Imagine finally finding the house of your dreams. All the irresistible features you want for your growing family or changing needs have made you even more excited to jump into the next chapter of your life. But just as you’re ready to purchase, you find something standing between you and your dream home: other buyers.

Bidding wars—that’s the hallmark of today’s raging hot market—and the competition is expected to be stiffer this year.

With the low inventory of houses available vis-à-vis the demand, homes are getting multiple competitive offers within a few hours or days on the market. Factor in the impending mortgage interest rate hikes, and you get homebuyers who are eagerly wanting to purchase now. If you are not ready, your dream home can easily be snatched out of your hands.

Here are home buying secrets to help you win the homebuying challenge:

1| Get Pre-approved for a Loan Before You Start Home Shopping

Before the demand for homes skyrocketed, getting pre-approved for a loan was something you could put at the back of your mind until you found a home you wanted. Today, getting pre-approval before you make an offer is a crucial step because it puts you in a position where you can act quickly. Imagine the agony when a seller picks another offer because you are still waiting to get pre-approved.

With a pre-approval letter on hand, not only will you be showing sellers that you are serious about your purchase, you can also be more confident during your home search—compared to finding your dream home, and then suddenly knowing that you are not qualified.

2 | Consider Homes With List Prices That Are Under Budget

You have to anticipate a potential bidding war. If you look at properties that are below your top range, you will have room to make a competitive offer beyond the asking price.

3 | Act Fast!

It is true that home buying is a big decision. In the past, it may take multiple visits or a couple of days for buyers to weigh all the pros and cons before making a decision. But in this fast-paced market, if you love the home, you have to act fast or risk losing it to another!

This is not to put pressure on you to purchase the first home that looks great, but to tour enough homes to compare so you can see what you really like. Once you find the one that really interests you, you have to sit down, go through thorough research, and ideally make an offer the very same day.

4 | Get Professional Help

With multiple offers around the corner, it is important to hire a seasoned Realtor who can guide you and help you make a strong and attractive offer. Pro tip—it’s not only about the price!

You also have to be prepared to go through the offer-writing process (sometimes more than once) if the seller isn’t persuaded to accept your bid the first time.

Ready to purchase a home? The Regan+Ferguson Group is here to help you bring in the A-game, and succeed in this hot market.