I find Bruss' column "Real Estate Q&A" nothing more than a forum to attack the "for sale by owner" transaction, while glorifying the professional real estate agent. Don't you think it should be labeled "advertisement"?
Many people (including me) have sold their homes themselves very successfully and saved thousands of dollars with no problems at all.
The real estate agent is prohibited from giving legal advice so what do they do for all that money they are paid?
I can certainly show my own home, answer questions, disclose flaws, etc. and my lawyer or the buyer's lawyer can draft a purchase contract at moderate cost. Real estate buyers are very well protected in California by very good disclosure laws. For mortgage assistance, look in the phone book!