I've appreciated all the comments made so far, all of which are very applicable in today's market. I can think of at least a couple more to add:
1. It may seem very simplistic, but before you even feel you're ready to buy a house, check your credit report to see if there's anything that could cause an obstacle when you're expecting to close the transaction. I can't imagine anything being as discouraging as jumping through all the hoops of making an offer, being in a bidding war, getting the inspection done, and then only a few days before the expected closing, you find out there was something on your credit report that's coming back to haunt you, and is now preventing you from closing.
2. Maintain good communication with your lender, as well as your agent, to hopefully ward off any unnecessary closing delays. Sometimes, for numerous reasons, the communication breaks down. You're then expecting to sign documents any day, only to learn some kind of error was made during the lending process that may possibly delay closing. And when you are communicating with your lender, don't just say, "Is everything okay for closing?" Ask questions that require more than just a 'yes' or 'no' answer, such as "When will the documents be ready for closing?"
3. This problem has really been covered by many of the fine answers already give, but in this market, it can't be emphasized enough. Please realize that once you're ready to look at homes that really interest you, TIME really is of the essence - both in viewing the homes and in making a decision whether or not to make an offer. You may also likely need to have the mindset that it's possible you will need to make your absolute best offer if it comes to a bidding war. So do your homework and KNOW in advance whether you'll be willing to do that; and, if so, know your numbers. Know what will be the absolute most you'll be willing to offer.
With all that said, it really is possible to find homes. But instead of finding a 'turn-key' home, you may have to resort to more creative ways of finding a home.
I wish all home buyers success with their search.