DEAR BERNICE: I can't speak for anywhere else in the country, but there are just no decent houses for sale in our area. We wrote a good offer on one house and discovered there were four other offers on the property. The owner wrote a counteroffer that was higher than the original asking price. We didn't think we would have to pay more than the asking price to get the property. I've heard of people bidding up properties, but I didn't think it was happening in today's market. If we end up in another multiple-offer competition what can we do to make sure we get the property without overpaying? --Jeanette H.
DEAR JEANETTE: Many places in the country are reporting one to three months of inventory in the first-time-buyer price ranges.