Real estate markets across the U.S. are fast-paced right now. Homes are selling within hours, rather days. Homebuyers are struggling to find the right house before someone else has put it under contract. The pressure to beat out other homebuyers is intense.

Homebuying is already an emotional experience without the pressures of the market. Adding on the market’s intensity is enough to make anyone go insane. If you’re experiencing this problem as a homebuyer in your local market, here are three tips to help break through the competition and beat the other competing buyers to your next home purchase.

Set up instant property alerts. Many real estate websites allow users to save their search criteria and alerts emailed or text to them within minutes of homes coming on the market. This is the best way to stay ahead of competing buyers. When homes are selling within hours, every minute counts. It’s nearly impossible to find the best house in a hot market without having instant notifications.

The process is typically very simple. Find the best real estate website in your area to setup email alerts and then watch your phone for the alerts to come through. Many times, the best sites for this feature are local Realtors’ websites. A quick Google search is the easiest way to find these sites, and see which have homes that best meet your criteria.

Pro tip: Not all websites have a direct feed to their local multiple listing service. In order to get the best results from the site supplying you with property updates, make sure you choose one connected to the MLS and updates within minutes. Some websites update daily, meaning you won’t receive updates until the next day. In markets where homes are selling within hours, these late updates will not help much.

Hire an agent who moves fast. Not all real estate agents are created equal, and some work with more sellers than buyers. Other may work part time, or are not very tech savvy. There are many different kinds of agents, so you need to be smart about who you choose to help you find your home.

Find an aggressive agent who can meet you in a timely manner. You stand the best chance of this by working with one who works with mostly homebuyers. Buyer’s agents are very in-tune with the current struggles that fast-paced markets present. They understand how time is of the essence when shopping for a home in a hot market.

By choosing an agent who moves fast and simplifies the process, you can beat other buyers to the punch and get the home you’re interested in under contract. The internet and technology have changed the real estate industry dramatically over the past few years. While some professionals have adapted well, others are still trying to catch up – choose wisely.

Be prepared to make an aggressive offer. When a real estate market is hot, there’s no time for being picky. If you’ve looked at multiple homes and have been beat out by other buyers on several occasions, you may be asking for too much in your offer.

Listing agents are very busy right now. When they receive multiple offers – sometimes 20 or more at time – they have to sift through all of those contracts to determine which ones are the best for their sellers. Some buyers are willing to offer tens of thousands of dollars above the listing price of the home. If you want to compete, you have to keep up or give up on buying a home this year.

A good local real estate agent will know the best way to structure a contract to make it as appealing as possible to the home sellers in your market. The more appealing your offer, the better chance it stands of being accepted. If you work with your agent to form your offer strategy before you fall in love with a home, the process will go much smoother. Emotions tend to trigger impulse decisions, which can cause deals to fall apart later on. Learn your market, develop a strategy, and stick to it.

Final thoughts. Buying a house in a fast paced market can be very stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know what to expect going into it and you utilize tools and tricks to navigate your market, you can bypass much unnecessary stress. Leverage the professionals around you and be ready to move fast once you find the best home for you.

June 10, 2016