The following excerpt is from a letter from a real estate broker to the Wall Street Journal:

Like bank tellers, travel agents and other middlemen, real estate agents are no longer critical to a transaction, Ms. Lappin says—though many of her peers will undoubtedly disagree. And as technology has made their role less essential, their ranks have plummeted. According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of real estate agents fell to roughly 1 million members last year from about 1.4 million members in 2006. Ms. Lappin expects the decline will continue as more technological tools are developed to help sellers and buyers deal with each other directly. “The real estate game has changed forever,” she says.

1Letter to WSJ from agent