1. Get your financing in order
This bit of advice topped the lists of most of the brokers we talked to. Given tighter lending practices — and that it's a competitive buyers' market — would-be buyers need to have their ducks in a row so that they're ready when they see the right home.
"The seller wants to know that if they do accept the offer, that barring catastrophic title issues or inspection issues, the deal is going to go through," said Gary Dwyer, broker-owner of Buyer Agents of Boston.
Amy Meller, broker-owner of the Sudbury-based MassHomeSales.com, recommends having a full pre-approval within the past 30 days. "Six months is no good anymore, because the rules keep changing," she says.