Best agent: hand-holder or rainmaker?

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Q: How can I check out a Realtor? Is there a regulatory agency that rates Realtors? I have been burned twice by Realtors when I thought I was careful, but they were shady and did not represent my interests. I’m afraid to buy again.

A: According to Webster.com, the second-most-frequently searched word of the year was "vet" — not vet as in veterinarian, but vet as in investigating one’s vice-presidential running mate’s qualifications. It seems to me that you are looking for a method of vetting your next Realtor. And wisely so; my own mother has commented on the fact that I’m both a Realtor and an attorney — neither of which ranks high on the general public’s trusted professions meter.