Work with an agent who knows the area.
You drive to a little country town, and sure, it looks great. It's picturesque. The boats bob gently on the lake. The little corner grocery carries artwork by local craftsmen. But I bet you didn't know that the road that leads off to the most exclusive neighborhood is closed for five months out of the year.
A real estate agent would know that.
Resort communities are charming, but they can carry problems that are hard to live with. In the mountains, you've got tough driving conditions. At the beach, you've got parking problems. A real estate agent will help you envision that winding road to the cabin when it's covered with ice.
The agent can also be a great resource for little-known information on hidden bonds, community events and that group that likes to run naked through town every year on the solstice.