If you’re exploring your options for listing your house for sale, you’re probably wondering what goes into that six percent commission that agents traditionally charge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou get less than you pay for, which is why USRealty.com offers an alternative: pay the buyer’s agent, who brings you a buyer and shepherds the deal to closing, her traditional 3 percent, but handle the listing side through USRealty.com, and pay roughly half a percentage point, saving 2.5% and thousands of dollars.

Local listing agents, of course, say that their 3% commission is justified. But here are four things they won’t tell you and one big expense that you’ll have to cover outside their fee anyway.

  1. The biggest marketing expense is getting your house listed on the multiple listing service, which is the database of houses for sale that agents share. All the listings you see on Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow and other sites come from MLS listings. Without getting your house into the MLS system, nobody knows about it. But the agent won’t tell you that services like USRealty.com can handle this for just a few hundred dollars.
  2. Expert marketing advice. Is it really so expert? Buyers rely on their own agents’ recommendations, and on their own research. Outside the MLS, listing agents mainly create printed fliers and hold open houses, at which they try to gain new clients. USRealty.com offers templates for printed materials and guides for how to hold an open house and market to your neighbors.
  3. Photography and staging. The agent should always hire a professional photographer to take about 40 photos of your house for the listing and marketing materials. Paying $300 for that directly is still a lot less than the agent’s commission. The same is true for staging. Chances are the agent will hire a professional stager, and you might get charged for that separately anyway.
  4. Closing support. The buyer’s agent quarterbacks this essential process, because it’s her client who’s most invested in the deal. Often, listing agents don’t even show up in person to collect their commission checks.
  5. And there’s one huge factor that listing agents won’t tell you when they are trying to justify their huge fees: that chances are you’ll be paying thousands of dollars in state and municipal fees. During the recession, many local governments offset declining revenues by jacking up fees and taxes for real estate transactions. If you list through an alternative agency like USRealty.com, you’ll only lose equity to the local government – not to the local government as well as the listing agent.