The days when it was enough to simply put something on the market to sell it are now in the past. Owners are seeing Estate Agents with thousands of properties on their books and realise that they have to explore every avenue to secure a sale. Many Estate Agents are now finding that the resale market is less attractive for them and are concentrating on selling new developments and off-plan properties.
Owners now realise that if they are to sell within a reasonable length of time they have to be competitive. They are realising that their intimate knowledge of their own property and the surrounding area is enough to enable them to show it to the best advantage - being able to significantly reduce the asking price (by taking off the agents' commission) is often all that is needed to secure that elusive sale.
No. As long as you remember that you must employ a good independent solicitor to look after your interests and do nothing without his approval - especially with regard to signing or paying anything - you will be just as safe dealing direct with the owner.