Ellen! Many Buyers are still under the illusion that this is a true Buyer's market. The only things that contribute to this being a Buyer's market is that prices are good, even with the bidding up of prices, and the buyer's credit is a good thing, too. The other factors point directly at the Sellers side. If a property is priced well, the norm is that it's sold with many offers. Your agent needs to guide you in what to offer and even then, has a high likelihood of failure, if an all cash offer also comes in with a quick close. I am NOT totally convinced that prices are going to come down this year... but will admit that when the tax credit goes away and the rates rise, that may make it happen. If Obama creates other opportunities, though, prices could start to climb as they have done in many areas.
As far as "getting first in line"... well... NO ONE has a crystal ball... just keep your eyes peeled both with whatever link your agent is providing for you, and on your own........
Good luck! Ellen
LISTEN TO YOUR AGENT, and GIVE UP in thinking that you are going to "get a steal". Whatever you buy now should do you well for the future.