How to Buy a House When You Have Bad Credit

Buy a House with Bad Credit

It can be a real jungle out there if you’re trying to buy a home and get a mortgage, especially when you have bad credit.  But if you’ve got an appetite for instruction, I’m going to show you the ways you can overcome the stress, intimidation and fear of the failure and succeed with the purchase of a home — even if your credit scores and credit history are down and dirty.

In just the time it takes to listen to your favorite tune, let’s learn how to rock buying a home when you have bad credit!

Do you know where you are?

Rob Spinosa
SVP 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 

*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.

How to Get Rid of PMI on Your Mortgage

Want to drop your private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments like a pair of cheap sunglasses?  Don’t know where to start? 

Look, when interest rates were moving lower and property values were moving higher, the headache of canceling PMI took a back seat. And why not? In that climate, homeowners typically just refinanced and both dropped PMI and got a lower rate.

But when interest rates move higher and home values flatten or even go lower, many owners strive to preserve their great mortgage rates and focus on getting rid of that extra monthly insurance payment through cancellation.  

Whether borrower-requested, lender-required or value driven, let’s rock all the ways you can eliminate PMI!

Have mercy!

Rob Spinosa
SVP 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 

*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.

How to Rock the 2023 FHA Loan Limits!!!

I ain’t foolin’!

Even though it seems like there’s been nothin’ but a whole lotta interest rate hikes in 2022, thankfully FHA borrowers, including first-time homebuyers, will see an increase to the FHA loan limit in 2023.

This means that where the one-unit conforming limit was $420,680 in 2022, it will become $472,030 in 2023.  That puts a house purchase of nearly $490,000 into range with FHA’s lowest down payment requirement of 3.5%.

And in high-cost (aka high balance) metropolitan statistical areas like much of CA, NY and other housing-expensive counties, you will see the FHA limit go from $970,800 all the way up to $1,089,300.  And that means that the maximum purchase price with the minimum down payment approaches $1,129,000 in those counties!

Been a long time!

Rob Spinosa
SVP 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 

*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.

How (NOT) to Destroy Your Mortgage Approval!!!

Ever wondered about the most common (as well as lesser known) ways mortgage borrowers sabotage their own loan process?

  • Do they dispute credit items and try to fix their FICO scores?
  • Do they change jobs without telling their lender or broker?
  • Do they mistakenly wire their down payment to a cyber criminal in Russia?

All of the above can be mortgage destroyers — and not like the KISS kind of Destroyer — the one that captivated me as a child.

So, let’s take the mask off the Top 10 ways unsuspecting homebuyers and those looking to refinance encounter the God of Mortgage Thunder.  Don’t be next! 

Get up, everybody’s gonna move their feet!

Rob Spinosa
SVP 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 

*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.

How to Rock a Low House Appraisal Value!!!

You found the perfect home…

And the seller accepted your offer…

And your mortgage application is underway…

Until your appraisal comes in low.  What now???

Never mind all the bad advice that swirls around this dilemma.  There are a handful of effective ways to deal with an appraisal value that comes in under your offer price, so if you find yourself in this stressful situation today, get in touch.  Or perhaps you’re a Realtor or buyer looking to better understand all of the tactics and tips that you can use to negotiate a low appraisal in today’s challenging real estate market.  If so, come as you are and let’s learn how to rock a low appraisal value today. 

Smells like teen spirit,

Rob Spinosa
SVP 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 

*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.

How to Rock a Mortgage Pre-Approval!!!

Buying your first home is a daunting task and can be a huge undertaking for the first-time buyer.  Shoot, even for a move-up buyer, the experienced downsizer or a seasoned investor, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to begin.  But getting a mortgage pre-approval often remains the best first step in the process, and it’s also a likely reality that your Realtor won’t seriously consider showing you property until you are either pre-approved or pre-underwritten by a mortgage lender or broker.  After all, it’s really tough to know your purchase power and your budget if you don’t know how much of a loan for which you can qualify.

But buyers and borrowers got it bad (so bad!) because they don’t teach “how to buy a home” in school.  So it’s less about the education that you missed and probably more about the education you never got.  But in just five fun minutes we’ll cover:

  1. What’s a pre-approval?
  2. How much does it cost to get a pre-approval?
  3. Will a pre-approval application hurt your FICO score?
  4. What happens once you’re pre-approved?
  5. How long is a pre-approval good for?

Grab your pencil and let’s learn how to rock a mortgage pre-approval!

I don’t feel tardy,

Rob Spinosa
SVP 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 

*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.

How to Rock a Bridge Loan

If you’ve been lamenting how tough it is to get your offer to buy a home accepted these days, think about how much more difficult it is for those who must buy a new home BEFORE selling their existing one.  After all, it’s practically impossible to make a contingent offer — defined as one that would allow you to sell your existing home first.

It’s usually in this stressful environment that someone well-meaning; a friend, a co-worker, even a Realtor, will swoop in and advise our buyer to “Just get a bridge loan!,” as if there is a simple, ready-made solution for our otherwise complex problem. 

So, let’s go under the bridge and learn about the waters that run the “buy before sell” dilemma.  Let’s figure out if a bridge loan is the right fit for you, or if perhaps a HELOC, a cash-out refinance or some other mortgage product can help you reach the higher ground. 

