Many areas of the country are experiencing a shortage of available housing inventory as there are more buyers than houses available right now. As housing is predicted to lead the economic recovery later this year, home values remain stable, and in some areas are rising. The conditions typically lead to multiple offers and bidding wars. If you are a buyer in this market, work with you agent to put your best offer forward following these steps:

Show That You're a Strong, Financially Qualified Buyer

The first thing sellers look for in an offer is that the buyers are financially qualified. Before you submit an offer you should be pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Ask your lender for a pre-approval letter to submit with your offer. Your goal is to show the sellers that you are strong buyers and make them confident that you won't have a problem being fully approved.

Offer a Good Price

When you find the perfect house, have your real estate agent prepare a comprehensive market analysis. Based on this analysis, you'll want to work with your agent to prepare an offer that is attractive to the sellers yet fair and competitive. If multiple offers are expected, be prepared to offer more.

Show That You are Earnest

Earnest money is an amount of money you'll submit at contract time that will be held in an escrow account. It's main purpose is to show that you are earnest, or serious, about purchasing the home. Ask your real estate agent what amount is typical in the area. In some areas it may be two percent of the purchase price. In some areas it might be more.

Closing Date

Sometimes the listing agent won't disclose "closing date" information as it may be considered confidential. If you do find out and their date is convenient to your desired closing date, offer to close on or near the date that is best for them.

House to Close or Sell Contingency

If buyers have a house to sell that isn't under contract yet, the sellers may not want to execute a binding contract with them. It's more of a risk to have to wait for another house to sell before buyers can close on a home. If the buyers have their house under contract and are just looking for a house to close contingency, it's less risky for sellers to accept that scenario. Of course, the best contract is one where the buyers don't have any contingency on another house closing.

Don't Ask For Too Much Personal Property

Most homes are sold with the attached and fixed personal property in it. This includes built-in fixtures, light fixtures and in many cases, appliances and window coverings. Some buyers ask for too much of the other personal property such as furniture, pictures and more.

Making your offer stand out is important in today's real estate market. It's critical to write a strong offer but remembering there are other key factors to putting your best foot forward. Your real estate agent should be able to guide you in the right direction.