When you are buying or selling a home, finding the right real estate agent is a critical part of the process. According to the National Association of Realtors, 87 percent of buyers and 90 percent of sellers use a real estate agent. A good agent will look out for your best interests and work to get you the best deal out of the transaction. Here are a few strategies for finding a top notch real estate agent to represent you in your real estate transaction.

Having an agent who works in the area where you’re selling or buying is important because he/she will have a good idea about property values. Gather several recommendations from friends and family and then set up interviews to gather key points of information.

To start off, you’ll want to find out agents’ full- or part-time status, years working as an agent, and number of transactions completed annually (around 10 is a good number). Also inquire about the hours they are available to you to answer questions and to show your house or show you houses and the agent’s preferred mode of communication. Request of a list of the agent’s recent transactions so you can review them, and ask for several client references. For sellers, ask what strategies an agent uses to sell a home.

Once your interviews are complete, do your own vetting process. Contact references, peruse the agent’s website and social media accounts, and contact the agent to determine his/her responsiveness time and see if it is the agent or an assistant who returns your call. Whether you’re buying or selling, you want an agent who responds promptly. Sellers should examine an agent’s listings online to see how homes are represented, for example, if they have professional photos to show a home at its best. Also make sure an agent’s real estate license is up to date.

Take your vetting process to the streets. Buyers can tour a few homes with a potential agent before signing a contract. During these tours, you can get an idea about whether the agent is a good fit. A good agent will be able to answer your questions, point out any potential issues with a home, be attuned to your wants, and use showings to get a feel for what you like and dislike in a home. You can determine how well the agent communicates and how attentive he/she is during the showing.

Sellers can visit an agent’s open houses to get an idea of how an agent represents a home for sale. You can also assess communication skills and market knowledge by asking questions.

Keep in mind that the best agents will never pressure you to sign a contract or make or accept an offer. If an agent is pushy, shop around for someone whose expertise, experience, and dedication to customer service afford them the patience and respect for you that will make your buying or selling process a good one.