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 preemptive 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 and I are thinking about buying a home in the next 3 to 6 months, but we’re first-time buyers and not really sure where to start.  We were told by our real estate agent that we need to get pre-approved and might have some time over the next few weeks to look into this.  Can you help us get started?”  It’s also not terribly unlikely that a house will pop up that grabs these prospects by the heartstrings.  Before we know it, there will be a successive call that goes something like this:  “OMG!  We just saw the perfect home!  Offers are due tomorrow at noon!  What do we need to do to get pre-approved right now?”

So the real question here is, how long does it take to get pre-approved for a mortgage?  Of course, the answer will vary from one borrower to the next.  Some scenarios are quite simple — both borrowers get a W-2, have funds for their down payment in one account and have squeaky clean credit.  Others are massively complex — self-employment, multiple rental properties or entities owned, RSU or other variable income, a credit hiccup in the past, etc.  But at the end of the day, the single biggest factor determine the speed in which we can “decision” a pre-approval and get a buyer into the game comes down to the borrower’s organizational skills.  In other words, if any borrower(s) can complete a thorough and accurate application, then bear down and get us complete documentation for their income, assets and credit, usually and irrespective of complexity, we are almost always able to turn a pre-approval in under 24 hours.  Often, under six hours.  Right now, due to the pandemic, you may not even be able to view a property without a pre-approval letter in hand, so we are seeing a resurgence in interest for pre-approvals on short notice.  

The process and steps for pre-approval generally follow this pattern, and there is no cost or obligation associated with making an application:

  1. We always welcome an initial call to discuss objectives and answer questions.  Call any time!
  2. Our digital mortgage application is one of the industry’s best.  You can complete this user-friendly form in 10 to 15 minutes and whenever convenient.  It is best to tackle the application from a place where you have access to your financial documents so that you can assure accuracy, but even if this is not possible, some will complete the application from their smartphones with perfectly efficient results.
  3. Upon completion of your application, you’ll be prompted to securely upload your financial documents such as paystubs, bank statements, tax returns, etc.  While you can skip this step at this phase, consistent with our theme above if you are able to provide complete documentation, we are able to return a decision with less delay.
  4. We will follow up with you to review your information and issue a pre-approval letter for your search.

If you are “in the market” and your market is in motion, timing to pre-approval should not be a concern.  Yes, if you are able to start and complete the preapproval process without urgency, that’s helpful but not necessary.  We get how the housing market works and we understand what needs to happen when an opportunity arises or materializes.  Let us know when you need our assistance!

Point and shoot,

Rob Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709
 

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

Some Days You’re the Statue

Is that you, gallantly astride a horse in battle?  Or do you stand resolutely for your cause, eyes affixed on the distant future?  Are you seated, confined in thought, or are your arms outstretched above the world below?

As a nation devoid of unifying leadership observes the desecration of some of its most cherished and ignored monuments, it struck me that beneath the patina of opportunistic vandalism — which I would rather not condone (the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s monument gets a carve out) — it’s become increasingly difficult for some to stride past the manmade features of our landscape without peering into the soul of the soulless and saying, “Is this who we really are?”  With these existential questions exposed to the elements of recent events, imposing figures that had survived undisturbed for decades outside are, all of a sudden, stirring passions inside.  The core of our constitutions, personal and national, is being worked out in full view.  Side-taking in our warming climate has been an inevitable side-effect.  Some of us have heatedly jumped into the fray, others have coldly unmasked opinions from their phones.

But here’s the thing about statues.  They are created to stop time.  People, on the other hand, are not.  And times change.   Presumptuous as the notion might be, what might my own statue look like?  If time stood still and I was cast in bronze, what would the future say about me and my life’s work?  Think I’m just some high-minded jerk?  OK, what would the future say about you?  I’ll admit, I didn’t draft the Declaration of Independence while also holding slaves, yet I still know that if I am to remain affixed to, or be forcibly removed from, any pedestal a century down the mirage of my road, it will say as much about me as it says about those who render that verdict.  In 2020, do any of us have the capacity to reconcile any level of contradiction and moral inconsistency in the ghosts among us or are we headed for absolute purity tests that leave only rubble in their wake?  

