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Looking for a new home may seem like a daunting task these days.

Prices are up, inventory is low and mortgage rates are rising.

That’s why, in this environment, it pays to do your homework before you enter the market. Once you start looking, you’ll have to move at light speed to place an offer, explains Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for the National Association of Realtors.

“As interest rates are climbing, there has been a rush to lock in lower relative rates, while at the same time the inventory of homes has hit all-time lows,” she said.