mortgage: Can I Refinance a Mortgage on a COVID Forbearance Plan? - 09/13/20 09:30 AM
Can I Refinance a Mortgage on a COVID Forbearance Plan?
Back at the end of the first quarter of 2020, the president might still have wanted to downplay COVID, but many real American homeowners suddenly found themselves in dire financial straits and quickly took advantage of the forbearance plans offered by the servicers of their mortgages.  This payment relief allowed them to navigate the most uncertain and immediate impacts of the pandemic and for some, provided a bridge to re-employment and/or firmer financial footing.  Now that some of these borrowers have made readjustments to the new normal, they may wish to take … (21 comments)

mortgage: Should I Keep Making My Mortgage Payment? - 08/31/20 08:14 AM
Should I Keep Making My Mortgage Payment?
With so many people refinancing these days, and with the loan process sometimes crossing one or two months' time, a question we frequently get from those in process is, "Should I keep making my mortgage payment?"  The answer is a simple and clear, "Yes!"  
But let's talk about why, because the concept is as simple as it is often misunderstood.  In our formative financial years, many of us rented a home or apartment before we made the leap into home ownership.  And I'd be willing to be bet that more than a few of us got … (16 comments)

mortgage: How To Win a Real Estate Bidding War - 08/18/20 08:59 AM
How To Win a Real Estate Bidding War
What's the one thing you can do to make your offer to buy a home stand out?  What's the secret sauce, the magic bullet, the key to success?  
If you answered, "There isn't one," you're pretty close.  Truth is, I haven't found any singular aspect of any offer that assures success.  All-cash offers, zero-contingency offers, overbid offers, offers with colorful "love letters," etc., none of them provide any guarantees to the hopeful buyer.  But there is one thing I've noticed that does increase the odds dramatically --- stacking advantages.  
More often than not, we observe that the winning … (17 comments)

mortgage: How Do Rate Locks Work? - 08/03/20 08:21 AM
How Do Rate Locks Work?
There is one thing in common among all of our clients.  No matter what price point, no matter what loan size, no matter good credit or bad, no matter first-time buyer or seasoned investor, all are looking for the lowest interest rate at the lowest cost.  But how does a mortgage borrower secure such terms?  A part of the home loan process is "locking an interest rate" and this process could use a bit of explanation, so as to dispel some of the myths and offer a better understanding of how things work.
What Is a Rate Lock?
You've … (3 comments)

mortgage: Anyone Can Hold the Helm When the Sea is Calm - 07/25/20 03:30 PM
Anyone Can Hold the Helm When the Sea is Calm
If your business is anything like mine, COVID is presently dishing out challenge after challenge to the way you (used to) work.  If it hasn't already driven many nails into the coffin of the way things were, then I'm willing to bet you're within earshot of the hammer.  If you've had time to collect your thoughts and countenance reality, you may have even begun to think about how biz will look in 2021, 2022 or beyond.
Many of us, in real estate careers we have built over years or decades, have assumed a form … (19 comments)

mortgage: How Long Is a Pre-Approval Good For? - 07/19/20 07:55 PM
How Long Is a Pre-Approval Good For?
You've decided to make the leap and enter the real estate market as a buyer.  You've been looking at homes online, the temptation has become too strong and you realize it's time to hit the street and actually start looking at properties.  Your Realtor almost immediately informs you that not only will she not participate in your search before she knows you're pre-approved, but also that in this pandemic day and age, without a pre-approval letter no serious listing agent will even let you step foot in the home for a viewing.  And so you … (15 comments)

mortgage: Expertise Unmasked - 07/11/20 09:09 AM
Expertise Unmasked
A couple of years ago, we found a home we really loved.  The market was competitive at the time, but we choked on the list price and thought about going in a bit under it.  Our Realtor, someone recommended to us, someone possessing a proven track record in the community and someone garnering much respect among fellow agents, highly advised against lowballing the offer.  Eventually, we bid a little over list and got the home.  One of the reasons the home was so desirable was the school district.  The teachers, overall, have a tremendous reputation and years of experience that just … (7 comments)

mortgage: How Long Does It Take to Get Pre-Approved? - 07/05/20 08:16 AM
How Long Does It Take to Get Pre-Approved?
Many real estate markets in California move fast, but it's been this way for years.  When a hot property hits, perhaps there's a showing on Sunday (more on that in a bit, and in the context of COVID-19) and then offers are due on Tuesday, with some buyers scrambling to make a pre-emptive offer, if possible.
This reality can run counter to some buyers' inclinations to get their mortgage financing in order by dipping one toe in the water at a time.  It's not uncommon for us to get a call that starts something like this:  "My partner … (5 comments)

mortgage: Your Pandemic Guide to a Jumbo Mortgage - 05/23/20 08:17 AM
Your Pandemic Guide to a Jumbo Mortgage
"Our Realtor said it's very difficult to get a jumbo loan these days."
"We tried to do a cash out jumbo refi on our place but our bank told us that they're not doing those anymore."
"We wanted to refinance our jumbo loan but by the time we did the research the rates weren't any lower than what we have already."
"Is it possible to refinance a jumbo loan without having to move our savings and investments to the bank who's making the mortgage?"
"We have a 20% down payment and are looking to buy a house that requires … (5 comments)

mortgage: Will My Property Taxes Go Up If I Refinance? - 05/17/20 07:33 AM
Will My Property Taxes Go Up If I Refinance?
Because the current interest rate environment is so conducive to refinancing, a concern that some have about taking action stems from confusion related to how their property taxes are determined, and specifically the question, "Will refinancing cause my property taxes to go up?"  It goes without saying that nobody wants to save money via refinance, only to see it evaporate in the form of higher real estate taxes.  But is this a real threat?  Or is it safe to assume that simply by refinancing you would not see a change in your tax basis?
Our answer must first … (5 comments)

