real estate: The Four Horsemen of Deals Dead - 09/03/21 07:48 AM
The Four Horsemen of Deals Dead
My wife likes to joke that all I do for my job is talk to people.  "I hear you in there yucking it up all day..." So maybe there is always an element of the truth in jest, but an aspect of these conversations that she does not take into consideration is the near-constant battle I fight fending deals from The Four Horsemen; Delay, Indecision, Unfounded Expertise and The Unreasonable Pursuit of Perfection. When these vigilantes appear over the horizon of any real estate transaction, having a powerful defense can turn them away and save even … (21 comments)

real estate: Median Home Price, Meet Median Buyer - 07/23/21 08:14 AM
Median Home Price, Meet Median Buyer
A very long time ago I saw an email address that read 'averageandhappy@...' and I thought, "Wow, here I've been my whole life trying not to be mediocre and then someone just goes and finds happiness in all of it." I wasn't sure if I should be resentful or relieved...
Years have passed and I've had the opportunity to observe the real estate market in my corner of the universe, namely the San Francisco Bay Area, which includes Marin County, the city of SF, Oakland/East Bay and the Silicon Valley.  Few would consider this an "average" market … (2 comments)

real estate: Divorce Buyout Mortgages - 04/25/21 08:47 AM
Divorce Buyout Mortgages
I don't think it would have surprised many married couples to learn, as they worked from home in a room that may have doubled and tripled as a dining room, nursery and rec center, that divorce filings were up 34% over the first half of 2020 and as pandemic despondency set in and influenced nearly every aspect of work, home and social life.
I would be the last one to make light of the stresses that COVID imposed on marriages and households, but instead I did see this unique time as equally opportune for shining a bright light on how … (8 comments)

real estate: Buying a Home All Cash, Then Getting a Mortgage - 04/14/21 07:59 AM
Buying a Home All Cash, Then Getting a Mortgage
Back in a real estate market a long time ago and in a mortgage galaxy far, far away --- otherwise known as 2009/2010 --- some buyers needed to purchase a home with cash, then hope to refinance after they had the keys in hand.  The reason for this?  Bad credit?  Nope.  Extinction of stated income loans?  Sorry, try again.  The reason was often that the homes were not eligible for financing --- many had been ravaged by the neglect of economic downturn.  Plumbing was torn out, there were holes in the walls and … (25 comments)

real estate: It's Cool to Conform in 2021 - 11/29/20 09:13 AM
It's Cool to Conform in 2021
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 and … (5 comments)

real estate: 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)

real estate: The Seven Real Estate Stages of the Pandemic - 10/05/20 08:09 AM
The Seven Real Estate Stages of the Pandemic
By now, some of us have lost a loved one, friend or community member to COVID-19.  Though if the cavalier denialism exhibited by some Americans is an indicator, there are still many who have yet to share the magnitude of such a loss.  But even putting one's head in the sand about the medical realities of the coronavirus cannot spare us the social, emotional and economic impacts. 
It's accepted as true that though we all grieve a loss, everyone grieves in a unique manner.  One of the most referenced works on the topic was written in … (17 comments)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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 … (4 comments)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

real estate: 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)

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

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

REX Homebuyer Participating Lender

80-10-10 Loans

What Happens if My Appraisal Comes in Low?

Can I Get a Cosigner on a Mortgage?




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