Over the years, I've encountered listings where the sellers have listed with agents out of the area. Sometimes, WAY out of the area. Often times, for some reason it seems that these agents are the most difficult to work with. Many do not respond quickly to inquiries and often times know anything about the home. I chalk this up to the fact that they probably have never seen the home. I also have issues with out of the area agents not servicing the listing well enough simply because of their proximity to the home. Lockboxes being empty, incorrect keys in lockboxes and missing keys not being replaced for long lengths of time seem to be commonplace because the agent just doesn't want to make the trek all the way out the home just to replace a key.
I can see no good reason to list your standard sale with an agent far away. But, I do know that sometimes when a homeowner is facing foreclosure, they'll list their short sale with an agent from out of the area due to not wanting to work with a local agent they know. Perhaps this is because of embarrassment for their situation. Or because they were contacted by that agent once their Notice of Default was file and the agent kept in contact with them to list. I completely understand that, however it does place them sometimes in a predicament.
One such listing recently really got me irritated in more ways than one. First of all, when I showed the home to my buyers, I found that I knew the sellers and had taught their daughter in Sunday School many years before. Apparently, they were too embarrassed to come to me despite the fact that I've done hundreds of short sales right here in their local community. Again, I have to say that I do understand and respect that. They had found their agent through an online portal known as Redfin and contacted him to conduct their short sale. He never came to the home and sent them paperwork to fill out through the mail with no explanation. He also seemed to be very inexperienced in Real Estate and did not know the individual nuances of a short sale. Luckily he was working with a 3rd party short sale negotiator who knew what he was doing and made the transaction work. But when it came to getting paperwork completed, problems solved, and seller questions answered, I was the one doing it all. The listing agent even had me negotiate the list of necessary repairs with the seller and "allowed" me to meet with the seller to sign all the disclosures he had sent them. I dealt directly with the negotiator and bypassed the agent due to his obvious lack of knowledge and inexperience. Come to find later, it was the agent's first short sale.
So I must say that if you're facing foreclosure and need to do a short sale, swallow your pride and contact a local trusted agent to assist you. It can be embarrassing to open your private financial issues with someone you know, but having someone you trust is far more important that dealing with someone far away who doesn't really care about you. And think about how much more embarrasing it can be when an agent that knows you and cares about you shows up at your door to show your home.
I even recorded a short video rant about the whole situation.