Although you can handle a house search and sale yourself, it is generally considered to be a prudent move to engage the services of a real estate agent (also referred to as a real estate broker or realtor). Realtors are licensed and understand the real estate market and the transaction process. Some ways to find an agent are:
You should interview several agents before making your decision. You want to be comfortable with the person and know that they understand and can meet your objectives. Some of the questions to be asked are:
One of the benefits of having a competent and trusted agent is that they will act as a go-between and deal directly with the listing agent. This prevents you from having to engage in the bargaining process directly. As well, your agent will have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and should be able to determine a lot of information about any properties of interest.
Which agent is working for whom will be spelled out in the agreement of purchase and sale. Where an agent is working for both the buyer and the seller (a double-end deal) the agent must enter into a contract known as a Limited Dual Agency Agreement that spells out the agent's responsibilities to both parties.
In the real estate business, the vendor or the seller of the home pays the commission and the commission is shared with the other agent involved.