I've always wondered how people can enter the real estate business, help people buy and sell homes, but have never bought or sold their own home. I call them the "renter-real-estate-agents."
Can a renter be a good real estate agent? Perhaps. But if they're not a homeowner themselves, they lack the true experience and knowledge of homeownership as a whole. They lack the first-hand experience of all that homeownership entails - maintenance, property tax issues, tax deductions, the emotional attachments, and so on.
Most importantly, a renter-real-estate-agent has never experienced, personally, for themselves what it is truly like to be a home buyer and a home seller. They don't have that up-close-and-personal knowledge that can only be gained by personal experience of the stresses involved in buying their home. And, they don't have that up-close-and-personal knowledge that can only be gained by personal experience of the stresses involved in selling their home, either.
Buying and selling a home is an amazing, wonderful, stress-filled, anxiety-laden, expensive, (did I mention stress-filled?) and life-changing experience. An agent who has been through it all themselves can understand, explain and prepare their clients for what to expect, thus lessening the stress. They can better prepare a buyer for the home inspection, give personal examples of how to handle maintenance issues of homes, and share names of contractors they themselves have used. They can share their personal war stories with sellers who quickly grow tired of keeping their home in model-condition and of having strangers traipse through their home.
It's important for real estate agents and their clients to connect on many levels, otherwise the relationship just won't work. Working with an agent who has been through it all themselves should be a top priority on who a client chooses to have represent them.
And, yes, I have bought and sold several personal residences. I've learned more each time, and it makes me not only more compassionate towards my clients, but it also makes me a better and smarter agent.