MY MOM JUST SOLD her house. A few months ago, she interviewed three real estate agents. Each offered her a different opinion of how much her home was worth. All three also charged different commissions.
In the end, she selected the agent with the highest fee. I was skeptical when she told me her 1,100-square-foot home would be listed for $500,000. My mom’s house and mine are nearly identical in size, age, location and condition. They would easily be classified as comparable for appraisal purposes. Given that I’d purchased my home three years ago for $375,000, I found it unimaginable that values could have increased so much in such a short period of time.
I was also leery when my mom agreed to have her home professionally cleaned and staged. She spent nearly $3,000 preparing her home for sale before it had even spent a single day on the market. In my mind, I wondered if my mom was being overcharged for services that weren’t necessary and if her home would linger—unsold—for several weeks.
Those doubts were dealt with quickly. Within three days of being listed, my mom had five offers to sort through. They ranged from $500,000 to $580,000. She ultimately settled on an offer of $563,000 that included a stipulation that the buyer would pay for any lender-required repairs. The inspection, appraisal and closing all took place quickly and efficiently. My mom raved about the service she received from her real estate agent.
I’d always assumed that, when it came time for me to sell my home, I’d opt for the agent with the lowest fees. I also planned on staging the house myself, using a few pieces of my own furniture. But I’ve changed my mind. It’s now clear to me that the right agent can easily be worth the cost.