I'd have to see both of their marketing plans to make this determination. I'd go for the best qualified agent which means one that has both the ability and the motivation to get your home maximum exposure. If you use the Internet as an effective tool you don't have to be an old fashioned neighborhood expert. That "local" agent probably gets the listings because of a sales record and knows that she doesn't have to provide customer service to get your business. I've seen this happen in many local neighborhoods here and I can tell you that the agent everyone chooses is not at all the best but they are familiar, they spend lots of money on local advertising and they expect, not earn your business. I just talked myself into going with the agent I like (if his/her marketing plan is great).
Also, it's isn't essential that the office be located in the community in which you are located but it is essential that it has high visibility and a good reputation.
Regardless of who you decide to go with, it's important that you understand the services both the agent and their company will be providing. To this end, it's critical to request in writing a copy of their comprehensive marketing plan that you can refer to through the process.
Licensed Associate Broker
2008 Realtor of the Year
Prudentia Douglas Elliman
Your agent should be a full time agent, savy with electronic and internet technology since that is where it all begins today and who can also provide you with a strategic and agressive marketing plan. Have he/she put it in writing. As far as listing with a friend, if your friend meets all those requirements, then there should be no problem but keep in mind that sometimes things can go wrong and you should weigh the value of your current relationship which could ptentially be at risk. Like the other responders said, there are so many great agents, you should not be limiting your choices to just 2 especially if you don't like the agent.
Lynn Pisani GRI, PSC, CBR
Licensed Broker Associate, Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Having said that, is the friend of the family a full time agent? Knowledgeable and Skillful in all the internet capabilities that are required in marketing a home today? Honest? Experienced? These are important factors that come into play when an agent markets a home.
Having an agent, whether "local" or not, who is both personable to you and to your customers and other agents as well as a full time agent who is knowledgeable, skillful and experienced will probably get your home sold for the most money, as quickly as possible and to the most qualified buyer in todays market. Interview 2 or 3 and then choose the agent you are most comfortable with, in all areas.
Arlynn B. Palmer, ESQ, CBR, SRES, CMS, CNS
Licensed Associate Broker
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty
1400 Old Northern Blvd.
Roslyn, NY 11576
Office: 516-484-1800 x 252