Bryan Van Heusen
Here is a blog I wrote on why it matters so much who you hire:
Hope that helps
Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
This is really tough to answer because none of us know how far away your friend is from Fremont nor your friend's capabilities, training and experience.
For the most part, the mechanics and skills of listing/selling property are transferrable to any area in CA. While I DO NOT discount the value of local knowledge about individual areas; it is not necessarily required. Websites like http://www.WalkScore.com , http://www.Yelp.com , http://www.crimereports.com , http://www.schoolandhousing.com ; and yes, Facebook / Google+ and others can help bridge the gap of local knowledge - and quite frankly, you should be performing your own independent research as well regarding what is especially important to YOU, not necessarily what your agent believes is important to you.
As far as making your representation decision, I would suggest you sit down with your friend and discuss your expectations, needs, wants, and concerns; then, take a day or two to mull things over and go with your gut based on past interactions with your friend and his/her personality.
If you find it necessary or desire a local RealtorÂ® there will be plenty to pick from as they respond to your question. Checking their profiles and answers to questions here on Trulia should be helpful as well.
Set up an interview, and then decide what to do.
Whether from the local area or a friend, pick a good realtor who has the knowledge and experience of property search & valuation, negotiation, transaction & legal process; and, fiduciary responsibility. Find a realtor who can bring your transaction to the closing table
We see so many cases where friends/associates who live in different cities far from where you want to buy can mess up the buyer because of lack of knowledge about local market, local point-of-sale ordinances.
Best that you work with someone who knows the area well to serve you. Your friend can assist on another level.
As the others have stated, using your friend is a good thing.
but - is the friend full-time? knowledgable in real estate selling? still licensed?
Unless your friend lives hours away, it would be great to talk and discuss your needs.
I can always change a realtor if he/she does a bad job, but friend is hard to do....