The right agent is out there, and it's up to you to find her.

The right real estate agent can be all the difference in the world when you're ready to tell your home. But the tricky part is finding the best one for your situation. Some agents have specialized experience in certain neighborhoods, and some focus on a particular type of house.

So how do you find an agent you can trust and who will do the best job possible? It all starts with a little homework:

Friends and family will tell you the good and the bad.

Ask Your Friends and Family

Word-of-mouth advertising is worth its weight in gold for the real estate agent, and it's also helps you make your decision with a little more confidence. A referral from a friend or family member gives you more information than an online listing ever could, and you might get a few anecdotes, too.

With a referral, you'll get a name and phone number, plus you'll hear what it was like to work with him. Did he handle a great open house? Did he keep his appointments, answer or return phone calls and emails? Selling a house is one of the most challenging things you may ever do, so it's important to choose an agent who doesn't just sell a lot of houses but is also easy to work with.

Check Licensing and Other Credentials

Real estate agents are independent contractors; they're not agency employees. Your agent might have an office in an agency building, but the only way that you can be sure his licensure is up to date is to check.

Most agents are above-board, and Bob and Donna McWilliams of Champion Realty explain in their Champion Gazette column that there are plenty of regulatory bodies and laws that govern the industry. But even so, take a minute and run a search through a licensing verification website such as Arello.

A good agent will happily explain why his qualifications and experience are relevant for your situation.

Look into Other Listings

It's natural for a real estate agent to promote his most impressive listings. If he has a million-dollar home in his portfolio, he'll probably tell you about it. But what's more important is learning how many homes he has handled recently that are similar to yours.

U.S. News and World Report Money   further explains that you'll want to know whether he has experience selling homes in your neighborhood. Ask how he plans to market your house, who will take photos, and whether he has a target audience in mind.

Watch out for Warning Signs

A few warning signs might seem like just the opposite at first glance. U.S. News says that agents who charge a noticeably lower commission than the 5 to 7 percent average might seem like a great idea. But a buyer's agent might not jump at the chance to split a lower commission than she'd get on a different house. So your house might be overlooked time and again.

An agent who encourages you to top out on your asking price may also be doing you a disservice, because the market might not support it. And even though a rock star agent frequently sells multi-million dollar homes, that doesn't mean he has the right skill set or the motivation to sell a more modest one.

There's a lot more to finding a real estate agent than looking through an agency website. Different agents have different specialities, and you want the one who is comfortable working with your type of property and in your area.

The best agent isn't the flashiest, or the one who has sold the most luxury homes. He's the one who knows the best way to market your house to the right target audience and does everything necessary to make it happen.

If you're thinking about selling your home, a great place to begin is with an eppraisal property value estimate. In just a few minutes, you'll see what your home is worth, how it compares to others in the neighborhood, plus lots more important information that can affect the sale of your house. Click here for your free property valuation today.