What trait do real estate agents and doctors have in common? Both are obligated to do no harm to their clients. The Hippocratic Oath is taken by all physicians. First and foremost this document states the physician "shall do no harm." Real estate agents are ethically bound by the same rule "do no harm."
Physicians are ethically prevented from treating their own family members. Why is that? Because they would be too emotionally involved to the extent the physician would not be able to treat the patient in a professional and detached manner. Professionalism and detachment are vital to making decisions and performing actions that will benefit the patient. The presumption is that emotions can override good judgement and lead to an unfavorable outcome.
When buyers and sellers of real estate attempt to deal directly with each other they risk the same unfavorable outcome. Emotions are high on both sides. High stakes involving money and property lead to high emotions. A buyer may become emotionally excited about purchasing a property. However, many more emotions are involved; uncertainty, unrealistic expectations, anxiety, unbridled enthusiasm, mistrust, etc.
Sellers have their own emotional agendas. Seller are typically emotionally attached to their home/property. Emotional attachment can lead to over valuing a property, failing to see problems or "negatives" Failing to "let go" emotionally of their home may cloud a seller's judgement.
An initial friendly encounter can quickly turn to an emotional disaster with the result being no transaction. Buyer beware becomes an unpleasant reality when one side seekes to gain an unfair advantage over the other resulting in a buyer paying too much or a seller getting too little.
Engaging a physician and engaging a real estate /facilitator ensures that the care/transaction is founded on rational evidence based facts. A real estate agent/facilitator can provide a comparative market analysis for the seller and the buyer leading to a reasonable compromise and a win-win transaction completion.
A rational way to arrive at fair market value for every piece of real estate is based on market conditions and comparables. Real estate agents provide these emotion free-evidence based comparable market valuations to their clients. Emotion plays no part in the gathering of the data.
Emotions can prevent the completion of a desired transaction when the seller cannot "let go" or is not willing to even consider market comparables. A wise and experienced real estate licensee may lead the seller to a compromise. However emotions can override rational judgement and most likely the home/property will not sell until the price falls within fair market value. This may take many years and tears.
The ethical requirement of a real estate agent to provide an accurate and honest opinion of value is based on the current real estate market. If a real estate agent chooses to take a listing that is priced far above current market value a home owner will suffer as their home languishes on the market for years.
The consumer benefits from the use of a skillful, ethical and experienced real estate agent/facilitator. These valuable benefits reach far beyond the benefit of objectivity. In today's high tech on-line society it may be tempting to think that full property disclosure is all online. This is a costly assumption for both seller and buyer. Purchasing a home is one of the most expensive transactions in people's lives. Mistakes are very painful financially.
You would not operate on yourself, you would not handle a complicated legal matter without an attorney, and you certainly should not consider buying or selling a home without the input of a licensed real estate agent/facilitator. A seasoned professional licensed real estate agent /facilitator will help you navigate objectively what may be the largest transaction of your life without the pain of regret.