Thinking about buying a home this spring?  Good luck!  You’ll not only be challenged with finding a home you like but beating all the other home buyers who make an offer. says nationwide, there are not a lot of homes for sale, especially in the price range of first-time homebuyers.  The National Association of Realtors February figures show there was only a 4.4-month supply of homes for sale, lower than the six-month supply that’s typical of a balanced market.  One-quarter of February’s transactions were all-cash sale.

So, strategy is the key if you want to find the home of your dreams.  Walking into a few open houses or looking online probably won’t work in this seller’s market.  As a result, it’s especially important to work with a real estate agent.  Many times, agents can find additional properties not listed online.  

But getting the right home also has to do with securing the winning bid with the seller.  Knowing what’s important to the seller can be key.  A good agent can find that out. gives these tips on helping you get the home you want this spring.

Get financial proof together.  Several months before you plan to make an offer, get copies of your credit reports, to prove you can afford a house.  Many realtors want to show sellers proof of funds.

Move fast.  If you find a home you like, write up an offer immediately.  Homes can be snatched up in a matter of hours.

Don’t judge a house based on online photos.  A house might look unattractive online, but in reality, could be a great house.  It just depends on who takes the photos.  A seller’s pictures probably won’t look as good as a professional’s pictures.  

Be realistic about repairs.  In a competitive market, chances are, a seller won’t be as likely to make repairs unless they’re major.  The goal of an inspection is to make sure there are no major defects.  Beyond that, you might just want to make minor repairs yourself.  

Give your best offer.  In a competitive market, you might only get one chance to make an offer.  So it’s best to give your highest and best one and not negotiate.  

It might not work for everyone, but write a personal letter to the seller and include a family photo, letting them know how much your family would like living in their home.  

Make a big earnest deposit.  Sellers usually see this as a sign the buyer is serious!

Make a backup offer.  Many times, deals fall apart.  Make a backup offer in case the initial buyer walks away.  

Wave or shorten contingencies.  By promising to do the inspection sooner or get financing quicker, you can be more attractive to a seller.