Prior to meeting any agents I do my homework, why waste time.
Look at agents in the area and volume, who is getting the lions share, how long on the market and who is achieving highest prices then short list from here. Also look at the strategies that the top sellers are using to market/sell. Fees are also important but this is chicken feed if they can achieve much higher price for your property.
I like the aggressive agents who will not show anyone through the property especially in a hot market. One home open gets everyone through the property on the same day and will only take offers on this day... 'bingo' Dutch auction, competition driving prices up. Of course, this only works in the right climate and the right property.
My husband and I are looking for a city base in Melbourne and have been to many open days. Probably 50 in total. I have been called back by only 2 agents. But on both phone calls they wanted my feed back but not one of them have called me back with new listings that I could be interested in.
I don't think its a good idea to use an out of area agent, Clarkson and Dianella... worlds apart, and there lies the risk. The RE agent needs to know the area back to front and may also have a data base of potential buyers.
We have an out of area agent selling on my street at the moment, has no clue what he is doing, costing the seller valuable time as he has the property overpriced and it will sit and sit and they will eventually shoot themselves in the foot.