You probably have noticed that really great homes that are priced fairly, sell quickly. In a hot market, homes can sell in a couple of days. If you have made an offer only to have it rejected in favor of another, maybe it was because you weren't really READY to buy.

People who are ready to buy demonstrate their preparedness in the following ways:

1. BE PREAPPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE - A simple PREAPPROVAL letter, from a reputable lender, or mortgage broker is a must. Many sellers will not consider an offer if a preapproval letter is not submitted at the same time. If you haven't been preapproved for a certain loan amount by a reputable mortgage broker you are spinning your wheels looking at homes you may not be able to buy. Conversely, you may be able to afford more. There are many loan packages available and its imperative that you know what you qualify for before you begin to look.

Be sure you understand the difference between a "PREAPPROVAL" and a "PREQUALIFICATION." A PREAPPROVL means that you have filled out a loan application and the lender has verified all of your financial documentation which includes, but is not limited to: credit report, pay stubs or tax returns verifying income, bank statements showing the source funds for the down payment and closing costs. A PREQUALIFICATION means that you have merely discussed your financial situation with a lender, but they have not run your credit or verified your financial information. It is imperative that you have a PREAPPROVAL when making an offer on a property.

2. BUYERS BE LOYAL! Most agents admit they work much harder for a loyal buyer. Don't work with multiple agents in one area at the same time. If you are working with 2 agents in two different districts at the same time, disclose the situation to both agents. If you visit an open house, always tell the listing agent that you already have an agent. Your agent should give you a supply of cards to bring on these occasions. If you spot a new for sale sign, an ad in the newspaper, or a new listing on the web ask your agent to check it out. Remember, all of the listing on the web come directly from the multiple listing services and your agent is probably already aware of them - but it's always a good idea to double check. Keep in mind that many of the websites that pick up listing from the MLS are not always accurate, as there may be a lag time between the website and the MLS. A home that is showing active on a public website may already be in escrow.

BE OPEN MINDED - Agents work harder for imaginative buyers who can see beyond dead landscaping and hideous wallpaper. Try to imagine the home empty and with a new coat of paint and new carpet. Often that is all it takes to make it a great home. Always ask your agent what it would take to redecorate an unappealing home that happens to be in the right neighborhood and the right price range.

BE READY TO ACT FAST - People who are planning to move sooner, rather than later will be a higher priority to most agents. Buyers who are encumbered by a home they need to sell are not really buyers. Many buyers try to find the home they want to purchase before they list their current home for sale. In this case the seller most likely will not accept your contingency, especially in a hot market. If the seller does accept your contingent offer, it will probably be with a 72 hour first right of refusal. This means that the seller will continue to offer the property for sale while you are trying to sell yours. If another offer comes in, he will give you 72 hours to remove your contingency. Which means you have 72 hours to sell your home.

It is much better to at least put your home on the market for sale before trying to purchase another. This way you have a much better chance of selling it in a timely manner.