Industry News: Buying or selling a home? Find a local expert online

Web site helps make finding a local real estate agent easier

For most of us, a home is the largest and most important purchase we will ever make. If you’re buying a home, you want to find the house of your dreams in the perfect neighborhood. If you’re selling your home, you want to get the best price in the shortest amount of time.

In either case, working with a real estate agent who is familiar with the area will help you achieve the results you want. But finding a knowledgeable agent can be difficult, especially if you’re relocating to a new city., a Web site that lets you shop for homes online, now makes locating and evaluating a real estate agent easier, too.

The site includes cities throughout the United States and Canada. For those looking for vacation properties or second homes, the site also covers 82 other countries, from Argentina to Zambia. Looking for a flat in France or a villa in Venice? is a great resource.

To use the site to find an agent, just click on the Agents tab, choose the state you’re in or moving to, select the city or neighborhood you’re interested in, and the site will show you real estate professionals who represent properties in the area. With a direct e-mail link, as well as other contact information, it’s easy to get in touch with these agents to speak with them in person. You might first want to click through to some of their Web sites, look at how well they present their listings and how many properties they currently represent—usually a good indicator of how well they know the local market. You can also use the site to view the detailed property listings, complete with photos and property details, as well as information about the home’s location.

Real estate agents provide invaluable insight and advice for home buyers and sellers. Buyers can count on their agent’s expertise to fill them in on details like how good the local schools are, what they can expect to pay in property taxes and the name of a good electrician, as well as useful information about shopping, parks, even local restaurants and attractions. Often, real estate agents will know of properties that aren’t officially on the market, or that are going on the market soon, and can let you know if they match up with your needs.

“According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2005 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the two most important factors buyers and sellers consider in choosing an agent are reputation and knowledge of the local neighborhood area,” says Jeff Tomlin, manager of market research at Point2 Technologies, the company behind “For the first time, consumers can now access a directory of local real estate professionals that’s organized by the neighborhoods they buy and sell the most in.”

If you’re on the selling side, a knowledgeable real estate agent can help you get the best price for your home. They know the neighborhood and probably have been in many of the other properties for sale in the area, so they can easily compare features in your home to others currently on the market. Local agents will be familiar with what is happening in the marketplace so you can price your property to sell quickly, but with maximum return for you. Good real estate agents can negotiate hard on your behalf, and are experts in marketing your property, both to other agents and to individual buyers.

Once you locate a prospective agent, ask plenty of questions to make sure you’re making the right choice. Here are a few to get you started.

Buyers and sellers will both want to know how long the agent has been in business, and how long they’ve specialized in their current location. You should also ask how many homes they sold last year.

Sellers should ask for a marketing plan so they know exactly what to expect.

Buyers and sellers should understand and agree with the agent on how much communication to expect from the agent. Will she call after every showing? Will he let you know immediately if a great new house comes on the market?

Find out what percentage of the agent’s business comes from referrals and from repeat business. Ask for references. makes finding local real estate agents easier. Picking the one that’s the right fit for your needs is up to you. Visit to see property listings in your area and to find a local real estate agent.

Courtesy of ARA Content

from the March 14-20, 2007, issue

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