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Know your rights in any real estate purchase

The process of buying a house can be intimidating if you don't know what to expect. However, by taking time in the beginning to learn your rights as a home buyer, you can make sure you're getting the best deal possible and stay in control of the transaction every step of the way.

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"You have to remember that you, the buyer, should be at the center of the deal, not the real estate agent, not the mortgage lender. You have the money and everybody should be paying attention to you," says Ilyce R. Glink, author of "100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask: With Answers from Top Brokers Around the Country."

Those rights, she says, extend throughout the entire transaction.

Equal representation
You have the right to representation by a real estate agent or broker that is equal to that of any seller. That means you have the right to a real estate agent that works for you and should have your best interests in mind. In some states, the same agent can represent the seller and buyer. Always get your own real estate agent or broker who answers to you, not the seller.

"There's a lot of fine print in mortgage loans and terms so you've got to get a handle on what the different terms mean and that's where working with an agent that specializes in buyer representation is going to be of value," says Walter Moloney, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors.

If that person is not paying attention to your preferences, find another agent.

You also have the right to a written contract with your real estate agent, which specifies that confidential information not be given by the agent to the seller or seller's agent without your explicit permission. In addition, you have the right to expect your agent to help you evaluate properties, negotiate the best purchase offer you can and provide advice on the intricacies along the way, such as the inspection process, the final walk-through and the closing itself.

If you feel that your real estate agent or broker is treating you unfairly, contact the real estate commission for your state.

Legal representation
You have the right to an attorney, who can help you understand all of the fine print involved with the home-buying process.

-- Posted: May 16, 2005

'05 Real Estate Guide
30 yr fixed mtg 3.97%
15 yr fixed mtg 3.05%
5/1 jumbo ARM 3.52%
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