How agents can prepare for an anticipated busy home sales season next spring

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How agents can prepare for an anticipated busy home sales season next spring
The National Association of Realtors forecasts home sales growth next year, which should come as music to the ears of real estate agents.

Real estate agents have officially entered the slow season. Though there are exceptions, the fall and winter months tend to be the time of the year that home sales activity slows considerably. While the break in the action can serve as a much needed reprieve - particularly in light of the holiday season being around the corner - it can often prove to be a trying period for agents eagerly anticipating their next sale.

But agents would be wise to use their down time wisely, as based on sales forecasts from the National Association of Realtors, home purchase activity this spring has the potential to make 2015 a banner year for the industry's sales professionals.

NAR recently held its annual housing market forecast conference in New Orleans. Lawrence Yun, the trade association's chief economist, indicated home sales momentum will really pick up during the spring, with new-home purchases potentially jumping by 41 percent, totaling 624,000, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"We believe that builders will have to build more, and they will build more," said Yun.

The National Association of Home Builders has similarly forecast an uptick in sales of newly built homes, projecting an increase of more than 24 percent next year over how many were bought in 2014.

"Single-family builders are feeling good," said David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist in a press release. "They are not overly confident, but confident enough to keep moving forward."

He added that the demand that's been pent up among buyers will finally be unleashed in 2015, thanks largely to buyers being more confident about the state of the economy. For the first time in six years, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has dropped below 6 percent, falling to 5.9 percent in September then again to 5.8 percent in October, according to the Labor Department.

The following are a few ways in which agents can prepare for the spring sales season:

Have a curb appeal strategy. Though there are various aspects that play into buyers' decision about buying a home, one of the biggest is the first impression they get when they see a home's exterior. This is why agents should have a vision of what provides the most curb appeal to a home that's on the market. For example, well-manicured lawns can be enhanced in the spring because the weather is typically more seasonable.

Review last year's sales to find a theme. If 2014 was a stellar sales year for you, there may have been several factors that they all had in common. Go over some of the details of these transactions to see if there was a theme. You may be able to apply it to your sales strategy for 2015.

Anticipate plenty of opportunities. You never know how any year is going to work out as far as sales go, but there should be plenty of chances for you to sell. As NAHB noted, single-family housing production is expected to rev up next year, potentially outpacing the 991,000 total housing starts projected over all of 2014.

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