closing costs: Do You Need a New Appraisal When You Refinance? - 08/31/19 07:36 AM
Do You Need a New Appraisal When You Refinance?
It's September of 2019 and interest rates are again approaching historic lows.  This means that many homeowners are considering a refinance --- and for good reasons.  If there is a hurdle for some, it's the cost and risk of getting an appraisal on their property.  What happens if the appraised value doesn't support the loan amount, loan-to-value or the transaction itself?  Are these clients then out the money for the appraisal report, typically anywhere from $500 to $1200?
Earlier in the year, we introduced an appraisal tool that allows us to determine, in advance … (14 comments)

closing costs: Closing Costs on a Mortgage - 07/16/19 07:27 AM
Closing Costs on a Mortgage
When a homebuyer, or homeowner looking to refinance, obtains a mortgage, there are always associated costs.  Even in the so-called "no cost" loan structures, trust me, you're paying something.  When a consumer does the research on what it will cost to get a loan, there are a few ways to categorize and better understand what's being charged.  Specific numbers will vary wildly depending on the nature of the transaction, the amount and where the settlement takes place.  A key takeaway of this article will be to differentiate between a "cost" and a "settlement charge."  They are not … (4 comments)

closing costs: What's the Point of Points? - 06/11/19 05:59 AM
What's the Point of Points?
Let's get right to the point.  What point?  Points.  I don't get it.  What's your point?  The point is points --- what are they, how do they work and should I pay them when I get a mortgage?  There's a lot of confusion about points and when a borrower researches his or her best mortgage options, inevitably there will be an element of points in the debate.  So in order to help ourselves find the best terms on any home loan, we need to get this point thing under our belt.
Point One (One Point)
Simply, one point equals … (43 comments)

closing costs: I'm from the IRS and I'm Here to Help... - 07/06/18 12:25 PM
I'm from the IRS and I'm Here to Help...
Yes, that's right.  The Internal Revenue Service wants to ride in like a knight in shining armor and help some of you close your home loans.  Will you be the lucky beneficiary?  Let's take a look at what, on the surface, seems to be "mission impossible."  The IRS is only there to impede, to take from us and to delay, right?  Not always.
From time to time, there are situations where a borrower is in the mortgage process and has both the down payment requirement and a Federal tax obligation.  And, as you might … (22 comments)

closing costs: Can You Use Foreign Currency to Get a Mortgage? - 07/05/18 07:57 AM
Can You Use Foreign Currency to Get a Mortgage?
Is your down payment coming from abroad?
Do you have a foreign bank account that you’re showing on your mortgage application?
Are you obtaining a gift from a family member in another country?
These are all questions that might come up when we’re working with our clients who may be employed by a foreign company or who may be permanent residents (green card holders) or non-permanent resident aliens of the United States. The question really becomes, “Can I use a foreign currency to qualify for a mortgage?” We’ll look at some of the … (2 comments)

closing costs: 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)

closing costs: 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)

closing costs: 'Tis the Season for Gifts (and Gift Funds) - 12/04/16 07:43 AM
'Tis the Season for Gifts (and Gift Funds)
As we come to the end of the year, we, here in Marin County, CA, tend to notice that purchase and sale activity can slip into "holiday mode" even if the weather outside is not particularly frightening.  There's
not much inventory available for buyers to pick over --- and here in 2016 that implies an already slim market --- and sellers are reluctant to list a home for fear it will sit through Thanksgiving and Christmas and then appear "stale" come the New Year.  In short, despite mistletoe, spiked egg nog and holiday cheer it … (5 comments)

closing costs: No-Cost Refinances. Too Good to Be True? - 07/11/16 10:59 PM
No-Cost Refinances.  Too Good to Be True?
With all the talk of Brexit pushing mortgage rates to all-time lows, perhaps you’ve been thinking of
refinancing and maybe even done a bit of research on the topic.  It’s likely you’ve come across the term “no cost refinance,“ and you may be saying to yourself, “How do some lenders offer a refinance without
costs?” or, “Is this too good to be true?”
It’s important to recognize that all financial transactions involve some costs. In the case of a mortgage these could be lender fees, appraisal fees, charges paid to a title or escrow company and even days … (33 comments)

closing costs: Happy Paper Trails to You - 06/26/15 07:18 AM
Happy Paper Trails to You
If you want to realize, first hand, just how far the mortgage lending industry has gotten away from the days of the "Wild West," there is no single better way to do it than to hath the fury of an underwriter's scorn of your assets --- you know, the very bank statements, down payment funds, deposits and gift money that are integral to your home loan application.  There's a new sheriff in town, pardner, and if you don't want to get hung at high noon when you go to get a conventional, jumbo or FHA loan, here's what you ought to … (25 comments)

closing costs: Need a Jumbo Loan? Better Call in the Reserves - 02/27/15 08:30 PM
Need a Jumbo Loan?  Better Call in the Reserves
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Marin County, where I'm located, we tend to see a lot of loan amounts that exceed the conforming and high balance conforming loan limits (respectively, $417,000 and $625,500, in most local metropolitan statistical areas).  And I'll be honest with you --- this has less to do with stereotypes (hoodie-wearing 25-year olds snapping up funky, $2MM+ Victorians with their handsome stock payouts), and more to do with median home prices that tend to hover around the million dollar mark for the Average Joe.  Whatever the combination … (3 comments)

closing costs: Understanding Asset Reserves - 10/05/13 01:10 AM

closing costs: "Can I Finance My Closing Costs into My Mortgage?" - 08/31/13 12:37 AM

closing costs: 'Tis the Season of Giving: Mortgage Gift Guidelines - 12/10/12 12:54 AM

closing costs: Escrows, Impounds & Your Mortgage Payment - 07/20/12 06:51 AM

closing costs: Weekend Availability + Understanding Mortgage Closing Costs - 06/10/11 06:31 AM
Real Estate Professionals,  I will be available this weekend (other than on Sunday morning when I'll be running the 101st Dipsea) to assist with your clients' pre-approvals, offer letters and home loan questions.  If I can be of service, feel free to reach me on my cell phone at 415-367-5959, or by e-mail at  The short video below explains to your buyers in clear and simple terms the best ways to understand the costs and fees associated with a mortgage transaction.  Have a great weekend! Rob Spinosa, RPM Mortgage     877.270.5959


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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