If you don’t ever wanna feel like you do right now, and you want to buy that great new place before you sell your current property, give me a like or subscribe on YouTube!

Give it away, give it away, give it away now,

Rob Spinosa
SVP 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.

Five Tips for Rocking Home Ownership in 2022

If you searched unsuccessfully for a home and suffered one heartbreak after another in 2021, 2022 hasn’t necessarily greeted you with open arms either.  Near non-existent inventory in many areas, fierce competition and rising interest rates have all conspired to make the landscape rockier still.

Despite this, I’ve found five tips can be a universal help in getting you into contract, regardless of your own individual circumstances.  Rock them with me on Youtube:

Ready to find Paradise City?  Please give me a like or subscribe on YouTube!

Welcome to the jungle,

Rob Spinosa
SVP 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.

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 narrow diverges from the path less traveled, you can bet your best Yogi Berra’ism that I’m gonna take the latter.  So to write a blog post solely about the increase in conforming loan limits tests my own limits of conformity.  But for once, I am going to go along with the crowd and talk about pending changes coming to the San Francisco Bay Area, and across the state of California, in 2021.

Let’s step back for a minute and recognize that for the entire state (and country), the current conforming loan limit for a single family residence is set at $510,400.  In many of the higher cost, coastal counties of CA, we also have a “jumbo conforming,” “super conforming,” or “high-balance conforming” loan limit that exceeds this limit.  For example, here in my home county of Marin, that limit is presently set at $765,600.  Let’s look at how these will increase in 2021:

2020 Conforming Limit         2021 Conforming Limit

$510,400                                    $548,250

2020 High Balance Limit       2021 High Balance Limit          County

$765,600                                   $822,375                                      Marin

$765,600                                   $822,375                                      Alameda

$765,600                                   $822,375                                      Contra Costa

$672,750                                   $739,450                                      Monterey

$764,750                                   $816,500                                      Napa

$765,600                                   $822,375                                      San Benito

$765,600                                   $822,375                                      San Francisco

$765,600                                   $822,375                                      San Mateo

$765,600                                   $822,375                                      Santa Clara

$765,600                                   $822,375                                      Santa Cruz

$494,500                                   $550,850                                      Solano

$704,950                                   $707,250                                      Sonoma

As of the writing of this post (late November of 2020) we have already begun to implement the higher limits, so if you believe any of these increases will impact your purchase or refinance mortgage, please let me know.  I am a big fan of the higher limits because a conforming loan generally provides an easier qualification compared to a jumbo mortgage, and simply because we have higher home prices in the Bay Area should not be a reason to subject borrowers to a more burdensome loan process.  Yes, I realize that much of the country may not dance to the beat of my drummer.  But even though I don’t conform to their point of view, my idea of conforming is increasing, and that’s a step in the right direction.

We don’t get fooled again, 

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

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 bid is a combination of the right price, the right terms and the right people.  The weight given to each will vary, but these three elements seem to be common ingredients in the proverbial taking of the cake.  Ideally, you can exert a great degree of control over these aspects:  You can offer the price you want.  You can set the terms as they fit your situation and you can choose your Realtor and lender.  You have every reason to be optimistic.

The Price Is Right

I once had a seasoned Realtor tell me, “it’s often about price, but rarely exclusively about price.”  This is good advice and it’s also why financed buyers are sometimes surprised to learn they beat a competing cash offer.  Perhaps the “sure thing” its assurances of a fast close were not compelling enough to entice to the seller to forego the higher price you may have offered, sometimes because you were using financing.  So determining when to bid under, over or right at list price matters and it’s a foundation for the rest of the offer you’ll build.

The Terms-inator

Having the right terms on your offer helps appeal to the seller’s confidence level (or lack of it) in you, the buyer.  Your terms also speak to the seller’s preferred timing and need to control a sequence of events.  One might assume that a fast close is always the ticket here, but…not so fast.  Some sellers actually need more time to close and recognizing their key thresholds will help you craft the terms you’ll state for releasing your inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies, as well as the timing of the close.

Not Everyday People

If you’re ever so bored that you need to kill an afternoon, look up how many real estate licenses have been issued in your area.  Next, look up how many of those active licensees transact one or less purchase or sale per year.  My point here is that you have a choice of your real estate representation and choosing wisely makes a big difference in your success ratio, even before you set foot in an agent’s car.  Locating a Realtor who knows the market intimately, has current negotiation experience and who garners respect in the community provides an edge perhaps greater than all the others.  Of course, choosing your lender wisely matters too, and in many areas where competition is fierce, we have learned firsthand that the listing agent will accept or not accept a buyer’s offer based on who is providing the financing.  If the listing agent knows a lender can be reached as needed and has been accountable to them and their colleagues in the past, your offer takes on new meaning.

Hundreds and hundreds of transactions have given me a window into what it takes for buyers to succeed when they place an offer on a home they wish to buy.  The results of that perspective confirm that it’s rarely any single aspect of their offer that has the ability to seal a deal, but instead the right combination of factors.  By “stacking advantages,” including offering a compelling price, setting the most appealing terms and using strong professionals on their team, a buyer’s odds increase exponentially.  And the best part about all of this?  Buyers control each block in that stack — so use great care!

Timber!

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