These days, there are plenty of interested home buyers but fewer homes for sale. That means, home sellers have options and buyers have to be prepared. So what are some things buyers can do to ensure their success? Well, they should start by making sure their finances are in order. According to one recent survey, more than one-in-five home sellers who've had an offer fall through said it was because of issues with financing. So, if you're thinking about buying soon, getting pre-approved for a mortgage should be at the top of your to-do list. Pre-approval is different from pre-qualification because it involves a deeper look into your credit and finances. But because of that, it also gives sellers assurance that your offer is secure and you'll have no problem closing. Another important consideration for today's buyer is bidding wars. In a hot market, the likelihood that you'll be competing against other offers means you need to consider what the absolute top of your price range is well before shopping homes. Setting a firm price ceiling will help you avoid paying more than you'd like and ending up in a home you can't afford. Most of all, though, buyers should become familiar with conditions in their local market, hire experienced pros to guide them, and be ready to move quickly when it comes time to make an offer.