The impact of this pandemic crisis has drastically reduced the level of existing residential houses for sale throughout the county. One reason being that many would-be sellers are fearful of having buyers who may be from outside the area come into their homes and unknowingly be carriers of the virus. When you combine that fear with the desire of many people wanting to leave the metropolitan area for a safer environment, the net result is a historical limited number of homes to choose from. We have seen an increase in the number of multiple offers, often just as soon as a property comes on the market. What can buyers do to help protect themselves from this happening? First, start by getting yourself pre- approved for a price range you are comfortable with and can afford. Not just pre-quailfied, there is an important difference. This document indicates you have already gone through the approval process with a lender or mortgage broker. Second, hire your own real estate agent, that can begin the search for a home while you get your paperwork in place. Be sure that your agent knows the market and has the experience in successfully representing buyers. Third, be realistic with your wish list. Include those items you must have from those that you would like, knowing it’s unlikely you can them all. When you do find the right match, you are going to have a true competitive edge as your agent presents your offer, with a pre-approved buyer. Good luck in your search!