I believe America can survive the death of some of its dead, but as I observe what’s happening, I am rethinking how the future might weigh in on those living today.  I’ll go first.  What values do I hold that are simply not gonna stand the test of time?  Have I been an agent of greater good or lesser evil?  What visions occupy my creativity and intellect, and do I dedicate the necessary energy on imagining a better future for our heirs?  What will it take to set those ideas in motion now and to quit waiting for the cavalry to come? 

Speaking of horses, there was a time when the might of any army could be measured by them. Times change.

And some days you’re the pigeon,

Rob Spinosa
Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709
 

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

Pride

My most formative years were spent in the suburban Chicago-land area.  Our subdivision was an island among sea of cornfields.  The high school from which I graduated in the late ’80’s would have won no awards for diversity.  And if, at that time, you were my age and knew your sexual orientation was anything other than straight, you probably kept it to yourself.  The three-letter slur we freely bandied about at that time to denigrate homosexuality is harsh enough now that if I hear it, I cringe. 

As fate would have it, in my late teens, I moved out to Hollywood to pursue a career in music and it didn’t take long until I was exposed to others who were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and who also happened to be wonderful people.  They were my co-workers and my friends.  They were damned talented musicians and artists and in the blink of an eye, I was forced to see the world very differently.

Just over my lifetime, I can observe and marvel at the increased ability by which LGBTQ individuals are able to express their sexual orientation.  Like with other efforts to expand human rights, equality, dignity and freedom, we are far from perfect.  But we have made unmistakable progress and many minds have opened.  We have had openly gay politicians and legal gay marriage in many states, including California.  And this trend shows, thankfully and with my full support, no intention of slowing down.  I will never imply to my young son that any discrimination against race, religion, sexual orientation or other cannot be lessened and, hopefully, eradicated over the course of his lifetime.  We know when the drum beats loud enough, when the water builds so high behind the dam, no army can stop an idea whose time has come, to quote Victor Hugo.  

I am not a member of the LGBTQ community myself, but I am out and proud to support their cause.  Our doors are open and we welcome them and their partners into our business.  We can offer not only great financial products and service, but a place where they will face absolutely no discrimination or prejudice and an overabundance of due confidentiality and privacy when and where required.  While I am optimistic enough about the future in our nation and our ability to pursue and prevail with equal rights for all, I am realistic enough to know it’s not OK to be silent about these matters any longer.  

With pride,

Rob Spinosa
Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709
 

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

Let Me Be Clear

As we go through life, I’d bet most of us come to a point where we realize we must be comfortable in our own skin.  Warts, blemishes, imperfections and all.  So as my career has progressed, I have had less difficulty ditching the pretense of needing to conceal the fact that I never attended college and accept that, in matters of business discourse, I was raised mostly with a blue collar approach of getting to the point. 

Yeah, I know I have been accused of possessing a certain facility with language that belies the high school diploma I struggled to achieve, so it won’t surprise you to know I make a consistent effort to build my vocabulary, my catalog of quotes and my storehouse of witticisms.  Still, I harbor a broad disdain for “corporate jargon.”  I bring this up because, working in the San Francisco Bay Area, with its proximity to Silicon Valley, most of my clientele has exposure to the sprawling tech campuses that employ the nation’s best and brightest.  So while the purpose of this post is not to make fun of anyone — especially not those whose intelligence far exceeds mine — if you’re going to work with me, I want you to know a few things:

