Actually, the best thing for you to do when you see an advertisement in the paper is to call your own Realtor and tell them about the ad. Since addresses usually do not appear in advertisements, your Realtor will call the listing agent and find out the MLS number for the property. If the listing is on the internet, it probably already provides the MLS number.
The MLS number allows the agent to access the listing directly on the Multiple Listing Service computer. That reveals a lot more information than what is available to you on the web.
The house may turn out to be a great home for you, but it may also be a property the Realtor has already disregarded because it backed up to a busy noisy street and you have told your Realtor you wanted a quiet neighborhood.
You Have to Find an Agent. How do you do that?
If you're reading this, you're probably on the Internet. One key to a successful relationship between a real estate agent and their client is that, in addition to representing your interests competently, they educate you about the process as it unfolds. So don't simply look for property on the web - look for an agent that informs you about the process.
Referrals are always a good way to go. Perhaps a friend, co-worker, or family member recently bought a house in the same community and had a good experience. However, if they bought a house twenty miles from where you want to move, it may not be a good idea to use the same Realtor.
You want an agent who knows the area in detail and has already previewed many of the homes available for sale in that community. Community knowledge should be important to you because you are not just buying a house. You are buying a home in a local neighborhood in a specific community.
Every Realtor can show you every property available for sale in the Multiple Listing Service. Since that is true, you can call any real estate office and find a Realtor willing to show you houses for sale. The problem is that you do not know if you are talking to an excellent Realtor or a lazy inactive one.