An agent whose name I have seen several times with offerings but who has no deals listed under her name on Agent Query or P.M. has asked to see my complete manuscript. She requires a 1 year contract. (Yes I know I'm getting ahead of myself.) I've heard "no agent is better than a bad agent." On the other hand, everybody has to start somewhere..so.. your thoughts?
First, let's all remember that PM and AQ are self-reporting websites. Not all agents post their deals there.
The key piece of information you need to find out is this: has this agent made any sales. Don't assume she hasn't just cause you can't find them on the web. ASK. It's ok to ask at this stage. She wants your full, that means she's interested in your work.
If she's new to the biz, she may not have any sales at all. In that case, ASK about her previous experience. If she has not ever worked in a company that does book deals, on either side of the desk, I'd be wary. I see a lot of websites with well intentioned people who want to help authors sell their books but what they don't know about how to do that or who to approach would be a book in and of itself.
As for the one year contract, there are several quite reputable agents who do that. They give you a year and if they can't sell it, you're released from the agency.
An inexperienced agent is not a bad agent by default. And "experience" isn't some sort of universal either. I'm pretty experienced but if you hand me category romance, I'd be a VERY bad agent since I don't know the genre, don't read it, and don't know the editors who buy it.