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Using a Real Estate Agent Brings a Little Reality to Realty

Buying or selling a home is no easy task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the intricacies of the housing market. Knowledge of area housing prices, zoning restrictions, and lending practices are all crucial to real estate transactions. Having someone to guide you through the twists and turns of home sales can be a definite advantage in getting a good value, whether you are moving into, or out of, a home.

Choosing a real estate agent that is the best match for your needs is important. A little research on agents at the outset of your hunt will reap great benefits as you buy or sell your home. Begin your research by talking to friends to get referrals on the good agents in your area. Interview several real estate agents and consider your rapport with each of them. Which agent do you trust? Your agent will be dealing with tens of thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money--if you have the slightest bit of doubt about an agent's reliability, keep looking.

If you are selling a home, ask to see a marketing plan. This plan will show you how the agent intends to publicize the sale of your home. It describes the kind and frequency of advertising the agent will use, and the time frame within which your agent will work.

Whether you are buying or selling a house, inquire about the coverage their office provides. Does the phone number listed on the advertisements steer potential customers to a person who can provide the interested caller with information on the house, or simply to an answering machine?

Also, be aware that the term "REALTOR´┐Ż" is a trademark of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Permission to use this term is granted only to members of the NAR. Membership requires a pledge to adhere to a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice created by the Association. Many REALTORS´┐Ż have one or more professional designations from affiliate institutes of the NAR. The organizations within the NAR provide a wide-range of programs and services to assist members in increasing skills, productivity and knowledge. Designations are awarded by each organization to acknowledging experience and expertise in various real estate sectors. If an agent lists a designation, find out what it means, and what the agent had to do to obtain the designation.

Whether determining your buying power, or knowing the best method to spread the word about selling your home, an agent is a good resource to gain insight on the marketplace, to recognize good value in property and to link you with the right business representatives to make your transaction flow smoothly. Choose your agent wisely!

Sources: Julie Garton-Good, The Washington Post, Barbara Voorheis, Weichert Realtors, and

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