OpinionBrokerage

A fee-for-service future

Perspective: The ups and downs of fee-based real estate

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By KELLE SPARTA In 1995 I was taking retainer fees from buyers who wanted to work with me. Those fees either went toward their deposit on a home or it went into my pocket if they didn't purchase. Over the course of the next three years, that fee went from $100 to $250 to $500 to finally $1,000 as I had to retain the deposit from each person who walked away. I had started to realize how much of the work I did took place up front and how much time I was losing every time I lost a buyer. So when the idea of a fee-for-service model crossed my desk a few years ago, I wasn't surprised. It made sense, but I didn't think it was in the best interests of the client. After all, the most valuable services that the best agents provide to their clients aren't really something you can easily set a price tag on. Those services offer the peace of mind that comes from knowing everything is handled. A skilled facilitator can get you unstuck by walking you through an emotional challenge that is...