Most advice for picking a real estate agent is pretty standard: Find somebody who'll listen to you, who's experienced, sweats the details, works evenings and weekends, blah, blah, blah

It's true and sensible, as far as it goes, but also obvious and frustratingly subjective

Here's a concrete suggestion that's less well known: Find an agent who also brokers rental properties in your price range

Real estate agents who take the business of brokering rentals are uncommon

In most cities successful Realtors look down on the rental business

Why? The commissions are lame

If you buy a $2 million house in San Francisco, your brokerage and the broker representing the seller get to split a fee of from $80,000 to $120,000

Rent the same house for the going rate in the sourdough capital and the agent will probably make a fee that isn't much more than the $5,400 monthly rent

That means agents who handle a lot of rental properties may have to work harder, make less and get less respect than their home-selling peers

For sellers the upside is that they tend to be hungry and more knowledgeable about local housing

They can tell you how the value of any home stacks up against what it would fetch on the rental market

Say you're standing in the dining room of a home you'd love to buy

If your agent knows the local rental market, he or she will be comfortable telling you what it would cost to rent equivalent housing nearby

If it's your own dining room you're standing in and you wish to sell your property, they can give you an honest assessment of what it would fetch on the rental market if you opt to lease it out instead

Yes, you'll still face conflicts of interest

Rental agents are motivated to sell you a house rather than rent you one so as to collect a higher fee

So look for one who's trustworthy and backs up any claims with solid research

You may struggle to find an agent adept at handling both sales and rentals

This is not true in the harshest real estate market in the country: New York City

The Big Apple has a vibrant, sometimes cutthroat, market for apartment rentals

Agents' fees are lucrative and usually paid by the tenant rather than the landlord

Most realty agents start their careers brokering residential rentals in Manhattan and nearby neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens

Those who succeed typically move over to the more lucrative business of selling homes once they've built up enough experience and clientele

Here are three tips for finding an agent who's as adept at rentals as he is with outright sales: First, if you're shopping for real estate far from where you're living, try scouring the local listings for rental properties in your price range

The higher your monthly rent, the more likely it is that owners of rentals in your price range will be represented by agents

Call the listing agents on properties that you find appealing and interview them

Second, call the largest real estate agencies in town and ask for the relocation department

Some agencies will have an agent or two who specialize in helping executives settle down locally for two- or three-year stints

Those executives often seek to rent housing during their short stays, so it's sometimes possible to find a good rental agent in the relo department

Third, check out the agents who partner with us on the Forbes Luxury Residence Rental Index, or Flurry

Our data partners are top-shelf agents who specialize in high-end rentals in 10 of the largest cities in the country

You'll find their names listed in the source lines at the bottom of each of the captions in this slide show

(The slide captions also contain links to the agents' Web sites.)