Being a buyer in today's real estate market can sometimes feel like being the minnow in the shark tank.  The homes are being priced either under market or just right, enticing lots of competition.  How do you know what price to offer?  Have you researched or retained an "area" Realtor to work for you?

The value of a seasoned, well networked,  area Realtor is that they know who is building what, who is retiring, and who is moving on long before the market does.  This inside information can prove to be invaluable to your goal of obtaining home ownership in a given community.  A seasoned Realtor visits and researches the market every day.  Even if they don't have a buyer they are working IN the market every day- their knowledge can be invaluable to you on determining value.

Have a strategy- get pre-approved.  Search some in depth places online like, make sure you are aware whenever a home comes on the market in that community.  If you want a single family- you need to know the attrition rate of condo's and multi's in that area too.  The values and availability of homes in surrounding communities also affects value.  

Interview a Realtor, find one you trust and enlist them.  They will build your home buying team for you and advise you of how to proceed- they are usually already paid from the proceeds of the sale.