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A few things to consider when buying a home

·         Select one full-time, experienced Realtor with whom you get along.

o   Armed with a legitimate pre-qualification letter, you are ready to start working with one agent.

o   It is critical that your agent be highly accessible, experienced, Internet savvy and, most important, someone with whom you enjoy working.

o   If you find him to be a curmudgeon, your seller and his agent might also, and that might work against you if there are competing contracts for your dream home. (return)

·         Not all real estate agents are equal.

o   For example, not all real estate agents are Realtors. Real estate agents are those who have obtained a real estate license from their given state.

o   Only those licensed real estate agents who belong to the National Association of Realtors can call themselves Realtors.(return)

·         Realtors are required to adhere to a rigorous ethical code and practice standards.

o   This code is available at

o   Real estate agents work on a commission basis.

o   Commission is typically paid by the seller to his listing agent, who then shares that commission with the selling agent (often erroneously referred to as “your” agent, they are frequently in fact seller’s sub-agents).

o   Commissions are fully negotiable. (return)

·         Often home buyers and sellers wonder why they should pay commissions when it is so easy to find homes through the various Web sites that display all homes listed by agents or even homes not listed with real estate agents, such as

o   The answer is quite simple: Locating the perfect home is only the tip of the iceberg in the home-buying process.

o   The best real estate agents will be able to scour the Internet for existing homes that match your search parameters.

o   They will also have automated search capability that will notify you whenever a new home meeting your needs is listed.(return)

·         Another valuable service that real estate agents provide is completing and negotiating your purchase offer.

o   Today’s real estate transactions are extremely complex.

o   Purchase price is just one of dozens of legally binding terms upon which all parties must agree.

o   For example, the parties need to agree on inspections, financing, appraisal or other contingencies.

o   All contracts involve multiple addenda, certifications and federal, state, local and even community-specific disclosures. (return)

·         Where there are condominium or homeowners associations involved, there are even more disclosures and investigations to be conducted.

o   Even the savviest home buyer would be hard pressed to assemble and track the 40-plus pages of legal documentation that all parties need to sign. (return)

By Harvey S. Jacobs, Excerpted from The Washington Post Feb 18,2012


Harvey S. Jacobs is a real estate lawyer in the Rockville office of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake. He is an active real estate investor, developer, landlord and lender. This column is not legal advice and should not be acted upon without obtaining your own legal counsel.


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