There are steps to buying a home. You don’t just find a house, make an offer, and move in as soon as it’s accepted. In fact, though having an offer accepted is a big step, it’s really just the first of the closing process. There are many things that need to be done before your accepted offer becomes a final sale. During this process, the house you’ve chosen is off the market but not officially sold. Until you’ve got keys to the house, it’s considered a pending sale or under contract. Pending sales are important because they can be a good indicator of where home sales are headed. Because of this, the National Association of Realtors keeps track each month of the number of homes that are under contract as a way of watching what’s ahead for the market. For example, the NAR’s most recent Pending Home Sales Index was virtually flat from the month before. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says the results show that low inventory may be holding home sales back. “Home shoppers are coming out in droves this spring and competing with each other for the meager amount of listings in the affordable price range,” Yun said. In other words, what we can learn from how many pending sales there were in March is that buyers should be prepared to move fast this spring and sellers should expect to find favorable conditions. More here.