I'm sorry to hear of your experience. There's LOTS of information to be had, and lots of help and guidance too.
There are lots of great agents here in central PA....and of course - as in any industry - there are those who are PT, and/or inexperienced, and/or in the business for the "easy money." (ha!)
I'd recommend contacting several agents....Here are a few items to ask:
1. How long have you been in the business?
2. What percentage of your business in 2007 was repeat and/or referral business?
3. Are you Full-Time?
4. What sets you apart from other agents?
5. How many transactions did you do in 2007?
6. Have you earned any professional designations?
(ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative, CRS - Certified Residential Specialist, GRI - Graduate, Realtor Institute, etc...)
The CRS designation is the toughest (and probably most expensive and time intensive) designation to earn. (http://www.crs.com
- and you can search for a CRS designee in the area you're looking to move to!)
These types of questions will give you a better handle on who you are working with...Locally, the 'average' agent does between 4 and 6 transactions per year, on average. I'd suggest looking for someone who does lots more than that! Repeat and referral biz references and a high percentage of repeat/referral are also GREAT indicators that this Realtor does their job well!
If you need further assistance, I'd be happy to help and/or answer any further questions you may have. Your home is probably your largest asset - and most significant purchase! Make sure you are in well-qualified hands for your purchase!
AND - of course - if you're headed to Lancaster, Lebanon, York or Chester, I'd be delighted to be one of the Realtors you interview prior to making your decision! We're all just a phone call away! I specialize in Lancaster, but can direct you to some great agents in our neighboring counties, as well!
Best of luck to you and yours - and WELCOME to PA!