As a local agent I see out of area agents selling homes here and I think what are those buyers doing? Why are they not using a local agent! But as a listing agent I see some fantastic offers come across my desk from out of area agents and they are good offers with very small details. Their offers are clean, what does that mean it means there are no gotcha's little details put on the offer that can become big problems. The buyer has a house to sell, the buyer wants the refrigerator but not the stove. Which on it's face is okay but when it gets to closing time it can be a hassle. They want lots of time to do inspections and other details. These become items that have to be monitored and it stresses out the seller.
Also a lot of the local agents myself included have written offers that do not get accepted why? I think as we live here we sometimes think prices are out of hand and if a buyer does not want to write an over asking offer we agree. We also get buyers that want to write unrealistic offers and we want to appease them. Some local offers I have seen have had good prices but too many terms and conditions. And quite honestly out of area agents typically come from higher priced districts and see opportunity here. They write full priced offers with very few conditions. Every once in a while I will see a home go for less but it is not common.
Don't get me wrong a lot of local buyer's win with local agents too. They have a relationship with the listing agent and the listing agent knows their style and the type of buyer they work with. And a local agent will know a lot more about the area and neighborhoods. Their communications with the listing agent may get more insider information than an outsider. There are a lot of pros to working with someone who knows the area.
It is really about 50/50, local agent vs out of area agent. As a buyer to win you need to want to win, you have to be prepared to pay for the home that you want. A local agent may get more inside information but that does not mean you can pay less. Who you need to work with is someone you trust, let them know you like the house, a lot of grumbling about the price or the home may cause the agent to be conservative in their offer advice. It is okay if you do not want the house but if you do really want the house you need to let that agent know you are prepared to offer what it takes to get it.
In the long run I think a local agent is best, an out of area agent wins a lot of the time because their clients trust them and do what their agent says to do giving the appearance that agent knows better. I do not think so, I think the relationship is what wins and helps the buyer win in the long run.