There's no doubt about, the market has shifted. There are very few homes for sale on the market right now - it's very competitive.
Nationally, inventory is very low. Homes priced well in great locations are likely to see multiple offers. This just means you must be prepared:
1. Be pre-approved
If you're not paying cash you must have a pre-approval letter from a lender for your offer to be considered.
It's critical to be clear on your wants and needs, and be ready to act. If you have gone through this list in detail you can decide what "wants" you can sacrifice and know you're not giving up a "need".
3. Be clear with your agent so they can help you
Sitting down with your real estate agent for a buyer consultation to clearly define what you're after and what's important to you is very important. Discuss a strategy for communication so they can reach you right away when a home that meets your criteria becomes available. Agents with great relationships often know about homes before they come on the market, and may be able to get you in early!
The benefits of have a solid relationship with a great real estate agent during a competitive market is priceless. Having someone who knows the market inside and out, is available, and is an expert negotiator may be the difference between getting the home you want and missing the boat.