I must take issue with T. J. Richards' letter.
Competition in today's market is especially stiff. If agents are to be successful, they have to look the part, or they are going to lose out to the other guy who looks more professional. And of the more than 300,000 real estate licensees in California, relatively few are lucky enough to afford "sun-roofed Mercedes," and "laugh all the way to the bank."
As agents, we spend hours preparing competitive market analyses for sellers to give them a realistic idea of what they can expect for their home--only to have them list their property with another agent who tells them what they want to hear, which is a violation of the code of ethics anyway.
By the same token, if a seller paid $300,000 for his or her home four years ago, why should they take a loss by selling the home for less now unless they must?