mortgage: How Hard Is It to Refinance a Mortgage? - 05/10/20 11:03 AM
How Hard Is It to Refinance a Mortgage?
On a weekend morning you wake up:
A)  Before 6AM.
B)  Before 8AM.
C)  Before 10AM.
D)  Yeah, yeah, I'm awake...
It's time to take out the trash when:
A)  Pickup is the following day.
B)  The level of trash is approaching the top of the trash can.
B)  The level of trash has crossed the plane of the top of the trash can.
C)  Expert levels of jenga skill are required to balance your trash on the top of the steaming heap.
If you answered "D" to either of the above, and you have a mortgage in California, this blog post is dedicated to … (3 comments)

mortgage: N/O/O: Jumbo Mortgage's Scarlet Letters - 05/02/20 07:59 AM
N/O/O:  Jumbo Mortgage's Scarlet Letters 
May 1, 2020
Day 46 of Shelter-in-Place
If you are a real estate investor at this time, in this market and looking for a jumbo mortgage to buy a non-owner occupied home (N/O/O), you may feel like our industry sees you with a scarlet letter(s) on your chest.  Before the pandemic, everybody wanted to talk to you, but, you cannot find a mortgage lender to make you a jumbo loan.  Many of the options that existed before are gone.  The ones that remain have been restricted, their guidelines whittled down to the ultra-conservative.  Each day, you struggle to … (1 comments)

mortgage: I'm Here to Help You - 04/18/20 10:03 PM
I'm Here to Help You
Be clear. Be specific. Reduce uncertainty. Speak to the most pressing need. Keep running.  You still have a long way to go.  
No, I did not just come down off the mountain of some Tony Robbins motivational speech.  No, I did not use the featureless timescape of shelter-in-place to read all of the self-help books heretofore exerting their gravitational pull on my office's shelves.  Instead, I am recalling one long night in June of 2019.
Some of you know I dabble in the sport of ultramarathoning.  These are (usually) trail races that exceed a distance of 26.2 … (3 comments)

mortgage: I'm Refi The Cash Out Man - 04/10/20 08:38 AM
I'm Refi The Cash Out Man
Sing to the tune of Popeye the Sailor Man:
I'm Refi the Cash Out Man.  You're lookin' for cash in hand.
Your house is worth plenty, you can access them pennies,
So cash out?  Indeed you can.
We're in a pandemic, you hear jumbo lenders
won't refi your equity spare.
But that ain't the truth and I'll show you the proof
if you've managed your money affairs.
I'm Refi the Cash Out Man.  You're lookin' for cash in hand.
If you still got a job and your credit's the bomb,
If the mortgage makes sense then get off of the fence,
Call Refi the Cash Out Man!
Shiver me timbers,
Robert J. Spinosa
Vice President … (5 comments)

mortgage: To Active Rain, With Gratitude - 04/07/20 08:17 AM
A big THANK YOU for helping make me a top originator in 2019.
I'm proud to be among Guaranteed Rate's top originators in the country, as ranked by industry publication Mortgage Executive Magazine.  For 2019, Guaranteed Rate placed 45 of us in the nation's Top 200, and we could not have done this without your support. We always strive to provide the best financing experience possible and we wouldn't be here without you and your referrals.
With gratitude,
Robert J. Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959
Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960
Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, … (9 comments)

mortgage: 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)

mortgage: The New Abnormal - 03/28/20 08:54 AM
The New Abnormal
We've just turned the corner from March to April, but here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are still sheltered in place (SIP).  Everybody in our home is making adjustments to our new abnormal and it's a good lesson for today's homeowner too.  We may not be able to move around or go out, but can we hunker down and tweak our financial situation so that it better positions us to weather the next few months?
First, a little perspective.  Even if the health implications of the pandemic miraculously prove to be short-lived, my sense is that the economic ripples will … (23 comments)

mortgage: Errors of Intent - 03/21/20 08:48 PM
Errors of Intent
Watching the world grapple with a pandemic has had a profound impact on my ability to count blessings.  Yes, we are sheltered in place, but my immediate family is presently in good health.  And though I suspect the coming days, weeks and months will be disrupted by yet unknown challenges, I am grateful that the hull of my career has been solidly hewn by hours of hard work.  I take deep appreciation of the experience I gained during other times of hardship like 9/11 and the Lehman collapse. Though I worry about the well-being of my 85-year old father, he's seen great … (13 comments)

mortgage: We Are Essential - 03/16/20 08:47 PM
We Are Essential
I've seen a few movies in my career; 9/11, Lehman collapse, the CFPB crusades to name a few.  But the Corona virus (COVID-19) will no doubt test the mortgage banking industry in novel and difficult ways.  So it was heartening to receive this update from our COO today and amidst the great confusion about what tomorrow, next week and next month may hold.
To All Impacted Personnel in CA:
As you are now aware, as of the evening of Monday, March 16th, 7 counties in California (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Cruz) have issued … (6 comments)

mortgage: Your Credit May Be Good, But Is It Jumbo Good? - 02/23/20 05:57 PM
 Your Credit May Be Good, But Is It Jumbo Good?
 "I have an 800 FICO so I know I'll qualify..."
We, here at Guaranteed Rate, pride ourselves on being a great jumbo mortgage lender. And because of my geography and clientele in the San Francisco Bay Area, we encounter a lot of higher loan amounts. Our rates are very competitive and we have many investors who can cover the needs of just about every jumbo loan scenario that can realistically be done these days. Moreover, we retain control of the underwriting, so we can exercise "makes sense" judgment and get files approved where … (5 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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