There are many steps in the home buying process. Arguably the most important step, however, is making a successful offer. The good news, according to Freddie Mac senior vice president, Chris Bowden, is that today’s market is more traditional than it has been in recent years. In other words, there are fewer real-estate investors and cash sales, which means potential buyers should see more opportunities. Still, it’s important to know what you’re doing before making an offer on a house. Bowden offers a few tips in a recent article for Freddie Mac’s Executive Perspectives series. Among them, he names fully understanding your finances as the most critical. A buyer needs to know how much house they can afford in order to know if their budget can cover, not only their prospective mortgage payment, but any unexpected maintenance costs that come up as well. Buyers also have to act fast. Though there are fewer investors competing for homes, there are also fewer homes for sale. And since inventory is low, there’s going to be competition from other buyers. Being prepared for it can make the difference between a successful offer and a rejected one. Finally, Bowden says to rely on the expertise of the professionals you’ve hired to help guide you through the process. They should be able to help you make your strongest offer by comparing it to other recent sales in the neighborhood. More here.