  • I work in the mortgage industry, not the mortgage space.  This was an industry nearly 20 years ago when I took the leap of faith to become a full-time salesperson.  It’s still a vibrant industry today.  Let’s leave the space exploration to NASA.
  • I try not to leave any loops to close.  I do have a bias to action in order to get things done efficiently out of the gate.  Don’t put off to tomorrow that which you can finish today, right?
  • I’m not going to open my kimono and be fully transparent.  There, I said it.  I’m sorry, but I work for my buyers or homeowners.  I don’t reveal their information to other parties in the transaction in any feigned virtue of being completely transparent.  I will be honest 100% the time, but I will not be “transparent” to that degree.  This is business.
  • I never go “out of pocket.”  I don’t even know what that means.  Yes, sometimes I cannot be reached for good reasons, but when that is a possibility, I will try to provide instruction for my next in command.  Outside of those few occasions, I am probably one of the most responsive and accessible professionals in the mortgage space…I mean, industry.
  • I am not rate or program agnostic.  I have strong opinions and I will share them with you.  I will respect you if you agree or disagree with reason and tact.  The way I see it, you should expect a professional to share his/her experiences and perspective because that’s valuable insight built over a career.  And it’s exactly the kind if information from which a client — someone who may only transact a few real estate deals in his/her life — can benefit.
  • “Deep dives” are often bested by keeping things simple.  Even with a myriad of loan options, 95% of our clients end up with our Top 5 solutions.  That doesn’t mean that mortgage financing is simple, but it often means that wide and shallow works better for most.
  • I always have the bandwidth to provide great customer service.  You will never see me more aggravated than if a member of my team tells a client or prospect that “we are slammed.”  I have worked hard my whole career in order to be busy for the remainder of it.  If I have too much business, I have enough revenue to hire additional staff to assure you timely and competent service.

So that’s my rap.  As they say, it’s easy to make a simple thing complex and hard to make a complex thing simple, so in an effort to achieve greater clarity, I’m cool with ditching the Silicon Valley lingo when we work together.  Clear communication polls way high up on the customer satisfaction surveys all the time, and my career would look very different without the effort I make to deliver it to the street.  What about you?

Time to log off,

Rob Spinosa
Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709
 

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

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 a jumbo loan.  We had no idea that would be so difficult.  Why are banks now telling us we need more than 20% down?”

As we go into the second half of 2020, it’s unquestionably true that we’ve seen a complete reshaping of the mortgage industry due to financial turmoil wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic.  And one of the products under most pressure has been the jumbo loan — programs that accommodate loan amounts greater than the conforming or FHA limits.  Access to this tier of credit is essential to the higher-cost coastal real estate markets as well as to larger cities with luxury markets, like Chicago.  So is the home buyer or owner looking to refinance out of luck if he or she needs a competitively-priced jumbo loan?  Fortunately, the answer is a resounding “NO!,” though some research may be required to find it.

As of June 1, 2020, here are some of the jumbo mortgage options we will permit:

  • 20% down payment purchase jumbo mortgages to $3MM.  Max purchase price is $3,750,000 in this case.
  • Cash out refinances to 70% loan-to-value (LTV).  Cash out amounts can exceed $250K.
  • Jumbo purchase and refinance mortgages that do NOT require transfer of assets to us.
  • 10% down payments on jumbo mortgage options.
  • “Rate and term” refinances to 80% LTV, up to a $3MM loan amount.

While we are not out of the pandemic woods yet, we expect that our jumbo options will continue to strengthen and expand so long as real estate sales remain robust.  While much of the country can make do with conforming loan products there are many key markets that rely on efficient and cost-effective jumbo loans.  We’re here to address that need if it applies to your scenario.

Go big and/or go home,

Rob Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709
 

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

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 address, well, the address — of the home, that is.  Since I’m a licensed loan officer in the state of California, working out of an office in Marin County, I’m only going to view this topic through my designer sunglasses.  In California, properties are assessed to market value when they change ownership, and change of ownership does not typically happen in a refinance.  So if you purchased a home for $500,000 in 2015, and it appraises for $650,000 in 2020 when you obtain your refinance appraisal, the county assessor is still working off your original assessed value as far as your tax basis is concerned.  Behind the scenes is a more complex calculation that has to do with changes to the ad valorem portion of your tax bill, adjusted by the lesser of a 2% annual increase OR the rate of inflation, as dictated by Proposition 13.  If you have questions about how to interpret your tax bill, give me a call or send me an e-mail any time and we’ll review it together.  But again, the incremental adjustments to the original basis prevail here and not a jump to the appraised (or market) value at the time of refi.

“But wait!” you say.  “My tax bill really did go up when I last refinanced!”

