We live in the information age; the Internet offers advice on every topic and real estate is no exception. With more and more home buyers starting their home search online, they are bombarded with advice and information – it can be easy to think that you can learn everything you need to know just by reading articles online. The truth is your real estate agent does much more than answer your questions and open doors with a special key. A professional real estate agent will be there every step of the way. They have the experience necessary to navigate the complicated home buying process and solve common hiccups that present themselves in every real estate transactions. Your real estate agent is a local professional. They will start by presenting themselves to the buyer’s agent as someone who will work with them to see the transaction through to a successful conclusion. They have a network of professionals who will work as a team to help you through the process. These include such professionals as: lenders, title reps, escrow officers, transaction coordinators, home inspectors, contractors and handymen, among others. Most importantly, your agent is your ally in the home buying process. They negotiate on your behalf – armed with experience and understanding of customary charges, costs and terms. They will ensure that the price you pay for the home is fair for the condition and neighborhood. They will negotiate repairs, if needed and make sure you are protected with the proper contingencies. The Internet offers lots of great information, but the most important step you can take when buying a new home, is hiring a local professional real estate agent. Their knowledge and expertise can’t be found by reading an article or two online.