DEAR HARRY: We are going to move to a retirement community this summer. Reluctantly, after 47 years, we are selling our lovely home. The problem we are facing is one of choosing a broker to represent us on the sale. The house is a semi-custom one we had built with small modifications to a builder's plan. Similar homes in the area recently have sold for about $225,000. Can you please tell us what we should look for in a real-estate broker?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: The market in real estate has shown some renewed vigor in the last year. The brief description you have given indicates that you should not have too much of a problem in selling. First and foremost, you need an active broker in your area. If you see many signs for a particular firm, arrange to interview the firm. Ask among your friends who have sold their homes. A recommendation from a friend merits an interview. Attend an open house or two for a broker you are considering, and get a good idea of how he or she operates. Not all brokers are Realtors. Realtors have ethical and education requirements beyond what the license requires. Don't make this your primary criterion, but it is a plus. Finally, make sure you feel at ease and comfortable in the broker's presence. Good luck!

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