Lady selling up gave us her home number and we talked regularly on the phone while the estate agent told us both lies.
We moved into our new place about 6 weeks ago and the seller was great - speaking to them directly, rather than via the estate agent, made all the difference when things got a little fraught. Our buyer, on the other hand, despite being given our number and email addresses, wanted to go wholly via (his friend) the estage agent which slowed things down somewhat.
if (and i really hope we don't) we ever do this again we'll make a point of going direct to the vendor...
(and yes, it always amazes me that people seem to spend more time thinking about, researching and test driving cars than their houses. Our buyers bought after spending no more than 15 minutes in our place)