OK — let’s look at this a little closer.  We know that a refinance alone would not usually trigger a reassessment, but are there some things that could cause a fluctuation in the amount of tax you’ve been paying?  At times in the past, and especially during the downturn in 2008 through 2012, some homes were eligible for a temporary reduction in tax rate.  Those will revert back to their regular basis with rising values, though this may seem disconnected and cause one to think the property tax rate has been reassessed.  But the most common culprit is an escrow account for taxes and insurance.  Adjustments by your loan’s servicer that are required to maintain a sufficient balance might show up as increases to your PITI payment.  Both of the above examples could have coincided with your refinance and they may have changed your tax payment amount, but they would not have been a result of the refinance itself.

I realize that property taxes are a significant component of your total monthly housing payment.  After all, I pay them too!  So if you’re thinking about refinancing to get into better terms or a lower payment, and you have been reluctant to do so because you feel a mortgage lender’s appraisal and process could trigger an increase in your property tax bill, you can step back from the ledge and take a deep breath.  Refinancing, in and of itself and the vast majority of the time, does not cause your property taxes to increase in California.

Eureka!  I have found it,

Rob Spinosa
Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
415.367.5959  Cell/Text
rob.spinosa@rate.com
NMLS:  22343

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960
East Bay Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

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 you.  You may be sitting on a pile of savings but are also concerned that refinancing your home loan may be too difficult or expensive, require tons of paperwork and inconvenience and may even end up in failure.  So let’s get serious about how to refinance your home here in 2020, even when the COVID-19 pandemic shows little signs of disappearing like a miracle.

What’s Involved?

If your only experience with the home finance process was getting a loan when you bought your home, you should find that the refinance process is far less stressful.  This is because you don’t have the ominous deadline requirements imposed by a purchase contract.  Time’s still of the essence — your rate lock is only valid for a specific period of time, but unlike with a purchase, if you run late, your earnest money deposit is not a risk.  I’ll generally ask a refinance prospect to send me a copy of a current mortgage statement and with that, I’ll do a complete analysis to determine if it even makes sense to refi.  This work up is free and has zero obligation.  If it makes sense to proceed, we’ll have a client fill out a digital mortgage application (if that is convenient) and then we’ll request the usual suspects as far as documentation is concerned; paystubs, bank statements and tax returns.  Often, the list is very manageable because we strive to reduce paperwork and variables at every turn.  We may even learn at this stage that the transaction does not require an appraisal.

What Does It Cost?

A typical refinance for a loan size ranging from $250,000 to $1,250,000 will usually cost between $3000 and $5000.  Sure there are ways to make these costs significantly higher or lower, but when you factor in the fundamentals; lender fees, title/escrow fees, prepaid interest, insurance, appraisal, etc., this is a reliable range for a “no point” refinance.  If an appraisal is required, it’s usually the only fee paid “up front.”  Most refinances will “roll” the closing costs into the new loan balance as well, and this prevents the borrower from having to write a check at close of escrow.  One can also choose to do a “no cost refinance” but the best fit for any client is always a math equation of financial objectives and available savings.  We are happy to help with this discussion.

How Do I Start?

Kicking off a conversation about a refinance involves no cost or obligation.  If you think you may have an opportunity to lower your rate, lower your payment, lower your interest payments over time, get cash out of your home or consolidate higher interest rate debt, get in touch.  It can’t hurt to learn about the options, but it can often help to act on them. Especially in the current, and historic low, interest rate environment.

You snooze you lose,

 

Rob Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960
Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

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 now…now, 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 learn what’s still possible in the realm of mortgage lending, because you sense that during the economically challenging months ahead, you’ll come across a real estate investment opportunity.  Sot at least for today, we can affirm the following:

  • The conforming loan limits in most counties are $510,400 for a one-unit property, $653,550 for a two-unit property, $789,950 for a three-unit property and $981,700 for a 4-unit property.  Some counties in higher cost areas have an additional tier, known as “jumbo conforming” or “super conforming” or “high balance conforming” that allows a borrower to reach higher in loan amount with a conforming loan.
  • In the California Bay Area, the high balance limits go as follows; 1-unit to $765,600, 2-unit to $980,325, 3-unit to $1,184,925 and 4-unit to $1,472,550.
  • One-unit properties allow a maximum 85% loan-to-value (LTV), or a 15% down payment, on an investment property purchase using a conforming loan.  PMI would be required.
  • Two- to four-unit properties require a 75% LTV or a 25% down payment with conforming scenarios, but remember, the conforming loan limits are higher for these properties.
  • With a 35% down payment, we can lend to a loan amount of $1.5MM (purchase price of approximately $2.3MM or higher), using a jumbo mortgage.

