Hi Karen and Rick,
I know it can be frustrating when you find a home you are interested in is sold before you have time to make an offer. You need to be conected to the MLS through an experienced agent. The MLS is the only source that has that is immediately updated when a change is made. If you convey to your agent that you are interested in a property he or she will let the lisitng agent know. This dialog is very important for many reasons. The listing agent will inform your agent if there is an offer, this information, if it is to be disclosed is at the direction of the seller. The topic of mulltiple offers is complex and I know that was not your question so I won't elaborate here.
I just found a home for some clients from Tampa. They had a pre-approval letter which helps tremendously. You probably already have one of those from a loan officer.
We kept in close contact, talking on the phone frequently and emailing. I previewed homes for them. taking extra pictures which I would email with explanation to them. They only had two visits up here before finding a home!
The homes are more expensive up here than they are in Tampa. But they knew they would also be making more up here once they moved. They understood that there is no perfect home, but this home met most of the criteria they had.
I know our inventory has decreased dramatically. But in your favor, as a buyer, the law of supply and demand has not shown up yet as prices are not incresing as would be expected.
The shadow inventory, or that of distressed property due to come on the market, and mix of bank owned homes currently on the market does influence prices. Home Affordability (factored by prices and interest rates) is at the lowest on record!
I would love to talk to you. As a Fourth generation Realtor, I take great pride in the quality of my work. It is a challenging market, but I like challenges.
Coldwell Banker site: http://www.joannematik.com