As home prices rise, here's what buyers can do to land a deal

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    Real estate agents Rosa Arrigo, center, and Elisa Rosen, right, work an open house in West Hempstead, New York on April 18, 2021.Newsday LLC | Newsday | Getty Images

    In this red-hot real estate market, it’s tough for buyers to land a deal.

    Supply is low, which is pushing prices higher. The median price of an existing home sold in March was $329,100. That’s a 17.2% increase from March 2020.

    Yet there is some good news. New listings were up for the second week in a row, increasing 40% over last year, which is right when the pandemic hit, according to Realtor.com.

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    “Buyers who are currently struggling to find a home are likely to see improvement in the number of choices available to them as more sellers list for the spring buying season,” said Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale, in a statement.

    That said, the market is still very tight.

    “I have been in the business for more than 30 years and I have never seen a market that has been this hot,” said Glenn Brunker, president of Ally Home, which provides mortgage services and products.

    He recommends potential buyers take a pause and do a little soul searching.

    “Take a look at your income stream, your employers, the location you are considering buying a home and make sure that the stability of your personal situation is one that warrants homeownership,” Brunker said.

    If you are ready to buy, here’s advice from experts on how to navigate the market right now.

    Figure out your number

    The first thing financial advisor Jacqueline Cooper asks clients is what they are paying in rent and if that is okay for them.

    “Come up with a number first,” said Cooper, founder, president and CEO of Financial Education Associates in Dorchester, Massachusetts. “What you can afford is going to guide not just your principal and interest payments, but taxes and insurance payments.”

    Review your existing expenses and debt. There