Agent

Know risks before hiring out-of-area agent

Why buyer may be at disadvantage during offer process

Multiple listing services are coalescing into large entities that make it easier for real estate agents from other counties to represent buyers and sellers in areas where they don't normally work. They have access to new listings as they come on the market and they can search for comparable sales, even though they haven't seen the properties. The draw of working with agents you trust and whom you've worked with before is strong. However, real estate agents owe a fiduciary duty to their clients and shouldn't work outside their comfort zone. There are competent agents who work in more than one county and are well qualified to do so. They know the markets in which they work. One risk you take in working with an out-of-area agent is that the agent doesn't understand the idiosyncrasies of the area. In heterogeneous neighborhoods where no two houses look alike, it can be difficult for an outsider to understand why some three-bedroom homes sell for $600,000 and others sell for $90...