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How Do Sites Like Zillow and Realtor Really Work?

It is a common misconception that the real estate agents that you see on the sidebar of online listings on sites like Zillow and are actually agents somehow compensated from these big name websites. Actually, it is quite the opposite.  When you submit an inquiry on a property you are typically connected to a Buyers Agent that is connected through paid advertising rather than the listing agent.  In many ways this is beneficial to you because I always recommended being represented by a Buyer Agent rather than the Listing Agent who represents the sellers’ interests only.
While Zillow and Realtor are great sources to initially begin your home search, you will want to choose an agent that you feel comfortable with and work solely with that agent moving forward. This is important for a number of reasons:
1. Working with ONE agent allows for a more streamlined home search that is customized to your specific needs.  Rather than repeating and restarting with various agents by clicking through on different properties on these sites, your dedicated agent will be able to show you any properties listed for sale and set them up in a convenient showing tour for you.
2. Having a dedicated agent ensures that you are getting all of the information that you need when you need it.  The home buying process is so much more than just finding the right house.  You want to make sure that you are getting accurate and timely information to help you be the strongest buyer you possibly can in these competitive real estate market.
3. Agents only get paid if they help you seal the deal and make it to the settlement table.  Many people think that agents connected to big name websites get paid from the company to help buyers find homes.  When you are agent hopping you don’t get the benefit of a full real estate service often having agents less vested in the process until you commit to working with them long-term.  You want to make sure to interview and commit to your agent as soon as you feel comfortable doing so.  By signing a buyer representation agreement the agent will then be able to legally represent and look after your fiduciary responsibilities.  Technically speaking, without this in place, the agent showing you the property is in essence working for the seller.
Once you have selected an agent, that agent will be able to show you ANY property in their dedicated MLS area.  In fact, many agents have their own website that you can save searches directly on their site to make it easier for you to communicate to your agent which properties that you are interested in seeing.
Make sure to protect yourself and hire one agent who will look after your interests!
Questions?  Call 717.963.0016 or email

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Gina Casner

In 2016, I began my tenure in real estate as a licensed Executive Assistant for a leading real estate training coach and subsequently for high-producing real estate teams. I very quickly fell in love with real estate and by 2019, I transitioned into personally helping clients turn their dreams into keys. After dozens of transactions, I have been dubbed the “unicorn hunter,” finding out-of-the-box solutions for clients looking for a home with unique requirements. In addition to managing my real estate practice, I am involved in providing community education on responsible home ownership through my exclusive Path to Home Ownership workshop series. I also am the founder of Chronically Strong, an organization that promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention in our local communities. I take a holistic and individualized approach to real estate. Buying or selling a home in Central PA can be complex, sophisticated and often a deeply personal endeavor. Your experience should mimic the high level of customer service all of my clients have, while being very specific to your own individual needs. I work with a team of experts to provide a full, complete experience that only a cohesive team can consistently provide. Working with us, you will be given personal attention in every aspect of your home buying and selling experience with the professionalism and consistency of a thoughtful business model. And yes, superior results will follow! On a personal note, I attribute my success not only to my passion for helping clients execute on their next “big move”, but also to my knowledge regarding the psychology of buying and selling. My clientele works in diverse industries with an emphasis on technology, finance, medicine, law, and business. My real estate practice has grown successfully and consistently thanks to the repeat business of happy clients and their introductions to friends, family and neighbors. This track record is only possible because we deliver both results AND an enjoyable experience. Growing up, my family moved frequently all across the continental U.S., but you will hear me say that I am from California because that is the longest place that I lived during my formative years. Moving became a way of life for my family and each place I lived became a part of my story. It taught me that our home truly is the foundation of everything in our lives, and it is this belief that compels me to work hard for my clients when they are buying or selling their home. In many ways, our home becomes a part of our identity, an identity and memory that should be honored. I have been accused of being tenacious and super honest. I like to win (for my clients) but do so with a calm demeanor and a smile. I live in a raised ranch home in Lower Paxton Township with my main squeeze, my teenage son, and our very spoiled dog, Ginger. I have mad faith, and truly believe that each and every one of us is capable of great things. I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors’ in Sociology. There is a running joke in my family that every day I go to real estate school because every day my clients teach me something new. I continually invest time, money and thought into the latest sales, marketing and negotiation techniques. Why? Because I believe that you deserve to have the best working for you. I want to live life on my own terms, and am committed to helping you do the same. Would you like to work together? Please reach out. I look forward to hearing from you! Gina

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