The smart buyer will ask his agent to let him know what the "months of supply" are for only those variables, Chandler adds. "Months of supply" is a measurement of how long it would take to deplete a certain market if no further inventory were to enter that market. A value between one and four months is a sellers' market, while above four and under six is generally considered neutral, and above six is a buyers' market."

Chandler says that a good agent should know how to calculate 'months of supply' within a meaningful population.

Rob Williams, a real estate agent at D.C. Home Buzz, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate company, says buyers need to jump fast on a house they love, and one they can afford. "Buyers need to get to the point where they can recognize a good deal quickly," Williams says. "This can only be done by hitting the pavement and looking at houses so buyers become familiar with the housing inventory that's out there."

A good real estate agent can help on that front. "Buyers cannot afford to wait until after the open house to make an offer," he adds. "A good agent gets their buyers into a house the same day it comes on the market. If it's the right house for the buyers, a strong offer should be made the same day."

It's also a good idea to plan ahead and know what deal you're getting as a buyer. "Make sure that you lock in to your rate and get it in writing," advises Melissa Cohn, a mortgage services professional in New York City. "You don't want to see a higher rate at closing."

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