In the slightly over one year that I've been searching, I've liaised with quite a few intermediaries and searchers, and something that intrigues me is that most searchers have somewhat of a disregard for intermediated deals. "Intermediaries don't bring you good quality stuff", "their deals are shopped around a lot", "the really good deals aren't in the market", etc. Seems like bringing an intermediated deal to your investors is like telling your grandmother you met your partner in Tinder... i.e. something you "should not" feel terribly proud of.

My experience with intermediated deals has been a lot better than with proprietary ones. Proprietary owners haven't formally made the decision to sell, so their commitment to the process will be more fickle. Furthermore, it'll the first time they go through the process of selling a business, so they will distrust you more. Conversely, an intermediated deal has lower execution risk, and having a third party educating the owner about the process, the payment structure, etc. certainly smoothens the deal.

Intermediated deals are shopped around indeed, but in my experience if your fit is good, you'll be able to create an angle that differentiates you from all the others (not everything is price...).

My suggestion for new searchers is, you need to find the right balance between proprietary and intermediated, but... it may be a bit more weighted to intermediated than what you may think.