So you're thinking about working with an agent and you don't know them personally? You've seen their flyers or their photo on your local bus bench. Maybe they do a lot of local business so you think they are good to work with based on these things, right? Don't be so quick to act on that. Who you are working with is who is representing you in any given transaction. And there are things about that agent you may not see or know. Maybe they are known for being unprofessional and not returning messages and phone calls. Or maybe they have a reputation of being difficult to work with (and you can be a great negotiator without being a difficult agent, in case you were wondering). Be warned, if you have an agent like this, it can hurt your chances of selling or buying a home. And if you get in to escrow with a difficult agent, you may feel a lot of unnecessary drama and stress.
Of course you're wondering "How do I know if this agent has a bad reputation?" You most likely wouldn't. But use your instincts. Are they professional with you? Do you get a good feeling from them that they are going to work for you and not for themselves? Maybe stop by an open house they are at and see how they are interacting with people and other agents that come in.