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DALLAS If you haven't ventured out in the Dallas housing market for a few years, it could be a far cry from what you remember.

Sure, there are still open houses, showing spaces like a four-bedroom, three-bath on Goodwin Avenue in the Vickery Place neighborhood.

And there are plenty of Realtors like Rick Brooks with Dallas City Center working to match sellers with buyers.

But in Dallas' premier neighborhoods, there is no longer time to sleep on your decision.

'Now, it's like when you get them, you have to find something,' Brooks said. 'It's not like it was before.'

The reason? An incredibly low inventory for a pool of buyers hoping to strike with interest rates still under 5 percent.

According to Brooks, the battle for homes in Dallas is hottest in and near the M Streets, Lakewood Heights, Lake Highlands and Lakewood. And be prepared to duke it out with dozens of others if you're trying to buy in the $300,000 to $500,000 range.

Most sales are happening in not weeks, but days. A home can even go on the market and be sold in a single day depending on who you know,and how diligently you're looking online.

Kim Linder. She listed her family's M Streets home in March. 'It probably went on MLS about noon. We had our first showing about mid-afternoon,' she said. 'We had a great offer that night, by the first person who looked at it.'

Just like that.

So here's what to consider if you're looking to sell:

If you're on a 'hot block,' be ready to make a deal right away. And with that it mind, plan your next move. It may mean finding a temporary place to stay.

As for buyers, be ready for anything.

Rely on word-of-mouth. If you know a house, or a block or a neighborhood you want, tell your friends, your Realtor... anyone with connections there, so you'll know as soon as someone is thinking of selling.

Be flexible. If your dream home hits the market that day, you may have to drop everything and see it.

Finally, know your highest offer. Many winning bids are now at or over the asking price.

Play it right, and you'll better your odds at getting your next new address.

E-mail msaavedra@wfaa.com

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