I'm planning on buying my first home in the near future. More accurately, a condo. My only experience in real estate transactions is a course I took in law school by the same name. So essentially, I'm as green as they come. The market appears to be cooling slightly, and I've been advised to wait. However, I'm apprehensive, I don't really think market timing is possible to judge. People have been saying wait for years, but the market has only gotten crazier. I'm thinking I'm just going to jump into it. Anyway, I'd prefer to be in west LA, preferable somewhere that'll catch some ocean breeze, definitely west of the 405 and along the 10. On the other hand, I work in downtown, and I hear that downtown LA is ripe for gentrification. You think speculating that an downtown LA loft is going to appreciate in the long run is worth my strong desire to be near the ocean? As a buyer, are there any downsides to enlisting the help of an agent? I understand that they're typically paid by the seller, but doesn't that factor into the price of the home? General tips?