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

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 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

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 with a large down payment (or even all cash), a push to offer without any contingencies in your contract and a general sense that it was going to take an act of God to actually get into contract.

Well, we got the act of God part.  Just not the one that any of us, save for the disbanded Global Health Security and Biodefense Unit, had planned on…

So, here we are, going into the heart of the spring buying season, in the middle of shelters-in-place and a COVID-19 pandemic.  Yet with all due respect given to the very real health concerns most of us share, real estate is an essential activity and some buyers and sellers have no choice but to be “on the market.”  For a handful of these buyers, who are not yet in a position to have saved a full 20%, or who have seen the value of their stock portfolios decimated by recent market volatility, a 10% down payment may be the only realistic way to purchase a home during the months to come.

The good news is that they can still do it.

“What is 80-10-10 Financing?”

I remember my grandmother calling the refrigerator a “Frigidaire” and our jeans “Dungarees.”  So it is with 80/10/10 financing.  It’s sort of the brand name we bandy about when what we’re really discussing is a concept, and the manifestation of that concept is subordinate financing, AKA as a “piggyback loan.”  Most simply described, a buyer using this structure will be obtaining two loans instead of one in the purchase of a home.  This is often referred to in broad strokes as an “80-10-10” loan.

“How Do 80/10/10 Loans Work?”

When we say “80/10/10” we are specifically implying the following:

  • A first mortgage to 80% of the home’s purchase price.
  • A second mortgage equal to 10% of the home’s purchase price.
  • A buyer’s down payment for the remaining 10% of the purchase price.

Since the lending world is replete with guidelines, it doesn’t always play out exactly this way, and for any number of reasons.  Just keep in mind that “80-10-10” could also just as easily be 75-15-10, or sometimes when we need to use a conforming first mortgage, you could even see a 62-28-10, for example.  You get the idea, we don’t always have to be at a strict 80% and 10% for the loan amounts.  But no matter how we structure the transaction, the sum of both loan amounts plus the down payment will equal 100% of the purchase price.

“Can I Qualify for a Piggyback Mortgage”

 When obtaining a jumbo 80-10-10 loan, the first mortgage will typically be a fixed rate loan (30-year fixed) or a hybrid ARM (10/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM or 5/1 ARM).  The second mortgage is most often a home equity line of credit (HELOC).  There can be different qualifying criteria for both loans and your loan officer will have to navigate two sets of guidelines in most cases.  Not all loan originators are adept at subordinate financing but for my clients, the pre-approval process for a piggyback loan is identical to the process for obtaining a single loan — we understand it on every level.  While an 80-10-10 can sometimes be harder to obtain than a single loan, there are also cases where it can enable an approval that otherwise would not exist.  For example, a buyer may not qualify for a single loan of $750,000, but may pass with flying colors if the loan is restructured as a first mortgage of $625,000 and a second loan of $125,000.  Same total sum borrowed, but two very different outcomes.

In a very uncertain time, we presently have the capacity to allow a buyer to make a 10% down payment, using the 80-10-10 structure, on a purchase price almost as high as $2,200,000.  And here in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is not an uncommon scenario.  Sellers may not have the luxury of waiting around to get multiple offers in a market defined by the great uncertainty we all face today.  But in these challenging times of being shut in, will lie opportunity for the buyer who may have previously been shut out.  If I can help you better understand the inner workings of a 10% down payment mortgage option, we are available and open for business.

Take care and stay safe,

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

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 reverberate well beyond that timeline.  Why?  Because in finance we tend to see credit capacity build slowly and steadily, but evaporate suddenly and even violently.  Even though we are in the early innings of dealing with COVID-19, much of the mortgage industry has seen significant pullback in loan options for the consumer.  Among them:

  1. The all-but-complete disappearance of non-QM loan product (bank statement programs, asset-depletion mortgages).
  2. The tightening of guidelines on jumbo and portfolio loans (lower loan-to-values, restrictions to cash out).
  3. Higher rates on riskier loan options.

This is the underlying market’s way of saying that it feels it’s time to be more conservative, trim expenses and reduce risk exposure.  As consumers, it might be beneficial to follow that lead.

So how do we accomplish our own rebalancing of risk and expense when we’re homeowners?  The primary way we’ll see our clients do this is through a refinance.  Of course, if you already have a low, fixed-rate loan, you may be set.  But some of our clients who may have previously not been excited by saving $150, $250 or even $350 per month are now suddenly looking at the prospect of reduced work hours or possibly unemployment of one of the working spouses.  Viewed in this light, any savings can take on new urgency.  And of course, I am never one to advocate for refinancing a loan for short-term benefit while not considering the long-term implications, but current circumstances do, we must admit, change this paradigm.  Everybody must first navigate the present’s choppy waters in order to sail into the safe harbor of a better future.

Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are another strategy the savvy will use.  Remember, a HELOC has no payment if you don’t draw against it.  Some homeowners keep a home equity loan as a safety net.  Some take a new line so they have a source of capital during a downturn and a way to make an investment that other, cash-strapped buyers cannot.  Sure, there is risk, but how many people do you know who say they wished they had bought at the bottom of the last crash?  Let me let you in on a secret.  There are two reasons they didn’t; first, they didn’t have the resources to do it.  Second, they were scared, like everybody else.

