Selecting the Real Estate Company is simple. Most are large and well known but there are lots of smaller companies that are very good too. If they are small find out how long they have been in business and if they are members of the Better Business Bureau and the Multiple Listing Service. Ask what advertising they do above and beyond the MLS. That is about all there is to it.
Finding the right Real Estate Agent is far more difficult and crucial to your overall experience while buying or selling your home. The following questions should help in your selection process. Do make an effort to SELECT the agent you want to work with. Don't just accept the first one that answers the phone.
Are they full time or part time? The Real Estate Business is very tough and competitive. If they are part time they are not committed to the task or to you, nor will they be able to keep up with what is going on in the market.
How long has he/she been an agent? My recommendation is they have a minimum of two years. It's not an easy business and the rules are always changing.
How long have they been with that company? Sometimes there are good reasons to change companies (they are all pretty much the same) but if they jump from company to company it is usually a red flag. Find another agent!
How many homes did they sell last year? Don't ask about sales dollar volume because it is misleading. An agent that sells 10 home costing $100,000 is working harder than an agent that has only sold 2 home costing $500,000 each.
What type of homes do they specialize in? Make sure it is compatible with what you want to buy or sell. If you have an $800,000 home you don't want an agent that specializes in homes at $100,000. Or, if you have a mobile home you want to list it with someone who specializes in them or it won't get the attention it deserves.
Do you like her/him? It's not mandatory that you like them but it surely does make things go smoother.