Question: I am really excited and want to buy a home but when I find one it is already taken or my offer is not accepted by the seller. What can I do to improve my chances?

Answer: Many buyers are struggling now as the market is showing signs of improvement in regards to prices. At the same time the inventory remains low for the demand. This combination has put the sellers in the driver's seat. Many of today's offers are above the asking price of the seller. I believe there are a few things that could help your positioning so that you may have a better chance to get the home you want. First, be willing to offer more than the asking price. You will have to rely on your agent to determine if the pricing of the house requires that action. It could be the home is overpriced to begin with and that move is not necessary but be prepared to take that step. Second, insure that your loan is approved at the dollar amount of your offer and that you have proof of the funds you will be putting down on the property. This shows the seller that you are serious and ready to move on a house when it becomes available. Third, consider a higher down payment such as going to 20% down to achieve a conventional loan. This may not be possible for you but the better the down payment the more likely you are to be selected. If your competition is an FHA loan with 3.5% down that may be difficult to complete, then the seller is going to select the loan with the best possibility of being achieved. What makes an offer strong is a buyer who is qualified and has ready cash to make the transaction happen. It does not need to be an all cash offer to be an excellent offer but the larger the amount being put down, the more solid the buyer looks to the seller. Lastly, find an agent who handles a significant number of listings as they may be able to put you into a home that they have available or that they know will be coming available. If that agent knows that you are a qualified buyer that can perform on the transaction and has some time with you to determine your seriousness and qualifications they can go to bat for you with the seller. This does not mean they can make a better deal for you as they also represent the seller and need to get the seller the very best deal they can for them as well, but it may mean that you have a better opportunity to achieve your goal. It is difficult for buyers currently. It may mean that you have to expand your search to areas further away from work than you wanted. I may mean that you will be willing to settle for a home that does not have all the amenities you would like. It does mean that you will have to be a bit more flexible as you search, may have to pay more than you wanted to, and be satisfied that you did get a home and one that you can enjoy. The rates are low so it makes sense to make every effort to achieve your goal. Good luck.