Absolutely. Especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. A good, local Realtor who will act as a buyer's agent and is acting in "Your Best Interests" is the way to go. (A listing agent is required to work in the seller's best interests)
If the government shutdown occurs tomorrow, Mortgage commitments will take MUCH longer and will delay any home purchase. In addition, all new Federally funded loans will be on hold.
Best of luck with your new home purchase,