The real estate market is booming right now. Last year, home sales reached their highest point in 14 years, and that trend has continued this year.

With so many people looking to buy, it can be tough navigating through it all.

Home buying looks a lot different these days with technology being the biggest change of the past decade.

“You can sign a contract, apply for a loan, even close the property all virtually with digital signatures,” said Charlie Oppler ,president of the National Association of Realtors.

You can find so much about a home online before you even step foot inside.

He says not only has the pandemic made our reliance on technology even more important when house hunting, it’s even reshaped what we’re searching for.

“What we look for in a property has changed quite a bit in the functionality of a property during this pandemic that you know that home now has a different meaning.”

With so many people now looking for a new home…it can be hard to stand out.

Charlie says be prepared, have your credit already approved and have all your documents verified — that way you can move quickly when you find something you like.

“They should also understand that they have to be flexible with the seller’s demands such as a closing date because a seller may not know exactly what they’re looking at as their next residence.”

You could be competing against many other buyers so you need to take any advantage you can.

One area you can do that — repairs.

“There are many buyers willing to make the improvements to a property or take the property as is. So you’re still going to have your inspection but you might not be nitpicking at some of the issues, that you might in the past say were important to you as a buyer. Now you’re happy to secure the property and move forward.”

If you’re selling a home, there are things you need to do as well.

“They should make sure their home shows as well as it can, declutter, clean, show the space as large as it can be. And really give the buyer the opportunity to visualize what it’s going to look like.”

And be prepared to have multiple offers. Charlie says whether you’re buying or selling, a good realtor is essential.

“We always say real estate is all local. We always talked about location, location, location. Right now I think it’s being prepared because of the demand on the buyer’s side and the realtor’s going to guide you through the process.”

Even though 97% of consumers did internet research before buying a home, nine out of 10 people still choose to work with a real estate agent.

For more information, visit Homeownership matters and