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Tips for buyers and sellers in 2016

How to make sure you close the deal in the new year

2016 is expected to be a healthy year in the real estate market, according to the experts at Realtor.com, which predicts home prices, new-construction starts and new home sales all will rise in the coming year (3, 12 and 16 percent, respectively). But a positive outlook doesn’t necessarily help the buyers and sellers in the market close their deals.

Here, the site lays out some tips.

FOR BUYERS

  • Start early. More than 85 percent of buyers who plan to buy this year plan to do so in the spring or summer, according to a Realtor.com study. Looking in January or February means you have roughly 50 percent more listings relative to the number of potential sales. Looking now means you’ll face less competition.
  • Comparison shop for loans. Mortgage rates are expected to climb to 4.65 percent in 2016. With rising home prices, you’ll want to put in as much effort in finding the right mortgage as you do the right home.
  • Consider new construction. With expected growth in new homes, buyers are likely to have less competition in shopping for a new home — and enjoy a wider selection of options.

FOR SELLERS

  • List during the peak. The prime buying season starts in April and hit its peak in June, according to Realtor.com analysis of sales. Listing during the prime months can mean more buyers, more competition and a higher sales price.
  • Price to the market. Home prices are expected to rise slightly this year. Optimize the price of your home by highlighting its unique features and surrounding neighborhood for the best chance of increasing the potential sale price and shortening its time on the market.
  • Offer incentives. Last year, nearly 40 percent of sellers offered incentives to attract buyers. Being open to negotiating more than the price may lead to scenarios that help quickly close a deal.
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