Allow me to offer some thoughts – in brief (I hope):
Selling. While I did not mind the lack of continuity in terms of who the Agent sent to show potential purchasers around, I was dismayed at the ignorance of the details by the young ‘showers’ (the grown-up/older showers were a class act – one being an airline pilot, the other being a music teacher but they were not the major players). The Agent would not allow me to show folk around so I was obliged to listen in to the inadequate briefing that the two young showers offered. Second the Agent found it necessary to intervene factitiously in legal matters that merely muddied the waters of my relationship with the Lawyer. Third, the plan of the property in the Particulars was incorrect in that it failed to show that the Conservatory had a door that led into the house – in other words it would be necessary to exit the house walk round the garden to enter it (you might argue that I should have picked that up when viewing the draft but I did get diverted amending the written bits!).
Buying. To be honest I am not sure what many Agents actually do to justify their fees. Allow me to offer some examples:
The Particulars for one property stated: “It is believed the property has mains electricity and water”. Good grief is it really up to the buyer to confirm whether those facilities exist.
The Particulars for the property I eventually bought contained an incorrect Post Code which meant that I could not insure the house or, for that matter, renew my Driving Licence. The Post Code offered did not exist.
I spent some time in the West Country looking at properties but on Saturdays the most likely response from an Agent would be an Ansafone. I ask myself this question: Assuming a working husband and wife are house-hunting what would be the best days to look at properties? The answer must surely be Saturday and Sunday. The only company that reacted to me on a Sunday was Purple Bricks; I might add that of all the properties I viewed the Purple Bricks agent proved to be the best briefed and most knowledgeable.
The Particulars of one property stated that Planning Permission had been granted for an extension to the garage, quoting an approval reference; I went to the Council to be told that the approval had already expired. I had a full survey undertaken on another property (not a cheap exercise!) which revealed some serious problems. I extracted the relevant bits from the report, sent them to the Agent and made a reduced offer. That offer was rejected and the Agent, fully aware of the poor condition of the property, put the house back on the market at the full initial asking price (ie, £10K more than my pre-Survey offer). I am not sure if that is immoral but it must be fairly close to it.
In general, if one asked for an opinion or information on local matters an Agent would generally refer me to a Surveyor or to the Local Council.
So, in the round I am not impressed – sorry.