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Sunday, March 26, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Real estate how-to

Look for negotiating ability in selecting real-estate agent

How do you get a real-estate agent who will be in your corner and not just looking for a quick deal when you're shopping for a home?

Here are some things to look for as suggested by Elizabeth Razzi, author of "The Fearless Home Buyer":

Negotiating ability. If they can't negotiate, they're not much help. And if you do line up a top-notch negotiator as your buyer's agent, keep your personal information close to the vest — and don't abdicate your negotiating role completely to the agent.

Trustworthiness. Ask a simple question of a prospective agent. How will you make sure my information stays private and I have someone who can negotiate on my behalf?

Previous clients. Ask them "Would you choose this agent again?" and if they hesitate or make excuses, move on to another agent.

Experience. New agents and seasoned agents usually charge the same commission. Do you want to pay to be a new agent's learning experience?

Moving on. If things aren't working out with your agent, talk to the broker about being transferred to another agent in that same brokerage.

Elizabeth Razzi, "The Fearless Home Buyer"

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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