Tempe, Arizona (NAPSI) - For the first time in years, rising home prices are boosting sellers’ confidence. At the same time, interest rates remain relatively low, helping to boost potential homebuyers’ confidence. Millions of Americans will decide in 2014 to put their houses on the market and/or shop for new homes, and need to understand the current housing market conditions as they move closer to buying or selling homes.

The following “top five things to know when preparing to sell or buy a home in 2014” should be considered by anyone thinking about a home sale or purchase.

1. Is 2014 the time to make a move?

What sellers should know: The pool of prospective buyers hasn’t been this large in several years. Now may be the time to move, depending on your market.

What buyers should know: You’re competing with more buyers, but interest rates are still ideal, so the hunt for your next home could be well worth it in the end.

2. The price is right, right?

What sellers should know: Don’t overprice your house. After the first 21 days on the market its “freshness appeal” diminishes.

What buyers should know: The house is probably too expensive if your debt-to-income ratio (mortgage, property taxes and insurance) is higher than 36 percent of your monthly gross income.

3. Look for added value in a home protection plan.

What sellers should know: Homes sold with home warranties spend an average of almost 11 fewer days on the market and sell for an average of $2,300 more than homes without a home warranty, according to a recent home sales study conducted by American Home Shield®. For full results and methodology, visit http://bit.ly/1mTrWkU).

What buyers should know: If covered home system components or appliances fail, you’ll worry less knowing they’ll be repaired or replaced under a home warranty.

4. Improvements ... to make them or not?

What sellers should know: View your home as a potential buyer and make improvements accordingly. Consult with a real estate agent to see if improvements are good investments, and to avoid overimproving the property.

What buyers should know: Assess your abilities, time constraints and commitment level when it comes to renovation work. Negotiate improvements with the sale of the house, when appropriate.

5. Know the full scope of a Realtor’s responsibility.

What sellers should know: Real estate professionals can identify the appropriate list price, determine necessary improvements, create a plan to promote the listing, and facilitate showings of the house to potential buyers.

What buyers should know: Real estate professionals can access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), help you understand what you want in a house and find a good fit. They can provide market trends and comparable pricing and guide you through the negotiation and closing processes.

Learn More

If you’re considering selling or buying a home in 2014, visit www.firsthomeresources.com for information that will help you throughout the selling and buying processes. For more information on a home protection plan from American Home Shield, visit www.ahs.com or call (866) 250-4313.