Finding an experienced, reliable real estate agent whom you like and trust is the first step in locating your new home. Here is an approach to finding the right agent.
Call or stop by a real estate office and ask to speak with the manager. Describe the type of home you are looking for. The manager can refer you to an agent who knows that market very well. You might also use weekend "open houses" as opportunities to look for a real estate agent, as well as a new home. It is really a matter of chemistry! If you meet someone who is knowledgeable and with whom you feel comfortable, call that person!
Once you establish a strong working relationship with a real estate agent, your agent can show you a number of homes for sale, even if they are listed with other companies. Often the agent can show you a property as soon as it is placed on the market. Many of the best homes never even make it to the weekend classified section of the newspaper!