Tips for buyers and sellers in a competitive market Lots of buyers, but not enough homes are on the market! That's the common refrain in today's real estate market, and while it is not true in all areas, it is true that the month of May welcomes an increase in home buying and selling. Interest rates are up to just over 4 percent, a reasonable rate, but new economic growth could see rate increases that end at about 5 percent at the end of this year, according to most experts. This is a good 'buy now' sign for those wishing to make their housing move. At the same time, price increases are expected to be moderate, ranging from 2.5 percent to about 4 percent in most areas -- a sign that is good for buyers and sellers. But, if there are not a lot of houses for sale, the market can be competitive. For buyers, this means getting prepared and getting serious. - Get pre-qualified to buy a house (not just pre-approved), so you can be ready to make an offer. Make sure you have an experienced agent. - Be ready to offer more than the asking price. - Keep an eye on new listings and have your agent keep an ear to the ground for homes that might be coming on the market. - If you can't find what you want, ask your agent about finding a builder. Sellers should be ready to make a quick deal, too. - It's likely that sellers could have a number of showings and that they might be ready to make more than one offer. Sellers should have their game plans ready. - If millennials are the buyers in the market, make those improvements to get the property ready for wireless amenities. Ask your agent what improvements might be necessary, if any. - Know where you are going to go -- houses can sell fast in a competitive market. - Make sure your home shows well online. That means great photos.