At The HD Group, our goal is to help you find the perfect home. Buying a house is a process. It takes a thoughtful approach to not only seek out, but to actually purchase the home of your dreams. Some buyers go into the home search process unprepared. Others may not have proper expectations set.

As a home buyer in today’s fast-paced real estate market, there are certain challenges you may need to overcome. There is planning and preparation that should be done long before you start your home search if you want to be truly successful.

Whether it’s your very first home purchase, you are relocating to Southern California or you are moving up/down in the market, here are some key steps you will want to take when buying a home:

1. Buyer Consultation

You don’t have to hire a real estate professional to represent you during your home purchase, but it sure helps. In most real estate transactions, the seller actually pays the buyer’s agent/brokerage commissions. So, you really aren’t risking much out-of-pocket to hire a professional to guide you through the process, provide expert negotiating skills and help you make sound home buying decisions.

Talk with multiple real estate agents. Find someone you are comfortable working with and who you feel confident will provide you with the expert guidance and support you desire. The initial buyer consultations will go a long way. At The HD Group, we are focused on ensuring you are properly positioned to be competitive in the buying market.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

This should arguably be done before you start talking to Realtors®. However, a good real estate agent will help you get better prepared and understand where you need to be from a financial standpoint to get into the home of your dreams. Building up savings for down payments, reducing debt, increasing household income, improving credit scores—these are just a few of the things you will want to do before you start searching for a home.

3. Lender Consultation

If you are planning to finance your home purchase through a mortgage loan, you should also consult with a reputable lender as early as possible. They will be able to help you get your finances in order and understand what you can realistically afford to buy. It is an absolute must in today’s market that you are pre-approved for your home loan before you start making offers. Purchase offers without a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender will be viewed as weak offers by sellers.

We are in a highly competitive seller’s market right now, with most homes getting multiple offers. A lack of solid financing presents too much risk for the seller. The stronger your financial position, the stronger your offer will be. This is one way to help your offer stand out from the competition.

4. Smart Offers and Strong Negotiation

An experienced real estate professional—or a full team like The HD Group—will help you prepare better offers. In today’s market, you should be prepared to give up a little to get what you want. However, you should never concede too much to the seller just to get a deal done. This can put you in a bad homeownership situation. You have to find the right balance between making an aggressive offer and retaining some negotiating flexibility. A good agent will also be able to help with expert negotiations as counteroffers are made and contracts are prepared.

5. Home Search

After all this preparation, consultation and planning, you are finally ready to begin your home search. It’s important to set proper expectations based on your budget, and also because of this highly competitive market where the best homes won’t stay on the market very long. If you fall in love with just one house, you may find yourself disappointed when your offer isn’t accepted or you could end up sacrificing more than you should out of desperation to buy it. Look at as many homes as you can and set your expectations accordingly to avoid disappointment and frustration. What at first seems like your dream home may not actually be “the one.”

6. Look Beyond the Purchase

We work exclusively with Mark Liddell Design, which is one of Southern California’s leading interior design firms. This allows us to help our home buying clients see beyond just the surface features of a home and envision how to turn different properties into dream homes. One house may seem perfect just the way it is, but it might be outside your budget or off the market before you can make an offer. Meanwhile, your real dream home may a hidden gem or one that needs a little work. This is where budgeting and planning are so important because they can help you see the long-term potential of any home rather than only focusing on the here and now.

These are just a few helpful tips to guide you along your home buying journey. If you are looking to buy a home in the San Gabriel Valley or Greater Los Angeles area, contact The HD Group today for a no-obligation introductory home buying consultation.