homebuyer: Qualifying for a Mortgage? Don't Step in a Large Deposit Mess - 10/18/19 09:07 PM
Qualifying for a Mortgage? Don't Step in a Large Deposit Mess
By far, one of the most confounding experiences when one goes to obtain a mortgage is the sourcing of "large deposits" on a bank statement.  This is our industry's gift that keeps giving.  However, there are some ways to avoid inadvertently stepping into trouble and like with most things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  
What Is a Large Deposit?
Most of the time a mortgage lender will define a large deposit as a non-payroll deposit that exceeds 50% of your gross monthly income.  So, let's say … (1 comments)

homebuyer: The Lenders, The Dreamers and Me - 05/13/19 07:33 AM
The Lenders, The Dreamers and Me
Immigration, as a topic, has been in the news a lot lately. Without weighing in politically, at least overtly, this is a matter close to my heart as it's not hard for me to forget that my grandparents fit the classic Ellis Island mold that shaped the lives of countless Italian-Americans.  A couple of years ago, I was honored to write a piece for our industry's M Report, and in it, I tried to imagine what it was like for my immigrant grandfather to obtain his first mortgage here in the United States.  Just conjuring his … (3 comments)

homebuyer: Time Is of the Essence - 02/03/19 05:05 PM
Time Is of the Essence
There it is in black and white.  Section 29 of the California Association of Realtors' residential purchase agreement.  "Time is of the essence."  And in real estate transactions, which are inherently complex, this simply means that every day matters.  To be competitive as a buyer you need time on your side because very likely the seller of the home in which you're interested knows that the longer things take to get to the closing table, the greater likelihood something might go wrong with the financing you need in order to acquire the home.
"Like what?," you ask.
Perhaps the … (10 comments)

homebuyer: The Impact of a Government Shutdown on the Mortgage Process - 12/27/18 08:23 AM
The Impact of a Government Shutdown on the Mortgage Process 
If you are a Federal worker, then you don't need to hear it from me.  Dealing with the government shut down interjects uncertainty into your life and can cause financial stress.  If it's any consolation, the same holds true for the mortgage process.  When those who are buying a home have their transaction caught in the middle of a political tug-of-war, timelines can get fuzzy, stress levels can get high and dominoes for sellers and buyers can fall.  Where possible, we do all we can to "get in front" of a shutdown … (30 comments)

homebuyer: 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)

homebuyer: Are the Lights Going Down on Real Estate? - 10/09/18 06:22 AM
Are the Lights Going Down on Real Estate?
You know what's on a lot of my clients' minds right now?  No, not Journey of the the 1970's, but the real estate downturn of 2007/2008.  Many of these prospective buyers are getting a sense that maybe this is the top of the market and that perhaps they should sit things out and wait for real estate to go on sale --- just like it did during the downturn.  I have some advice for them, but it has little to do with market prognostication.  In fact, I'll be the first one to admit that … (43 comments)

homebuyer: Money for Nothing - 09/26/18 07:52 AM
Money for Nothing
As this was written, we were mere hours from a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision wherein "the Fed" would raise short-term rates another .25%, and provide some insight into the trajectory of rates into 2019 and beyond.  Barring something unpredictable on the financial markets, or barring the realization of the permabears' scattershot predictions of impending doom, most economists feel that we are going to continue down a path of higher interest rates, both at the Fed funds level and spilling over to longer-term rates like mortgages.
What is the home buyer to do?
Well first, we're going to dispel the "don't worry, … (2 comments)

homebuyer: Poor Richard, the First Time Home Buyer - 08/15/18 07:27 AM
Poor Richard, the First Time Home Buyer
If I've learned anything in the current political environment it's that you can't make people see things they choose not to look for.  But what about the opposite?  What happens when the truth is hard to find?  Or, better still, what if the question at hand involves a bit of both?  That is, what if people don't have the inclination to look for something that is a bit difficult to locate?  With the help of one of our Founding Fathers, we're going to dispense some wisdom and address this dilemma in the context of a first time … (3 comments)

homebuyer: Lions and Tigers and PMI, Oh My! - 05/09/18 07:06 AM
Lions and Tigers and PMI, Oh My!
There are a number of things you should legitimately be afraid of in this life --- great white sharks, cigarette smoke, Scott Pruitt's EPA --- but private mortgage insurance (also known as "PMI") is not one of them.  We're going to cover the basics here and I'm going to work to dispel a lot of the misconceptions about PMI.  Most importantly, we're going to discuss why PMI on your next mortgage might be an entirely viable solution when you're seeking to purchase a home with less than a 20% down payment.
What is PMI?
Private mortgage insurance, … (9 comments)

homebuyer: 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)

homebuyer: 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)

