How to Rock a 10% Down Payment!!!

Why go home to your grungy apartment when you can buy your first home instead?  Oh, what’s that?  Haven’t saved the full 20% down payment?  Live in a part of the country where home prices and loan sizes easily outpace the capacity of conforming, FHA and even VA loans?

Let’s learn how to rock the best of the 10% down jumbo mortgage options, some without PMI, and jam on why with a changing real estate market, you may be in luck with half the down payment you thought it might otherwise take. 

Jeremy’s spoken,

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 Cannabis Income on a Mortgage Application

Fifty years ago, when the Doobie Brothers were flying high and the folks in China Grove were rising for another day, it would have been hard to imagine that marijuana would eventually be legal in some states.  But, not legal in all states and not legal at the Federal level and that means those who work in the marijuana and cannabis industries can see their mortgage opportunities go up in smoke if not aligned with a lender who knows which programs and investors can navigate this relatively new industry.

So let’s take it to the streets and find out just how a homebuyer or homeowner can get a mortgage approval if they are employed in a cannabis business and get income from a business in the cannabis space.

Need some solid advice about mortgages and marijuana and cannabis income?  Give me a like or subscribe on YouTube!

Listen to the music,

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 Application Without Hurting Your FICO Score

“What’s your rate?”

“How much will I qualify for?”

“Are you a banker or a broker or a lender?”

Nope, nope and nope.  None of these are the #1 question we get before a prospective borrower makes an application for a pre-approval.  So what is the most asked question?

“Will making a mortgage application hurt my FICO score?”

Yep, that’s it.  That’s the one that keeps some otherwise strong and qualifiable buyers on the sidelines and paralyzed by the irrational fear that simply by having a lender make a hard credit inquiry, and access their Equifax, Experian and Transunion scores, that they will somehow see their excellent credit rating vanish in the face of that lone (or multiple) inquiry.

So, let’s walk around all day long and have a little bit of fun busting the myths about credit scores, credit inquiries and mortgage applications.  

Need some solid advice about mortgages and credit scores?  Give me a like or subscribe on YouTube!

Hurts so good,

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.

How to Rock Cryptocurrency As Your Down Payment

The mere mention of the words “bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency” or “blockchain” is sure to evoke comments and reactions that will be far-reaching.  There will be the speculators who rolled the dice and came up winners, or who are still white-knuckling their wild ride.  There will be financial technicians who have been forced to grasp how this technology has the potential to disrupt the exchange of currency as we know it.  But more than the reactions of either of these two subsets, you’ll encounter the expressions of the mostly and mildly bewildered.  Because really, when it comes to cryptocurrency, most people are downright confused:

  • About what it is.
  • About how it works.
  • And for us in the real estate world, about whether you can use bitcoin and other digital currencies to buy residential real estate.

So take a quick video tutorial with me on how to rock the use of cryptocurrency as your down payment!

Thinking about rocking the rebel currency on your next home purchase?  Give me a like or subscribe on YouTube!

Ground control to Major Tom,

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.

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

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

Part-Time Jobs, Second Jobs and Your Mortgage Application

I remember thumbing through the Recycler in Los Angeles when I first moved out there as a teenager.  Living on a shoestring budget, I was especially intrigued by the ads that promised the ability to make thousands per month while sitting in the comfort(?) of your home.  In my mind, that meant I could keep my day job, practice guitar eight hours and day and still have some other check rolling in without too much trouble.  Who wouldn’t like that?  I never actually pursued any of these trinket-making, envelope-stuffing, part-soldering side hustles, but the reality of part-time income, either as a primary or supplemental source of monthly revenue, is appealing to many and necessary for some.  But what happens when these individuals make a mortgage application and attempt to qualify with some or all of this income?

Part-Time Income

Just because you don’t work a full 40 hours a week does not mean you are disqualified from getting a great home loan.  Maybe you have a seasonal job or a position that does not require a set schedule.  If you have a two-year history of earnings in this role and you can document this with paystubs, W-2 forms, tax returns and a verification of employment, you’re in business in our eyes.  Consistency is key and the more you have of it, the easier it will be to qualify your income from a part-time position.

Secondary Income

In today’s gig economy, many individuals earn extra income through a secondary position, such as driving for Uber or Lyft, for example.  Still others, because of a highly refined skill in technology and/or medicine might find themselves effectively working a second job due to their expertise (and assuming a non-compete clause doesn’t prevent them from doing so).  Here too, even if the income earned is substantial, we will generally not qualify it unless there is at least a two-year, documented history of its earning.  We must also show that the secondary position continues, so we would verify this employment with the employer just as we’d typically do for your primary job.

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Here are some of the things that will disqualify, or at the very least make challenging, the use of secondary or part-time income.