Make no mistake about the COVID-19 pandemic — this is wildly unfamiliar terrain for everybody.  It’s also our new, daily existence for some time.  We can hope and wish and pray it will blow over soon, and like you, I’m optimistic it will.  But in the meanwhile, I am taking financial matters into my own hands and advising my clients to do the same.  Some of the old rules don’t apply here and even the ones that do must be viewed in the light of our new abnormal.

Stay weird,

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

Errors of Intent

Watching the world grapple with a pandemic has had a profound impact on my heretofore limited 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 hewn solidly by countless 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 84-year old father, he’s seen great returns on the investment he made instilling in me a zero tolerance policy for BS and hypocrisy and a stern warning to never take advantage of others through my expertise, privileges, resources or place in life.

No doubt the developments of the last few days have come at breakneck speed, and there I was having a heart-to-heart with a client in process.  This individual was clearly stressed under the weight of making a critically important decision in a market shifting under our feet.  As I grappled with several of his most pressing concerns, I wondered to myself, “What if I have it wrong?”  “What if this time is different and my advice doesn’t apply here?” “What if we just don’t know?”

In my mid-20’s, I was fortunate (again) to have had an astute mentor in a job that forced me, for the first time as an adult, to be accountable for decisions that impacted an operation.  I had screwed up and I was scared and embarrassed.  But, I also had an out.  My subordinates could have easily gone under the wheels of the bus this time.  Right about the moment I was stewing in my own panic, my boss burst into my office and short-circuited my fraying wires, “What the hell happened here?”  Reflexively, I told the truth.  I apologized — I looked him in the eye and said, “Dude, do what you gotta do. I accept responsibility.”  He only asked one more question:  “Did you intend to do that or was it a mistake?”  Never one to easily concede perfection, I had to hesitate but admitted that, yes, it was not only a mistake, it was my mistake.

We only had one more discussion on the topic — the most impressionable one.  “Rob,” he said, “I’m pissed about the whole damned thing.  I’m not gonna lie.  But it had to be either your mistake or my mistake for completely misjudging your character.”  He continued, “Errors of execution can be forgiven.  Errors of intent cannot.  Get back to work.”  With that, the conversation and the ordeal were put to bed.

So here we are.  Real estate pros in the middle of a global pandemic. None of us have seen this movie before.  We can’t expect all our decisions from this point will be perfect.  We will make mistakes, we will dispense advice that turns out to be bad.  It’s inevitable.  And in this time of lockdown and reflection, I am reminded that when my future self looks back at any detrimental advice I may give, will it have been an error of execution or intent?  Whose interests did I put first?  We don’t get to pick the times and circumstances of the crisis that finds us.  We don’t get to bend reality to our whims.  We can’t shirk the heavy responsibility and duck the tough questions now, when we are needed most.  In every decision we make for those who entrust us, who are in our care, who rely on us, we are wholly responsible for our intent.  There is no margin of error here, and no forgiveness for getting it wrong.  Now, get back to work.

Take care and stay safe,

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

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 many other banks and brokers cannot.

Yet, we are not immune to the quirks of the current state of jumbo mortgage lending and credit tradeline requirements definitely fall into the “quirk” category. A theme that will emerge here, and true to our opening statement, is that FICO score alone does not a jumbo approval make. As we’ll see, the credit requirements for jumbo loans reach beyond a borrower’s score and delve deeper into the components that comprise those very numbers, namely:

  1. Credit history — depth and age of tradelines.
  2. Blend of credit — distribution of open credit between mortgage, installment and revolving debt.
  3. Use of credit itself — how recently have accounts been used?

If you are in the market for a jumbo mortgage, it’s important to work with a mortgage professional early, as some of these requirements simply cannot be met in the time period it would take to close a traditional escrow. Let’s look at one jumbo investor’s credit profile requirements:

  • Minimum of 3 open tradelines with minimum of 12 month history for EACH borrower.
  • Authorized user accounts cannot be used to meet minimum tradeline requirement.
  • Credit depth must be a minimum of 2 years.
  • All 3 tradelines must have had current activity.

Or another’s:

  • Minimum 3 tradelines open and active for at least 24 months.
  • At least one of the three tradelines must be a mortgage or installment loan.
  • Remaining tradelines must be rated for 12 months.

So, a moral of this story might be that you may indeed have a very good FICO score. But if you do not demonstrate to a jumbo mortgage investor that you can produce a high score by way of the behavior that they believe will most likely lead to repayment of their loan, you may find yourself on the outside looking in. Remember, if you don’t like to use credit — if you pay cash for that auto, if you eschew credit cards — this can be highly effective financial behavior from a personal standpoint, but it can leave the mortgage lender in the dark about whether you’ve got the right credit curriculum vitae.

 

If you have questions about a jumbo home loan and/or about how your credit report and profile will be viewed by a jumbo lender, get in touch today. I can help you make sense of what it takes to qualify for a jumbo mortgage, and in many cases, we can find just the right investor to work with your existing credit profile. Your credit may already be excellent but we’ll make sure it’s jumbo good.

 

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 ChicagoIL 60613 – (866) 934-7283