Are you selling or buying a house? One of the first questions you should ask yourself is what kind of real estate agent you want. With respect to selling a home, the wrong agent might cost you more than he is worth, and even undervalue your house. On the other hand, with respect to buying a home, choosing the wrong agent might mean paying more for the home than you should. Here are some tips and tricks for finding the right real estate agent: First, hire a licensed real estate agent. It is probably best not to hire someone just because he is a friend and begging you for the job. It might be awkward to say no, but you will be exceptionally more frustrated if you spend money on an agent that sells your home for less than it’s worth. Do a little detective work and find out about the agent’s past performances and successes. You can do this by asking agents to give you a list of past homes they have recently sold or listed, and the contact information of people they have worked with. You can ask how long the house was on the market for, the asking price, and the sales price. The closer the price and location are to your own home the better. Moreover, try and find out whether the realtor was given any peer awards, such as “Relator of the Year.” If the realtor has not received such an award, this does not mean he’s a terrible choice; nonetheless, having such an award does mean that he has been endorsed. In fact, any recommendations from professionals or clients can help. You can also ask the agent how long he has been in business for, or research it yourself. Although we all have to start somewhere, you probably don’t want to be the one at the beginning of an agent’s learning curve. You also want someone who is on top of the market and knows about current listings. A well-educated, knowledgeable, real estate agent is always your best friend. For this reason, a part-time sales agent might not be the best choice for you. That is, unless he is dedicated to you, has already established connections in the market, and keeps on top of current market trends and sales. The final tip is to shop around; don’t just choose the first realtor that you find. Although the first might actually be the best, it’s always good business to broaden your options!