If you are in the market to purchase a house or are planning to list yours for sale, it can be an exciting prospect. Getting help from an experienced and qualified real estate agent might make the process much smoother while also making it likelier that your home will sell at a good price or that you will find the perfect home for your needs.

According to Time Magazine, some sellers try to sell their homes on their own in order to save the average six percent commission that real estate agents might charge. However, almost 90 percent of sellers choose to work with real estate agents because they can help them to sell their homes faster.

When you are looking for a real estate agent, it is important for you to choose one that has your best interests at heart and that will help you to achieve your goals. Here are 10 tips for finding the real estate agent who will be the best choice for you.

1. Get Referrals and Talk with the Agents’ Recent Clients

U.S. News recommends that you start by asking for referrals to agents from your friends and family members. After you have received some referrals to a few promising agents, schedule meetings with each one.

When you meet with prospective agents, ask them to give you a list of the properties that they have sold and listed in the past year along with contact information of the clients. Contact the past clients and ask them to tell you about their experiences with the real estate agents, what the asking prices for the homes were, and how much they sold them for. If you are planning to list your home, you should ask the agent about whether the properties were similar in location, features, and price. You should also ask the agents’ former clients about the length of time that their homes remained on the market before they sold.

2. Set Clear Expectations When Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Sellers should ask the real estate agents that they are considering providing them with a written plan that includes what steps that they will take to make certain that they sell the homes. A good agent should be able to give you advice about preparing your home to be listed and the people who might be enthusiastic about your home. If you are a buyer, you will want a plan that outlines how frequently you will receive listings and how many houses the agent might show you each week.

3. Find out How Experienced an Agent Is

While experience isn’t everything, you still want to find a real estate agent who is not still learning the business when you become his or her client. You can check with Virginia’s licensing agency to find out how long the agents you are considering have been licensed. Alternatively, you can simply ask the agents themselves.

It is a good idea to try to find an agent who has been working in the real estate business for at least five years. You’ll want to find an agent who is knowledgeable about your area and the homes that fall in your price range.

4. Look for Passion, Conviction, and Honesty

To find a real estate agent who will work hard for you, you should try to find someone who is passionate about real estate and is honest in the way in which he or she conducts business. You can review an agent’s marketing materials to get an idea, including the website, brochures, listing materials, and signs. You should also listen carefully to the agent and choose somebody who will be honest with you about what it might take for your home to sell quickly at the best price.

5. Choose a Real Estate Agent Who Is Knowledgeable About Your Area

It is important for you to pick a real estate agent who is knowledgeable about the area in which you want to purchase a home or where your home is located. You can ask the agents to tell you about the properties that they have listed or sold in the area recently. If you are a buyer, you should question the real estate agent about the schools, the community, property taxes, crime rates, and other relevant facts. If you are familiar with another home that is listed for sale in the area or that recently sold, ask the agent about the home. A knowledgeable agent will likely be familiar with the home that you mention and should be able to tell you some details about it.

6. Look up the Agent’s Current Listings

Before you choose an agent, make certain to look at his or her listings. You can search the agent’s website and other real estate sites that have searchable databases of the multiple listing service for your area. When you look at the listings, pay attention to how effective they are. You will want an agent who is able to use listings in an enticing and effective way to draw in potential buyers.

The Balance reports that a common saying among those in the real estate business is that 80 percent of the work in residential real estate sales is performed by 20 percent of the real estate agents. You should also see how many listings an agent has. If he or she does not have very many listings, his or her business may not be healthy. On the other hand, if an agent has too many listings, he or she may not promptly return your calls. Aiming to find a real estate agent with a healthy number of listings rather than too few or too many is a good idea.

7. Check with the State for Any Disciplinary Actions

When you have narrowed down your agent search to a few candidates, you should check with Virginia’s licensing and disciplinary board for real estate agents. This can help you to find out whether the agents are licensed and whether they have had complaints filed against them or have gone through disciplinary actions.

8. Find an Agent You Can Trust

You will be in charge of initiating the conversation with an agent. When you do, you should pay attention to how the agent listens to you and if he or she asks you questions. It is important for you to find an agent with whom you feel safe. You should take the time that you need to find a real estate agent that you trust to help you.

9. Choose an Agent in Your Range

It is important for you to choose a real estate agent who frequently works for clients in your price range. For instance, if you are trying to find a home for sale around $300,000, look at the local listings for real estate agents who frequently list homes for around that price. While real estate agents who concentrate on expensive homes might be great at their jobs, they might not know much about the homes that are available at the price that you are wanting.

10. Interview Several Candidate Agents

After you have identified several different real estate agents who might work for you, make certain to interview each one of them. Zillow recommends that you go to open houses that the agents are holding to watch how they work. After you have interviewed them, choose the real estate agent who clicks with you the best.

Finding a great real estate agent can make the difference in how quickly your home sells if you are a seller. If you are a buyer, working with a buyer’s agent can help you to find the home that meets your needs and that fits your budget. By following these 10 tips, you can find the right real estate agent for you.