Conventions Used in This Book

Throughout this book I've incorporated a number of style conventions, most aimed at keeping the book easy to read and a few aimed at keeping it legally accurate:

1 Throughout this book, I use the term real estate agent rather than Realtor unless I'm talking specifically about members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Realtor is a registered trademark owned by the NAR, which requires that the term appear either in all capital letters or with an initial capital R. For your information, all Realtors are real estate agents, but only those real estate agents who are members of and subscribe to the Association's strict code of ethics are Realtors.

1 The word agency describes the relationship that a real estate agent has with members of the public, or as they're sometimes called, clients. When clients list a home for sale, they enter a contractual relationship with the agent who will represent their interests. That agreement is called an agency relationship. Every state and province has a unique set of laws stipulating how consumers and real estate agents work in an agency relationship. These agency laws have been reworked and clarified over the past decade. In earlier days, agents didn't formally represent homebuy-ers. Instead, agents were obligated solely to the sellers, for whom they worked basically as sub-agents. That's all ancient history, though, and throughout this book when I refer to agency agreements, I'm describing the real estate agent's relationship with buyers or sellers, depending upon whether the agent is the listing agent or the selling agent.

1 Bulleted and numbered lists present important information in a quick-skim format. Watch for lists marked by numbers or checkmarks. They contain essential facts, steps to take, or advice to follow.

i Whenever I introduce a new term, I italicize it and follow it up with a brief definition.

i Web sites and e-mail addresses appear in monofont to make them stand out on the page.

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