The real estate market is in a unique position right now. With low inventory, it really is a seller’s market. As a result, getting your offer accepted is not as easy as it used to be. When you find the place that you really want, having everything prepared can improve your chances. Start by getting a loan pre-approval and having proof from your bank that you have the down payment accessible. This can go a long way to showing sellers that you are serious. Because pre-approvals are becoming common, consider going the extra step and asking your lender for a Desktop Underwriter approval letter, which shows that your loan application has even been underwritten.
Avoid offering below the sale price when possible, because buyers are offering over list price to gain an advantage. If you are a cash buyer, you can leverage that, but do not assume that you will be the only cash buyer in the deal. Limit the contingencies in your offer, or eliminate them completely. Then, follow up with the seller to remind him or her that you are interested.