Buying or selling a home involves a process that is complex. The process and regulations can, and do, change frequently. It is important to have the help of a Realtor. Realtors are members of the National Association of REALTORS and are bound by a well defined code of ethics. Like any other professional, Realtors have varying levels of education, designations, experience and areas of expertise.
This article posted on Yahoo Real Estate offers great questions you should ask when interviewing for a Realtor. The only question I would add to the list is whether the Realtor has a distressed property designation and experience with bank owned and short sale properties. Ask the Realtor if they have the CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) or SFR (Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource) certifications.
The process of buying or selling a home is fraught with potential pit falls. Make sure to get a great Realtor to represent you!
All my best,