We recently closed escrow on a home in the city of Buckeye that we helped a first-time buyer secure. They kindly sent a note thanking us for helping to make the experience as smooth as possible. They also stated how glad they were to have stuck with us, even as friend and colleagues were pressuring them to use a "local" agent. (We are based in Cave Creek, AZ) It got me to thinking "Is that a valid concern?"
As with many things in life, it depends. Information is so freely available in this hi-tech era, that it is relatively easy to garner information. In a previous life, when I lived in Los Angeles, it was not unusual to sell homes as far apart as Marina Del Rey to the west and back to Pasadena or Glendale to the east. In fact, I even sold one home that belonged to a friend in Palm Springs, some hundred miles away. Although some agents choose to concentrate on one particular area, it is not unusual for denizens of large metropolitan areas, such as Phoenix, to spread their wings a little. We have sold homes in areas as far north as Cave Creek and Anthem (and a vacant lot in Black Canyon City) to the home in Buckeye to the west, and houses in Gilbert and Mesa to the East. The only difference between Phoenix and Los Angeles is the commute time. From Cave Creek to Buckeye, a 70 mile trip, takes about an hour and a quarter. A journey of similar distance in LA would most likely take tow or more hours.
The other important aspect in selecting my wife and I, is that we are very experienced agents. Between us, we have 25 years experience and therefore have run across, and solved, most problems you are likely to encounter in a transaction. We are experienced negotiators. We have many contacts. For example, we are currently representing a buyer on a home in Tonto Hills that has a private water company. A week before closing, the lender required a lot more information on the capabilities of that company. That info can only be obtained from the Arizona Dept. Of Environmental Quality and would take 10 days to access. We got that information the very next business day.
So the question becomes. Are you better off with a "newbie" who lives in Buckeye, or an experienced pro who is willing to undertake a 140 mile round trip to show you properties? How about the Buckeye "pro" who was selling homes for $ 265K three years ago? The exact same home that you just bought today for $ 110K. How helpful was their advice back then? And before you ask, we deterred many of our clients who did not need to buy over the last few years, soon-to-be-retired, for example. There is much more to life than money.
Finally, any business depends upon referrals as its lifeblood, none more than real estate. That is why we are always willing to go the extra mile, literally, to satisfy our clients.