If you are searching for a home, it is likely that you have been told "It is a seller's market, right now!". What does that mean to you and more importantly, what can you do to position yourself better than other buyers?
The first step is to make sure you have your financing in order. If you are financing your purchase, you will need to know exactly what you can afford. Today's sellers expect to see a pre-approval letter with any offer they receive. If you do not submit yours with your offer, you are at an instant disadvantage. This also helps avoiding the disappointment of falling in love with a home that is out of reach.
Secondly, if you have a home to sell check with your lender to determine if you can qualify for the new purchase without selling your home. When a seller receives multiple offers, it is almost impossible to compete with other buyers if you have to sell before you can buy. Can't or don't want to qualify for two homes? Then get it listed before even stepping into the buying market! Of course, if you need to see what is available in your price range before listing your home, take the time to do so but know that you will most likely be unable to compete in the current market without your home at least listed if not under contract.
How to Buy in a Seller's Market Part 2 - Terms of the contract.