Every real estate agent should be able to give you a comparative market analysis (CMA), which is a listing of homes currently for sale and recently sold in the area. The CMA (known informally as the "comps") will compare the details of your home with similar homes on the market, and includes specifics like price, square footage and number of bedrooms. This is your starting point for knowing how your home measures up to others that are selling in the neighborhood and, most importantly, at what price you should list your house. An experienced real estate agent will make this part of the process a priority.
A CMA can give you a lot of important information. For example, what types of homes and home features seem to be the most popular for buyers in the area? What are homes with similar features to your own selling for? How long are homes like yours staying on the market before they sell? Arming yourself with this information is a great way to help develop a realistic view of your home's value and sales potential. It will also help you monitor whether you agent's advice is in line with the current market trends.
But knowing the sales figures for area homes can't tell you everything. Sometimes it takes an expert eye to pick up on the subtle clues to an area's growth trends. The next question digs a bit deeper into your agent's intimate knowledge of the neighborhood in which you're buying and selling.