If you’re in the market to buy or sell a home, chances are you won’t have the free time, motivation or expertise necessary to ensure a satisfactory real estate transaction. That is why it is crucial to find a professional real estate agent that will enable you to have an enjoyable experience.

With so many real estate agents in the market, it can be hard to determine who is right for you. It is vital to get referrals from friends, family or colleagues to figure out who they recommend and who has garnered consistent positive reviews. Agents who tend to make it in the market typically have satisfied clients who send more business their way. Also, it helps to ask open ended questions like “What did your agent do particularly well?” rather than a simple yes or no question like “Did you like your agent?” This will encourage fuller answers that will give you a better picture of the character and quality of the realtor.

It also helps to have someone who specializes in the area you looking to buy or sell in. Not only will local experts provide you will more accurate figures regarding selling and buying price, but they will also have greater knowledge of the areas neighborhood, amenities, culture, schools or day care facilities. Agents that specialize in particular areas also tend to have more connections to services and professionals in the area like appraisers, lenders and contractors.

You are also most likely going to want to look for experience in your agent, as they tend to negotiate better prices and are typically better equipped to deal with any bumps along the way. Though not all new real estate agents are bad, experienced agents are usually a better bet. If you do decide to go with a newer agent, look at their track record and consider: How many price reductions had to be made? How close is the agent’s average listing price to the selling price?

Finally, before you decide to go with a particular agent, you want to make sure of their availability, as scheduling showings, meetings and closings can be quite irritating when you and your agents open time do not coincide. And with the market moving so fast you will also most likely want an agent that can work full time and go all in. Full time agents generally are more focused and can get the job done in a much more satisfactory manner.

By Michael Bain, an analyst for Move New Homes