They called me the "Reluctant Realtor" since, truth be told, while real estate is my deep passion, helping people buy or sell it came second fiddle to my own pursuit of investments in St. Louis properties. That said, my experience with my own properties (personal and investment) in combination with a Wash. U. MBA made me a heck of an agent (if I may say so myself =) ) pushing me to produce millions in sales for buyers and sellers who sought out my help through word of mouth. Hey, when you love what you do, word travels.
These days my focus is on building and selling green homes (If you're not familiar with green, you should learn about it. Over the next few years green homes will be the best investments for long term energy savings, health and comfort, not to mention the eco-impact), which means I have less time to be out there helping you buyers and sellers. Still, I can offer a referral service that's invaluable: Choose the area you're most interested in. Contact me, and I'll put you in touch with the agent with the "hot hand" in that very specific area. I'll pair with you with the person (or people) who have the most sales over the past several months in the area you're buying and selling in. That way, you get the most up to date knowledge on market conditions and pricing.
IMHO, don't ever choose an agent just because you've used him/her before or he's a family friend UNLESS s/he has specific knowledge about the area you're buying or selling in. Your best bet is to find an agent who you can work well with AND who well knows the area you're focused on. I'd be happy to help you find that person - just ask.
If you have any other real estate question, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm happy to help if I can.