How to buy a home when there aren't many on the market In economic parlance, many describe today's housing market this way: demand is high and supply is low. In practical terms this means there are more buyers than homes for sale. While this isn't true in all areas of the country, it is true in many areas. According to USA Today, there was a 4.3 month supply of homes nationally in August of 2017. That means it would take a little more than four months to run out of homes for sale if no other homes came on the market. This number was down from earlier in the summer when there was a 4.6-month supply. The normal number of homes for sale is a 6-month supply. Why is supply of homes for sale so low? Baby Boomers don't want to sell, according to USA Today. A recent survey showed that 85 percent of Baby Boomers aren't selling but 60 percent of millennials are. In this market, sellers may easily get the price they want, but buyers must have all their shingles in a row these days. Here's how you have the best chance of snagging the house you want: *Get your financing ready First get pre-qualified for a loan. This is an informal process where you visit with various lenders, giving them an overview of your financial situation. The lenders can then give you an idea of how much you can borrow and an idea of interest rates. But, beware, this is not a promise to loan you the money. It merely gives you working numbers. *Shop around The good thing about pre-qualification is that you can start shopping around before you are ready to buy. You can get an idea of what you can afford and what you want in a house. Even if this isn't your first time in the market, don't skip the growing period, according to USNews. If you have been out of the market for more than a year, then you don't know what is out there. *Get pre-approved When you know you want to take the plunge, get pre-approved for a loan. At this point, you should have an idea of which lender you might want to use. The lender checks your credit, verifies employment, and confirms your ability to qualify for a mortgage. With a pre-approval in hand, you are ready to make a credible offer when you find the home you want.