<b>4 pro tips for buying in a low-inventory housing market</b>

It's a seller's market out there, folks. The real estate business is hot, and you aren't the only ones looking to buy. That means you'll need to be savvy, have a plan, and surround yourself with knowledgeable people in order to make this as smooth as possible.

Here are 4 tips from the pros on how to enter a low-inventory market and come out a winner…

1. Have your financial ducks in a row:  When the time comes to start looking for a house, the first thing to do is find a lender and determine how much house and what locations you can afford. Many realtors won't even schedule visits in this market without a buyer's preapproval letter in-hand. That way, if you find the right home, you can prove that you are serious and ready to buy. Sellers don't like waiting for long closing times, so you're a more attractive purchaser if you've already done the financial leg-work of getting a preapproval.

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2. Find the right agent and get out there: Navigating a seller's market is no easy task to take on by yourself. A real estate agent's job is to help you steer through this tricky market. They'll bring the know-how you'll need to close the deal. When you're communicating with your realtor, take the time to meet in-person or have a phone conversation. Texting or emailing is not enough! This can be a delicate business, and you want to make sure that you have the opportunity to get to know your realtor and let them get to know you and your wants and needs. Pictures online are nice, but you'll want to get out there with your agent and really evaluate a home before buying it, too. Don't fall in love until you've been there in person.

3. Be ready to move:  This can mean a couple of things. First, this seller's market means that houses won't stay out there for long. In some cases, a house can have an offer pending within a few hours of being listed. Since you already have your finances in order, and you know what kind of house you can afford, you should be visiting them, knowing that you may need to put in an offer that very day. Second, if you already own a house, you'll want to speak with your agent about your plans for selling your current house. In a hot seller's market, things happen fast, and you could lose a deal if you aren't prepared to literally move quickly.

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4. Be prepared for the multiple-offer scenario: This is not really a bargain-hunting market. Many listings end up having multiple offers. You're going to want to come in strong with your best offer from the start. You could very well be competing with other offers and could even find yourself in a bidding war with another buyer. Be prepared for this. Know your budget and how much wiggle room you have in case you need to outbid someone else. Also, if the right house comes along that already has a pending contract, put in a backup offer. In any real estate climate, deals can fall apart for a number of reasons. A strong backup offer could very well be your ticket to the perfect house.

Low-inventory house shopping can be tricky and even frustrating. You may even have one or two slip through your fingers before you land your next home. The best thing you can do is find an agent you trust and who knows the landscape of a market like this. If you're looking to buy in near future, contact a Coldwell Banker Heritage Realtor today and get started today.