If you're buying a home in a hot housing market with frenzied bidding wars, you're going to want to stay competitive.

Your real estate agent can help you create the best strategy for submitting winning offers in your market.

Meantime, here are some general guidelines you can consider:

  1. Get pre-approved. When you make an offer with a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender in hand, you're ready to compete.
  2. Establish the top of your budget. When you determine the maximum amount you can pay, you'll want to search for homes that are priced lower than this number. This gives you flexibility to increase your offer. When you start at the top of your budget, there's no room to bid higher. When you can – consider an escalation clause, which automatically increases your offer by a certain amount if other offers come in.
  3. Be ready to act fast. If you can see yourself living somewhere and your instincts tell you to submit an offer, do it as soon as possible. Sometimes your agent can write the offer right there during a showing. Of course, buying a home is a big decision, so if there's any hesitation, you're probably better off continuing to shop.
  4. Stay as flexible as possible. This is especially helpful when it comes to escrow periods and closing times. If the seller asks to extend or shorten the process, rest assured if you don't follow their timeline, another buyer might.
  5. Don't give up. If your offer isn't chosen, you can present yourself as a standby in case the accepted offer falls through. But, of course, keep looking. You don't want to miss another great opportunity waiting around for other buyers to change their minds.

When you're ready to make your move, let a RE/MAX agent guide you.