Choosing a real estate agent can be one of the most important decisions you make. A good agent will not only have the expertise to find you the perfect home but also provide insight into neighborhoods, schools, and local amenities. If you are new to buying or selling a home, this list of questions may help you choose an agent whose values align with yours.

1. How Long Have You Been an Agent in the Area?

A good agent will have extensive knowledge of the neighborhood and surrounding areas. Asking how long they’ve worked in an area will give you insight into how well they know it.

2. What Is Your Professional Background in Real Estate?

Years of experience in sales, negotiation, and property management are all important to look for in an agent. The best agents come from backgrounds that give them strong customer service skills and a vast knowledge base. They should also have some expertise in related fields before entering real estate, such as mortgage lending and appraisal.

3. What Is Your Certification in Real Estate?

Top agents are constantly taking classes and learning new skills to stay on top of their game. Look for an agent who has taken the time to get their license, keep it current, and has also joined groups that provide ongoing education.

4. Are You a Full-Time Real Estate Agent?

Full-time agents typically dedicate their time to staying up-to-date with market trends and property availability. They know the area, including nearby neighborhoods and commute times, which will help you weigh your options. They are also more likely to devote their time to ensure you are satisfied with their services.

5. What Is Your Process from Finding a New Home to Closing?

Asking about the agent’s work process can help you see if they can follow timelines and promises. The agent should be transparent about their process of finding houses, including how long it takes them to make an offer, etc.

6. What Types of Homes Do You Typically Represent?

Agents who focus on specific types of homes, such as high-end luxury properties or first-time buyers, may be able to give you more personalized and experienced advice about your options. Finding an agent who has worked on homes similar to yours will help you feel comfortable with their knowledge of the process and ability to negotiate on your behalf.

According to a report, 41% of sellers who worked with a real estate agent got their agents through referrals, while 26% used one they had previously worked with. Therefore, it’s important to ask friends and family members for recommendations and read online reviews before selecting an agent.