Knowing what a buyer can afford, where a buyer wants to live, and the style(s) of residence preferred, a knowledgeable agent is able to begin to show available inventory that comes close to matching up against a buyer's request. What a buyer is trying to achieve is a moving target. Properties available today at stated “list price” are subject to price adjustments (up and down) or may go under agreement. Also, new entries come onto the market daily. It helps the agent to know what the buyer likes and does not like about the properties being offered to them.
In comparing properties - what they offer and their relative market values - there are some approaches you may want to con-sider. For instance, when condo shopping, your agent should be able to provide not only information on units for sale in the building, but also the history of sales in the building over a period of time. While comparing square footage per unit and assessment information does not take into account how the floor plan works, the unit condition, and whether a certain building is more in vogue than another, it does provide measurable points-of-reference for the buyer to interpret. The percentage of owner occupants, the history of the condo association reserve fund, as well as the minutes and by-laws of the association can be useful pieces of information. For school information, your agent is a good resource, as well as on the internet at http://www.greatschools.net/ or http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/.