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pending_home_salePending home sales rose in May to the highest level since late 2006, implying a possible spark as mortgage interest rates began to rise, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 6.7 percent to 112.3 in May from a downwardly revised 105.2 in April, and is 12.1 percent above May 2012 when it was 100.2; the data reflect contracts but not closings.

Contract activity is at the strongest pace since December 2006 when it reached 112.8; pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 25 months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there may be a fence-jumping effect. “Even with limited choices, it appears some of the rise in contract signings could be from buyers wanting to take advantage of current affordability conditions before mortgage interest rates move higher,” he said. “This implies a continuation of double-digit price increases from a year earlier, with a strong push from pent-up demand.”

How can you help buyer’s expedite their home purchase? From escalator clauses to earnest money, here are some helpful tips for landing your buyers’ dream house from Tanya Marchiol, the founder and president of TEAM Investments:

1. Make sure they are preapproved: About three or four months before home buyers even shop for a home, they should review their credit reports to make sure they’re accurate and take short-term steps to improve their credit score, says Michael Corbett, author of Before You Buy! Corbett says buyers then should get a bank’s preapproval. While that won’t guarantee they’ll get the loan, it shows sellers that a lender has verified the buyer’s income and credit score to determine that she can afford payments on a mortgage for a certain amount.

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