Then and Now
Years ago, finding a realtor was pretty simple. Most of the time, you connected through a friend or relative; the rest of the time, you found one by reading an ad, a sign, etc. What’s important about these traditional search methods is that your radius was limited to the people, places, and publications you already trusted, knew, and read. There was no easy way to break out of your circle without sacrificing your sense of confidence.
Sure, you could search the yellow pages and find a whole host of real estate brokers and agents in your area, but all you’d really have is a phone number and a name. The question would always be, “how can I tell if this guy really knows what he’s doing?” Unless you went to the trouble to visit his office and talk to him, you’d have no way of knowing—and a fifteen-minute meeting wouldn’t necessarily answer that question, either. So people stuck to their circles, and were generally satisfied.
The web, of course, turned the whole industry upside down. True, connecting with an agent through friends and relatives is still the preferred method. (And why shouldn’t it be? After all, your friends and family are the people you trust most in the world.)
Nevertheless, Internet search has made it much easier to reach outside what you know, to look for an agent or broker to whom you have no personal connection. Today, you can find out practically everything there is to know about an agent on the web with the click of a button and without having to go anywhere or speak to anyone.