I do not have anything against Real Estate Agents. In fact 4 of my friends are Real Estate Agents. I guess I am the "do it yourself" type person. I believe if you have bought and/or sold Real Property at least 3 or 4 times that you should be able to do it yourself with the help of a little team. As long as you have a competent Real Estate Attorney, Tax Adviser and a good Title Company who works together with you as a team. I see no need for a Real Estate Agent, except for getting me information on the MLS or Comps.
As a buyer, I want to get the lowest price possible and that is in direct conflict with how an agent works because most if not all Agents work on commission (please correct me if I am wrong). The higher the price the bigger the dollar signs an Agent sees in his eyes. He/She thrives on getting the highest possible price. How many Agents do you know that will work to get a "Buyer" the lowest possible price on a property? Admit it, an agent would balk at such an idea or concept. Your statement "national statistics support the fact that if you sell with an agent you will net 9% more or 15% overall MORE than if you were to sell it yourself" only proves my point.
Be that as it may, I would recommend a Real Estate Agent to 1st and/or 2nd time sellers and buyers. If fact, I have referred my 1st time home buying friends to my Real Estate Agent friends.
Sorry if I have offended you in any way shape or form.