purchase: Can I Get a Mortgage If I Am Retired? - 09/08/19 08:45 AM
Can I Get a Mortgage If I Am Retired?   I live in an aging county.  So if you ever find yourself vacationing in the lovely city of San Francisco, give this little exercise a try:  Simply get in your Uber.  Or rent one of those death trap three-wheelers at Fisherman's Wharf.  Or bundle up take it on the heel and toe and come across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to magical Marin County.  Now, did you feel yourself getting older in the process?   Even if not, Marin County's residents, with their 46.1-year old median age, clean air, great schools and … (15 comments)

purchase: 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)

purchase: 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)

purchase: Lock Watch for the Week of 3/18/2019 - 03/16/19 07:34 AM
Lock Watch for the Week of 3/18/2019
 
Volatility-O-Meter:
All eyes on the Fed this week.
 
Economicalendar (all times are Pacific):
Mon, 3/18:     Housing Market Index (7am).
Tues, 3/19:     Factory Orders (7am).
Weds, 3/20:     FOMC Meeting  (11am).
Thurs, 3/21:    Jobless Claims and Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey (5:30am).  Fed Balance Sheet (1:30pm).
Fri, 3/22:        Existing Home Sales (7am).
 
10-Year Treasury History
2.60%     Market Open
2.64%     One Week Ago
2.65%     One Month Ago
2.85%     One Year Ago
(Need a rate quote for your specific scenario?  Click anywhere on this link.)
 
W.S. Merwin, 1927 - 2019
 
I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you … (2 comments)

purchase: Lock Watch for the Week of 3/11/2019 - 03/09/19 03:10 PM
Lock Watch for the Week of 3/11/2019
 
Volatility-O-Meter:
A lot of key reports this week and on the heels of the real dud of a jobs number Friday.  Could this be an inflection point?  We'll see. Oh, and let's not forget auctions too.
 
Economicalendar (all times are Pacific):
Mon, 3/11:     Retail Sales (5:30am), Business Inventories (7am), 3-Yr Note Auction (10am).
Tues, 3/12:     CPI (5:30am), 10-Yr Note Auction (10am).
Weds, 3/13:     Durable Goods and PPI  (5:30am), Construction Spending (7am), 30-Yr Bond Auction (10am).
Thurs, 3/14:    Jobless Claims and Import/Export Prices (5:30am), New Home Sales (7am).  Fed Balance Sheet (1:30pm).
Fri, 3/15:        Empire State Mfg Survey … (1 comments)

purchase: Are You a Lender or a Banker or a Broker? - 02/15/19 03:17 PM
Are You a Lender or a Banker or a Broker?
 
"So are you a broker or a lender?"  "Or a banker or a lender?"  "Or a broker/banker?"  Yes, yes, and yes!
 
We get this question all the time, but I think it comes from a good place.  Naturally, everybody shopping for a home loan wants to get the best rates and terms and some confusion swirls around how the type of mortgage originator one uses has a bearing on the outcome.  So when they work with me, who is really behind the curtain?
[Too lazy to read the rest? Watch the video below instead.]
 
 
Banker / … (2 comments)

purchase: 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)

purchase: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (to Get Gift Funds) - 12/16/18 08:59 PM
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (to Get 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 and for the purpose of  purchasing 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.
 
For 2019, the IRS annual … (2 comments)

purchase: 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)

purchase: Can I Get a Cosigner for a Jumbo Mortgage? - 09/12/18 07:35 AM
Can I Get a Cosigner for a Jumbo Mortgage?
 
Parents have been helping their kids buy homes since, I'd guess, kids have been buying homes, but in today's lending environment, it's important that both borrowers and real estate professionals avail themselves of the most current options, advantages and guidelines.  After all, knowledge is power and there are really only two main approaches, gift funds and co-signing, that come into widespread use when we talk about introducing family help into the mortgage approval process.
 
Gift Funds
Borrowers of all stripes use gift funds and do so far more often than the general public would estimate.  But on … (12 comments)

purchase: Buy Before Selling? Four Sure Four Sure! - 08/22/18 08:08 AM
Buy Before Selling?  Four Sure! Four Sure!
 
In strong sellers' markets, like the San Fernando Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area and many other areas across the country, making a contingent offer is a virtual impossibility.  That is, when a buyer must sell his current home first in order to close on the new one, and when the purchase offer on the new home is specifically written to alert the seller that the two transactions are interdependent, it is said to be "contingent."  Another, less subtle, way to describe contingent offers might be, "dead on arrival."  This is because the seller knows … (30 comments)

purchase: 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)

purchase: 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)

purchase: Bank Statement Jumbo Mortgage - 04/04/18 07:36 PM
Bank Statement Jumbo Mortgage
 
It is no secret that the self-employed have their share of challenges when it comes to getting a home loan.  And why wouldn't they?  On one hand, their tax professionals spend hours maximizing their deductions and helping them "write off" every allowable expense and on the other hand, their mortgage loan advisor tells them they have to show more income in order to qualify.
 
The difference of intentions is like two trains moving in opposite directions...
 
Yet, there may be a solution for some of these borrowers.  On both the purchase and refinance side, we have a jumbo mortgage program that … (1 comments)

purchase: 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)

purchase: 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 (Envirodatagov.org)
.....
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)

purchase: Never Mind the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Here's the Homebuyers - 01/21/18 05:17 PM
Never Mind the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Here's the Homebuyers
 
Side One:
Mortgage Interest Deduction:  Reduced from $1MM to $750K. Grandfather:  If you have a loan that was originated before 12/15/2017, and your mortgage balance exceeds $750K, you are still able to deduct the interest up to $1MM.  You're grandfathered in, unless... Don't Fear the Refi:  If you refinance a mortgage with a balance above $750K and your loan was originated before 12/15/17 AND via the refi the loan balance does not increase, you will "carry over" your $1MM cap. HELOC'd and Unloaded:  The mortgage interest deduction on home equity lines of … (3 comments)

purchase: 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)

purchase: 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 … (22 comments)

purchase: The Older I Get The More I Conform - 12/10/17 08:40 AM
The Older I Get The More I Conform
 
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 … (6 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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