The housing market is gaining traction this year and because of the lack of homes available there are a lot more homebuyers than sellers. It is not uncommon to have several buyers caught up in a bidding war, competing for a home. Here are a few tips on how to handle multiple offer situations.

Work with a knowledgeable experienced agent. A real estate agent will help you find the right home and has the local knowledge to help you succeed in a bidding war.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. This will assure the seller’s agent that you are a serious buyer with all your finances in check.

Act Fast. Don’t wait for a home to have an open house. If a property becomes available don’t hesitate to go see the home that day or the following, especially in today’s market.

Be smart with your offer. The highest price is important but not always what makes a successful bid. Be flexible with your contingencies and think about the seller’s needs.

Sell before you buy. Because sellers don’t want to drag out the closing process it’s important that you have a plan for your living situation. Most sellers will not want a contingency based on the sale of another home. Make sure you are fully prepared to make an offer before you even start house hunting.