There’s reason for optimism entering the new year, especially if you’re buying a home.

Interest rates remain low, but one sticking point may get in the way: It’s a seller’s market.

The combined force of tight inventory, high demand and low interest rates favor the seller. That’s why it’s important to make your offer stand out. Here are five simple ways to swing things in your favor.

Buying a home in 2021?Pick up phone

Once a for sale home goes live on Zillow or Redfin, the crowds of eager buyers will pounce.

Given how competitive things will be, picking up the phone and calling the seller’s agent can help you develop a rapport and, more importantly, give your real estate team an opportunity to see exactly what the seller is looking for.

Learning these details can save you time and prepare you to submit your best offer possible.

Be flexible with time

Show a willingness to follow a schedule that best suits the seller.

Selecting a seller-friendly date for closing on the sale can alleviate some stress given the seller’s unique situation.

Sometimes, a little extra time, or speeding things up, can also save the seller money — which can go a long way in building trust and goodwill during the negotiation process.

Get approval letter

Entering the real estate market with a commitment from a lender to fund your loan immediately strengthens your position as a buyer.

A preapproval letter is an assurance that the buyer is financially equipped to successfully move ahead with the home-buying process.

Sellers are more inclined to entertain an offer that’s already approved by a reputable lender.

Lessen stress of home inspection

A home inspection can be stressful for both sides. From the seller’s perspective, the results of a home inspection can prompt the buyer to ask for credit or request repairs to be made. This can eat away at potential proceeds of the sale.

You can reduce this stress by signing off on an informational-only inspection with a reasonable, or short, contingency period.

This will speed things up and still gives you an out if you are not satisfied with the report’s findings.

Hit home run with offer

Now that you have done your homework, you are prepared to make the best possible offer.

Everyone involved knows about how much the home is worth. And, if you followed some of the tips here, everyone knows you’re committed to seeing this deal through.

Make an aggressive and reasonable offer. All your hard work and a little luck will put your dream of homeownership within reach.