It's a different world... in so many ways. Some good, some less good.
In Real Estate, the model has dramatically changed. The days of walking through a few homes after leisurely viewing tiny photos in a book/binder (probably with a friend who has their Real Estate license), completing a simple mortgage application (probably at your local bank), completing a home inspection (and quite probably overlooking, or deeming unimportant, many things that would kill a deal today), securing your attorney, and eventually attending your closing... signing a few papers and then popping a bottle.
Digital tools, social media, mobile, location based tools, drone video, 3D walk throughs and other digital BSOs (bright shiny objects) allow lenders to bid and compete for your business, allow sellers to assess their market, allow buyers to search and view properties anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world... while potentially, securing a mortgage on their phone.
So then, why do you need a Realtor?
If you intimately know the market that you are looking to buy or sell in, including having in-depth knowledge of every home that has been listed or sold in those markets (note: powerlines rarely show up in listing pictures, nor do wind patterns showing the relationship of a home to the cute farm upwind... oh, and local & regional airports and their takeoff and landing restrictions... etc etc etc), if you have a short list of qualified inspectors that are right for your particular home (antique, contemporary, waterfront, post & beam etc), if you have list of trusted mortgage brokers that are right for your particular situation (self employed, foreign assets, alternative income sources etc etc etc), if you can be local and in-market on an as-needed basis to traffic paperwork or sit in the records department of town hall, if you have taken hundreds of hours of training courses in comparative pricing, property valuation, financing, property conveyance, and negotiating, and if you have the patience of a saint, are willing to miss family functions, work from vacation and be on call 24/7... then you probably don't need a Realtor.
If you question your skills and abilities in any of the above... then I can guarantee, you will benefit from working with the right Realtor. One who understands the digital tools that are available to help both of you save time. One who is able to educate you on properties that you may have found on your own, on your time (because they have actually been in that house). One who has the relationships to get the right inspector for the house to show up when you are available (yes, nights and weekends sometimes). One who has relationships with mortgage brokers and/or lenders who have the real ability to come through for you... and most importantly, a Realtor and partner who you trust to carry you through the sometimes difficult, stressful and trying times of negotiating your transaction... either as a buyer or seller.
So again, some things have changed (digital tools and access to information)... and some haven't (knowledge, relationships and trust). Note: Information and knowledge are two different things.
I'm available to help you personally with your Real Estate needs in Ridgefield, Redding, Wilton, Weston and Stamford, Connecticut... and am happy to connect you with trusted associates in other markets.