Investment property financing, also known as financing for rental properties or “non-owner occupied” homes, is still available to the real estate investor.  Once above he conforming loan limits, the options are no doubt more limited, yet still exist.  If you need help navigating the world of the shunned, recruit our help today.  Things will get better and we’re here to help until they do.

Twice-told tales,

 

Rob Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960
Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

To LinkedIn, With Gratitude

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
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

 

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 force 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 ultramarathon. These are (usually) trail races that exceed a distance of 26.2 miles. The sport’s Super Bowl is the Western States Endurance Run. One hundred miles on foot, from Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA, mostly following the trail of the historic Tevis Cup horse ride. This might be a good place to remind readers that horses are generally not as bright as humans, but back to the story. You might be surprised to know that there are so many applicants for entry each year that, for most, a lottery provides the only remote shot at toeing the start line.

Like with many things in life, there are exceptions. Since it takes even trained ultra runners almost, if not more than, 24 hours to cover 100 rugged miles, let’s say you volunteer to pull an overnight shift at one of the aid stations that service the course? You might then be eligible for one of the few spots reserved for and assigned to aid station captains, to dole out at their discretion. Now, when I say “aid station” I don’t mean a folding table lined with cups of warm Gatorade. At “States,” we’re talking huge productions with food, medical, HAM radio operators, spectators and pacers. One, in particular and to which I had access through my running club, Tamalpa Runners, sits at “Rucky Chucky.” Here, at just under Mile 80, runners traverse the American River, sometimes by wading via guide rope or, in high-water years like 2019, they are shuttled across on rafts.

So it was that I found myself on “the Far Side.” There, on its sandy and overgrown bank, we would help runners out of the rafts, undo their life vests, and send most of them on their way up into the darkness of the summer night via headlamp. It was a surreal scene. At one point shortly after midnight, I found myself working alongside another volunteer. This individual, a young man who clearly had some first responder experience, stood prominently at the front of the line and enthusiastically directed the runners in a clear, loud voice as they clambered off the rafts in various states of exhaustion and quasi-delirium. Here’s a paraphrased smattering of what was hitting their ears:

  • “Runner 146, I am here for you. You are doing great. Come directly up and I will help you take off your life jacket!”
  • “Runner 318, I have been waiting for you. Keep up the great work! Look right at me. I will take care of everything for you.”
  • “You are looking great, Runner 212. I will assist you from here. Proceed to me, watch your step and don’t worry about anything else.”

I could not believe what I was hearing and experiencing. The comfort I — the guy who was NOT running — felt each time he directed an athlete in this manner was palpable. Ah, the sweet relief of not having to make another decision in my tired state! The reassurance the runners must have experienced in the dead of that night may have touched them for just an instant, but isn’t that what execution of all imposing tasks requires? They are almost always a series of individual moments where doubt must be quashed and the spark to continue must be ignited yet again, and again, and again.

No alt text provided for this image

 

The 2020 Western States Endurance Run has been canceled due to COVID-19. There will be no race this June, no Rucky Chucky support crew, and my own dream to someday run will have to be postponed. But upon hearing the news of the cancellation, I recalled my experience volunteering. In this uncertain, weary, stressful time, I was encouraged to revisit my communication strategy with my clients and referral partners. Am I clear? Do I project certainty, optimism and offer a beacon of help? Do I help eliminate the stress of unnecessary choices and do I help get them on their way to their own success, even if my role will not necessarily be remembered in the chaos of all else going on? We, in many of our professional roles, are ultimately in a service business. How we go about assisting others in the toughest of times, in the dark of night, when we least feel like doing it, says the most about what we’re made of and who we really are. And that…that can never be canceled.

One day, 100 miles,

 

Rob Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959
rob.spinosa@rate.com

Marin Office: 324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA 94960
Berkeley Office: 1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate. In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283