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Lockdown threw everyone’s plans for a loop—especially those who were planning to move. But according to a new Zillow report, the market is starting to pick up again. Homes are selling faster than they have at any time in the past two years. What’s more, the average time a property is even up for grabs is a full week less than last summer. So if you’re thinking of kick-starting your relocation plans, it’s time to move quickly; we tapped an expert to get tips on exactly how to make that happen. 

From winning a bidding war to prepping a priority list, here’s everything Realty ONE Group’s Rebecca Correia suggests for making sure you don’t let your dream home slip by.

Do Your Homework

You should walk into a house equipped with everything you need to make an offer, just in case you fall in love with the farmhouse style on the spot. Correia recommends fully researching the area before you so much as step foot through the door—then have your lender review all financials so you’re preapproved. 

Write a Checklist 

Take it from other first-time homeowners: It’s important to be crystal clear on what your needs and wants are to avoid disappointment down the road. Just be sure to differentiate between the two. “You may want a pool for hot summer days but really need a big yard for pets and kids,” explains Correia. Every list should also include a section for mechanics like heating and water, so you can tick them off and put your mind at ease before signing anything. 

Look at the Bigger Picture 

“Find an agent who’s not only putting you in an auto-search but also scouring the Internet looking at off-market homes,” says Correia. With so much speed selling happening, it can’t hurt to cast a wider net. 

Go the Extra Mile

Say you find your perfect place and you’re ready to move in next week…chances are others feel that way, too. Correia suggests writing a “love letter” to the owners. “Express to the homeowner how their house will suit you and your family’s needs,” she says. When you’re enjoying an alfresco cocktail hour on that freshly renovated back patio, you’ll be glad you went above and beyond. 

Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.