Estate agents have never enjoyed the best reputation but according to a year-long study by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) satisfaction with estate agencies has actually improved.
Top estate agent searches:
The OFT studied internet property sites, price competition between agents and consumer protection over the past 12 months and found that those selling their homes could save millions each year by shopping around or haggling over agency fees. It also revealed that people had become happier with estate agency services in recent years.
But estate agents' body, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) claims that the OFT has missed a trick by failing to propose more "robust" protection for both buyers and sellers. While the OFT did concede that consumers could benefit from a market shake-up, Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA, criticised the current lack of regulation.
"Once again the OFT has categorically failed to see that better regulation of the home buying and selling market is required," he told the BBC. "Buying a home is often the largest single transaction of a person's life and it is disappointing that the OFT has not thought it appropriate to acknowledge that a robust and appropriate level of consumer protection is needed."
Though laws are in place with regards to accurately describing a property and handling client's money, anyone wishing to open an estate agency can do so without any qualifications or permission from an official body.
As former president of the NAEA, Trevor Kent, so eloquently put it: "A poodle clipper today can be an estate agent tomorrow."
But are you happy with the service provided by estate agents, or do you agree that further regulation is essential?