Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Q: In what circumstances would you recommend purchasing a property without a buyer’s agent? I don’t see the clear value in the age of Redfin/Zillow, and from my experience I’m not sure any real estate person is going to be as hardworking and diligent as I’d be in [doing the research]. Plus having many thousands of dollars in extra buying power is obviously a giant plus for me.

Do you have any tips for people who are opposed to using a buyer’s agent?

A: In our columns, we’ve talked about the effect the internet has had on the real estate industry. For the most part, the information you get on real estate properties has improved vastly over the years. It was only 30 years ago that almost all the information on properties for sale was kept in black and white listing books printed on newsprint by local Realtor associations, refreshed every two weeks. And you couldn’t view those listings without working with a real estate agent that was a member of that Realtor association.

The real estate industry has come a long way.

Today, you can get information about homes from so many different online sources. Online, you can find specific real estate tax information and hyperlocal crime statistics, view information on school districts and individual schools, obtain flood zone information, and see most any property from the air and ground using one of many online resources. You can also measure the size of the land, determine what the price history was for a home, and even compare what a handful of websites think a particular property might be worth. (And, of course, you can check the online rating of individual brokers and their firms.)