Tim, regarding the specifics of John's mailings, I can't tell you what his plan is. Why don't you shoot him a PM on the board and ask him to take a look at your questions here?
The deals I do out of my area are usually with the help of the homeowner. If they are still in the property or at least in the area, I handle the marketing and take the calls and emails. The homeowner is instructed to show the property and sell the amenities, the neighborhood, etc. But all talk about the deal and terms are referred back to me. If the homeowner has already left the area they must have a plan in place for showing the house: neighbor, friend, relative. I prefer that to using a Realtor and having to share some of the pie. But if all else fails, I would use an Agent. After all, a percentage of something is better than 100% of nothing.