How seasonality affects new home sales

By Marcie Geffner -

Realtors who don’t sell many new construction homes might think this market is subject to extreme seasonality due to the challenges of building homes in winter.

That’s not entirely true, however.

While places that have severe winter weather do experience more new-home sales seasonality than locales with milder climates, annual cyclicality is due more to demand patterns than supply constraints, says Michael Carliner, an independent housing economist and consultant in Potomac, Md.

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Realtors, Build Your New Home Sales

Marcie Geffner -

Many Realtors sell a few new construction homes now and then. Some other Realtors sell dozens of these homes every year, year after year. If you're in the low production group, how can you ramp up your sales — and commissions — from a few to a lot?

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Will you get a pay raise in 2016?

By Marcie Geffner -

Employees hoping for a pay raise in 2016 may be disappointed. The outlook isn't favorable except for the select few who are at the top of the corporate hierarchy or have skills essential to their employer.
Annual raises and cost-of-living increases were common before the 2008 financial crisis. Since then, pay raises have been hard to come by.
Today pay raises are all about results, says Michael Lazarchick, a professional employment counselor in Mays Landing, New Jersey.
"If (the employer) perceives somebody as talented -- doing more and making money for them -- they will pay to get those people, and those people will do well," Lazarchick says. "But the average person? No. They aren't necessarily going to get a pay raise."
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Should sellers say yes to FHA buyers?

By Marcie Geffner -

Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages allow buyers to buy homes with less-than-perfect credit and small down payments. The minimum down payment is just 3.5% of the home's purchase price.

A small down payment, by itself, shouldn't be a concern for sellers, says Rob McAllister, owner and broker at West Seattle Mortgage in Seattle. But when you pair a small down payment with a low appraised value, the situation becomes more nuanced.

McAllister describes a situation where a buyer has enough cash for a 20% down payment, but the appraiser says the house is worth 10% less than the negotiated price. If the seller refuses to reduce the price, the buyer can still pay the agreed-upon amount. In that case, the mortgage's loan-to-value ratio is close to 90%, which the lender is likely to approve.

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Saving for something fun!

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate

By her own admission, Nicole Roberts is "awful" at saving money. But even she managed to save for something fun.

"I don't have an emergency fund, and I should have," Roberts says. "And yet I was able to identify that I really wanted to go to Comic-Con, and if I was going to do it, I needed a certain amount of money."

The event pass to Comic-Con International -- an entertainment and comic convention held annually in San Diego -- hotel room and costume supplies cost $600. For Roberts, a 39-year-old fundraiser in Los Angeles, that sum represented a significant financial commitment.

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Reverse mortgage requires forward thinking

By Marcie Geffner - The Washington Post

Lisa Lajoie has been trying to buy the 1,400-square-foot home in Brockton, Mass., where she grew up ever since her mother, Aline Lajoie, died 17 months ago.

Lisa, who is 46, asserts that she has been approved three times for a new loan to purchase the home where she lived with her mother, but the servicer of her mother’s reverse mortgage has refused to cooperate with her.

Now she is surrounded by moving boxes as she tries to save her home from foreclosure. In late October, an auction date just two days away was postponed until early January.

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