SEATTLE -- April is Open House month in the real estate industry. During the spring season, more homes are expected to come on the market and that means more open houses and opportunities for those looking to buy.

With a dramatic 40 percent plus decrease in housing inventory over the past year, buyers are facing tough competition in the Seattle market.

It's been very, very intense. It's very competitive, said Shelby Severin, a home buyer. Houses are going even before their on the market an hour. It's been very hard.

After 4 months of going to open houses and looking at more than 80 homes, Severin s offer was recently accepted for a home in Bellevue.

Realtors recommend checking out open houses on weekends and weekdays.

Figure out what your must have's are. You really need to know what you're looking for, location may be important, you might have family with 3 or 2 children you need extra bedrooms. And lastly, I'd say taking notes. It's so important to remember and differentiate one home from another, said Leslie Piper with

Piper says expect to see a lot of foot traffic at open houses, so come prepared. First, explore the neighborhood to decide if that's somewhere you'd want to live. Then ask questions, take notes when you tour the house and rate the home.

Experts recommend listening for traffic -- is the street noisy? Also, figure out what your new commute time would be from the house you re considering.

Most importantly, you should work with a reputable agent to make sure you don t overpay or get caught up in the buying frenzy.

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