In a competitive housing market, homes are often sold the day they are listed. Sellers may receive multiple offers within hours of listing the home, and they're left to choose between these offers. If you want your offer to be chosen, you must make sure it's more appealing than the offers made by your competitors. Here are some ways to improve your chances of making the "winning" offer.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

If you are not pre-approved for a mortgage, the chance of your offer being chosen is very low. The seller will likely choose someone who is pre-approved, since there's more of a guarantee that they'll pay. So before you even begin looking at homes, apply for a mortgage and print out that pre-approval letter. Include a printed copy whenever you make an offer on your home.

Let the seller know if you're willing to negotiate.

A seller can choose not to accept any of the initial offers and to instead ask one of the potential buyers if they're willing to increase their offer. One way to increase your chances of your offer being chosen is to let the seller -- or their agent -- know that you're willing to negotiate on your offer. This does not necessarily mean that you have to be willing to increase the amount you're offering. It could mean that you're willing to be flexible on your demand that the seller fix the roof, leave the appliances, or make other changes. If the seller knows up-front that you're willing to negotiate but is unsure whether other potential buyers will negotiate, they may come to you first.

Be willing to make your own repairs.

If you're willing to buy a home as-is and make any needed repairs yourself, then you'll have a greater chance of your offer being chosen. For instance, if you offer the seller $140,000 but don't ask that they make any changes, they may choose your offer over one for $150,000 with a request for a new roof -- just because you've simplified the process for them.

Work with a good realtor.

If you're working with a realtor who has a great reputation in your area, then he or she may have connections with various sellers' realtors. You stand a better chance of your offer being accepted just because your realtor knows the seller's agent. So try to work with someone who has an established report in your area rather than a newcomer.

Keep these tips in mind when you're looking at real estate for sale.