As some housing markets are stronger than ever—the high-end market, especially—bidding wars are still happening. In fact, in some markets, as many as 15 offers can be placed on a home on the very first day that home is listed. So how will you make your offer stand out from the rest on a home that you really want? Here’s how:

First, make sure you’re ready to make the purchase when you make a bid. Have your mortgage approval in hand and know how much you can afford, so that you don’t get in over your head in the bidding war. However, offering the most money to the seller doesn’t always mean you’ll win. Sellers are more worried about making sure the sale occurs without hiccups and there are no hidden surprises when they’re trying to close on the deal. Have the pre-approval letter in hand when you put in an offer.

Second, realize that cash in hand is your golden ticket. Buyers with cash can even bypass the appraisal process. This is why having a pre-approval letter should be considered a minimum step to take if you’re wanting to make an honest and thorough effort in winning the bid.

Finally, help make it easy for the sellers to accept your offer. Selling a home and finding a new one within the same time frame can be a stressful situation, and offering to help out will only increase your chances of reaching an agreement with the sellers. Some ways to do this might be to allow them to remain in the home rent-free for 30 days after settlement, giving them more time to find another residence.

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