Jill Rudler is a licensed Realtor with more than 30 years of experience, and she has been part of Real Living HER since 1987. As the top selling Real Living HER agent for the past 15 years based on number of homes sold, Rudler is part of the 25 Million Dollar Club, and was featured in Realtor magazine's Top 100 Residential Salespeople of 2001-02.

Jill Rudler is a licensed Realtor with more than 30 years of experience, and she has been part of Real Living HER since 1987. As the top selling Real Living HER agent for the past 15 years based on number of homes sold, Rudler is part of the 25 Million Dollar Club, and was featured in Realtor magazine's Top 100 Residential Salespeople of 2001-02.

Harley: What are the biggest mistakes you see buyers make?

Jill Rudler: One of the biggest mistakes I see consumers fall into is "going it alone." A buyer's first step should be to consult a professional Realtor, so they're educated on processes and the tools available to them before, during and after the transaction.

The second mistake I commonly see is when buyers sit around waiting for lower rates. Rates are the lowest they've been for years.

Other mistakes include not planning for the future, and neglecting to evaluate a home based on features that are permanent such as floor plan and location. Homes are sometimes overlooked because of cosmetic items that can be changed over time to help increase value.

Lastly, consumers should completely understand a home investment before jumping into a transaction. Your agent should have recommendations for who you can consult on the mortgage side.

Harley: Why do you enjoy working in real estate?

Jill Rudler: I enjoy educating buyers and sellers and assisting them throughout the transaction. I have 30 years of real estate experience and believe I have been an important consultant for my clients over the years. It's very rewarding to see my customers achieve their goals.

Harley: What are some things homeowners can do to improve curb appeal during winter months?

Jill Rudler: It's so important to maintain the exterior of your home throughout the year. One of the easiest ways you can add color to an entrance during winter months is by hanging a wreath on the front door.

Lighting is another important element. Consider installing a lighting system that lines walkways, highlights trees and accents the front of your home. To cut back on energy consumption, investigate the possibilities of solar lighting.

Lastly, make sure mulch is raked and flower beds are well groomed.

Harley: Do you see any major trends in the market right now?

Jill Rudler: Social networking -- especially with younger generations. Agents are utilizing sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to post their listings. If you're a tech-savvy consumer, make sure to check out listing photos, videos and other media rich content offered through these networks.

Also, with a challenging economy comes the importance of making the right choice quickly. Right now is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for buyers. Whether you're a first-time buyer or have owned your home for several years, you have the opportunity to purchase a dream home at a great price and an incredible interest rate. This trend is one that won't last long, so what are you waiting for?

For more information on Jill Rudler and the Rudler Professional Group, check out their Web site at HERRealtors.com/Jill.Rudler or call (614) 818-7610.

Harley E. Rouda Jr. is the CEO of Real Living, one of the nation's fastest-growing real estate companies.