Mortgage rates recently hit all-time record lows, giving consumers plenty of incentive to buy a first home or sell the present one and move up. Cash-strapped buyers often shop for the best value -- but should they do it all themselves, or spring for the services of a real estate pro?
Although commissions can add up, real estate professionals say their services routinely extend far beyond what the public expects. Real estate agents can:
Determine the value of your home. A real estate agent will tell you even if you're not a client. Realtor David Welch of RE/MAX 200 Realty in Orlando, Fla., says he's happy to help homeowners figure out how much their homes are really worth. He prepared a comparative market assessment for one couple that purchased their home during the peak of the overheated market a few years ago, he says. "They were convinced the assessment on their home was overstated, since values had started to decline." They were able to use Welch's assessment as