If you are trying to purchase your first home or investment property and take advantage of the low interest rates and prices, congratulations! A couple of things you may want to do to avoid frustration:
1)If you are financing, prequalify for a mortgage. It will make your offer that much stronger.
2)Do your homework-find out what properties are listing & selling for in the area you are looking in. If they are selling for more than you qualify for, you are looking in the wrong area.
3)Be realistic with your expectations-if you are only looking at foreclosures and short sales, realize that with the former you will be competing with cash buyers, be in a multiple bid situation where the property will probably go for more than asking, and you will most likely need to do some work. With a short sale you are looking at a long closing process.
4) If you are planning on working with a Realtor, work exclusively with one and have him/her set up all appointments, even if you are searching on-line on your own. If you go to open houses let the person holding it open know you are working with a Realtor.
5) If you submit offers and consistently lose them for any reason other than you were competing with a cash buyer, find out what the reason is and address it so you won’t make the same mistake next time. If it is consistently due to price, stop lowballing if you really want to get in the market or, go back to #2 above