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Will 2013 be the year agents switch niches?

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Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series. At the National Association of Realtors' annual conference, Wells Fargo economist Mark Vintner and NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun shared their takes on what's in store for the real estate industry in 2013. As you make your plans for the upcoming year, heeding their advice can give you a huge competitive edge. 1. Tighter lending standards will continueAccording to Yun, the average buyer who was turned down for a loan had a 19 percent down payment and an average FICO credit score of 734! Part of the reason that lenders are so reluctant to make loans now is that they don't want to load up their books with low-interest loans, especially since the outlook is for an increase in interest rates probably in 2014 or 2015. Opportunity: The tough lending standards and the increase in the minimum down payment amounts don't bode well for single and first-time buyers. If you are specializing in this part of the market, it may be sm...