  • Payments in cash.
  • Irregular schedules.
  • Multiple secondary jobs that do not appear stable.
  • Part-time positions that do not appear to be ongoing.
  • Second jobs that pay you as an independent contractor (1099).  These technically create a “self-employment” situation where we would need a two-year history of tax returns which support consistent self-employed income.

This is not a complete list, but it will give most a good sense of whether their scenario might get consideration by a mortgage lender and allow them to use the income to help qualify for a home loan.  If you have secondary or part-time employment and you need it to help you purchase or refinance, get in touch at any time and we’ll be happy to assess your situation and advise on what’s possible.

Help wanted, 

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

What’s a Qualifying Payment on a Mortgage?

Qualifying. It’s always harder than it looks, right? I’ve talked before about my erstwhile career as an Ironman triathlete and for those familiar with that sport, they’ll confirm that qualifying for the race in Kona is way harder than they make it look on TV. I suppose it’s the same with getting into certain colleges, but since I struggled to get out of high school, I’m going to let someone else blog about that…

No, today, we’re going to talk about qualifying for a mortgage and specifically we’re going to cover the payment that we lenders use behind the scenes whenever any time of ARM loan is selected. Common mortgage programs, such as a 5/1 ARM or 7/1 ARM, are known as “hybrids” and the payment the lender uses to determine your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and your asset reserve requirement will often vary from your “note” rate, which is the rate on which your actual monthly payment will be based. So how does the borrower keep this straight and avoid trouble in the loan process?

Getting a Fix on Qualifying Payment

While most of what follows could get a bit complex, one aspect of qualifying payments is simple. If you are obtaining a fixed rate loan (30-year fixed or 15-year fixed), your lender will use the actual payment for your qualification parameters. And most borrowers still do choose a fixed rate loan. If you’re one of them, very little of what follows might apply to your qualification and since blog posts about mortgages are generally pretty boring, this might be a great place to stop.

But what if you’re opting for, say, a 10/1 ARM? This is (usually) a 30-year term, but only the first 10 years of the term have a fixed rate (hence the “10” in 10/1). After year ten, the loan will become an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and will have an annual adjustment (that’s the “1” in 10/1) for the remaining 20 years. Because the adjustable rate will be determined by combining a fixed margin with a variable index, it’s impossible to know at the time of loan origination where the rate will go during the last 20 years. Yes, the adjustments will be governed by caps, but still the lender must allow for a rate that could possibly be higher than the fixed, start rate. In these cases, the lender will specify how the loan originator should qualify the borrower.

Examples, please…

When we have an ARM, as above, there are three common qualifying payment scenarios a lender will require, plus another for extra credit (no pun intended):

  • Qualify at the note rate. From time to time, we’ll see this on the 7/1 and 10/1 ARM and it’s usually a great deal where you can find it. Often a borrower’s greatest qualifying power can be found with programs of this nature. As stated, we treat these ARMs like a fixed rate loan for qualifying purposes. Whatever your locked/note rate, that is your qualifying rate.
  • Qualify at the higher of the note rate or the fully-indexed rate. Where lenders don’t use the note rate on a 7/1 or 10/1, we’ll often see this structure. Let’s say our index is the 1-Year LIBOR and that, on the day of lock, the index is 2.6%. The loan’s margin, for example, is 2.25%. To obtain the fully-indexed rate (FIR) we add the index and margin, so here we have 4.85%. If the borrower is locking at 7/1 ARM at 4.125%, under this profile he’d still need to qualify for the loan based on a rate of 4.85% as it’s the higher of the two. Further, his asset reserve requirement would need to be based on the payment at 4.85%.
  • Qualify at the higher of the note rate + 2% or the fully-indexed rate.  We see this a lot with the 5/1 ARM. Borrowers often think that because the note rate can be lowest on this program, it may afford them the greatest qualifying power. Unfortunately, they have to think again. Lenders artificially increase the qualifying payment on shorter-term ARMs to offset risk of the fewer amount of fixed years and this frequently conspires to make the 3/1 ARM and 5/1 ARM harder to qualify for than their brethren of 7 or 10 years.
  • Interest-only? All bets are off… OK, not really. But as an extension of the logic on the 3/1 and 5/1 ARM qualification, lenders in the age of the Qualified Mortgage (QM) have to qualify interest-only loans to a much higher standard of the borrower’s expected ability to repay. For this reason, interest-only loans typically have the highest qualifying payments of all programs. Usually, if you have a 10/1 interest-only loan, the lender might be required to use the higher of the note rate or fully-indexed rate, amortized over the period of time that is not fixed (in this case, 20 years). And as we know, shorter amortization periods mean higher payments, all other things equal.

So there you have it. Punching your ticket to the big dance, whether it’s the college of your dreams, the toughest day in endurance sports or your next home purchase, might involve some qualifying gymnastics. If you could use a good coach, give me a call any time.

I am pleased to inform you…

 

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