Choosing the right agent can make all the difference when buying your first home. Some agents even specialize in working with first-time buyers, so you might consider choosing one of these folks.

1. Choose an agent who has lived in your desired area for a while. If you work with somebody who has recently relocated into the area, you’ll both be learning your way around town. This is not something you want.

3. There are some really good agents, and there are some really bad ones (and all things in between). In this way, real estate is like any other industry. So do whatever homework is necessary to measure an agent’s skills and credentials. Speaking to a couple of their former clients is a great place to start. If they cannot offer you any names or email addresses, they probably don’t have any satisfied former clients!

4. Reading real estate blogs is another great way to judge an agent’s knowledge, skills and personality. Many agents publish blogs these days, and you can easily find them by doing a google search.

5. Remember, you may be working with your agent for a few weeks, or for a few months. So you need to do the proper research in advance to make a smart choice. Don’t just pick the first agent you come across — dig a little deeper to find out who they are and how they work.