If they were looking for someone to handle the biggest financial transaction of their lives, you'd think that most people would ask for something more substantial than a thumbs-up from the guy down the block. Not that neighbors aren't to be trusted -- friend-to-friend recommendations hold a time-honored place in the marketplace, and recent studies show them to be the most-often-used method of finding an agent. But in this age of sliding property values, rampant mortgage fraud and widespread angst over that former sure-thing called real estate, there's plenty at stake here. Shouldn't you snoop that real estate agent a bit more before signing on any dotted lines? After all, consumers these days routinely go online to scope out restaurants, hotels and even medical care. Real esta...
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