Here is an interesting trend: real estate agents in the United States are hiring assistants. These assistants -- often unlicensed -- handle paperwork, update web listings, attend home inspections, and do other routine tasks. This allows licensed real estate agents to increase the number of listings they can handle at one time and close more sales...driving their income up. Twenty per cent of realtors are now using assistants, according to a National Association of Realtors survey. It seems that this trend is being driven by the increasing demands and sophistication of real estate sales. There are more legal requirements, details and paperwork than ever before. I would like to invite reader comments about this trend: Does this mean better service for consumers, or will service suffer because the realtor has too many listings and is too far removed from important details? And what about the future of traditional brokerages? Is their importance decreasing in the face of realtors who form their own "service circles" with their personal assistants? Or will there be no impact? And are we seeing the development of a class of "super-agents" like in my town, where it seems that a half dozen agents (usually the ones with personal assistants) have the majority of the listings, and the others have far fewer?