It's that time of year again, when house hunters face huge competition for the most desirable homes in the most desirable neighborhoods. While it's not quite the same as fighting your way into the next bracket, it is a competition that you'll want to win, and going on the offensive is the best play you can make.
Get your loan officer, real estate agent, homeowners insurance company, and home inspector lined up before you even start your search. If you need a referral, I can connect you with my network of reliable professionals.
Don't fall victim to a bracket buster! When you find the home you know is perfect for you and your family, go for gold and pursue it. Know exactly what you're willing to offer, what repairs you'll request, and when you can close to get an edge on the competition.
But remember, this isn't a "one and done" tourney. If you're out in the first bracket, there will always be another property that you can aim for.
Write a letter to the owners. Waive contingencies (but check with your real estate agent first). Ask your agent to speak with the seller's agent to learn what might tip you into the finals.