Money Wise--Recognizing the Right Realtor

Even in an unstable economy, the real estate market does pretty well. For most, buying a home is one of the biggest investments they'll make. Some people say it's such a difficult process, but really, you can make it simple, beginning with one-stop-shopping, from finding a home to closing a loan.

"It's incredibly frustrating to look for a home nowadays," one frustrated shopper said. "The industry is so tight, you have to be lucky to step in and grab something you like right away."

According to home specialists, the best way to put smart buyers ahead of the pack is with a good realtor. But how do you know that the realtor you find is the right one?

"The right realtor for you is somebody who listens to what you have to say," said Deborah Roth of LendingTree. "That means they really hear you and put your interest first and foremost. You want to tell them how much you want, what you're looking for in your ideal home and what type of neighborhood you want to live in."

The process is simple. For example, LendingTree has a network of more nearly 10,000 realtors around the country. The company allows buyers to choose the most qualified agent for their needs and since you can log on to its website anytime, you can get help around the clock.

"Our goal is to be there from the beginning to end of the home-buying process," said Roth. "That means after you've used our site to help you find the right realtor, and that realtor helped you find the right home, you can come back and we're going to help you find the best loan to help you purchase that dream home. Even better, once you get that home through our site, we're going to enable you to receive $2,000 back in the form of a gift card rebate."

That saves precious steps in the home-buying process. Think of it as a turn-key operation, using the phone or the internet to start the process of buying a home, giving buyers everything necessary to come in ahead of this year's home-buying pack.

If you have money questions you'd like answered in Money Wise, email

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark,