1. Do Your Research - Before talking to all the potential real estate agents, you should do your own research. Walk around the area(s) where you are planning to rent or buy a house to have a better idea of what to expect, and see if there's any real estate agency that's dominating the area. Do some research on the internet as well, looking at agency listings, agency websites, and try to find out as much as you can. If you are interested, make an inquiry on the phone, in person or online.
2. Check out ratings and reviews - Before seeing all the potential estate agents in person, it can be really useful and will save you time to check out online ratings and reviews. While these ratings are never 100% accurate, if an agency has consistently negative reviews for example, it is better to avoid them.
3. Referrals - Most people still find estate agencies through recommendations from family, friends or co-workers. Ask the people around you if they know a good estate agent, and about their experiences with other local agents. You can almost always rely on a recommendation from a person you trust, and you'll find out more information about the estate agency about how they treat their customers, and how reliable and professional they really are.
4. Contact more estate agents - Contacting more than one estate agent is essential to find the one that you can most rely on. Especially if the real estate transaction involves ongoing contact with the estate agency, it is important to choose an agency that you communicate with and that you can trust. You'll find it much easier to choose once you go and see the estate agents in person.
5. Know what questions to ask when you meet the agent - Depending on why you need an estate agent, to sell or rent a house for example, think beforehand about what questions to ask from the agents and compare their answers. Try to get to know as much as possible about how their business operates, how many deals they have per month, and pay close attention to their attitude to your requests and needs. If your agent seems rushed or doesn't seem to be interested in your specific expectations, it is better to choose another one, as you'll certainly have long term problems communicating with such an agent.