No matter which side of the contract you're on, it's time to find an agent and get busy. Every year brings something a little bit new. Trends in real estate ebb and flow, and it's hard to keep up with it all.

In a seller's market, buyers must do their homework on local trends, get as prepared in advance as possible, and be ready to jump quickly when they find the right house. Approaching the property search with too easygoing of an attitude might mean losing out on the perfect home. As for sellers, the immediate future looks pretty bright.

Top Buyer Tips

Start Searching as Soon as Possible

There's no time like the present. The longer you wait, the more the season will heat up. That means more competition for the most desirable homes, and potentially a lot of frayed nerves through the process. The National Association of Realtors® suggests that waiting until later in the season won't necessarily improve the selection of homes. What it will do is give you a better chance of an accepted offer.

Get Pre-qualified for a Mortgage

Loan approval can take weeks. That's one reason why getting pre-qualified makes a lot of sense. Once you find the perfect home, you'll be ready to bid with confidence. Another benefit is narrowing your selection to the most appropriate and attainable properties. When you know your budget in advance, you won't waste time looking at properties that are outside your budget or take a major step down from what you can actually afford.

Add New Homes to Your Search

Don't discount new construction. The upsides are great selection, less competition, and the benefit of getting a home where everything is pristine. On the downside, new construction can cost more. Don't skip the home inspection with new construction, as they're susceptible to defect, too.

Top Seller Tips

Go Ahead and List

If you haven't already listed your home for sale, hop to it. You'll have more buyers out and about looking to buy, which means you're more likely to get at least one great bid. You might even luck into a bidding war. At the very least, a seller's market means more sellers are likely to get their asking price.

A little research will show you what you're up against in price and amenities.

Get the Pricing Right

A seller's market doesn't necessarily mean that you can write your own ticket. Even with buyers in competition for the homes that are available, you'll want an asking price that's reasonable for the area and the comps. Work with an agent to pinpoint what's right for your area.

Think About Incentives

Who needs incentives when the odds are in your favor? A market flooded with buyers doesn't necessarily mean every market is flooded with qualified folks who are ready to issue a bid. Incentives are good form in any market. And for areas where it's a little tougher, they can tip the scales in your direction.

The days of a depressed market from coast to coast are mercifully over, and that means real estate is once again moving. Each year, it's a little better than the last. There should be a slightly smaller inventory to go around, and buyers will probably be motivated.

If you're a buyer, preparation is key. Expect to face other buyers who are pre-qualified and ready to sign. And don't be surprised if you find yourself bidding against more than one other person.

If you're ready to list, get off on the right foot with a free property valuation from eppraisal. In just a few clicks, you'll learn the estimated value of your home, see what's trending in your area, and be better prepared to meet with an agent to get in the running.