Not having bought or sold property for ten years, in my naiviety I went into a local agent with a big yellow glossy sign over their shop at the centre of the local neighbourhood. The atmosphere between the four or so occupants therein struck me as frosty. From the start, it was a helter skelter ride with their young staff; and apparently money-only-minded directors. They got most things wrong (not least a woeful misrepresentation of the floorplan), but following numerous corrections, I eventually gave them the benefit of the doubt and engaged them for eight weeks sole agency. A mistake. By the eighth week I was losing faith, becoming somewhat annoyed by their 'over-politeness', regular platitudes, and many viewers who were not in a position to buy.In frustration, I sought the advice of a local agent (of long standing) through whom my wife and I were purchasing (in cash) our next property. I liked him from our first meeting. He was honest enough to say that he was now concentrating more on the surveying (FRICS) side of his business, so did not really want to take it on himself, but he had heard good reports of another local agent, namely Hillcrest.What a difference! I went in 'cold' late one Friday afternoon to their modest but well presented and seemingly functional office, browsed the neatly arranged display of properties until the lady at the desk had finished her telephone conversation. Upon completion, I was immediately welcomed by Yvonne Astley, her warmth of personality radiating through a wonderful smile. I related my experiences to date. She listened well. Within a few minutes, I felt a good working relationship had been struck, and after several more, I left very happily to tell my wife the good news.Yvonne came round on the Monday. She deliberately took time to fully absorb our property, taking many photos from well thought out angles to maximise its desirability. Within a couple of days, her very friendly and personable floor-plan-man had also done his stuff, and after a couple more she emailed me her draft 'particulars'....I couldn't really fault them! Not only had she intelligently and fully described the nitty gritty from what had impressed her, (from the view of a potential purchaser), but also she had (again) listened well to what we had said about ourselves and the history of the property under our current occupancy, resulting in some 'personal touches' (not least flattering my abilities!).Despite this rainy 'up and down' Jubilee/Olympic/generally sportingly-distractive summer, we have received a steady flow of quality viewers via Hillcrest, all of which have been definite 'potentials'....and feedback from Yvonne on all (positive or negative, as the case may be). On one fine sunny day, she even came round to take some prettier pictures of our garden in bloom, which she posted on her website without delay.We are now sold STC.Estate Agents? My attitude to the industry has been completely transformed.. thanks to Yvonne. Like any business I choose to use, I look for honesty, integrity and customer focus. She has this in shed-loads....and, indeed, adored the lesser of my two sheds!Recommendation (through trusted people's personal experiences) is paramount in my opinion. I have received so many unsolicited touts, mostly from 'national' agents. Hillcrest (vis a vis) Yvonne, at present a thoroughly more than capable 'one-woman-band', resists doing such, relying on a lower-key approach that does not offend or 'bully' prospective vendors. She has excellent 'people skills', treats her customers with the respect they deserve and indeed, thoroughly deserves any adulation that her industry can bestow upon her.She has my undisputed support, and sincerely wish her well.