homebuyer: Stretching Your Loan Qualification? Which Mortgage Is Best? - 05/16/17 06:43 AM
Stretching Your Loan Qualification?  Which Mortgage Is Best?
Buyers will come to us, often after beholding the perfect home while out touring with their Realtor, and they will want to know the maximum amount they can borrow on a mortgage.  Perhaps they just intuitively realize that their dream home will stretch the outer limits of affordability.  Their question will be, "What is the maximum amount I can qualify for on a mortgage?"
At this point, they may ask about interest-only (I/O) loans or ARM programs to help them achieve their target purchase price, so let's play a little game of "Truth or Delusion" and cover some of the … (9 comments)

homebuyer: It's (Not) Up to You - 04/11/17 07:49 AM
It's (Not) Up to You
How many of us have ever worked with a professional on a highly important matter where, regardless of the issue at hand, we reached that critical inflection point, the one where we needed help and answers the most?  What happened when the advisor in whom you put your trust looked back at you and said, "It's up to you."?  How did that make you feel?
We are about to go into the height of the spring buying season here in the San Francisco Bay Area, competition is fierce and inventory scarce and a question that many of our buyers … (24 comments)

homebuyer: Finding Harmony in Unison - 03/15/17 09:42 PM
Finding Harmony in Unison
Ever since the woebegone days of Greenpoint Mortgage's 400+ page rate sheet (and those who remember are laughing right now...) we in the mortgage lending industry have become accustomed to recognizing that not every borrower and not every scenario will fit exactly in the credit box.  That's just been a reality of the post-Dodd-Frank era.  Lending solutions rarely "check all the boxes" and I hear myself reminding clients, not infrequently, to "not let the perfect be the enemy of the good."  
So you can imagine that when we start talking about jumbo loans and lower down payments AND … (3 comments)

homebuyer: How to Not Get Burned When Financing a Flip - 02/20/17 10:03 AM
How to Not Get Burned When Financing a Flip
"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."  Well, when buying a home, sometimes the heat permeates not only the kitchen but the entire joint because the home is considered a "flip."  You mean like the proverbial burger flip?  No, I'm talking about a flipped property.
A flip is a home that was recently sold to the current owner and quickly put back on the market.  Just how short a span of ownership can be a matter of debate but we're going to limit the scope of our discussion to a time period of less than six … (3 comments)

homebuyer: Foreclosure to the Edge - 01/21/17 08:44 AM
Foreclosure to the Edge
Years ago, I felt the call of the mountains and dabbled in high altitude mountaineering.  Man, I just loved the adversity of it all and the higher the peak and taller the challenge, the more I seemed to feel a sense of freedom and accomplishment upon having the experience.  Once down from a summit, I would soon contemplate my next big adventure and often found myself referring to the French alpine rating scale to see what might be within the realm of possibility.  Of course, in the language of love, even the deadliest of ascents had a nice ring … (4 comments)

homebuyer: There's Never Just One Cockroach - 01/17/17 07:28 AM
There's Never Just One Cockroach
I mean you have to admit that as far as sayings go, the one in the subject line is just about perfect;  short, funny, edgy and all too close to home for any of us who have ever called home someplace a little less than luxe.  So it must be true that as we begin 2017, for every call I field where a prospective home buyer will say, "Well, I had a short sale a few years ago..." there are probably a hidden, greater number of those who, for whatever reason, just don't call.  And by all means, … (24 comments)

homebuyer: Sigmund Freud & Low Down Payment Jumbo Mortgages - 01/07/17 08:42 PM
Sigmund Freud & Low Down Payment Jumbo Mortgages
In psychology, projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world.  Now in a minute, I am going to ask you to relax and tell me a little bit about how you feel about down payments.  Specifically those that equal less than 20% of a home's purchase price.  We'll analyze if you're projecting your own beliefs, right or wrong, onto reality. 
Just for a little background, in mortgage lending, we are not immune from projection.  This happens all the … (4 comments)

homebuyer: The Wisdom of the Mountains - 12/28/16 07:06 AM
The Wisdom of the Mountains
My wife and I recently went for a beautiful winter hike in Squaw Valley, CA, and I'm not quite sure if it was the quiet fresh snow, the freezing waterfalls in the canyon creek, or the granite cliffs framed by cerulean sky that brought to mind the many experiences I had in some of the world's high ranges years ago when I was an aspiring alpinist.  Though we come here at this time of year to relax, reflect and plan for the year ahead, I could not help but notice how the wisdom of the mountains translates … (3 comments)

homebuyer: How Bad Is It? - 11/19/16 12:40 AM
How Bad Is It?
As I type this blog post, it's raining outside, pouring actually.  And that's fitting because if you've been looking to get a mortgage since the presidential election, you've been facing your own personal deluge of sorts as well.  Interest rates are higher, no doubt about it, and the worst two week bond rout in the last 26 years has translated into approximately a half percent increase in rates to most programs.
So how bad is it?
There's a few ways to look at this, and the chart below shows that bond prices are approaching where they were exactly one year … (5 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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