Thurs, 12/20:    Jobless Claims and Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey (5:30am).
Fri, 12/21:        Durable Goods and GDP (5:30am).  Personal Income and Outlays and Consumer Sentiment (7am).
10-Year Treasury History
2.87%     Today's Open 
2.86%    … (2 comments)

california: How to Get Rid of PMI on Your Mortgage - 12/09/18 08:24 PM
How to Get Rid of PMI on Your Mortgage
Nearly every home buyer initially hates the "P" word --- PMI, or private mortgage insurance.  Years and years of conditioning have taught generations upon generations of first-time buyers that PMI is something to be avoided at all costs, and even though I daily go to great lengths to demonstrate this is patently untrue, even those that come to see the light about PMI and find themselves with a form of private mortgage insurance will soon arrive at their next concern:  "When can I remove the PMI from my payment?"
Good Housekeeping
In the spirit of … (5 comments)

california: Each Year I Conform a Little More - 12/05/18 07:16 AM
Each Year I Conform a Little More
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 straight … (0 comments)

california: Start Me Up, I Want to Buy a Home - 11/28/18 08:29 AM
Start Me Up, I Want to Buy a Home 
To borrow yet another song reference, and you know I'm fond of those, 'it's not unusual' for first-time buyers to come in our door and readily admit they have no idea where to start the home buying process.  Often they are referred by real estate agents who tell them there's zero chance they'll see the inside of their cars on a property search until they have a pre-approval letter in hand.  But what is a mortgage pre-approval, where does one start that process and how to get a letter?
The Big Three
Fundamentally, a mortgage … (6 comments)

california: Lock Watch for the Week of 11/26/2018 - 11/22/18 08:44 PM
Lock Watch for the Week of 11/26/2018
Wednesday's gonna be a doozy, so shake off your holiday weekend hangover.
Economicalendar (all times are Pacific):
Mon, 11/26:      2-Yr Note Auction (10am).
Tues, 11/27:      Case-Shiller HPI (6am), Consumer Confidence (7am), 5-Yr Note Auction (10am).
Weds, 11/28:     GDP and International Trade in Goods (5:30am), New Home Sales (10am), 7-Yr Note Auction (10am) and  FOMC minutes (11am).
Thurs, 11/29:    Jobless Claims and Personal Income and Outlays (5:30am), Pending Home Sales (7am).
Fri, 11/30:        Chicago PMI (6:45am).
10-Year Treasury History
3.07%     Today's Open 
3.07%     One Week Ago
3.08%     One Month Ago
2.32%     One Year Ago
The Capuchin Catacombs of … (1 comments)

california: Grateful for the Grind - 11/18/18 03:42 PM
Grateful for the Grind
This year at Thanksgiving, I find myself up against the same challenge as every November --- how to keep the pedal to the metal and avoid succumbing to the seasonal slowdown that will send the unprepared and uninspired in my industry to the couch for a nap that could last until Super Bowl Sunday.  So this year, like others before it, I am grateful for the grind.  Grateful that my work can be difficult, stressful, complex and often thankless. 
I am grateful for call reluctance, having learned long ago that successful people make a habit of doing the things that unsuccessful … (2 comments)

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

Rob Spinosa

SVP 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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